Football

(2010-19 Decade Diaries): Top five signings that defined the Premier League


After a thrilling decade of footballing action, here is the list of top five signings of this decade in the Premier League!

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A decade which started with probably the most thrilling last few minutes of a league competition in the whole of sports to a season which saw a team register record points only to be the second best in the country. And in this way, 2010s will always be remembered by fans all over the world. 

Four different winners have ruled the Premier league with the two sides of Manchester sharing seven titles, while Chelsea stands at two and Leicester were the surprise winners of the 2015-16 season. While Football is a team game, it often comes down to individual brilliance. Here we will look at five of the best Premier League signings of the decade that transformed the whole outlook of their respective clubs and make them visible on the footballing map for many years to come. And others have helped to regain the status that the club aspired for. While players like Yaya Toure, Phillipe Coutinho, David De Gea, Andy Robertson, and David Silva not making to this list, here is our pick for the top five PL signings of this decade:

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N’Golo Kanté, Leicester City and Chelsea:

A player who could feature on this list twice, such has been his impact on the respective sides. Almost unheard four years ago, he was signed by Leicester City after narrowly escaping the drop in the 2014-15 season. He was signed from French side Caen for a modest fee of €5.6 million. But the foxes were yet again favourite for the drop at the start of the 2015-16 season. Only to emerge from a 5000/1 odds at the start of the season to capture the Premier League title. I

This is one of the most incredible stories ever to be told in football. N’Golo Kanté’s ability to win the ball and his break-up play made him a tough opposition to face. Winning the PFA Players’ Player Of The Year in his very first season in the Premier League. He was signed by Chelsea at the end of that season and he blossomed under Antonio Conte too. His work rate gathered applauses from every section of the footballing fraternity. He again won the PL title, this time with Chelsea, becoming only the first outfield player since Eric Cantona to win two consequent titles with two different teams.

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Robin Van Persie, Manchester United:

Having seen the power shift not only in English football but Manchester too after City’s iconic 2012 triumph in the Premier League, Sir Alex Ferguson needed to respond. And this is exactly what he did. When you lost the title on the final day of the season and that too on points difference, what will you do? Sign the best player in the league, maybe. This is exactly what he did. He signed the Arsenal captain in the summer of 2012 who was the highest goalscorer in the previous season. Robin Van Persie was disillusioned of Arsenal’s inability to compete for the title and thus signed for the Reds. He did hit the ground running, winning his second consecutive golden boot to fire United to a record 20th league title. He did record two hat-tricks against Southampton and Aston Villa but the pick of the lot was that stunning volley which is up there among the best goals in the history of the league. Sir Alex retired after this record thirteenth championship in his reign.

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Sergio Aguero, Manchester City: 

Signed in the summer of 2011, Sergio Aguero came as a proven goalscorer thanks to his goalscorer instincts at Atletico Madrid. And he hit the ground running, scoring 30 goals overall including that iconic strike in the fifth minute of extra-time against QPR to snatch the title right at the very end. It was a kind of that change-of-the-guard moment and thus, marking a new start to English football as a whole. It was City’s first title since the 1960s. And Aguero was pivotal in the three subsequent victories in this decade itself for the sky blues. He is already the club’s highest goalscorer and just three short of overtaking Thierry Henry as the highest scoring foreign player in the history of the Premier League. If one has pick the best player in the PL over this decade, it has to be the Argentinian. 

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Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool:

Many eyebrows were raised when Liverpool splashed the world record transfer fee of €75 million to lure Southampton into selling van Dijk. But those doubts have been removed completely as the Dutchman has fitted brilliantly into the system. His strong presence at the heart of Klopp’s defence has often kept predators away. He has transformed their previous weakness into a strength. Reds under Klopp always looked dangerous offensively but kept leading goals every now and then. But since signing van Dijk, it is a thing of the past. They have reached two consecutive UCL finals, winning one of them with van Dijk claiming the man of the match award in 2019. They possessed the best defensive record in the league last season. Thus, keeping the champions at their toes until the very last fixture. Their unbeaten league run has reached a record 35 games. His status as the world’s best defender is rarely questioned these days.

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Eden Hazard, Chelsea:

Coming on the back of a triumph in the UEFA Champions League, Chelsea looked to strengthen their squad as they signed Eden Hazard from Lille  for a reported fee of €32 million. In his seven years at the Stamford Bridge, he became one of the best players not only in the Premier League but in the history of the club too. He was scoring and assisting week-in-week-out for the blues as he became one of the fan favourites at the club. He played a pivotal role in their two Premier League triumphs of this decade. He also scored the famous goals against Tottenham to give title to Leicester back in 2015/16 season. He left for Real Madrid in the summer. The enjoyment of Hazard running down the flanks is what the PL fans miss now, apart from the 180 minutes that he played against their team. 

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