With the halfway point in the Premier League season looming large, OTP take a look at which of the league’s new recruits have made the biggest impression to date.
1. Javier Hernandez
Getting the paperwork all signed off before the World Cup might just go down as one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s shrewdest moves in his time at Manchester United. Only time will tell, but for now we just know that the Mexican striker is on a great run of goal-scoring form that has helped to gloss over the Rooney saga.
2. Rafael Van Der Vaart
The Dutchman looks like signing of the century, never mind season so far. VdV has given Spurs a new dimension, and his scoring rate from midfield has been outstanding so far. He would be looking like a bargain at double the money Harry Redknapp paid Real Madrid for his service. At £8 million he looks like an absolute steal.
3. Peter Odemwingie
The West Brom striker’s early season exploits saw him named Premier League player of the month for September. His form has plateaued slightly since then as him team faltered, but it has still been quite an introduction to English football from the Nigeria international.
4. Cheick Tiote
The Ivorian didn’t arrive in the Prem to the fanfare of some on this list, but he has been one of the most impressive imports. Alongside the likes of Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan, Tiote has helped to create a pretty formidable midfield at Newcastle (relatively speaking). Just a shame for Chris Hughton that they are now all getting suspended at the same time.
5. Asamoah Gyan
Ghana’s World Cup star looked a tad expensive when Sunderland splashed out £13 million for him but it has proved to be money well spent for Steve Bruce, especially when star man Darren Bent has been injured. He is on a goal every other game, including strikes against Chelsea and Tottenham.
6. Nedum Onuoha
Not a big enough for Manchester City’s defence, but he seems to be fitting in just fine at Sunderland. Steve Bruce has made no secret of his desire to make Onuoha’s loan move permanent. His solid start to the season led many pundits to suspect he would be in Fabio Capello’s latest England squad. That didn’t materialise, but Capello is bound to be watching closely.
7. William Gallas
Jamie Redknapp has taken some stick this weekend for labelling his dad’s signing (he’s not a wheeler dealer) as one of the best of the season. But on the back of a victory over Arsenal and looking at the injury prone nature of the centre of Spurs’ defence, it is difficult to dispute that getting Gallas for nothing was a wise move.
8. Luke Varney
Ian Holloway snapped up Varney on-loan from Derby County and, today we learn, has an option to sign him permanently for £250,000. We suspect Olly will be taking up this option. In addition to his goal of the season contender at the weekend, Varney has also scored the winner against Liverpool and weighed in with a few assists for the Seasiders.
9. Moussa Dembélé
The Fulham striker’s start to life in the Premier League has been punctuated by injury set-backs. When he has played, he has shown enough promise to suggest he will turn out to be a very good buy for the Cottagers.
10. Marouane Chamakh
The giraffe-necked Arsenal striker has sneaked his way onto the list. He has already bagged six goals for the Gunners, but somehow it doesn’t feel like he is in full-swing yet. That can only be positive for Arsene Wenger, who got him on a free transfer from Bordeaux.