In a completely non-biased assessment of the summer’s shrewdest signings, former Arsenal favourite and unabashed Gooner Charlie Nicholas recently declared Alexis Sanchez as the best piece of transfer business conducted in the previous window.
Writing in a column for Sky Sports, ‘Champagne’ likened the fiery Chilean to Luis Suarez and ranked him ahead of Chelsea duo Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa as the most valuable recruit of the off-season.
The Blues twosome came in second and third respectively (despite being the most prominent factors behind the west Londoners’ dominance of the Premier League so far) with Hull left-back Andy Robertson weighing in at fourth and Southampton’s Graziano Pelle completing the quintet.
Sanchez – 5/1 to score the first goal when the Gunners visit Stoke next – undoubtedly deserves recognition as one of the five finest summer recruits, but his questionable placing got us thinking of an alternative roster to Nicholas’ picks.
5) Michael Dawson
Tottenham’s decision to relinquish their long-serving centre-half and replace him with less capable Argentine Federico Fazio raised many an eyebrow and the England international’s performances at Hull are justifying the uncertainty.
According to whoscored.com averages, it’s not uncommon to see the former Nottingham Forest stopper make over 11 clearances in a game, while there are only seven individuals in the entire Premier League to have outperformed him in the eyes of the same numbers boffins.
4) Daryl Janmaat
Having made three assists and contributed a goal of his own following a £5m move from Feyenoord, the Dutch right-back has already matched the output of departed Mathieu Debuchy from the season before.
In addition to commendable offensive statistics, Janmaat has been consistent at the back too, averaging 2.9 tackles and 2.3 interceptions in his 14 outings so far.
3) Aaron Cresswell
Largely overshadowed by the success of fellow summer signings, the former Ipswich left-back has been uber dependable on the port side of West Ham’s backline.
His adventurousness has played a largely unrecognised part in the Irons’ identity overhaul and he has chipped in with two assists so far.
2) Dusan Tadic
The Serbian string-puller has made an effortless ingratiation into the Southampton side following his move from the Eredivisie.
Several of his predecessors to make similar switches from the Netherlands to the Premier League have flopped emphatically so navigating the transition with such ease deserves plaudits in itself.
Throw in the fact that he’s set up six Saints goals and weighed in with 2.9 key passes per match on average and his lofty standing in this countdown warrants no further quantification.
1) Diafra Sakho
Great things were to be expected from Sanchez and Costa given the exorbitant amounts of money splurged to sign them, but few would’ve envisioned the Senegalese sharpshooter savouring such success following his arrival from FC Metz.
With six strikes in seven starts, he fell one short of the all-time Premier League record for consecutive goals scored in successive starts after signing for a club, breaking the previous best held by a West Ham player on the way.