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The Top 5 Transfers of The Season, so far

The Hawthorns , West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland, Premier League 21/08/2010  Simon Mignolet of Sunderland Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Following on from the post yesterday detailing the 5 worst transfers of this quarter old season, now it is time to look at those who have excelled at their new club. However, I must also explain how I’ve come to my decisions so that a few obvious omissions may be a bit more palatable for fans.

For me evaluating transfers comes down to the expectation placed on the player on arrival and the amount of resources used in bringing them to the club, for instance Ramires has made an admirable start to his Chelsea career but for 16 million he will not feature in the below list. Also in my previous article I alluded to the fact that the potential candidates for this list are quite numerous and whittling them down to 5 has been difficult. To give you a sneak preview the list does not include Cheik Tiote who has been, by all accounts, excellent. Nor do Laurent Koscielny (or Vermaelwho? as I call him) or Ahmed Al-Mohammadi (who would be number 6), there is not even room for Paul Konchesky!

Joking aside, here are the top 5 transfers of this Premier League Season:

5.Luke Varney: Varney has excelled at Blackpool and unusually reverses the trend of Premier League teams sending players to the championship. He was considered somewhat of a numbers transfer on the 27th of August, that is he was there to fill up a barren squad, nonetheless the Derby Reserve has been a key member of Blackpool’s success so far this season directly contributing to 7 goals. Fitting into Ian Holloway’s system Varney has benefited from the attacking nature from the seasiders as he continually has options and his willingness to make a run has been picked up on by his teammates.

4. Simon Mignolet: Another transfer that was lost in the haze of Manchester spending, on July the 17th Sunderland parted with £2m for the young Belgian keeper. Considered a prospect signing at best Mignolet was thrust into the starting XI due to an unfortunate injury to previous number 1 Craig Gordon. Mignolet was an unknown quantity entering the season but has shone throughout. Despite recent thrashings, Mignolet has been central to Sunderland’s success. Having kept 4 clean sheets including those against Manchester’s United and City and been on a team with less than 11 men no fewer than 3 times, often early in the game. Mignolet seems to be a real find for the Black Cats and Gordon may have longer on the sidelines than he anticipated.

3. Javier Hernandez: ‘Chicarito’ was one of the most exciting parts of the pre-season at Manchester United, a consistent stream of goals seemed to vindicate his transfer. A fortuitous goal against Chelsea in the Charity Shield announced his arrival on the English scene but he didn’t feature early in Utd’s season, as he was eclipsed by the circus that surrounded Rooney. As the England striker struggled Chicarito stepped into the void and has provided important goals on at least 3 occasions already this season. Having cropped up at the Mestalla with a decisive finish, he repeated the act in the Carling Cup eliminating Wolves. His story in the Premier League was slow to start, there were 4 consecutive games were he wasn’t given a minute of playing time. It is not until recently when he was given a starting berth that he shone. His virtuoso turn at the Brittannia stole the show particularly the manner of his goals. With a knack of scoring in the air, on the ground, with either foot and his face Hernandez has become one of the stories of the Premier League this year, at 22 and 8 million pounds he looks a great find by Ferguson and his scouts.

2. Rafael Van Der Vaart: You knew he would be on the list but where, many will be disappointed by his position here and truth be told he’s as close to first as it is possible to be. When it comes to Van Der Vaart it’s hard to find what hasn’t been said all I can do is add my personal take and I start with a confession. I thought he’d be terrible; ‘great at set-pieces’ I said ‘but he’ll do nothing in play’ how wrong I was. Van Der Vaart has flourished in the Premier League picking up the thread Wesley Sneijder left as he moved from Real Madrid. Van Der Vaart has been and continues to be exceptional. His creativity, range of passing and scoring have all been key in Tottenham’s success. It takes some player to eclipse Gareth Bale in this Tottenham team but in Van Der Vaart spurs have two left footed wonders. Incisive, creative with a fierce strike when given time Van Der Vaart is the game changer Tottenham need to prevent the much vaunted but not evident ‘European Hangover’ Van Der Vaart is the best money spent this transfer window, which obviously leaves:

1. Maroune Chamakh: Chamakh had been a transfer target the year previous but he announced that he would see out his contract with Bordeaux. Eventually in May he announced that he had signed with Arsenal. Chamakh moved to Arsenal with some expectations, a Champions League expert (5 goals in the group stage) he was seen as a contender for the starting striker in Arsenal’s formation. Robin Van Persie has been crocked for most of the season but his abscence has not been as keenly felt as before. In the previous season Arsenal would’ve been lost without Robin Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott and Thomas Vermaelen. This season a prudent transfer policy has prevented a catastrophe. Much like Rooney and Gordon, Van Persie must now be fretting over his first choice status. Chamakh has ‘only’ contributed directly to 6 goals for Arsenal but it is not just his scoring record in the Premier League he should be judged on, having chipped in with 3 goals and an assist in Europe, Chamakh has kept Arsenal in contention in both competitions.

It is not just the cold stats that show his Value to Arsenal, anyone who has seen them play can attest to his value in the air and with 5 penalties won this season in all competitions his quick feet have defenders kicking thin air. Speaking of which it is not only penalties that the Moroccan draws having had 3 opponents sent off due to his presence Arsenal have a complete forward plowing ahead of Walcott and Arshavin allowing the wingers to perform better than they have so far. Chamakh and Van Der Vaart are making good teams better but Chamakh is making the players around him better too.

So there you have it, the (no doubt) controversial top 5 transfers of the Premier League, any additions? Deletions? Do you really doubt that Luke Varney has been that valuable?

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  1. TareX

    November 18, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Where’s Elmo?!

  2. newcastle fan

    November 4, 2010 at 8:58 am

    chiek tiote deserves some discussion. he cost three and a half million pounds and has completely transformed newcastle’s midfield. instead of alan smith who is quite limited and always good for a few terrible tackles per game, tiote is controlling the center of the field, breaking up play and distributing the ball simply but effectively.

  3. Alistair Hendrie

    November 4, 2010 at 4:36 am

    How on earth can you leave Odemwingie out of this!?

  4. Q

    November 3, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Chamakh and his dancing feet!

  5. dominjon

    November 3, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Van Der Vaart is number 1 by a country mile…

  6. Ringo

    November 3, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    I’d drop Chamakh down to three and bump Van der Vaart to one and Chicharito to two, but other than that it’s a good list. Chicharito (along with Berbatov) has been fantastic in Rooney’s absence and kept United afloat. Van der Vaart has been absolutely superb for Spurs and taken the club to a completely new level of play (not to mention at a bargain price). I don’t know how you could rank him any lower than #1 at this point given that he has scored in every one of Spurs’ home games since his arrival and been instrumental in their attack in all of his appearances. Chamakh has been good but certainly not great.

  7. Robert

    November 3, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Cheik Tiote!

    • Adam

      November 3, 2010 at 11:38 am

      Amen. He has settled as quick as anyone to EPL from the Dutch league that I can remember, maybe ever. He has transformed Newcastle’s midfield. He would definitely make my top 5.

  8. aol

    November 3, 2010 at 10:59 am

    The one reason why I can value Chamakh at number one is because he has been healthy all season. That’s something Arsenal seems to lack (Van Persie, Bendtner) and I’m not sure what they would have done in the first ten games without his signing.

    I think Odemwingie makes this list if he remained healthy after his scoring streak, but he’s been out for at least the past two games and that has definitely slowed his momentum.

    Elmohamady definitely deserves mention. I would also throw Moussa Dembele (Fulham) and possibly Ben Foster (Birmingham) if he counts into the mix for this list.

  9. Sir Guy

    November 3, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Of course the big boys garner all the attention, but I really like your Varney pick. Solely in terms of fulfillment of expectations and return on resources spent he could well be #1. 🙂

    Quibbling, but I’d have van der Vaart first.

  10. Chris

    November 3, 2010 at 6:11 am

    The fact that you’ve left Peter Odemwingie off is astounding. The man is banging them in for West Brom, of all clubs.

    • Chris McQuade

      November 3, 2010 at 7:16 am


      I will admit a mistake in not name-checking Odemwingie, who has been a star this year. That was an oversight.

      However, on investigation he still ranks behind Varney (the 5th on the list) in terms of goals contributed he has ‘only’ directly contirbuted to 5 goals. However, he has also done this in a team which has included an impressive Jerome Thomas, Chris Brunt and especially Dorrans. Odemwingie has been great but coming from a large European team. However I don’t think that trumps a Loanee from Derby’s reserves in terms of return.

      This may seem like getting a result and working back and it is. However I stand by my list. Goals get Headlines, Keepers do not.

  11. Frank

    November 3, 2010 at 5:12 am

    Elmohamady has to be in the top 5. 6 does not cut it at all. Prior to the Newcastle defeat this is a side that had only conceded 5 goals all campaign and Elmohamady had been doing a great job down the flank.
    While Chamakh gives Arsenal something new, his chance-conversion rate is absolutely abysmal – he’s been missing chance after chance, a bit like Adebayor in that sense. I fail to see how he could be number 1, never.

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