A new signing brings with him a new story, a new beginning and a new name to chant from the stands. Often a new signing bombs in his very first appearance, and sometimes, everything goes perfectly and the new player fits in like a glove and rises above others to make his mark in the team. As the season nears to an end, we bring to you six of these players, who have been exceptional in their very first season at their respective clubs.
Robin van Persie (Manchester United)
The ‘little boy’ inside him finally spoke and Sir Alex Ferguson immediately welcomed him at Old Trafford with open arms. From being the leading light at Arsenal, the move of his star player hurt Wenger badly, and he was quite right in stating that Ferguson is unaware of how big a player he is. After enduring a frustrating time at Arsenal, the star shone the brightest at Old Trafford, as the Premier League champions rode his 26 goals to Cup glory this season. Outstanding in and around the box, he has been a constant menace for every team in the league. His impact has been so great that even Rooney was pushed to the role of a secondary striker and often found himself on the bench! Goals were scored almost at will and few of them should find their way into goal of the season category, particularly the one he scored against Aston Villa.
Michu (Swansea City)
No one anticipated the profound impact this Spaniard would have in English Premier League this season. Laudrup’s arrival brought in many changes and Michu too came in that transfer window. His transfer fee of just €2.2 million must have seemed like peanuts but his impact has been felt the greatest in the first half of the season. Playing mainly as an attacking midfielder or a striker, he has been almost everywhere in and around the box. 18 goals and 2 assists suggests an amazing return for his transfer fee, and quite rightly, the transfer market is abuzz with rumours of his impending move. However, Michu has calmed any fears for Swansea supporters by signing an extension. His exceptional displays for Swansea has even earned him a call for representing Spain.
Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina)
On loan from Udinese, Cuadrado has been quite phenomenal this season. Fast, pacy and tricky, he has been one of the best players for Fiorentina in this campaign. After Montolivo left Fiorentina, an overhaul of the squad took place, wherein many players were acquired beside a few loan deals. From just escaping relegation in the previous season to almost qualifying for the Champions League this season, Fiorentina could not have done without Cuadrado’s help. He has been deployed almost everywhere on the right and he has excelled. Possessing strong dribbling skills, he has scored 5 goals this season along with 6 assists, the most notable among them has to be the goal he scored against Torino. Possessing a strong ability to cut inside from the wings, he has an impressive passing percentage of 84.6%.
Dante (Bayern Munich)
Gladbach’s Dante was signed by Bayern Munich to shore up their defence. According to Heynckes, Bayern’s defence looked a bit fragile under Van Buyten, Boateng and Badstuber. In came Dante with a €4.5 million buy-out clause and immediately his impact was felt by the Bavarians. The tall defender, with an impressive passing percentage from the back has been one of the cornerstones for Bayern this season. With a passing percentage of over 90%, he has been the creative as well as the destructive source for Bayern at the back. So much so, it was noted that he had the most accurate long balls than any other Bundesliga player at one point of the season. He might be the one with the least number of goals in this list, but his impact on the defensive front has been immense for the Champions League winners this season.
Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund)
Another Gladbach starlet, Reus was snapped up by Dortmund for €15 million at the beginning of this season. Ever since, he has been one of the best players for Dortmund. With 18 goals and 11 assists in 40 matches, collecting 6 Man of the Match awards, he has been one of the best players for Dortmund. The 23-year-old player has scored an amazing array of goals – be it volleys, long-range shots or even striker-like goals. He has played in as many as 5 positions, with a majority of his appearances coming as an attacking midfielder on the left. Reus was brought in to replace the outgoing Shinji Kagawa, and he has been exceptional this season.
Mario Balotelli (AC Milan)
Super Mario returned to Italy in January and needless to say, he has been the shining star for Milan in the second half of the season. Unsettled in England, his future looked grim after he was involved in an altercation with Mancini. That spat looked to be the last straw as the unruly Italian was placed in the transfer market. Milan managed to acquire his signature and the Italian has not disappointed since. 12 goals in 12 matches is an amazing return and thankfully for Milan fans, he has not been up to his infamous antics off the field. He has matured a lot since his return to Italy, and it was clearly visible when he was at the receiving end of both players and spectators. Racism has reared his ugly head this season in Italy once more and Balotelli has been abused on more than one occasion. Inspite of all these, Super Mario has not missed a single penalty this season and it is largely due to his goals, Milan were able to claim the last Champions League spot.
So, who do you think is the best signing? Vote here.