Top 10 Premier League signings of 2012/13 – from Michu to Santi Cazorla via Eden Hazard
Michu of the day: Swansea pulled off one of the deals of the season when snapping up Michu
As the dust settles on another Premier League season, we look at the signings who will have their managers smugly rubbing their hands together saying: ‘Didn’t I do well’.
Massive amounts of money still slosh around at the top-end of football but big spends don’t always guarantee big returns, as the presence of a few bargains in this rundown shows.
It may surprise you that Jose Bosingwa hasn’t made the cut, so let’s get down to business and see who has:
Picked up from Rayo Vallencano for just £2million, not many from these shores batted an eyelid when he was drafted by Michael Laudrup. A cheap, foreign striker from a little-known club – who cares?
Soon, everyone sat up and took notice and other managers were soon kicking themselves at not snaffling him themselves. Hit the ground running with a debut double against QPR and never looked back, hitting the net 22 times in all including at Wembley as he helped Swansea win the League Cup.
CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (Aston Villa) (Genk to Aston Villa – £7million)
Scoring 19 league goals for a team struggling as badly as Villa is no mean feat. The Belgium striker’s firepower, strength and presence were the key to keeping Paul Lambert’s men in the Premier League .
At seven million quid from Genk, he’s been a real bargain.
ROBIN VAN PERSIE (Manchester United)
At £24m and having been Arsenal’s prize asset, no-one can claim RVP was a surprise package. But who cares? Not Fergie, that’s for sure. Did what he was brought in to do and scored goals…lots of goals. Thirty in all competitions with 26 of them in the league as United romped to the title to wreck Manchester City hopes of a successful defence.
EDEN HAZARD (Chelsea)
Has been great to watch and has been the man, along with Juan Mata, who has made Chelsea tick this season. Not exactly from the bargain basement at over £30m from Lille but what a smart signing he has been, having shone under whatever manager has been leading out Roman Abramovich’s big-money Blues.
MATIJA NASTASIC (Manchester City)
Proving that defensive players can be top signings too, Nastasic arrived from Fiorentina for £13m to little fanfare but turned out to be a real gem. Only 20, the Serb has taken over from Joleon Lescott as first pick alongside Vincent Kompany at the heart of the City defence.
JAN VERTONGEN (Tottenham)
Another Belgian to slip seamlessly into the Premier League, the former Ajax defender has pepped up the Spurs backline very nicely, performing his duties in an effective no-nonsense way, and bagged a few goals along the way. One of the first names on the team sheet and a man Andre Villas-Boas will hope sticks around for years to come.
PHILIPPE COUTINHO (Liverpool)
Only arrived in January but looks the real deal and made his mark very quickly. A genuinely exciting player to watch and can seemingly unlock any defence with a single sublime pass. Looks an absolute snip at £8.5m from Inter.
STEVEN FLETCHER (Sunderland)
He may not have played for a couple of months because of injury, but he proved a great signing for the Black Cats, even if the £12m paid to Wolves seemed a bit steep at the time.
Without his goals, Sunderland would probably have been relegated – remember no-one else was scoring for them early in the season, with Adam Johnson’s goal at Everton in November the first Premier League strike from any other Sunderland player this season.
ROMELU LUKAKU (West Brom)
Okay, so he’s only a loan signing from Chelsea, but what a season he’s had. Capping it off with a hat-trick against Manchester United in that remarkable 5-5 draw was a dream finale for the 20-year-old Belgian.
SANTI CAZORLA (Arsenal)
Has been sublime at times, unlocking defences, running the play and chipping in with a few goals to boot – including a hat-trick at Reading just before Christmas. Fitted in perfectly with Arsenal’s passing style after his £16.5m switch from Malaga and looks set to be a key man for many moons – if they buck their trend of letting their best players go.