Why Hull’s deadline day signing tops Chelsea’s best buy in 2015
Jose Mourinho grabbed all the headlines with the last-gasp acquisition of Juan Cuadrado from Fiorentina but it’s another Premier League manager who deserves the plaudits for the deadline day signing of the season.
Steve Bruce has never been the most popular of Premier League managers – a penchant for chopping and changing clubs as well as constant complaints about referees put paid to that.
But when it comes to mid-season signings, the Tigers manager has something approaching form.
At Birmingham, the former Manchester United favourite brought in the likes of Mauro Zarate on loan and Christophe Dugarry to help stave off the threat of relegation with the latter becoming something of a club legend at St Andrews.
While with Wigan, the likes of Wilson Palacios and Charles N’Zogbia were recruited and ultimately sold on at a substantial profit.
Even his troubled time at Sunderland saw canny loan acquisitions like Danny Welbeck and Nedum Onuoha make a mark.
Bruce’s habit for working wonders in the transfer market continued last January at Hull, with the 54-year-old taking a major gamble on bringing in Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic to help inject more goals into his Tigers side.
Fast-forward to the transfer window just gone and with Long sold on to Southampton and Jelavic in need of support and competition, Bruce was at it again.
Few batted an eyelid when it was announced that Hull had signed Dame N’Doye in the final day before the deadline, but perhaps they should have.
A well-travelled 30-year-old forward, N’Doye had spent much of the last decade carving out a reputation as a versatile goal poacher on the continent.
Having previously spent time in Portugal and Greece, the Senegalese striker thrived in spells with FC Copenhagen and, more impressively still, Lokotmotiv Moscow in Russia.
Capped 26 times by Senegal, he’d also scored six goals for the national side to show that league form was no fluke.
But while Chelsea were in the spotlight for spending £26.8m on Cuadrado, the paltry £3m spent on N’Doye went largely unnoticed, despite it representing something of a bargain in today’s inflated market.
Yet few can argue as to which of the two signings has made more of an impact now.
While the Blues’ Colombian has been restricted to just six appearances for Chelsea so far, with just four of those coming in the league, N’Doye has been a revelation.
In six Premier League games to date, often having started as a substitute, the Senegal striker has scored three crucial goals and provided one assist for Jelavic.
Strikes in games against Aston Villa, Queens Park Rangers and Sunderland have been directly responsible for Hull picking up an extra seven points in the league.
It’s conceivable to suggest that without his efforts, Hull would be deep in the relegation mire, rather than fighting for survival.
Likely to play some part against Chelsea this weekend, the forward could serve up another timely reminder to Mourinho that, when it comes to mid-season signings at least, Bruce remains the boss.
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