No5. Charlie Adam (Blackpool to Liverpool – £7 million)
The midfielder who was so good that Sir Alex Ferguson said his corners alone cost £10 million. A stellar year at relegated Blackpool earned the Scotsman a move to the Merseyside for £7 million in what is turning out a bargain buy for the Kop. Adam has played all of 15 games in the league this season and has been instrumental Dalglish’s attacked minded Liverpool. Sitting at the base of the midfield, Adam’s spear-like passing has given Liverpool a forward thrust that has been lacking since the departure of Xabi Alonso. He’s been able to open up the game from deep positions, leaving the grunt work to Lucas and given others to license forward. Many thought the Scotsman would be a bit part squad player; recent performances suggest otherwise and he’s turning out to be a fantastic purchase.
No4. Mikel Arteta (Everton to Arsenal - £10 million)
The question on every pundit and critic’s mind was who was going to replace the void left by Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal? Many thought that without their inspirational captain that the Gunners would lack an outlet in midfield and suffer a dramatic fall. But the Gunners have raised their game effortlessly over the last couple of months and fingers will be pointing to the Robin Van Persie, but its Fabregas’ replacement that is the man behind pulling the strings. While not a like-for-like alternative, Arteta has steady the Arsenal ship and is surely worth his £10 million from Everton. Sitting alongside destroyer Alex Song, Arteta has pulled all the strings from deep in the Arsenal midfield, resulting in Arsenal playing a more direct counter-attacking game. His coolness and experience has help guide the Gunners through their rough patch and up the table. For £10 million he looks like another Wenger bargain.
No3. Emmanuel Adebayor (Manchester City to Tottenham – Loan)
He might miss some sitters, but Harry Redknapp has finally got the decent striker he has always wanted. Establishing himself in the starting eleven Adebayor has proven to be a good grab for Spurs – more so from the fact that he’s on loan from Manchester City. With Spurs playing with a lone striker system; 4-2-3-1, Adebayor has ousted Redknapp favourite Jermain Defoe. He provides many things that Englishman lacks – strength, quick feet and also an avenue for an aerial threat and with 8 goals in 11 games; he has also gathered a great understanding with the players around him, including Van der Vaart, Bale and even Defoe when the two are playing. The one kick in the teeth for Spurs is that Adebayor is unlikely to stay around another year unless they pay the man what he wants.
No2. Demba Ba (West Ham to Newcastle – Free)
The Senegalese’s position at number three is due to the fact that Newcastle was able to grab the former West Ham striker for free – and it’s turning out to be a vital grab for the club. 11 goals in 15 games has thrown Newcastle into battling for European positions. Ba has added physical presence up front, but has also formed a great understanding with fellow striker Leon Best and Frenchman Hatim Ben Afra. He’s already scored two hattricks this season (against Stoke City and Blackburn). If Newcastle is going to keep going places they need Ba to be proving that he’s the Magpies’ best buy.
No1. Juan Mata (Valencia to Chelsea – £23 m illion)
When you pay £23 million for a player, you expect him to worth every penny; Mata is that man Chelsea hoped he would be, after a series of very costly blunders (Torres and Shevchenko to name a few). The Spaniard has been on form this season and has slotted seamlessly in Andre Villas-Boas’ team. Able to play on either side of Villas-Boas’ front three or centrally, Mata has been that ‘spark’ that Chelsea have been missing over the last couple of seasons. Three goals and 7 assists – most crucially in Chelsea’s match with Valencia in which the Spaniard assisted two of Drogba’s goals in the 3-0 win – is a decent return for Mata. At only 23 years old, expect him to be around for this Chelsea side for many years to come.
And the worst five transfers so far this season..
Yossi Benayoun (Chelsea to Arsenal – Season loan)
A harsh one to put in the ‘worst transfers’ basket, but the Israel’s move to the Emirates was suppose to spark a return to form for the once Liverpool and Chelsea man. He’s struggled to get into the starting 11 (this might due to Arsenal’s recent good form) but even when he’s been given the chance, he hasn’t shown the skills that once made him a superb talent. Maybe some more game time will give Benayoun some form, but at 31 years old, he’s near the end of his best years.
Jordan Henderson (Sunderland to Liverpool – £16-22 million)
The Under-21 England international has struggled to impose himself at Liverpool since his move from Sunderland. Problem is that, he’s cost Liverpool a lot of money and in modern day football, results are expected. His erratic form can be attributed to Dalglish playing him out of position, yet when played in position, he’s even when he has played in his preferred positions, he still has struggled. The good news for him is he’s still only 21 years old and has time on his hands.
Stewart Downing (Aston Villa to Liverpool – £22.5 million)
The player to sum Liverpool’s season so far: solid, hard work but no end product. Downing has yet to score or assist anyone in the 14 Premier League games he’s played this season. While Downing does offer a lot of spark and hard running on the wing, it’s his job is to get in on the act. It doesn’t mean it’s entirely his fault: Liverpool has dropped points when they shouldn’t and the blame applies to his teammates as well. At 26, Downing should be reaching his peak and is expected to help the team out when they are struggling. At £22.5 million he’s proving anything but a bargain and needs to start to perform or he’ll be another “Andy Carroll” for the Merseyside club.
Bryan Ruiz (FC Twente to Fulham – £12 million)
The Costa Rican was been looked at by many high profiled clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, Juventus and Tottenham. Ruiz took a strange route and move from Dutch side Twente to Fulham thanks to Dutch coach Martin Jol’s connections back at home. Much was made of the Costa Rican but he’s hardly set the Premier League on fire. Two goals and one assist in 12 games isn’t a good enough return for Fulham who broke their transfer fee to get the player who was instrumental in leading Twente to the title in 2010. Adjusting to the Premier league is a hard for foreign players, but if Fulham are to scale the highs that their owner and manager want them too, Ruiz has to live up his game.
Samir Nasri (Arsenal to Manchester City – £25 million)
One of the sagas of the summer, Samir Nasri expensive move to Manchester City came after months of negotiating, with rumours of him going to rivals Manchester United. The Frenchman has failed to live up to expectations and given the hype, the inflated transfer fee and the fact that his manager, Roberto Mancini said that he “would like Nasri to play better” this could be a bad transfer for City. There is no doubting Nasri’s abilities, yet he has struggled to cement himself in the starting 11 despite many critics saying he would be City “missing puzzle piece”. His arrival has seen David Silva push himself to take the mantle of the team’s chief creator – something that many people thought Nasri would be. With City challenging for honours, Nasri will have to lift his game if he is to help City finally claim the prize of top dog. Or he could be another bust.