Football

Who has been the best Premier League signing of the season?

Van Persie has 19 Premier League goals this season. (©GettyImages)
Van Persie has 19 Premier League goals this season. (©GettyImages).

The 2012/13 campaign in England has been dominated by Premier League newcomers like never before, with eight players that are enjoying impressive debut seasons with their new club, featuring among the best 20 top-flight stars this year, according to stats provided by WhoScored.com.

Six of those eight players have made a seamless transition to life in a new country, and new culture, starting their Premier League careers in scintillating fashion, having never previously experienced the cut and thrust nature of what is widely regarded as the most competitive, and exciting, domestic league in world football.

The other two players might have had the advantage of playing in England's top tier before, but like any major move, or switch of allegiances, a 'bedding-down' or settling in period is often to be expected.

However, the instant impact now being made by summer signings appears to be more popular than ever, and growing year on year, when you consider that only six summer signings made the top 20 last season, just one in 2010/11 and three in 2009/10.

It's clear that deals struck prior to the start of the campaign are having greater significance, and more influence on a team's potential for a strong season. Meanwhile, the January window continues to show it's nothing more than a last-ditch attempt to right the wrongs of previous transfer opportunities.

But, without getting too bogged down in the politics behind the apparent need for a month of mid-season madness, GiveMeFootball wants to celebrate the success stories of the summer.

Based on stats collated from WhoScored.com, and with an overall rating out of 10, here are the top eight signings of the season so far:

8. Eden Hazard | Chelsea | Rating: 7.31

The Chelsea winger made a blistering start to the season following his £32million move from Lille to Stamford Bridge, in what was one of the most drawn-out transfer sagas of the summer.

Seven goals and seven assists - including one of each in last weekend's crucial 4-1 victory over Wigan Athletic - is proof that he's made a solid contribution to an otherwise uninspiring season in general in west London, under the interim management of Rafa Benitez.

Recently in the headlines for all the wrong reasons - a result of 'ballboy-gate' in the Capital One Cup semi-final defeat against Swansea - Hazard has displayed enough potential to show that he is capable of recapturing the form that saw him crowned Ligue 1 player of the year in back-to-back campaigns, prior to his move to England.

7. Michu | Swansea | Rating: 7.31

Undoubtedly the bargain-buy of the summer, the Spanish attacking midfielder has notched an impressive 15 Premier League goals this season, despite a recent barren run of six league games without a goal prior to his brace in Swansea's emphatic 4-1 victory over QPR last weekend.

The 26-year-old has already matched his goalscoring figures for Rayo Vallecano in La Liga last season, and has also chipped in with a number of assists to help the high-flying Swans stave off the threat of Premier League second-season syndrome.

Michu couldn't have asked for a better start to life in South Wales, after flying in at the Liberty Stadium in a £2million deal, under the noses of rival clubs, who would now surely pay Michael Laudrup big-money to secure his signature.

6. Christian Benteke | Aston Villa | Rating: 7.38

Eleven Premier League goals and four assists for Aston Villa's Belgian sensation, Benteke will have a huge role to play for the remainder of the season if Paul Lambert's side are to avoid relegation this season.

The 22-year-old arrived at Villa Park for a relatively hefty £7million fee in the summer, given that nobody had heard of him, but he has repaid the faith shown in him by directly contributing to 60 per cent of his new side's goals in 2012/13.

The bulldozing striker is already believed to have attracted interest from a number of rival clubs, and will surely leave the Midlands club if they fail to preserve their top-flight status this year.

5. Mousa Dembele | Tottenham Hotspur | Rating: 7.40

One of the two players with previous Premier League experience, Dembele's cross-capital switch from Fulham to Tottenham was met with excitement from White Hart Lane faithful. And, rightly so.

The 25-year-old midfielder was signed by Andre Villas-Boas to fill the creative void left by the departed Luka Modric, and he has stepped up to the plate admirably. One goal and three assists don't do the Belgian's increasing influence justice, as he keeps the Spurs midfield ticking over, allowing team-mate Gareth Bale to operate at his devastating best.

4. Jan Vertonghen | Tottenham Hotspur | Rating: 7.49

The second Spurs, and fourth Belgian player to feature among the top eight newcomers, Vertonghen's versatility is proving invaluable, having proved capable of playing equally adeptly at left-back as centre-back.

Assured in possession, and with a natural physical presence, the former Ajax captain has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water, and will have an important part to play if Tottenham are to qualify for the Champions League this year.

3. Chico Flores | Swansea | Rating: 7.54

The unsung hero for Swansea this season, Flores has filled the void left by the departure of former loanee Steven Caulker, by slotting in perfectly alongside Ashley Williams at the heart of their defence.

His passing ability makes him well-suited to the Swans style of possession football, and makes up the second half of a highly successful double raid on La Liga, by former Mallorca manager Michael Laudrup, in luring Chico and Michu to the Liberty Stadium.

2. Santi Cazorla | Arsenal | Rating: 7.75

Nine Premier League goals and six assists - including the match-winner in last weekend's 1-0 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light - Cazorla's influence in the Arsenal midfield is growing almost by the game.

The 28-year-old is building a strong understanding alongside fellow Spaniard Mikel Arteta, and Jack Wilshere in the Gunners midfield, and early indications suggest that the £15million Arsene Wenger paid to bring the former Malaga midfielder to the Emirates Stadium, could prove to be the best money he has ever spent.

1. Robin van Persie | Manchester United | Rating: 7.79

Anyone that doubted whether Van Persie would succeed at Old Trafford after leaving Arsenal to sign for Manchester United in a £24million deal in the summer, really needs their head testing.

The deadly Dutchman's injury problems look to be long behind him, and his imperious form continues with 19 Premier League goals already for the run-away leaders this term, which leaves him sitting pretty once again at the top of the goalscoring charts.

Some might have sniggered at the size of the fee Sir Alex Ferguson paid to bring the 29-year-old to United, but the fact Van Persie has proven to be a value for money acquisition tells its own story.

There have been a plethora of quality signings this season, but the world-class finisher has established himself as the best of the bunch, and is fully justifying his reasons to leave the Emirates Stadium, as barring a disaster, he'll be picking up his maiden Premier League winners medal at the first attempt, since leaving north London in the summer.

 

Topics:
Robin Van Persie
Football
Premier League
Manchester United

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