Newcastle unearth the best £ for £ signing of the summer

With January just a few weeks away, supporters will be looking forward to their clubs bringing in some new faces to improve the squad and move up the league. However, with the majority of clubs not looking to spend a fortune next month, there could be plenty of cheap signings or loan deals to help the team until the summer.

Manchester City helped greatly, but there was a few hundred million pounds spent on summer signings, bringing world superstars to our shores that have undoubtedly improved the Premier League. The cheaper or free signings are often forgotten about during the mêlée of the transfer window and it is about time that the best pound for pound signing of the season was appreciated. I would struggle to give the award to a big money signing as some of the transfer fees paid in the summer were extraordinary.

One club that spent a lot of money in pre season were Liverpool who forked out unnecessary amounts of money on players that have disappointed so far this season. One player who arrived for free though was Craig Bellamy who returned to Anfield from Manchester City on transfer deadline day. A player of Bellamy’s quality would have interested the majority of Premier League clubs and could have made City a bit of money if he was sold sooner. However the Reds brought Bellamy back and he has been consistent in a strong Liverpool side this season, but he has not played enough to be the best pound for pound signing of the season.

Another player that deserves a mention is Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm. The Dutch stopper has been in fantastic form this season for the Welsh club and his £1.5million price tag has more than been repaid. The Swans last line of defence has produced some inspired individual performances against the likes of Manchester City and United so far this season and is a massive factor in the success of the Swans this season. A last gasp penalty save last week against Fulham ensured yet another clean sheet and home victory for Swansea.

Many people’s choice for pound for pound signing of the season will be the England international Scott Parker who has made a huge impact at Tottenham this season after his £5million signing in the summer from relegated West Ham. The 31-year-old midfielder has been inspirational to Spurs’ good form this season and is now a regular fixture in the England midfield ahead of Euro 2012. A summer of speculation ended up with Parker insisting on a move away from Upton Park and Tottenham appeared to be the only side that were heavily interested. The £5million price tag has been rewarded with fine form but that amount of money for a 31-year-old is the sole reason that Parker is not the pound for pound signing of the season.

Instead that prize goes to Newcastle United’s Demba Ba who arrived on Tyneside for free in the summer after leaving West Ham due to a clause in his contract after relegation. Whilst the Upton Park crowd were sad to see the end of Ba’s short time in East London, the Geordies cannot have expected Ba to settle in so well and be as influential as he is.

The Senegalese striker has bagged 11 goals in 14 league games since his move up north and has been a key feature of Alan Pardew’s new look Toon side that have impressed so far in this season. The joint second top scorer in the division did not cost Pardew any transfer fee and suits the style of play that the North East club are playing at the moment. Just as good in the air as he is in the ground, Ba can score any sort of goal and is also a terrific hold up player to bring the pacey Newcastle midfield into the game.

His time at Upton Park was also fruitful, scoring seven goals in 12 games in a side that were struggling to get any sort of results after his arrival in January. After their relegation, Ba left the club and was available on a free transfer due to a release clause in his contract. The tall striker has been a constant threat for Newcastle and without him, the Geordies would not be dreaming of a European tour next season. It may not only be half way through the season but Ba has already shown why he is worthy of the pound for pound prize and with January round the corner, can anyone take that crown from him during the second half of the season.