Jamie Carragher, a former Liverpool FC player who currently works for Sky Sports as a pundit, wrote in his column in The Telegraph this Friday that, in his opinion, Jamie Vardy is the best signing in the history of the English Premier League and in the history of football as his arrival in 2012 marked a turning point in the history of Leicester City FC, which he helped move from the Championship to win the English Premier League.
Carragher also highlights that the relationship between the cost of the transfer (€ 1.1 million) and the performances of the player (144 goals in 333 games) are other significant factors that the former center back considers important to support his argument. Now, the question is, is Jamie Vardy the best signing in English football? Well, we are going to review some of his possible opponents for that recognition, using similar criteria to the ones Carragher used.
Eric Cantona from Leeds United FC to Manchester United FC – €1.4 millions: the controversial and talented French player ushered in a golden era for the Red Devils as in the year of his arrival they won the first of thirteen English Premier League titles. In fact, he won 4 leagues in the 5 seasons he played for Manchester United FC. The season he was suspended for kicking the fan was the only one he didn’t win as he missed the majority of the year and United clearly felt his loss.
Sol Campbell from Tottenham Hotspur FC to Arsenal FC – Free: one of the best defenders in the history of the competition, he was part of one of the most controversial signings between two very important rivals. He was an essential piece of the remembered Invincibles season of Arsenal FC with the likes of Henry, Bergkamp or Vieira.
Ian Wright from Greenwich Borough FC to Crystal Palace FC – Set of weights and kits: he is considered one of the best players in the history of Crystal Palace FC who, not only gave them 118 goals in 277 games and a promotion to the first tier of English football, but also left almost €3 million when he went to Arsenal FC, a record fee for the Gunners at the time.
Peter Schmeichel from Brøndby IF to Manchester United FC – €600.000: one of the best goalkeepers in the history of the English Premier League, winning five during his time with the Red Devils in addition to the 1999 UEFA Champions League. Sir Alex Ferguson called it the bargain of the century.
Riyad Mahrez from Le Havre AC to Leicester City FC – €500.000: the Algerian is a case similar to that of Vardy: he arrived when the Foxes were in the Championship and was key for them to win the English Premier League in 2016. Additionally, he left € 68 million in the coffers of Leicester City FC when he was signed by Manchester City FC.
Kolo Touré from ASEC Mimosas to Arsenal FC – €170.000: he was part of the center back partnership with Sol Campbell at the best Arsenal side of all time. It is quite incredible that he came directly from Ivory Coast as a complete unknown to establish himself as one of the best defenders in Europe.
These are some options to open the debate regarding the comment made by Carragher, with all of us having a different take on who has been the best signing in the history of the English Premier League.