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Monday 24 December 2012

2012 Barclays Premier League review: June

In the sixth of our 2012 Days of Christmas review, the managers' merry-go-round starts

  • Manchester United looked to regain their title by signings Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell

  • After being coveted by many top sides Eden Hazard plumped for Chelsea

  • Despite leading Spurs to fourth Harry Redknapp was gone by the end of June

  • Brendan Rodgers' work at Swansea was recognised with the top job at Anfield

  • Michael Laudrup took over from Rodgers at Swansea

  • Paul Lambert moved from Carrow Road to Villa Park

  • Danny Guthrie joined Premier League new boys Reading

JUNE 2012

The 2011/12 Premier League campaign had come to an end, but interest in the competition was maintained in June, even as as the UEFA 2012 European Championship took centre stage. A flurry of transfers whetted the appetites of supporters ahead of the new 2012/13 season.

June kicked off with UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea completing the signing of much-coveted Belgium playmaker Eden Hazard. Manchester United also signalled their intent to regain the Barlcays Premier League title with the capture of Borussia Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa and Crewe Alexandra prospect Nick Powell.

Queens Park Rangers were the busiest top-flight team in June, with Samba Diakite, Robert Green, Andrew Johnson and Ryan Nelsen bolstering the ranks at Loftus Road as Mark Hughes looked to avoid a repeat of the previous season’s struggles.

Croatia striker Mladen Petric joined Fulham on a free from Hamburg, while Danny Guthrie and Jay Rodriguez joined Premier League new boys Reading and Southampton respectively.

The most notable departure was powerful Ivorian striker Didier Drogba, who left Chelsea for China’s Shanghai Shenghua after scoring 100 Barclays Premier League goals during his time at Stamford Bridge.

There was a lot of managerial movement as well. Despite leading Tottenham Hotspur to fourth place in the league Harry Redknapp was forced out from White Hart Lane.

Brendan Rodgers, who had guided Swansea City to 11th place in their debut season in the Barclays Premier League, was appointed the successor to Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool.

Michael Laudrup took over at Swansea, while Steve Clarke, a long-term assistant at Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle, was given the top job at West Bromwich Albion, succeeding Roy Hodgson, who had become England manager.

Paul Lambert, who impressed in his first season as a Premier League manager with Norwich City, took the reins at Aston Villa. Lambert was replaced by Birmingham City’s Chris Hughton.

A host of Premier League players starred in Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine, where a Spain side that featured Chelsea duo Fernando Torres and Juan Mata and Manchester City playmaker David Silva were favourites to retain the title. Goals from another City player, Mario Balotelli, took Italy to the final at the start of July. On the way, Italy had seen off Hodgson’s England on penalties in the quarter-finals.

Key quotes

"I’ve spoken to many people about Swansea and watched a number of their games on DVD. Everyone knows the style of football Swansea play and it suits my way of thinking. It’s going to be a new experience for me and I am really looking forward to it.” - Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup after succeeding Brendan Rodgers

"Becoming a head coach in my own right has always been an ambition of mine and I feel I have served my apprenticeship. I’m delighted West Brom have given me the chance to make that progression and I’m determined to make the most of it.” - Steve Clarke after being given the head coach’s job at West Bromwich Albion

"When they won the Champions League I told myself, ‘Why not Chelsea?' There was a struggle between Chelsea and [Manchester] United but, for me, Chelsea has the best project. It’s a wonderful club.” - Chelsea’s summer signing Eden Hazard

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Key Points

  • The transfer window opens with big-name signings by Manchester United and Chelsea
  • Harry Redknapp loses his job at Spurs, while Brendan Rodgers moves to Liverpool
  • Spain retain UEFA Euro 2012 title with Premier League players starring in Poland and Ukraine