Every summer we experience it, the tornado of rumors, the speculation of cash flow, T's crossed and I's dotted. Players come to the English Premier League, or they manoeuvre around, inter-league, between the clubs. Now we have arrived at the right and proper time to consider just how successful those new arrivals have been.
I have decided to compile my five candidates for the signing of the season in the English Premier League, a coveted award for them, I'm sure you'll agree! My top 5 players are: David Silva, Rafael Van der Vaart, Luis Suarez, Peter Odemwingie and Javier 'Chicarito' Hernandez.
This was a transfer in the pipelines for a long while. Silva had been linked with Premier League clubs for many years and it was Manchester City that finally took the plunge with the slight Spaniard. Rising above doubts that he was too small of frame and would not be able to handle the physicality of the English league, Silva has brought an air of class and flair that City previously lacked. His vision on the pitch is excellent, if he only added a few more goals to his performances he would truly be the complete package.
Rafael Van der Vaart
Hardly plucked from obscurity by Tottenham Hotspur and Harry Redknapp, but a great signing nonetheless. Van der Vaart was saved from his bit-part position within the Real Madrid team for a modest fee. What he has done in the Premier League, is nothing short of phenomenal, especially in the months before Christmas. He is Spurs' top scoring forward, with 12 league goals, but it is more than just goals that he brings, his touch, vision and general grace on the field is what has endeared him to Tottenham fans and neutrals alike. Many rival fans have been left flabbergasted that their team didn't plump up the small fee to sign him in the summer.
Although Luis Suarez has only been in the Premier League since January, he has already established himself as a natural fit that looks set to terrorize defenses for many years to come. He has spearheaded Liverpool's mini-revival, towards a European place that looked unlikely only a few months ago. It is Suarez's unpredictable style of football that his success has been born out of, he tends to do the opposite of what the opposition expect him to do, to great effect, and his movement is exceptional, pulling defenders here and there, leaving gaps for his team-mates to exploit. He is an Anfield legend in the making for sure.
Perhaps Odemwingie is an unfashionable choice, but the simple stat of 15 goals in 31 games for a team that has languished near the foot of the table, for the majority of the campaign, speaks for itself. The Nigerian has provided the goals that are necessary for survival in this league, and looks set to keep West Brom in this league, against all odds. It is not just his goals that make Odemwingie a great signing though; it's his overall link up play in the final third, alongside his work-rate. Odemwingie defends from the front to great effect and brings a cultured and assured touch to what is an otherwise standard West Brom side.
The Winner - Javier 'Chicarito' Hernandez:
This really wasn't a hard choice for me. For a young Mexican to come over from his native country at the tender age of 22, you would assume that a period of settling in would have been required. There is the adjustment to a new culture, a new way of life, and a completely new style of football. Chicarito has completely dismissed this theory, scoring 20 goals in his debut season is nothing short of incredible. The goals that he has scored are by in large extremely important ones as well, netting vital winners throughout the season, most notably with 2 against Stoke, the winner late on against Everton, and the first in the recent win over Chelsea, to more or less send the title back to Old Trafford.
On top of scoring bucket loads of goals, Hernandez has been the model striker for Manchester United. He is committed, determined and driven to improve week on week. To witness his movement in and around the opponent's penalty area is to witness a genius at work. He is always in the right place at the right time to score a trademark tap-in, and this is in no way linked to luck, on the contrary, it can all be attributed to his intelligence and appreciation of space and awareness of the defenders around. In a time where players are moving, regularly, for sums in excess of £50 million, the fact that Hernandez cost as little as £6 million is a true example of good scouting and shrewd transfer activity. To usurp the leagues current top scorer, in the champions elect, is no less than this prodigious young lad deserves. Hernandez is the English Premier League signing of the season by a country mile.