Here is a look at each Premier League club’s best signing this season, from either the summer or the January transfer window. Here’s who has starred for their clubs in their first season:
Santi Cazorla- Arsenal’s star man has justified a price tag of around £16 million by scoring 12 goals and assisting 8. He fits Arsenal’s style well and he has an array of attributes: a great touch, vision and delivery. After helping Malaga qualify for the Champions League last year, he looks to be doing the same for Arsenal as they've made a late charge into the top four. He can count himself unlucky to have missed out on a place in the PFA Team of the Year.
Christian Benteke – An obvious choice for Villa’s best signing, Benteke's performances have been head and shoulders above his team mates. Without his goals, Villa may already have been relegated. At the age of just 22 and a £7 million fee, the Belgian has proved to be a snatch. Paul Lambert’s decision to leave Darren Bent out of the starting XI, in place of Benteke, has been justified. He has been linked with a £30 million move in the summer and it will be interesting to see how bids in this range may test Villa’s nerve. If he stays with Villa, or even in the Premier League, can he keep up the prolific scoring or will he be another victim of second season syndrome?
Cesar Azpilicueta - Whilst the obvious choice maybe Eden Hazard, the under-rated signing who has proved value for Roman Abramovich's money is Azpilicueta. At around £7 million, he has proved excellent worth and he’s been ever present on Chelsea’s right side- no wonder the 23-year old has been tipped to be Spain’s right-back for years to come, replacing the under-performing Alvaro Arbeloa. ‘Dave’, as his team mates call him, would have come close to making the PFA Team of the Year had Pablo Zabaleta not starred for Manchester City.
Steven Pienaar- Whilst buying back the South African cost them more than they sold him, he settled straight back in the Everton side and he is a player that has been missed. He is creative and very good with his feet, and can also score a goal too. £4.5 million for a player of his quality is another great deal by David Moyes, even if they did sell him to Tottenham for around £3 million.
Dimitar Berbatov- He may not be the hardest working player in the Premier League, but he is a valuable asset to have. He cost as little as £5 million from Man United and Fulham have often relied on him to score. He has got some vital goals under his belt in his first season and he’s considered one of the main men at Craven Cottage. He has a great touch and technique and is a gifted goal scorer in the box.
Philippe Coutinho- A January signing from Inter Milan, the Brazilian has taken little time settling in and has brought class to the Liverpool team. He has the qualities of a typical Brazilian footballer and he links up well with Luis Suarez. He most recently paired together well with fellow January signing Daniel Sturridge in the 6-0 rout of Newcastle and at the age of 20, he has the potential to develop even more to become a world-class player. He looks well worth the £10 million paid to sign him from the Serie A side.
Matija Nastasic- He was lucky to miss out on a nomination for young player of the year as he has been an ever present in the centre of City’s defence. People forget he is just 19 years old and he has shown maturity in City’s game, forming a partnership with Vincent Kompany and keeping out Joleon Lescott. He was part of a player plus cash deal with Stefan Savic going the other way and City look to have got the better half of the deal. Stefan who?
Robin Van Persie- He is a standout for United’s signing of the season. Whilst Shinji Kagawa looks a great buy, RVP has fired United to title glory at the first time of asking. Although he had a slight dip, he overtook Luis Suarez to be the league’s top scorer and looks set to get the golden boot for the second year running. The £24 million paid to Arsenal for him is a bargain and at 28, he should be coming into his prime footballing years of his career.
Moussa Sissoko- This was a tough choice in what has been a disappointing season for Newcastle, after they took the Premier League by storm last year. But out of the signings in the summer and January, Sissoko has looked like a decent signing since arriving from Toulouse for an undisclosed fee. His first few games saw him make quite an impact and he looks capable of holding his own in midfield or supporting Papiss Cisse in a forward role. Three goals in 12 games has been a decent return from the Frenchman.
Robert Snodgrass- Chris Hughton’s summer signing from Leeds United has adjusted well to the Premier League. What he lacks in speed he makes up with skill and vision and his delivery has been the high quality for Norwich. As a Leeds fan, it has been interesting to see how he has coped in the Premier League and he looks perfectly within his depth and £3 million is a good deal for Norwich, providing they beat the threat of relegation.
Loic Remy- Big spending QPR have a number of signings to choose as their best and it’s a tough choice due to their poor performances and relegation. Julio Cesar looked a decent candidate for the first half of the season but his performances dipped. Remy has made a good effort of helping QPR stay up and had he not suffered with injuries since his move in January, they may be within a better chance of survival. Five goals in 12 Premier League appearances has seen him take to the Premier League well and expect him to stay in the Premier League and see a club snatch him for a cut price fee.
No Reading player has been a major coup for Reading, who will be playing Championship football next season. Adrian Mariappa, who signed from Watford, may be the pick of the bunch. He has played 28 times this season, his first in the Premier League. He may regret choosing Reading over Wigan if the Latics avoid survival yet again. Southampton
Gaston Ramirez- Whilst Jay Rodriguez has fit in well, showing his potential and ability for the Saints, Uruguayan Ramirez has impressed in his performances for Southampton, whom he chose over other English clubs. In a deal which was over £10 million, he has shown his potential on the pitch but has also struggled with a few injuries. Expect him to shine in Mauricio Pochettino’s side next season.
Michael Kightly/Steven N’Zonzi- It was a tough call for Stoke’s best signing due to their poor season. These players have had flashes of brilliance for Stoke and they may prove to be good pieces of business in the future, especially N’Zonzi. At 23, he is only young and if he can sort out his temperament, he will become a very good player. Charlie Adam looked like he may have been a good signing from Liverpool but he has been in and out of the side, although he has the quality to start every week for the Potters.
Steven Fletcher- The Scot came with a hefty tag but his importance to the side has been shown recently as his injury has seen Sunderland’s goals dry up. He was their main source for goals this season and if he can stay fit, whichever league Sunderland may be in next year, he will get the goals for them, and Scotland, regularly.
Michu- This is an obvious choice. He could be the Premier League’s signing of the season and he has provided the best value for money. At just £3.5 million, he has set the league alight with his goals and he has fired them to a top half finish and to League Cup success. Originally an attacking midfielder, Michu is Swansea’s main striker and his form even allowed them to sell fellow striker Danny Graham, who was reduced to substitute appearances, to Sunderland.
Jan Vertonghen- Although Hugo Lloris has had an excellent season and looks like one of the league’s best goalkeepers, Vertonghen has impressed in defence. He can play centre-back or left-back and he likes to attack and can score goals too. A £10 million signing from Ajax, Tottenham will be glad they beat a host of clubs vying for his signature.
Arouna Kone- The Ivorian has been a good addition to Roberto Martinez’ squad and he has played a big part in the side reaching the FA Cup final. He has scored goals and assisted goals and if Wigan get relegated, he may stay in the Premier League with some clubs understandably showing interest.
Romelu Lukaku- Although he was only a loan signing, Lukaku was a big influence on West Brom’s top half finish and success this season under Steve Clarke. He is a big, strong striker for his age and the experience on-loan at the Baggies will have helped the player’s confidence and technical ability. A big future lies ahead for the Belgian and another loan move may benefit him next year, with the player believed to prefer a team in Europe, so don’t be surprised to see him at Swansea or Everton.
Jussi Jaaskelainen- After Rob Green rejected the chance to extend his stay at the Hammers following promotion from his Championship, Sam Allardyce turned to the goalkeeper from his days at Bolton, Jaaskelainen. He is well experienced in this league and has been ever present for the Hammers, making vital saves to help them to a comfortable finish in their return to the Premier League. Mo Diame’s free transfer from Wigan has also proved to be another shrewd piece of business by Allardyce in a season which has seen the Hammers stabilise their place in the Premier League in their first league back.