Premier League clubs spent over £1 billion on players during this season’s transfer windows, with players being drafted in from across the globe.
The importance of introducing fresh talent grows with every season and every window amidst clubs' needs to bolster their squads.
Buying players isn't just about how much you spend, though, but how well you spend it.
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With this bizarre Premier League season rapidly winding down to its typically dramatic end, the time has come to debate who should be crowned the signing of the season.
In recent weeks, pundits and fans alike have been throwing numerous names into this debate, all of which would’ve been considered surprise contenders at the start of this season.
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Dimitri Payet, N’Golo Kante and Petr Cech are some obvious examples and credible candidates, yet the signing of the season lies elsewhere.
With all factors considered, Tottenham's capture of Toby Alderweireld has been the signing of this Premier League season.
The Belgian centre-back has been instrumental in Spurs’ dramatic turn around and should be considered for the PFA Player of the Season award, let alone signing of the season.
He has been at the heart of Tottenham’s title charge having played every game this campaign and is a huge reason why they boast the best goal difference (32) and defensive record (24) in England's top-flight.
As a result of Alderweireld's excellent form, the £11 million fee spent to sign him last summer from Atletico Madrid is a diminutive one.
The versatile centre-back has bagged three goals this season along with a mere three yellow cards; his discipline, coupled with consistency, is part of the reason he has been such a success at White Hart Lane.
It's a travesty that a player who has performed so consistently brilliantly has for so long been overlooked by fans and pundits.
Payet’s superb free kicks have attracted a large amount of attention, and rightly so, yet it's been Alderweireld’s crucial blocks, interceptions and tackles that have catapulted Tottenham to title contenders.
A strong case can also be made for Kante at Leicester City. The French midfielder’s statistics in tackling and interceptions see him top the charts across Europe’s leagues and, indeed, in the Premier League.
The Frenchman’s £5.6 million arrival reinforces his argument for signing of the season, but it's Alderweireld’s consistency that edges him just ahead of Kante.
Interestingly, none of the Premier League’s big-money moves get anywhere near this debate. A big price tag doesn’t always guarantee a quality product - just ask Liverpool and Andy Carroll, or Tottenham and Roberto Soldado.
Both Christian Benteke and Nicolas Otamendi at £32 million have been huge disappointments, with neither able to replicate any sort of form they’ve shown at former clubs.
Similarly, Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling hasn’t looked anything near his £49 million price tag and the £36 million Anthony Martial has shown mere flashes of brilliance at Manchester United.
Ultimately, towering over these expensive signings is Tottenham’s ever-present centre-back, Toby Alderweireld - this season’s surprise signing of the season.
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