West Ham's new signing Nene's 2012 battle with Olivier Giroud and Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard playing for Lille

Nene, Olivier Giroud and Eden Hazard were the three stand-out players of the 2011-12 Ligue 1 season.

Earlier this week West Ham pulled off something of a coup by snapping up Brazilian attacker Nene on a free transfer.

The 33-year-old was a free agent after his contract at Qarati club Al-Gharafa came to an end. To many it may seem an odd arrival. A washed up mercurial Brazilian? Is that going to improve the side?

Well it cannot be forgotten that in 2012 he was up there with a pair of Premier League stars in Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud and Chelsea attacking midfielder Eden Hazard.

The year is 2012 and Paris Saint-Germain had just begun their spending in the transfer market. However Nene was still a regular and perhaps the best player in the league.

He scored 21 goals in Ligue 1 that season and was one of the best players in the division.

His main competition for Ligue 1 player of the season came from then Montpellier striker Giroud and Lille midfielder Hazard.

That season saw Giroud also score 21 goals in the league as Montpellier won a shock title ahead of big spending PSG.

Meanwhile Hazard found the net 20 times and also added 15 assists for Lille that campaign, Nene and Giroud just managing 11 and nine assists respectively.

In the end the award was in fact given to Hazard, with Nene in second place. That summer Giroud left for Arsenal and Hazard joined Chelsea in big money deals while Nene began to see his time at PSG come to an end.

Now, two and a half years on, all three are now in the Premier League. West Ham will be hoping to see plenty of the 2012 Nene at Upton Park.

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