The opening weekend of the new Premier League season saw plenty of drama and excitement unfold as we were reminded just why we missed it so much in the first place.
But while Manchester United carried on where they left off last campaign and Joey Barton continued to improve his ever-glowing reputation, there was one standout performance.
Bolton Wanderer’s defender Gary Cahill produced another brilliant performance to help the Trotters get underway to the perfect start with a 4-0 win at newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers.
The 25 year-old was faultless at the heart of defence, and also helped himself to a stunning 25-yard strike on the stroke of half-time to set Bolton on their way to what was eventually a comfortable victory at Loftus Road.
Cahill has found himself at the centre of media speculation this summer. linking him with the likes of Manchester City and in particular Arsenal amid reports of a £16.5 million price tag placed upon him.
This could be seen as quite a steep figure for someone who has only earned 3 caps for England and is yet to play in the Champions League.
However, the Sheffield-born centre-back has all the attributes to play at the highest level for many years to come.
Ever since he moved to the Reebok from boyhood club Aston Villa in 2008, Cahill has demonstrated his ability to be a commanding force at the back, as well as being fast and having a knack for scoring goals.
He is also a footballing centre-back, showing he is as comfortable on the ball as he is off it, a quality that can’t always be credited to many defenders who prioritise safety first instead of building up an attack.
Back in April, Cahill made it clear that he feels he is ready to test himself at the highest level of club football.
“I would never disrespect Bolton after all they have done for me but I am ready for the challenge,” said Cahill. “I have played enough Premier League games and gained enough international experience to be ready.”
A potential problem for Cahill is that there seems to be quite a few centre-halves on the market, including the likes of Blackburn’s Christopher Samba and Everton’s Phil Jagielka.
You could understand why clubs would go for these two ahead of Cahill as they have more experience, and could turn out to be less expensive.
There’s also the issue for his club to make sure they get the right deal for them. Bolton have developed him into the player he is today and if they are going to lose him they need to make sure they get the financial reward that allows them to strengthen their squad in the process.
Personally though, Cahill has all the makings of being someone who can figure at the heart of defence not only for a Champions League side, but also for England over the next few years.
He will surely get that chance eventually, but it remains to be seen between now and the end of the transfer window if Cahill gets that opportunity sooner rather than later.
So what do you think? Would you like to see Cahill at your club? Or is he over-rated purely on the basis that he is young, English and playing in the Premier League? Let us know your thoughts.
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