As we draw near the end of a thrilling season in the Premier League, almost everything is still up for grabs: relegation, UEFA Champions League qualification, and the title itself.
While we wait for those matters to be decided, let’s debate who the best signings of the season have been.
Here are my top five. Tell me whether you agree in the comments section, and, if not, who are your signings of the season?
Sergio “Kun” Aguero has been considered one of the hottest properties in world football ever since he burst into Atletico Madrid’s first eleven in 2006.
For the next five years, he banged in the goals at a rate of one nearly every other game, and attracted the attention of virtually all of Europe’s elite clubs in the process.
Finally, last summer, Manchester City made Atletico an offer they couldn’t refuse, and they bagged Aguero for a sum thought to be around the £40 million mark.
This enormous price tag does not seem to have fazed Aguero.
Since arriving in England, he’s just kept scoring goals. Twenty-nine goals in all competitions, with possibly more to come, is quite a way to make an impression in your debut season.
Indeed, with the huge clash against Manchester United still to come, one wouldn’t bet against him getting the goal that might send the title to the blue half of Manchester.
After one of the most protracted transfer sagas ever seen, Cesc Fabregas finally returned home to Barcelona in August of last year from Arsenal.
Needing a central midfielder to replace the gaping hole left by Fabregas, Arsenal eventually turned to Everton’s Mikel Arteta, and just managed to sign the Spaniard before the summer transfer window slammed shut.
Many commentators doubted that Arteta had the ability to replace Fabregas, and with Samir Nasri also leaving The Gunners, Arsenal’s position as a Champions League side was seen as being under threat.
Arteta has become indispensable to the club since his arrival—indeed, since he signed for Arsenal, the team has not won a game in which Arteta has been missing.
His ability to keep the ball moving in midfield, coupled with crucial goals and assists (including a late winner against Manchester City), have shown that Arsene Wenger grabbed himself a bargain when he paid only £10 million for the man from San Sebastian.
Earlier in the summer of 2011, Juan Mata seemed to be the man that Arsenal had lined up to replace Fabregas in their midfield.
But as The Gunners procrastinated over a transfer fee, Chelsea swooped in and secured the diminutive Spaniard’s signature.
Just like Aguero, Mata needed virtually no time to adjust to the Premier League.
He leads the league in key passes (passes which lead to a shot on goal), has 11 assists and has grabbed six goals.
But, in what has been a relatively dismal league campaign for Chelsea, his bright overall play has been a delight to watch and has lit up Stamford Bridge on more than one occasion.
Whether or not they win the Champions League, Chelsea have a huge rebuilding effort on their hands this summer.
They could do worse than to build any new team around Mata, who has the potential to become a Chelsea legend.
It’s a sign of just how well Newcastle’s scouts and managements have done this season that I could have quite easily named a handful of their players as one of the signings of the season.
Demba Ba, picked up after he opted-out from relegated West Ham, has hit an impressive 16 goals in the Premier League, although his form has dipped since traveling to the African Cup of Nations.
Likewise, Yohan Cabaye, signed from French champions Lille, has shown himself to be a great asset in midfield, with a superb range of passing, and a number of assists.
But Papiss Cisse is perhaps the best of the lot, and makes it into my top five signings of the season.
Even after scoring a number of goals in both Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga, a few eyebrows were raised in January 2012, when Newcastle signed the forward for around £10 million from the German side Freiburg.
But 11 goals in only 10 Premier League performances tells its own story.
Cisse has helped to keep Newcastle’s superb league season on track, and they remain in the hunt for the Champions League thanks to his goals.
As such, he’s not just a great signing, but an example of how the oft-maligned January transfer window can be a great asset, when used wisely.
After arriving from his native Iceland, Sigurdsson put in a number of great performances for Reading in the Championship between 2008 and 2010. These were enough to earn him a transfer to Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, where he slipped out of the club’s first team by the beginning of 2012 after a promising first season.
Enter Swansea manager Brendan Rogers, who agreed to take Sigurdsson on loan for the rest of the 2011-12 season.
Coming on for his debut against Arsenal, Sigurdsson provided an assist for The Swans' winning goal, and he hasn’t looked back.
The Icelander has netted seven goals in 15 appearances, including a brilliant curling effort against Blackburn less than two weeks ago.
The only question now is where Sigurdsson’s future lies. Swansea would surely love to tie him to a long-term deal, but after the impression that Sigurdsson has made, Hoffenheim may have a queue of bidders come the summer.