As is the nature of football, you only get recognition when you are doing well. So what happens to the players who, despite playing for under-achieving sides, are actually doing very well? Well, here is my list of the top 10 under-rated signings of the season.
Kevin Doyle – Wolves
In my eyes a proven Premiership player. The Irish international scored 13 goals in his first season in the Premier League with Reading. He followed that up with another six the season after. Reading were relegated but Doyle went on to join Wolves and has chipped in with some very impressive performances this season. He has six goals which, given the position of the club, is a good tally. He is a tireless worker and his performance at Villa Park this weekend proved exactly why he is so popular at Wolves.
Frederic Piquionne – Portsmouth
The big striker has been a shining light in Pompy’s dark season. He has scored 5 goals in the League, one of which was in a home win against Liverpool. He also scored the two goals against Birmingham which ensured the relegation stricken club a trip to Wembley in the FA Cup Semi Finals. Unfortunately for Pompy, I would expect him to be snapped up over the summer.
Alessandro Diamanti – West Ham
He may have missed a crucial penalty at the Emirates this weekend but I’m sure Hammers fans will not hold it against him given the impact the Italian has made this season. He has seven goals and two assists in 16 league appearances and has provided a struggling West Ham side with a bit of raw passion. His accuracy from set-pieces will always be a threat and the Upton Park faithful will be hoping he can spur them on to stay up this season.
Jamie O’Hara – Portsmouth
If Pompey had one or two more Jamie O’Hara’s, they may not be in the situation they are in now. The midfielder may only be on loan from Tottenham but it has not stopped him giving everything for Portsmouth. His free-kick this weekend will undoubtedly be candidate for goal of the month and he has already shown more than enough to ensure a return to Spurs or a transfer elsewhere in the Premiership this summer.
Steven Fletcher – Burnley
Signed last summer from Hibs, Fletcher has already proven his worth at Burnley this season. He has 11 goals and 3 assists in all competitions and, should Burnley go down, will be in high demand over the summer. Burnley will be relying on him heavily to help their push for survival.
Damian Duff – Fulham
Ever since he left Chelsea, Duff has had a very mixed career, partly spent on the treatment table. Newcastle were relegated and Fulham came calling. Duff has been an integral part of their Premiership and European form. He is seemingly injury free and a goal of the month title was more than he deserved for some very impressive displays.
Lorik Cana – Sunderland
Signed for a mere £5million, Cana has provided to bite in Sunderland’s midfield. He is the Black Cats captain and has brought a wealth of European football experience to the Stadium of Light. Certainly a fans favourite but could do with slowing down on the yellow card count having already served a number of bans. Certainly a player to build a team around for Steve Bruce.
Zat Knight – Bolton
Some Villa fans were very disappointed with the clubs decision to sell Knight. Having signed from Fulham, the tall centre back was seen as a very good player for the future. In hind-sight they might not be so annoyed now but Bolton fans are certainly pleased to have him. In Knight and Cahill they now have two defenders who could well go on to represent England in the future and certainly a pairing that can retain their Premiership status.
Eidur Gudjohnsen – Tottenham
In my eyes one of the best buys of the season. An impact player who does not require consistent run of games in order to perform. Possibly the reason why Harry allowed Keane to leave and signed the Ice-Man instead. Master minded the win at Stoke last weekend and Spurs fans will be hoping he continues to do so in the absence of Defoe and Pavlyuchenko.
Joe Hart – Birmingham
Manchester City may have signed Shay Given but they would have saved a lot of money with a bit of faith in Joe Hart. The Birmingham City goal-keeper is having the season of his life, and it is influencing the team as well as The Blues challenge for a European spot. It may be just out of their reach but Hart could well be on his way to South Africa this summer, if his club form is anything to go by then he could arguably be number 1.
Any glaring omissions?