THE LIST: Sportsmail's top 50 Premier and Football League signings of the season - Nos 10-1

16 April 2010 10:49
        HAVE YOUR SAY.     Who is your top signing this season? Amid the excitement of the football season's final furlong, Sportsmail pauses to reflect on the men who have made all the difference to their new clubs. We pick out our top 50 signings from this season in both the Premier and Football Leagues, but who would be your No 1? TELL US WHAT YOU THINK As the football season nears its climax, fans up and down thecountry will either be gunning for glory, praying for salvation orsimply hatching plans for success next time round.

But whateverthe outcome of your team's season, thoughts will very soon turn towardsnext term and the summer transfer window. Just ask Rafa Benitez. TheLiverpool boss has demanded £60million to spend on three world-classplayers.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, Sportsmail havemade a list of the top 50 players signed this season who have made allthe difference to their new clubs.

Whether it's Landon Donovan,who sparked Everton's bid for European football next year, ThomasVermaelen, who provided the platform for Arsenal to push for the titleor Sebastien Bassong's understated influence at Tottenham, stay tunedfor the Premier League's most inspired signings this term.

Butthe Football League's best buys are here too, from Darren Ambrose andhis goal-scoring exploits at Crystal Palace to loan star TomCleverley's instant impact at Watford.

We'recounting down 10 each day till our No 1 is revealed on Friday and, asever, let us know who you think was the top signing this season.

Read Nos 50-41Read Nos 30-21 Read Nos 40-31Read Nos 20-11  10 Richard Dunne(Manchester City to Aston Villa, £6m) Some werescratching their heads after City allowed Dunne to depart for £6m andthen spent £24m on Joleon Lescott. A decision which remains one of thestrangest this season.

City's loss has been Villa's gain. The imposingIrishman has enjoyed an excellent season full of rock-like performancesas the Villans made to trips to Wembley for the Carling Cup final andan FA Cup semi-final.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill said of Dunne: 'He competes, he has real composure on the ball. That is perhapssomething we haven't had before.'

Hard to beat: Dunne

Knows where the goal is: Austin

9 Charlie Austin (Poole Town to Swindon Town, free) From £80-a-daybricklayer 18 months ago to being touted for a move to the PremierLeague - to say Austin has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past coupleof years would be something of an understatement.

The reason for thisrise? Goals. And by the bucket load. He netted 48 in 43 appearances forPoole in the Wessex Premier League - six tiers below League One - andis doing the business for Swindon this year with 18 in 29 outings.

And if the rumours are to bebelieved, Chris Hughton is considering offering him a chance to jointop-flight bound Newcastle this summer.

8 Damien Duff (Newcastle to Fulham, undisclosed) You can't keep a goodman down. Duff's career looked to be taking a dive, with his injury problems andfailure to impress at Newcastle.

But he has teamed up withformer boss Roy Hodgson (from his Blackburn days) and thrived in what has been a remarkable seasondown on the banks of the Thames.

Duff has added somegrit and bags of experience down the right wing for the Cottagers whocontinue to fly high in Europe.

Craven success: Duff

Loan star: O'Hara

7 Jamie O'Hara (Tottenham to Portsmouth, loan) The move fromhigh-flying Spurs back to relegation-threatened and financiallystricken Pompey didn't look like such a good move in January. Butregular football and high quality performances mean O'Hara's stock hasrisen greatly. Much more so than it would have warming the bench at Tottenham.

Industrious in midfield and deadly with a free-kick, thesabbatical down on the south coast has given him greater profile andoptions for next season. Oh, and there's the FA Cup final to lookforward to. 

6 Joe Hart (Manchester City to Birmingham, loan) With the influx of so many international stars at Eastlands, it may have been tempting for Hart to hang around and soak up the experience while he could. After all, just four years ago he had been playing League Two football for Shrewsbury Town.

But the England Under 21 stopper took a chance on moving to Birmingham. A gamble which has paid off and propelled him into the reckoning for a seat on the plane to South Africa with Fabio Capello's England squad.

During the year at St Andrew's, Hart has become a top-class keeper at the back of a defence with little Premier League experience.

It will take a huge chunk of Birmingham chairman Carson Yeung's cash to persuade City boss Roberto Mancini to part with the 22-year-old.

No ordinary Joe: Hart

Big-time Charlie: Adam

5 Charlie Adam (Rangers to Blackpool, £500k) Adam was a product of theRangers youth system but was released and signed atwo-year contract for a club-record fee in August last year.

His 16goals this season have been a major factor in the Seasiders continuingchallenge for the play-offs. And his goals are bringing some much-neededsuccess for boss Ian Holloway, who has struggled in previous posts.

Holloway joked: 'If Craig Levein doesn't think he is good enough toplay for Scotland I will eat my hat. Charlie has been absolutelyoutstanding.'

4 Darren Bent (Tottenham to Sunderland, £10m) Former boss HarryRedknapp believed that his wife Sandra would be better suited toplaying up front for Spurs instead of Bent.

There's no doubt the BlackCats striker has proved him wrong this season.  He departed White HartLane after a barrage of X-rated Twitter posts which publicly revealed his desire to move on.

But he consigned his Spurs nightmare to historywith 23 goals, including strikes against all of the 'big four' sides with a little bit of help from a beachball against Liverpool.

New lease of life: Bent

No doubting Thomas: Vermaelen

3 Thomas Vermaelen (Ajax to Arsenal, £10m) Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is notoriouslytight with his club's money. Why spend when you can just give anotheryoungster a chance.

So when he does part with some cash, you know itis going to be for a good'un. And Vermaelen has certainly proved hisworth.

He strolled into the side, took no time to settle and hasremained a clam yet tough opponent with a penchant for scoring goals.Yet another classy defender in the Arsenal tradition.

2 Rickie Lambert (Bristol Rovers to Southampton, £1m) You really haveto wonder why Bristol Rovers allowed this goal machine to leave in thefirst place.

The 28-year-old has netted an incredible 33 times thisseason. Some goals have been simple efforts, others have been 35-yardlobs, and he's chipped in with a hat-trick too. 

Understandably, hismanager Alan Pardew has been purring over his centre-forward quite abit.

He said: 'He's a player that went unnoticed for far too long doinga great job for Bristol. In my opinion he's the best player in thisdivision in terms of his position.'

Heading in the right direction: Saints striker Lambert (left)

1 Carlos Tevez (Unattached to Manchester City, undisclosed) We're not convinced the debate over exactly how much Tevez cost City in the summer will ever be concluded.

But if he continues to fire in the goals and help the Eastlands club secure Champions League football, no one will care.

He'll admit himself that his time with the blue half of Manchester didn't start so well, but once he got going, there was no stopping him.

It took him until his fifth Premier League game to find the net, a brace against his former club West Ham, and a further 26 eight goals, including two hat-tricks, have followed.

And there's no doubt his boss Roberto Mancini is a fan, too. He said recently: ''Carlos is already an important player for us. He has already improved this year, because he has never scored 28 goals before.

'I am happy about that. Lionel Messi is the best at the moment, but Carlos and Wayne Rooney are very, very close.' 

What a signing: Tevez has been in blistering form for high-flying Manchester City

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Source: Daily_Mail

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