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Signings of the season showing great stats

Arsenal's Santi Cazorla is one of the players riding high in WhoScored's 'signings of the season' list. Martin Laurence analyses the top eight.

Last Updated: 13/02/13 at 17:24 Post Comment

Santi Cazorla: Most accurate through balls

Santi Cazorla: Most accurate through balls

With another transfer window having passed, the January recruits in the Premier League certainly have a lot to live up to this season.

There have been some major award ceremonies of late, but the winner of the top-flight's best newcomer remains in the balance.

Votes have been cast, counted, remade, counted again, and still the debate goes on, given the quality of some of the deals made over the summer.

Using WhoScored.com's unique player rating system, we'll try and establish the pick of the lot, including those to have made transfers within the league, with 2012/13 shaping up to be the season of the new signing.

As many as eight players who switched clubs in the summer make their way into WhoScored's current top 20 in the Premier League.

When you compare that to six last season, just one in 2010/11 and three in 2009/10, it is clear that deals struck prior to the campaign are having a bigger impact nowadays.

Here's a rundown of the top summer signings thus far...

Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

In the news lately for the wrong reasons, Hazard returned to action in the Premier League last weekend with a bang, scoring the second and assisting the crucial third goal in a 4-1 win over Wigan.

The Chelsea winger took his league tallies for both to seven in turn and despite a lull after a blistering start to the season, the young Belgian has made a decent contribution given the hefty price-tag on his head. He has decent averages for shots (2), key passes (1.8) and dribbles (1.6) per game but at 22, has plenty of time to recapture the form that saw him crowned Ligue 1 player of the year in consecutive seasons prior to his big money move.

Michu (Swansea)

A player who no doubt would have featured higher up this leaderboard were it not for a run of eight league games with just one goal scored prior to this weekend, Michu returned to form in style against QPR.

Two goals took his tally to 15 for the season, with an assist for the third goal included in a supreme all-round display. Few would have predicted that the Spaniard would have settled in Wales so quickly, but he has already matched his figure for goals last season and by his own admission is thriving in the Premier League due to the space that players are afforded compared to La Liga. If this were a list of bargain buys, the 26-year-old would have no competition.

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)

Though Paul Lambert's first season in charge of Villa hasn't gone as he or the fans would have expected, the Scot's saving grace may well have come in the form of Benteke. To say that he was an unknown entity prior to an eye-catching transfer of around £7million is no understatement, but the 22-year-old has lived up to his value and then some. With 11 league goals and four assists, he has directly contributed to 60% of the team's overall tally and were it not for his bulldozing performances at times, it's hard to think that Villa's season wouldn't already be over.

Mousa Dembele (Tottenham)

Former Fulham midfielder Dembele has adjusted to life across the capital just as he plays the game, in an unerring and uncompromising manner. Signed to fill the considerable void left by Luka Modric, the Belgian wasn't bought play the Croatian's former role. Instead he ticks things over in the midfield, completing 91.3% of his passes, retrieves possession, with three tackles per game, and drives the play forward, with 2.1 successful dribbles per game. Though he gets the recollection he deserves nowadays, his role remains in the shadows somewhat, allowing the likes of Bale to grab the headlines.

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham)

The second Spurs player on our leaderboard, and more alarmingly the fourth Belgium international here, centre-back Vertonghen is undoubtedly among the most solid in the league. The 25-year-old ranks fourth in the league for interceptions (66), 10th for clearances (192) and has averaged 2.8 tackles per game. He is also very assured in possession, completing 86.3% of his passes and, having played a large part of the season at left-back, has shown his abilities further forward with averages of 1.2 shots and 0.7 key passes per game.

Chico (Swansea)

The second masterful Michael Laudrup signing in our top eight is Chico, who was part of a hugely successful raid on La Liga made by the former Mallorca manager. Strong across the board defensively, the Spaniard has built a hugely successful partnership with Ashley Williams, acting as the enforcer while the captain often sweeps behind if anything gets by him. Chico ranks among the top 20 players in the league for tackles (3.3), interceptions (3.3) and clearances (9.5) per game, while his pass accuracy of 89.8% is also among the best in the division.

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

Another player who may have been affected by the busy schedule in the Premier League this season after an imperious start in an Arsenal shirt; we saw the best of Cazorla again this weekend. His goal was enough the secure the three points against Sunderland and takes his tally to nine goals in the league, with six assists to boot. A look at the 28-year-old's strengths on his WhoScored player profile is a good indicator of the outstanding ability he possesses. Cazorla ranks first in the league for accurate through balls (18), fourth in the league for successful dribbles (59), fifth in the league for total passes (1711) and sixth in the league for both key passes (62) and shots (81).

Robin van Persie (Manchester United)

At the top of our pile is United marksman van Persie, whose success following a move from rivals Arsenal was never really in doubt. Topping the scoring charts once again, with 19 goals, his tally of 93 shots is actually only the fifth most in the league. In turn, his chance conversion rate of 20.4% is that of a truly world-class finisher and most would credit Sir Alex Ferguson's sprint to what is likely to be a 20th Premier League title to the Dutchman's addition, while City failed to bring in such quality. Though his transfer wasn't cheap, the fact that it still represents a bargain tells a story, and while there has been a plethora of quality signings, it's hard to argue that van Persie has been the best of the bunch.

All stats courtesy of WhoScored.com. Follow Martin Laurence on Twitter at @martinlaurence7.

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