THE BLOG
11/03/2015 13:20 GMT | Updated 11/05/2015 06:59 BST

Six Premier League Signings Who Have Exceeded Expectations in 2014/15

Expectations of new players always vary in the Premier League. Price-tag, age, career history and reputation all have an effect on the level people think a player should be at when he arrives.

Sometimes individuals vastly underachieve, but others will clear the bar that has been set for them, occasionally surprisingly so.

​Here's a look at six Premier League signings in 2014/15 that have far exceeded what was expected of them in their debut season with a new club.

6. Alexis Sanchez

Given Mesut Ozil's lack of impact at Arsenal, the eager anticipation surrounding Alexis Sanchez's arrival in north London was tempered with hope that he wouldn't be another expensive flop who failed to get to grips with English football.

Eight months on it is safe to say that Sanchez is certainly no Ozil. The Chilean came with a big reputation following an impressive World Cup display and a lot was expected for £35m - but he wasn't expected to become so important so quickly.

Arsenal have infinitely more threat when he is on the pitch and the 26-year-old hasn't been put off by the physical nature of English football either, showcasing a defensive tenacity not often seen in attacking imports.

5. Ryan Bertrand

Ryan Bertrand was a surprise starter in Chelsea'a victorious Champions League final in 2012, but until recently the rest of the full-back's career had been characterised by various loan spells lower down the down the Football League ladder.

He didn't exactly set the world alight during a brief spell at Aston Villa last season, but has been a revelation since moving to Southampton over the summer. At 25 years of age, doubts were looming as to whether Bertrand was cut out for top half of the Premier League, but he has been the division's outstanding left-back this season.

He has been a key asset at both ends of the pitch and it is fair to say that the Saints would not have done as well as they have without his contributions.

4. Marcos Rojo

Manchester United fans have been somewhat let down by the form of marquee summer signings Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao this season, but on the other hand have been pleasantly surprised by what Marcos Rojo has contributed since moving to Old Trafford.

Arriving for a relative snip at £16m from Sporting Lisbon, the Argentinian had played as left-back for his country in the World Cup, even making the Castrol Performance Index Team of the Tournament, but has excelled at centre-back at club level.

Rojo has settled incredibly quickly into his new surroundings, much faster than expected and already seems the type of defender who knows when the time is right to play a pass or clear the ball into the stand.

3. Graziano Pelle

Graziano Pelle arrived at Southampton from Feyenoord boasting a prolific goal record. Countless strikers have failed to replicate Eredivisie form in England, but Pelle has shown there is much more to his game than goals.

The 29-year-old is the only outfield Saints player to have started every Premier League game this season and has been crucial in every aspect of the team's attacking link-up play. After seven strikes before Christmas the goals have dried up a little, but what Pelle gives isn't easily displayed in statistics.

He holds up the ball well, has been able to bring others into attacks, can engage in a physical battle when required and he cost just half of what Liverpool paid for Mario Balotelli.

2. Emre Can

Brendan Rodgers hasn't had a brilliant success rate in the transfer market since he's been at Liverpool. The former Swansea boss has spent more than £200m on players since arriving at Anfield in 2012, with a number of this summer's buys failing to live up to the hype so far.

However, Emre Can is the one that has stood out as a success above the others. Billed more as 'one for the future', the German Under-21 international looked like he would take some time to settle after the early months of his season were disrupted by injury.

Few could have predicted Can would have as much of an impact as he's had as a central part of Liverpool's resurgence since December. He arrived as a midfielder, but has performed admirably as one third of back-three, playing with great maturity beyond his years.

1. Diafra Sakho

Diafra Sakho was virtually unknown outside of French football when he joined West Ham for the relatively modest fee of £2.5m over the summer. The forward was named Ligue 2 Player of the Year for his exploits with Metz last season and has made the transition to the Premier League look seamless.

Sakho got off to an excellent start when he scored on his full Hammers debut in the Capital One Cup. He quickly went on to become the first player in club history to score in six consecutive Premier League games and set a Premier League record for scoring in his first six starts.

A back injury has slowed the 25-year-old down lately, but he has still been finding the net and is West Ham's top scorer for the season - no mean feat considering he cost just a fraction of the price of Andy Carroll and Enner Valencia.

For more fan views or to join the conversation, visit www.90min.com