The 20 greatest bargain buys in Premier League history, featuring Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United legends

New signing Alisson reportedly agreed personal terms with Reds BEFORE World Cup
July 20, 2018
Erik Lamela signs new deal until 2022
July 20, 2018

The 20 greatest bargain buys in Premier League history, featuring Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United legends


For decades now, spending in the Premier League has continued to astonish, disgust and amaze in equal measure.

After Alisson Becker signed for Liverpool, the most expensive back four in history can now officially be composed of just players from two clubs – Liverpool and Manchester City.

That doesn’t mean Premier League clubs don’t enjoy shopping on the cheap however.

£2million from Rayo Vallecano, 22 goals in his first season and the League Cup. Bargain

£2million from Rayo Vallecano, 22 goals in his first season and the League Cup. Bargain

On this day (20 July) in 2012, Swansea City signed Michu for just £2million from Rayo Vallecano.

The languid attacking midfielder could not have enjoyed a more perfect season in South Wales, scoring 22 goals in all competitions, winning the League Cup and being named the Swans’ Player of the Season that year.

But where does he rank in the greatest bargain buys in Premier League history?

talkSPORT.com has trawled through the archives and compiled a list of the 20 best value-for-money transfers in Premier League history. Scroll down to see the list in full.

20. John Stones (Barnsley to Everton, 2013) – £3million

20. John Stones (Barnsley to Everton, 2013) – £3million

Before he was playing the ball out of the back like Franz Beckenbauer, the former Barnsley defender was just trying to make a name for himself at Goodison Park.

Although he didn’t make a single appearance in his first season, his bravery on the ball and defensive improvements without it saw several big clubs begin to sniff round.

In the summer of 2016, he joined Manchester City in a £47.5 million deal, earning the Toffees a sweet profit.

19. Cesar Azpilicueta (Marseille to Chelsea, 2012) – £7million

19. Cesar Azpilicueta (Marseille to Chelsea, 2012) – £7million

Signed from Marseille in 2012, the 22-year-old defender was seen as a prospect for the future and nothing more. However, his versatility and reliability saw him become a mainstay at the club that season as they lifted the Europe League.

Blessed with incredible pace, the Spain international has played right across the back for the Blues and since gone on to lift the Premier League trophy twice.

The 28-year-old is a cult hero amongst the Stamford Bridge faithful, with supporters preferring to call him ‘Dave’ rather than his actual name. Bet his parents are chuffed.

18. Andrew Robertson (Hull City to Liverpool, 2017) – £8million

18. Andrew Robertson (Hull City to Liverpool, 2017) – £8million

Depsite being one of the biggest spenders in the Premier League these days, Jurgen Klopp proved he can still pick out a bargain when he snapped up Robertson from Hull.

With the Tigers facing life in the Championship, the German moved quickly to bring the Scot to Merseyside.

Reaching the Champions League Final and keeping Alberto Moreno on the bench in his first season, basically makes Robertson an Anfield great already.

17. Nicolas Anelka (Paris Saint-Germain to Arsenal, 1997) – £500,000

17. Nicolas Anelka (Paris Saint-Germain to Arsenal, 1997) – £500,000

When Arsene Wenger signed the 18-year-old from Paris Saint-Germain, he had just 12 professional appearances to his name and Gunners fans were less-than convinced with the Frenchman.

However, 28 goals in his two full seasons at Highbury soon changed their minds as he led the line superbly in their Double winning season of 1998.

Although the remainder of his career was somewhat chequered, Anelka’s time in north London can be deemed a huge success.

16. Tim Cahill (Millwall to Everton, 2004) – £1.5million

16. Tim Cahill (Millwall to Everton, 2004) – £1.5million

Before the Toffees spent money like it was going out of fashion, the club were known for their frugal ways.

The signing of Millwall midfielder Cahill in the summer of 2004 was seen as a shrewd piece of business – especially as he had just led the Championship side to the FA Cup final.

By the time he left for New York Red Bulls in 2012, his 56 goals in 226 league games had helped cement his status as a Goodison Park legend.

15. Paolo Di Canio (Sheffield Wednesday to West Ham United, 1999) – £1.5million

15. Paolo Di Canio (Sheffield Wednesday to West Ham United, 1999) – £1.5million

The fiery Italian was practically a leper in 1999 after pushing referee Paul Alcock to the ground during a match for Sheffield Wednesday – no one wanted to touch him.

However, Harry Redknapp decided to take a punt on the striker and the rewards were huge.

In just four seasons, Di Canio secured a place in the hearts of Hammers’ fans everywhere with his trickery and ingenuity wowing the Upton Park faithful.

Relegation in 2003 meant the Italian had to leave to help the club raise funds, but he will forever be considered one of their greatest players in history.

14. Demba Ba (West Ham United to Newcastle United, 2011) – Free

14. Demba Ba (West Ham United to Newcastle United, 2011) – Free

After failing to keep West Ham United in the Premier League in 2011, the Senegal international invoked a clause in his contract to leave for free.

Despite being offered £50,000-a-week by the Hammers, Ba joined Newcastle United for nothing and could not stop scoring.

When the goals began to dry up, he turned provider for Papiss Cisse. A move to Chelsea swiftly followed, but 16 goals was a great return for the striker.

13. Ashley Cole (Arsenal to Chelsea, 2006) – £5million

13. Ashley Cole (Arsenal to Chelsea, 2006) – £5million

After being left ‘trembling with anger’ at Arsenal’s apparently derisory offer of a £55,000-a-week contract, it seemed inevitable Cole would leave the Gunners in 2006.

Shortly before the switch from Highbury to the Emirates, Arsene Wenger sanctioned a controversial move to Chelsea for the left-back.

Cole established himself as one of the best defenders in the world at Stamford Bridge and clinched the Champions League title in 2012, scoring a penalty in the shootout win.

12. Sami Hyypia (Willem II to Liverpool, 1999) – £2.6 million

12. Sami Hyypia (Willem II to Liverpool, 1999) – £2.6 million

As with most of the players on the list, few knew who Hyypia was when he signed from Willem II in the Netherlands in 1999, but he was a cult hero by the time he left.

A commanding presence at the heart of manager Gerard Houllier’s defence, the Finn was a proper, old-fashioned centre-half who stood for no-nonsense.

In a decade with the Reds, he won the Champions League, two FA Cups, two League Cups and the UEFA Cup.

11. Vincent Kompany (Hamburg to Manchester City, 2008) – £6million

11. Vincent Kompany (Hamburg to Manchester City, 2008) – £6million

One of the last signings before Abu Dhabi money took hold of the Citizens in 2008, Kompany was 22 when he joined and one can only imagine how expensive the Belgian would be in his prime.

Initially signed as a defensive midfielder, the centre-back is about to enter his testimonial season.

Fitness issues have dogged Kompany in recent years, but he is a serial winner and a leader at the heart of the defence for Pep Guardiola.

10. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Molde to Manchester United, 1996) – £1.5 million

10. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Molde to Manchester United, 1996) – £1.5 million

When Alan Shearer opted to sign for boyhood club Newcastle United in the summer of 1996, the Red Devils were disappointed to see a little-known Norwegian skulk his way into the club instead.

Little did they know, the club had just signed one of the most clinical and effective strikers in Premier League history who would go on to help them complete an historic treble three years later.

Solskjaer went on to become the United reserve team manager after various injury concerns but remains a firm favourite with the Old Trafford faithful.

9. Dele Alli (MK Dons to Tottenham Hotspur, 2015) – £5 million

9. Dele Alli (MK Dons to Tottenham Hotspur, 2015) – £5 million

Say what you want about the midfielder, but he is extremely effective and always seems to manage to grab important goals for his side.

The former MK Dons star was close to joining Liverpool six months before completing his move to Spurs but he is more than at home in north London now.

Still just 22, he has plenty of time to develop his game.

8. N’golo Kante (Caen to Leicester City, 2015) – £5.6million

8. N’golo Kante (Caen to Leicester City, 2015) – £5.6million

One of the nicest men in football, Kante’s rise from Ligue 2 to World Cup winner in just five years is nothing short of miraculous.

Signed by Claudio Ranieri to break up opposition attacks, the diminutive midfielder seemed to be absolutely everywhere for the Foxes as they claimed a spectacular Premier League title win in 2016.

His heroic performances were never likely to go under the radar, and a £32million move to Chelsea saw Leicester slip back into mid-table sharpish.

7. Seamus Coleman (Sligo Rovers to Everton, 2009) – £60,000

7. Seamus Coleman (Sligo Rovers to Everton, 2009) – £60,000

One of the most remarkable transfers in Premier League history and Sligo Rovers must be kicking themselves now.

The Irish side could not have foreseen in 2009 just how incredible the right-back would become of course, but such a nominal fee in the current market is incredible.

Although he is yet to show the same sort of marauding form he did before a horrible leg break in 2017, Coleman is still a fantastic defender.

6. Jamie Vardy (Fleetwood Town to Leicester City, 2012) – £1 million

6. Jamie Vardy (Fleetwood Town to Leicester City, 2012) – £1 million

It seems incredible that this transfer is seen as a bargain, considering the Foxes forked out the highest transfer fee for a non-league player in history to bring him to the King Power stadium in 2012.

His pace and direct approach had seen him plunder goals for fun at Fleetwood Town, but it wasn’t until the 2015/16 season where Vardy showed his class.

He set a new Premier League record of scoring in 11 consecutive games and travelled with the England squad to the European Championships in France later that summer. He also was part of the squad that reached the 2018 World Cup semi-final.

5. Kolo Toure (ASEC Mimosas to Arsenal, 2002) – £150,000

5. Kolo Toure (ASEC Mimosas to Arsenal, 2002) – £150,000

During his trial, talkSPORT’s very own Ray Parlour revealed Toure wiped out Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and even Arsene Wenger himself.

Despite this turbulent beginning, the Ivory Coast international became a mainstay in the Gunners defence and helped the club to several pieces of silverware before departing for Manchester City in a big-money move.

His greatest claim to fame has to be the fact he is an Invincible in both England and Scotland, after being part of teams – Arsenal and Celtic – that went an entire season unbeaten.

4. Peter Schmeichel (Brondby to Manchester United, 1991) – £500,000

4. Peter Schmeichel (Brondby to Manchester United, 1991) – £500,000

The man Alex Ferguson called the ‘bargain of the century’ is often considered to be one of the greatest goalkeepers in Premier League history.

Ferocious on and off the pitch, the ‘Great Dane’ very nearly got sacked after an explosive row with Fergie at Anfield in 1994.

However, he used his rage for good – winning ten trophies in eight years and leaving shortly after completing the fabled treble in 1999.

3. Robin van Persie (Feyenoord to Arsenal, 2004) – £2.75 million

3. Robin van Persie (Feyenoord to Arsenal, 2004) – £2.75 million

The Dutchman went from being a scorer of great goals to a great goalscorer before his untimely departure for rivals Manchester United in 2012.

Although he is not remembered too fondly in north London for his apparent betrayal, RVP’s transformation from lanky winger to prolific hitman during his eight years there was nothing short of remarkable.

He may have won just the one piece of silverware in north London, but 30 Premier League goals in his final season is the stuff of legend.

2. Patrick Vieira (AC Milan to Arsenal, 1996) – £3.5 million

2. Patrick Vieira (AC Milan to Arsenal, 1996) – £3.5 million

Many people think Vieira was completely a Arsene Wenger signing, that the talented Frenchman was plucked from obscurity by Le Professeur – but he actually arrived at Highbury in 1996 before Wenger.

For a midfielder who could do it all, £3.5m was an absolute steal and Vieira became one of the best midfielders in Premier League history.

His ferocious battles with Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane were the stuff of legend, and may never be seen again.

1. Eric Cantona (Leeds United to Manchester United, 1991) – £1.2 million

1. Eric Cantona (Leeds United to Manchester United, 1991) – £1.2 million

When Dion Dublin broke his leg in 1992, Sir Alex Ferguson offered £4million for Sheffield Wednesday striker Paul Hirst.

A move never materialised and he turned to Leeds United striker Eric Cantona.

While it would be unfair to say the Red Devils were a one-man team, Cantona transformed Ferguson’s side from challengers into title winners.

Four Premier League title wins later, Cantona is still a legend in the red half of Manchester.





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *