There’s something inspiring about signing a new player in a transfer window.
It might be the hope that this could finally be your club’s year to make it into Europe, or the excitement surrounding your new striker’s goalscoring record in some faraway league.
Whatever excites the fans in their own unique way, their opinion on new signings often boils down to “he’s dynamite”, or quite bluntly “he’s not fit to wear the shirt.”
The 2014 summer and 2015 winter transfer windows saw plenty of activity, with financial experts Deloitte reporting a record spend of £950m by Premier League clubs this season.
With the campaign rapidly coming to an end, the big question to ask is which signings have been savvy and which ones have been flops?
Here is my list of the top five best and worst transfers this season, starting as always with the best.
- Lukasz Fabianski – Swansea City – Goalkeeper – Free transfer from Arsenal
Having been overtaken in the Arsenal pecking order by Poland team-mate Wojciech Szczesny, it seemed logical for Fabianski to join Swansea, especially on a free transfer. He has responded with 11 clean sheets so far this term and a string of impressive displays with arguably only David de Gea and Thibault Courtois performing better this season.
- Ryan Bertrand – Southampton – Left-back – £10m from Chelsea
Ryan Bertrand is another young ex-Chelsea player who will probably return to bite Jose Mourinho in the backside. His form for Southampton this season was so good that the Saints quickly moved to turn Bertrand’s loan deal into a permanent one, spending £10m on a player who has provided a seamless replacement for Luke Shaw at left-back with two goals, three assists and 12 clean sheets. Bargain.
- Ander Herrera – Manchester United – Central midfielder – £28.4m from Athletic Bilbao
Herrera’s dynamic box-to-box performances have caught the eye of many this season, including transfer-banned Barcelona. Boss Louis van Gaal has afforded him a starting berth and each of Herrera’s five PL goals have come when he has started and finished a whole 90 minutes. Add to that his four assists with just seven full 90 minutes under his belt and you’d think United would play him more often.
- Diego Costa – Chelsea – Striker – £32m from Atletico Madrid
Sceptics scoffed at Costa’s price after a dismal World Cup and a history of hamstring injuries. However, a sustained period of early-season fitness has enabled Costa to bag 19 goals so far this season, but he has since suffered with a couple of hamstring setbacks and a suspension. His temper has also been tested by niggling centre-backs and a shocking stamp on Liverpool’s Emre Can in January further fuelled his hot-headed reputation.
- Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal – Forward – £35m from Barcelona
When the chance to sign Sanchez arose, boss Arsenal Wenger jumped at the chance. The diminutive Chilean forward has lit up the Premier League this season with his pace, trickery and some sublime goals. In just over 2,300 minutes of PL football Sanchez has netted 14 goals and provided eight assists, but it is his work-rate which allies to his attacking play to make him a world-class player. By far the best signing of the campaign.
Onwards to the bad…
- Brown Ideye – West Brom – Striker – £10m from Dynamo Kiev
West Brom had tall hopes for the Nigerian striker after he scored 33 goals in 74 games. But, after being overshadowed by Saido Berahino at the Hawthorns, his woeful tally of four goals in 20 appearances fails to support The Baggies’ club-record transfer fee. Despite a difficult first season he could flourish under the direction of Tony Pulis next year.
- Federico Fazio – Spurs – Centre-back – £8m from Sevilla
Guilty of a string of high-profile errors, Fazio has endured a wretched opening season at White Hart Lane. Spurs have only kept three clean sheets with him in their line-up in 2014/15 and his movement, particularly on the turn, has been heavily criticised. Mauricio Pochettino will no doubt keep faith in the Argentine but he needs to improve quickly.
- Eliaquim Mangala – Manchester City – Centre-back – £32m from Porto
Manchester City won the race for the highly-coveted Frenchman in the summer, but he has failed to impress himself on a troubled City defence this season. His fee of £32m is the highest paid by a PL club for a defender, but Mangala has delivered inconsistent displays with some bordering on terrible.
- Angel di Maria – Manchester United – Winger – £59.7m from Real Madrid
Life in English football started so well for Angel di Maria. In his first six games he scored three goals and set up four more, but hasn’t found the net since October. The British transfer record signing has been severely affected by a break-in at his Cheshire home and, while he has started to show signs of recovering his early good form, a barren spell in the winter has led to criticism of his whopping fee.
- Radamel Falcao – Manchester United – Striker – £6m loan from Monaco
Once the most sought-after striker in the world, scoring goals for fun at Porto and Atletico Madrid, Falcao has truly flopped in the Premier League. He has failed to come to terms with aerial duels and rugged defenders and has ultimately failed to adjust to the style of English football. In sympathy for the Colombian joint-record goalscorer, his runs are not being picked out and he is tracking deeper just to touch the ball. However, his luck may change with Herrera, Michael Carrick and Juan Mata in midfield. Still, his four goals have been little reason to suggest that United will make his loan move permanent, especially when faced with a monstrous £43.6m fee.
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