It's been a hugely entertaining first half of the Premier League season with plenty of surprises along the way. A few of the big clubs are failing to perform whilst others, tipped for relegation at the start of the campaign are currently flirting with the European places. Much of it is down to the increased spending power of the clubs outside of the top six. It has led to increased competition with games so hard to predict now.
Due to having more funds available we have seen a great standard of player coming to the Premier League. Here's a look at the top five signings made in the summer who have had a great impact in the first half of the season:
N'Golo Kanté - Leicester City
The 24-year-old midfielder has been a key part of Leicester's rise to the summit of the table this season. Whilst Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy have taken the limelight thus far, Kante has gone unnoticed as the cog of the engine in the middle of the park. Signed from Caen in France for a fee reported by the likes of the Daily Mail to be just £5.6 million he has taken to the Premier League with ease. He had only played one season in the top flight of French football before making the move across to England, but his performances have been very mature. Kante is the man to break up the play and make the tackles which are key to starting Leicester's counter attacking moves.
Dimitri Payet - West Ham United
Unlike Kante, Dimitri Payet was well known to English fans, particularly the Football Manager players among us. Having impressed in France at Nantes, Saint-Etienne, Lille and Marseille, West Ham decided to bring the 28-year-old over for his first taste of Premier League football. The French international's creativity was hugely influential in The Hammers fantastic start under Slaven Bilic this season. Five goals in his first 12 Premier League games, and many were beginning to wonder why one of the top clubs hadn't snapped him up a while ago. Unfortunately Payet suffered an ankle injury at the start of November which is likely to see him out until early February. It is no coincidence that the goals have dried up for The Hammers since his absence. (They had scored just four in eight games before their win over Southampton).
Yohan Cabaye - Crystal Palace
It is hardly a surprise to see Yohan Cabaye on this list. Almost a guaranteed success with this transfer as he had a superb spell in the Premier League with Newcastle United first time round. It was a perhaps a surprise however to see the Frenchman move to The Eagles in the first place. With no disrespect many thought Cabaye could have moved to a bigger club. Although with Alan Pardew's side currently occupying 5th place, who are we to argue with Cabaye's choice? He clearly has a good relationship with Pardew, and has been a key player in the Palace side this season already chipping in with five goals. Potentially the signing of the season altogether and well worth the club record transfer fee Crystal Palace paid for him.
Georginio Wijnaldum - Newcastle United
One of the best signings under Mike Ashley's ownership of Newcastle United, the former PSV Eindhoven captain has proven to be a shining light in an otherwise shocking season for Steve McClaren's side. Ashley doesn't often open up the cheque book to bring in players of the Dutchman's calibre but if they hadn't done Newcastle would find themselves in an even more perilous situation at the moment. Wijnaldum has scored seven goals for The Magpies this season with some of those being rather pleasing on the eye. The 25-year-old particularly stood out in the 6-2 win over Norwich City which saw him score four goals, becoming only the second Newcastle player to score more than three goals in a game in the Premier League.
Petr Cech - Arsenal
Breaking the trend of midfielders in this list is the new holder of the most clean sheets in the Premier League. Arsenal signed Cech from rivals Chelsea in the summer, and he collected his 170th clean sheet in the Premier League with the shutout against Bournemouth on Monday. Arsene Wenger knew, Chelsea knew, we all knew this signing would be well worthwhile and solve Arsenal's goalkeeper problems which have troubled them in recent years. Despite a shaky start early on against West Ham United, Cech has shown he is a reliable pair of hands that could take Arsenal to their first title in 12 years.