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World 2018 43 Top signings from 2012-13 season 31805879 Sign here Sign+here World

It’s a pretty easy task picking out the best players in Europe over the 2012-13 season. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Franck Ribery, Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Robert Lewandowski are always going to feature heavily in the best starting XI, but who were the best players that were making their debuts for their clubs last season. We’ve picked out six that we think had outstanding campaigns for their new clubs. Let us know who you think should be in the list.


Honorable mention:

Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich)

Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain)

Mario Balotelli (AC Milan)

Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)

Jackson Martinez (FC Porto)

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

Michael Bradley (Roma)

Jordi Alba (FC Barcelona)


-Warren Barner

ThinkStock -
World 2018 43 Top signings from 2012-13 season 31809264 Robin van Persie Robin+van+Persie World

Arsenal Wenger could only dig his heels in for so long until Arsenal eventually caved in and sold van Persie to Manchester United for £22.5 million although the Gunners have now earned an extra £1.5million for last season’s Premier League triumph. So, what did Van Persie bring to the table during the 2012-3 season? Goals and lots of them.


In 38 appearances the Dutchman hit the net 26 times – and only three of those goals came from the penalty spot. He brought another dimension to his game too. Many thought he could only shoot with his left foot, but he proved the doubters wrong by scoring six with his right – and five of those were quality finishes. Many thought Ferguson was taking a risk on an injury-prone player, but he barely missed a game in leading United to their 20th top-flight title. And who can forget his incredible volley in the 3-0 win against Aston Villa which won goal of the season.

Carl Recine Livepic - Action Images/Reuters
World 2018 43 Top signings from 2012-13 season 31809263 Miguel Michu Miguel+Michu World

Few in England had even heard of Michu when he signed from Rayo Vallecano for just £2million, but what a shrewd move that was by manager Michael Laudrup. The former Celta Vigo attacker averaged just over a goal every two games for the Welsh side, who wowed the Premier League with their possession-based football which secured a ninth-place finish.


Michu was a revelation: cool in front of goal and a great leap which brought plenty of goals with his head. He’s been linked with some of the best teams in the Premier League and with good reason. If Swansea hopes to make a deep run in the Europa League next season, Michu will surely be one of the reasons why.

Phil Noble - Action Images/Reuters
World 2018 43 Top signings from 2012-13 season 31809262 Dante Dante World

The Brazilian proved he can hack it at the highest level after a stunning season with Bayern Munich. Dante, like Marco Reus, left Borussia Moenchengladbach at the end of last season to join a top German club, despite fears he would not excel in such exalted company, but far from being a fringe player he was the one man Jupp Heynckes could not afford to leave out of the team.


His reading of the game, composure at the back, ability in the air and near faultless passing meant Bayern had a rock at the back that allowed them to play with more freedom. He made the second highest number of Bundesliga appearances for Bayern alongside skipper Philipp Lahm and behind Manuel Neuer. All this for just €4.7 million – what a steal.

John Sibley Livepic - Action Images/Reuters
World 2018 43 Top signings from 2012-13 season 31809260 Zlatan Ibrahimovic Zlatan+Ibrahimovic World

Carlo Ancelotti was hardly taking a risk when he signed the Swedish striker from AC Milan for an initial fee of €20 million. Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals in 32 appearances in leading the Rossoneri to a runners-up spot behind Juventus in the 2011-12 campaign. And the goals didn’t stop flowing upon his move to the French capital.


The former Inter Milan and Barcelona striker was a colossus up front and his 30 goals helped PSG win their first Ligue 1 title for nearly 20 years by a massive 12 points. Sure, he scored a lot of penalties but his power and finesse in front of goal proved to be a lethal combination. His backheel from a corner against Marseille lives long in the memory.

Gonzalo Fuentes - Action Images/Reuters
World 2018 43 Top signings from 2012-13 season 31809268 Christian Benteke Christian+Benteke World

Benteke almost single-handedly kept Aston Villa in the Premier League with his lethal finishing. The DR Congo-born Belgium international joined Villa for around €7 million following a productive season with Genk and made an instant impact by scoring on his debut in a 2-0 victory against Swansea way back in August.


But it was from January that the striker really started to excel, scoring eight goals in nine games over a two-month period. Crucially, he scored a fantastic hat trick in a 6-1 win against Sunderland which virtually secured Villa’s Premier League status. Nineteen goals in 34 appearances means he will be a hot property during the summer transfer window, with Arsenal and Tottenham said to be interested parties.

Andrew Boyers Livepic - Action Images/Reuters
World 2018 43 Top signings from 2012-13 season 31809261 Marco Reus Marco+Reus World

Reus was simply one of the best players in the Bundesliga last season, never mind the best signings. Reus rejoined his former club for €17 million from Borussia Moenchengladbach as a replacement for Manchester United-bound Shinji Kagawa. While the Japanese player struggled to make an impact at Old Trafford, Reus excelled on the wing and his partnership with Mario Gotze was one of the most exciting combinations in any league in Europe.


Fourteen goals in 32 appearances proved a great return for a player that is expected to shine at next year’s World Cup in Brazil. Could take on a more central attacking role next season following Gotze’s departure to Bayern Munich as he proved with his performance against Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinal.

Boris Streubel - Getty Images
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