After a day where Southampton’s new signing Charlie Austin came on for the Saints and bagged a late winner for his side against Manchester United at Old Trafford, Twitter praise went into overdrive.
The striker moved to St. Mary’s from Queens Park Rangers for a paltry £4 million – a figure that prompted high-profile pundits such as Glenn Hoddle to label the deal the best of the season.
Lineker, however, believes otherwise as he responded on Twitter by naming Leicester’s Kante and West Ham’s Payet as his two best signings of the current campaign.
What a start for Charlie Austin ! Well done , great lad and will score goals in the PL no doubt . And 4 Million , deal of the season .— Glenn Hoddle (@GlennHoddle) January 23, 2016
Payet is a hell of a player. Him and Kante are the signings of the season.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) January 23, 2016
While Austin, a player who scored 18 Premier League goals last season, is a rather absurd catch considering how little Southampton paid for him, he was a well-known quantity.
What makes Kante and Payet such spectacular signings is that they were mostly unheard-of by Premier League observers and pundits alike before the season began.
Leicester, having seen holding midfielder Esteban Cambiasso leave on a free transfer last summer, had to bring in a replacement and trumping the Argentine’s contributions was a near-impossible task.
However, Kante has by and large already surpassed the former Inter Milan star’s achievements at the King Power Stadium as Claudio Ranieri’s men currently sit at the top of the Premier League table.
The 24-year-old arrived from Caen and has averaged four tackles and four interceptions per league encounter to date.
Another French import, Payet, has been just as impressive at the opposite end of the pitch, scoring six league goals and adding a further four assists in 15 Premier League starts.
The 28-year-old is arguably the most skilful player the Premier League has seen since a certain Cristiano Ronaldo burst onto the scene, and Hammers fans are absolutely loving his presence.
The East London side sit sixth in the table, and keeping Payet fit for the remainder of the season could give West Ham an outside chance of finishing in the top four come May,