Fans vote on best Prem January signing; duo lead the way

Date published: Tuesday 18th April 2017 10:13

Manolo Gabbiadini: In red-hot form

Fans have been voting on who they think was the best January signing in the Premier League and it was a close run thing.

Football managers, particularly those in the Premier League, have grown accustomed to rolling out the somewhat tired cliche of “you don’t get value for money from January transfer window signings”.

Whilst that is true to some extent, there are still footballers out there who, for one reason or another, end up switching teams and go on to become integral members of their new side’s starting lineup.

With a number of international stars trading clubs at the turn of this year, and with the 2016/17 campaign entering its final phase, we thought it was high time to look back on those who have made a significant impact since completing moves to Premier League clubs in January.

A France international who was left out in the cold at Liverpool, Crystal Palace loanee Mamadou Sakho has proven to be 90min fans’ top choice for this year’s best January signing.

It’s not difficult to suggest why. The centre-half’s performances have been a key factor in Palace’s renaissance in recent weeks under Sam Allardyce. Four clean sheets in the past six matches have certainly helped the Eagles climb away from relegation danger and, while it would be simple to state doing so is down to just one player, Sakho has more than earned his corn since his temporary move.

It remains to be seen whether the 26-year-old will complete a permanent move to Selhurst Park in the summer, but there’s no denying his pace, positional sense and determination have given Palace a surefire chance of beating the drop.

If not for Sakho, there would be only one outright winner in this contest, and that man would clearly be Southampton’s Manolo Gabbiadini.

The Italy international moved to St.Mary’s for a hefty fee, but he has more than paid Claude Puel back for bringing him to England with a raft of goals for the Saints already.

Gabbiadini’s haul of six goals in his first five appearances for the club has been marvelled at by both Southampton and other football fans across the country and, if it had not been for the 25-year-old striker being cruelly struck down by a groin strain against Tottenham, he surely would have bagged more.

A player who was brought to Leicester by the sacked Claudio Ranieri, Wilfred Ndidi’s performances have begun to steadily improve under the watchful eye of Craig Shakespeare.

The £15m Foxes midfielder has finally settled into life in England’s top flight and has been instrumental in helping the Midlanders haul themselves away from the battle at the bottom of the table following a turbulent first few weeks following his January move from Genk.

At just 20 years old, Ndidi has plenty of time to get even better, and don’t bet on the Nigeria international plying his trade at a bigger club in the not-too-distant future.

Two forwards who can’t be seperated on the number of votes steal a march on last-placed Tom Carroll now, with Watford’s M’Baye Niang and Hull’s Oumar Niasse tying for a respectable fourth.

Niasse could feel a tad unlucky not to have secured more votes, given his goalscoring form for Marco Silva’s Tigers, but the Everton loanee has given the Humberside outfit a fighting chance of staving off relegation.

Niang, meanwhile, has not been as prolific for Walter Mazzarri’s men but the Frenchman’s pace, power and trickery have added a new dimenstion to the Hornets’ attack and, providing Mazzarri is relieved of his duties come the summer, could make his move to Vicarage Road a permanent one.

Another one could feel unfortunate to accrue so few votes, Swansea’s Carroll pitifully limps into last place in our poll.

The 24-year-old has built up an instant rapport with the Swans’ talisman in Gylfi Sigurdsson, and definitely had a hand in helping Paul Clement’s embark on a run of four wins in six matches.

The Welsh club’s form has, however, dipped in recent weeks and, with football fans’ memories being fickle at the best of times, maybe Carroll has been the victim of a classic ‘who cares what happened last week, let alone six weeks ago?’ mentality.

By Tom Power

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