The transfer window is just about the only exciting thing about the off-season in the footballing world. Now that the 2015-16 season is over and teams begin to prepare for the signings they are going to make for the 2016-17 season, it’s time to take a look back at the best signings of the 2015-16 season.
Honourable Mention: Douglas Costa
Shakhtar Donetsk -> Bayern Munich: €30 million
Douglas Costa was incredible for Bayern Munich and Pep Guardiola in 2015-16, acting as a perfect replacement for Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben in a season full of injuries for Bayern. Costa scored 4 goals with 9 assists in 27 Bundesliga matches to help Bayern win the title, while also having more successful dribbles than any other Bayern Munich player, 89, the second best tally in the league. The Brazilian winger also scored 2 goals with 3 assists in 11 UEFA Champions League matches as the German giants made it to the semi finals.
10. Anthony Martial
AS Monaco -> Manchester United: €80 million
Where would Manchester United be without Anthony Martial? The 20-year old French winger was brilliant for Manchester United in 2015-16 and was their best outfield player and most reliable goal scorer. Martial scored 17 goals and added 9 assists in all competitions in his first season with Manchester United, picking up the Premier League Player of the Month award for September and helping Manchester United win the FA Cup. Although it was a hefty price, Martial is on a path to become one of Manchester United’s all-time greats and eventually that price tag will speak for itself if it hasn’t already.
9. Kevin de Bruyne
Wolfsburg -> Manchester City: €73 million
Kevin de Bruyne was arguably Manchester City’s most important player in 2015-16. When he was fit and healthy they were one of the best clubs in the world and when he wasn’t, Manchester City struggled. De Bruyne led Manchester City to their first ever UEFA Champions League semi final, the farthest they’ve ever gotten in a European competition. On top of that, the Belgian winger scored 7 goals with 9 assists in 25 Premier League matches and was on top of his game in the league cup, scoring 5 goals in 5 appearances. You have to wonder what Chelsea were thinking when they sold him to Wolfsburg just over two years ago, and with Pep Guardiola coming into Manchester City next season, Kevin de Bruyne could be on the path to becoming one of the top ten footballers in the world.
8. Christian Fuchs
Schalke 04 -> Leicester City: Free
Christian Fuchs was absolutely incredible for Leicester City in 2015-16, and depending on who you ask, was the best left back in the league. The Austrian defender was an integral piece to Leicester’s title winning puzzle, assisting 4 goals in 32 matches, while also playing excellently well in defense by making 100 tackles and 100 interceptions. To get a player of the quality of Fuchs on a free transfer was excellent business for Leicester City and it certainly payed off.
7. Paulo Dybala
Palermo -> Juventus: €40 million
Paulo Dybala was arguably Juventus’ best player in 2015-16, popping up with an astonishing 19 goals and 9 assists in 34 Serie A matches to help Juve win the title, while earning himself a nomination for the Serie A Team of the Year. The Argentine forward also scored 2 goals in 4 Coppa Italia matches to win Juve win the cup. For a 22-year old to have those kind of numbers in one of the best leagues in the world two seasons in a row now takes some doing and he could become an all-time Juve great in the future.
6. Mario Gomez
Fiorentina -> Besiktas: Loan
Mario Gomez was fantastic for Besiktas in 2015-16 helping them win their first league title in seven years and scoring 26 goals with 5 assists in just 33 matches to win the golden boot in the process. He was not only Besiktas’ best player but the best player in the Turkish Super Lig by far. Gomez looks to have found his feet again at Besiktas and may very well be able to have a successful summer with Germany at Euro 2016.
5. Hatem Ben Arfa
Newcastle -> OGC Nice: Free
Hatem Ben Arfa was so incredible in 2015-16 that he’s even attracted interest from clubs like FC Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund. After going from a peripheral bench player for Newcastle United in 2014-15 to one of the best players in Ligue 1 in 2015-16, he looks to be back on top of his game. Hatem Ben Arfa scored 17 goals with 6 assists in 34 league matches, making the team of the year and helping OGC Nice finish in 4th place. He also completed more dribbles than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues in 2015-16, with 153, and was OGC Nice’s best and most important player by far.
4. Toby Alderweireld
Atletico Madrid -> Tottenham Hotspur: €15 million
Toby Alderweireld was the best defender in the Premier League in 2015-16 and was arguably Spurs’ most important player in their incredible season that saw them come desperately close to winning the title. Until the last day of the season, Spurs had the best defensive record in the league and that was in large part due to Alderweireld’s defensive prowess and abilities. The Belgian defender made 1.7 interceptions per game and 7.5 clearances per game to help Tottenham keep 15 clean sheets. He was also good going the other way, chipping in with 4 goals and 2 assists as he featured in all 38 Premier League matches. His fantastic displays for Spurs in 2015-16 earned him a spot in the PFA Team of the Year, the UEFA Europa League Squad of the Season and earned him the Tottenham Hotspur Player of the Year Award.
3. Dele Alli
MK Dons -> Tottenham Hotspur: €6.6 million
In 2015-16, Dele Alli went from being a player that nobody knew about to one of the most talked about players in the world as he set the Premier League on fire. The 20-year old Englishman scored 10 goals with 9 assists in 33 matches to win the PFA Young Player of the Year Award, make the Team of the Year and help Tottenham fight for the title where they ultimately ended up finishing in third. His €6.6 million price tag was one of the biggest bargains of the season and could turn out to be one of the best pieces of business the Premier League has ever seen.
2. Dimitri Payet
Marseille -> West Ham United: €14 million
Payet was absolutely incredible in his first season with West Ham United. The French winger scored 9 goals with 12 assists in just 30 matches, making the PFA Premier League Team of the Year, earning himself a nomination for PFA Player of the Year, winning every award West Ham United gave out, and earning himself a re-call to the French National Team for Euro 2016. With an ability to strike a magical free kick and cross a ball like no other, Payet was also one of the most fun players to watch in the league and became an instant hit with fans around the world. The French winger also helped out in 6 FA Cup matches by scoring 3 goals with 1 assist as West Ham made it to the quarter finals. He was without a doubt West Ham’s best player in 2015-16 and arguably revolutionized West Ham United as a club, helping them finish 7th in the table, securing a UEFA Europa League spot for next season.
1. N’Golo Kante
SC Caen -> Leicester City: €8 million
No other signing was better than Leicester City’s purchase of N’Golo Kante from SC Caen in 2015-16. N’Golo Kante was one of the Premier League’s very best players in 2015-16, as he waltzed right into the Leicester City side, controlled the midfield and scored 1 goal with 4 assists in 37 matches to make the PFA Team of the Year and earn himself a nomination for the PFA Player of the Year Award. Kante also made more tackles than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues, with 174, and more interceptions in the Premier League than any other player with 156. Kante was so good for Leicester City that he’s attracted the likes of Real Madrid and not to forget his national team France, where he’s set to star at Euro 2016. Leicester City’s purchase of N’Golo Kante is the best signing of the 2015-16 season and it’s not even close.
So there it is! The top 10 signings of the 2015-16 season. Who’s missing? What do you think? Let me know below!