5 best bargain buys in the Premier League since the turn of the decade
The 2019 summer transfer window has already witnessed some big-money arrivals in the Premier League.
Man United have made their intentions very clear by forking out £50million for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Leicester City have paid £40million to Monaco for Youri Tielemans and Spurs have come out of their reluctancy to spend big by snapping up Tanguy Ndombele for £60million, whilst Man City have shattered their club-record fee by splashing £62.8 million on Rodri.
These transfers have certainly made the headlines in the tabloids and things are expected to heat up even more in the coming weeks as the deadline day in August looms large.
Well, we all know that money flows quite easily in the Premier League nowadays and the fans would probably recall the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool throwing around millions in the transfer window last summer to bring in goalkeepers Arrizabalaga and Alisson respectively.
Similarly, the 2018 summer window also witnessed some shrewd acquisitions by a few clubs, with the likes of Liverpool, Wolves and Arsenal bringing in Xherdan Shaqiri, Joao Moutinho and Matteo Guendouzi from Stoke City, Monaco and FC Lorient respectively.
All the aforementioned players arrived the respective clubs for relatively small sums of money but they proved themselves to be as good as gold for such thrifty amounts.
Due to the exponential rise in the involvement of finances in football over the years, even the lesser clubs in the Premier League have the money in their bank to pull off audacious raids on the heavyweights nowadays.
Leicester City might have spent £30million to sign Ayoze Perez this summer but it is worth mentioning that Newcastle United had paid Tenerife only £1.5million to secure the Spaniard’s services back in 2014.
Going by whatever Perez went on to achieve at Tyneside over the course of five seasons, it is a no-brainer that the Spaniard was, indeed, a monumentous bargain for the Magpies.
It is true that the Premier League clubs are spendthrifts these days, yet, realistically, they always have to be aware of the financial fair play regulations and it is certainly not possible for them to splash out millions in every transfer window.
And that is exactly why the bargain deals – be it plucking out unproven talents from far corners of the world or nabbing proven players from the lower divisions, are so crucial to the success of any team.
Keeping that in mind, let us take a look at some deals since the turn of the decade when players coming in for thrifty amounts have exceeded expectations.
1. Steven Davis – £800,000 (Rangers to Southampton)
Steven Davis won three Scottish Premiership titles, three Scottish League Cups and two Scottish Cups over the course his five-season stay at Ibrox, having initially joined the Old Firm giants on loan from Fulham back in 2008.
The Northern Irishman, who was also a part of the Rangers side that reached the 2007-08 UEFA Cup final, moved to Southampton for a paltry £800,000 in 2012 prior to the Gers’ insolvency issues and subsequent demotion to the fourth-tier.
Despite lacking creativity and natural finesse, the central midfielder went on to establish himself as a firm fan favourite at St. Mary’s due to his drive, determination, willingness to compete and hunger for success.
Davis netted 14 goals in 226 appearances for the Saints before returning to Rangers in January 2019.
2. Patrick van Aanholt – £1.5million (Chelsea to Sunderland)
The Dutch international made only 8 appearances for Chelsea over the course of five seasons and spent time on loan at five different clubs, including Vitesse Arnhem where he stayed on for nearly two-and-a-half seasons before finally getting an opportunity to make his mark in the Premier League with Sunderland.
The Black Cats spent just £1.5million to sign the left-back in 2014 and Van Aanholt, who had faded into oblivion as a part of Chelsea’s loan army, went on to establish himself as one of the standout performers at the club.
The Dutchman made 95 appearances for Sunderland in all competitions, scoring 9 goals in the process before joining Crystal Palace in January 2017.
3. James McArthur – £400,000 (Hamilton Academical to Wigan Athletic)
A part of the Hamilton Academical side that won the 2007-08 Scottish First Division title to secure promotion to the Scottish Premiership, James McArthur impressed with his strength, tenacity, drive, fluent passing and youthful exuberance in the top-flight north of the border for a couple of seasons before joining Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2010.
McArthur reunited with former Hamilton player James McCarthy following his move to the DW Stadium.
After featuring sporadically in his first season, McArthur gradually established himself as first-team regular in his second season at the club, scoring against the likes of Bolton and Spurs in the Premier League.
McArthur helped Wigan secure the FA Cup in the 2012-13 season with a surprise 1-0 win against Man City in the final, although the Latics went down to the Championship in the same season.
McArthur stayed for a season in the Championship but he eventually departed for Crystal Palace in 2014.
Wigan are yet to make it back to the Premier League but the Latics would hardly rue the £400,000 that they spent on him given that the Scotsman went on to register a total of 156 appearances for them.
4. Robert Huth – £3million (Stoke City to Leicester City)
After spending five successful seasons at Stoke City in the Premier League, Robert Huth fell out of favour in the 2014-15 campaign and joined Leicester City on loan in January 2015 to help the Foxes in their bid for survival in the top-flight.
Huth made 14 appearances in the second half of the campaign and was one of the key driving forces behind their sudden upturn of form, as Nigel Pearson’s side came back from the brink of relegation to the secure a comfortable 14th-place finish.
As a result of his fine performances, Huth was signed permanently by Leicester for a fee of £3million and the German went on to play a key role in the Foxes’ surprise Premier League triumph in the 2015-16 campaign, thus joining the elite list of players to have won the top-flight title with two different clubs.
The former Chelsea man played until the end of the 2016-17 season before his career came to a premature end due to ankle and foot injuries.
5. Andre Ayew- Free Transfer (Marseille to Swansea City)
Having scored 60 goals in 209 appearances for Marseille, Swansea looked to have pulled off a massive coup when they brought the Ghanaian in on a free transfer in the summer of 2015.
And Ayew proved himself to be the biggest bargain in the Premier League in the 2015-16 season, as the versatile left-winger struck 12 goals in his debut campaign in English football.
Ayew was sold to West Ham just after a single full season, with the Hammers splashing the cash to sign the Ghanaian. However, in a twist of fate, Swansea splashed a similar amount to bring him back to the club in January 2018.
[Image] Predicted 4-1-4-1 Leicester XI to face Newcastle – Maddison out, Vardy in?
Predicted Leicester City XI to face Newcastle United in the Premier League
Leicester City completely demolished Luton Town 4-0 in the third round of the EFL Cup on Wednesday and the Foxes will be looking to continue their winning run when they play host to a struggling Newcastle United side on Sunday.
Brendan Rodgers’ side finished matchweek 6 placed 3rd in the Premier League standings after a thrilling 2-1 victory over Tottenham and they will be the outright favourites against the Magpies.
Newcastle currently find themselves 17th in the standings and Steve Bruce’s side will need to come away with a positive result to avoid dropping down to the relegation zone.
Leicester will be without the services of star playmaker James Maddison, who is currently on the treatment table after suffering an ankle injury against Man United last week.
Daniel Amartey (foot) and Matthew James (calf) are long-term absentees for the Foxes.
Kasper Schmeichel (GK)
The Dane has always been a figure of reliability between the sticks for the Foxes and he is one of the first names on Rodgers’ teamsheet.
Ricardo Pereira (RB)
The Portuguese international bagged a goal in Leicester’s 2-1 victory over Spurs last week and he should be fit and ready to start after being rested for the EFL Cup tie.
Caglar Soyuncu (CB)
The Turk has really made eyeballs turn with his consistently impressive displays at the heart of the defence and he is expected to have a relatively easy outing against a Newcastle side struggling for goals.
Jonny Evans (CB)
The veteran has risen to the occasion to take over the reins from Harry Maguire and there is no way Rodgers will be looking to rest him on Sunday.
Ben Chilwell (LB)
Christian Fuchs started against Luton Town in the EFL Cup but the England international continues to be the undisputed first-choice at left-back.
Wilfried Ndidi (CDM)
The Nigerian didn’t have a lot to do in the cup fixture and he is expected to have another comfortable outing against the Magpies.
Harvey Barnes (LM)
The jet-heeled academy graduate didn’t play a part in the cup tie but he is expected to return to the starting eleven in the Premier League on Sunday ahead of Albrighton.
Ayoze Perez (RM)
The Spaniard spearheaded the attack against Luton Town but he is likely to drop down to a wide role on the right against Newcastle to welcome Jamie Vardy back into the eleven.
Youri Tielemans (CM)
The Belgian scored in the 4-0 rout of Luton Town on Wednesday and the Foxes will rely heavily on him to deliver the goods in the absence of Maddison.
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Dennis Praet (CM)
He did a good job in the cup tie and the injury to Maddison is likely to allow him to get an extended run in the starting eleven.
Jamie Vardy (ST)
Leicester’s talismanic No.9 didn’t play a part in the EFL Cup victory but the Foxes will once again look up to him to deliver the goods on Sunday.
3 top-class playmakers Man United should target in the January window including this red-hot Leicester star
3 No.10s Man United should target in the January window
Man United were amongst the highest-spending teams in the Premier League this summer, with the Red Devils forking out a fortune to bring in the likes of Harry Maguire, Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka as a part of their squad rebuild.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made his intentions very clear during the summer transfer window, that he is looking to build a team for the future with top-quality young talents in a bid to restore the club’s glory days that seem to have disappeared since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
Indeed, the fountain of youth currently flowing at the club under the guidance of Solskajer but the fans at Old Trafford will be less than impressed with United’s lacklustre start to the ongoing campaign.
After a thumping 4-0 defeat of Chelsea on the opening day, the Red Devils have once again come under scrutiny for some pretty ordinary performances, including a shock defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace at home and a lazy 1-1 draw at Southampton.
Well, there is still plenty of time left in the season for United to hit the ground running in top-gear but going by what we have seen from their performances so far, Solskajer has a lot more work to do even after plugging the holes at the back if the Red Devils are to get back to their old habits of challenging for silverware.
To sum it up in simple words, United need to bring in a new No.10 in January to add a sense of creative spark to their attack, something that the likes of Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira don’t seem capable of doing on a regular basis each and every week.
Juan Mata, of course, is a class act but given the Spaniard’s advancing years and his difficulty in acclimatising to Solskjaer’s quick attacking style, United should definitely dip into the market for a new central attacking midfielder. Here are 3 realistic No.10 options for the Red Devils in January:-
1. Christian Eriksen
Man United failed to firm up their interest in the Danish stalwart earlier in the summer but the Sun claims that the Red Devils are set to go all out in their pursuit of the 27-year-old in January.
Eriksen was poised to leave Spurs this summer amidst plenty of speculation over his future but the influential playmaker ensured that the transfer saga involving him continued for at least another six months by deciding to stay put at his current club.
The Dane, who is out of contract at Tottenham next summer, would be in the last six months of his current deal by January and United can certainly look at a cut-price deal to nab the playmaker away from their title rivals.
A tally of 67 goals and 86 assists in 281 appearances for Spurs says it all and at 27, the fans at Old Trafford will be lucky enough to see one of the best playmakers in his prime years if United do go ahead with a swoop in January.
2. James Maddison
Yet to be capped by England at the senior international level, James Maddison might not be a stalwart like Eriksen but the Leicester City man has earned himself plenty of plaudits for his meteoric rise in the Premier League over the past twelve months.
Maddison’s successful breakthrough season in the Premier League last term prompted plenty of interest from the Premier League’s top-six this summer, with United also in the list of potential suitors (h/t Express) but the youngster ended up staying at Leicester.
The 22-year-old has already shown that there are few better than him in the English top-tier when it comes to creating chances and pulling the strings, be it from a No.10 role behind the striker or in a wide attacking role down the right.
Add to that his work rate, dribbling and passing, and it is easy to see why he would be a perfect fit for Solskjaer’s United.
3. David Brooks
Much like Maddison, David Brooks also enjoyed a successful breakthrough season in the Premier League last season at Bournemouth following his move from Sheffield United and turned into a hot property in the summer, with plenty of clubs, including Man United and Spurs (h/t Metro), looking to secure his services.
The 22-year-old, who impressed with 7 goals and 5 assists in the Premier League last term, is yet to return to action this season following a spell on the sidelines, although the versatile attacking midfielder did find the net for Wales during the recent international break.
Brooks’ technical abilities on the ball and a nice turn of pace coupled with his energy, stamina, drive, determination, slick passing, ability to create space and get into the box to score goals make him a tailor-made fit for United’s No.10 role.
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Given his obvious potential and with plenty of years still remaining on his contract with the Cherries, the Welsh prodigy is unlikely to come on the cheap but that should not prevent United from making a renewed attempt to sign him.
3 Talking points from Man United 1-0 Leicester City ahead of PL gameweek 6
3 Talking points from Man United 1-0 Leicester ahead of PL gameweek 6
Man United triumphed 1-0 over Leicester City at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday, as the Red Devils ended the Foxes’ unbeaten run and registered their first victory in the league since the 4-0 hammering of Chelsea on the opening day of the campaign.
The game, which was regarded as one of the main attractions of Round 5, turned out to be something of an anti-climax in the end, and the overall lack of creativity over the ninety minutes was quite ridiculous considering the quality of players in action.
There was hardly anything to separate the two teams in what turned out to be a rather dull and boring game of pretty ordinary standards, with Marcus Rashford making all the difference with his goal from the penalty spot early in the first half.
Overall, it was a story of how both the teams failed to live up to the hype surrounding the game, with Man United lacking the composure to keep hold of the ball long for long enough to carve out anything meaningful and Leicester just not showing enough creativity to find a way through a stubborn United backline led by Harry Maguire.
Nevertheless, Ole Gunnar Solskajer should be happy with those three valuable points and more importantly, against a side that has been tipped to overtake them in the race for the top-six. Here are 3 talking points from the dull 1-0 encounter:
1. Maguire gets the better of Vardy
This was the first time that Harry Maguire was facing his old club in the Premier League since his move to Man United earlier in the summer and the Englishman was always going to be Solskajer’s best bet in trying to keep an in-form Jamie Vardy at bay.
And the towering central defender, who seemed to be fully aware of Vardy’s tricks and strengths in the final third, didn’t allow his former teammate to even get a sniff of the goal on Saturday.
Maguire’s flawless reading of the game and his knowledge of Vardy’s strengths were instrumental in United’s efforts to drag the ultimate opportunist out of the game and though it wasn’t a very creative display from the Red Devils, they certainly deserve plenty of credit for a clean-sheet against one of the most potent attacking units in the division.
2. Soyuncu’s bubble finally bursts
Caglar Soyuncu, who has taken over the reins from Maguire at the heart of Leicester’s defence, was showered with praises for his performances in the first four league games heading into the international break but the youngster turned into a villain at Old Trafford this weekend.
Soyuncu’s needless clip on Marcus Rashford’s heels inside the box early in the first half allowed United to open the scoring from the penalty spot and that, ultimately, would go on to be the decisive moment of the game.
Indeed, he has done a fair job at the back but his sudden rush of blood on Saturday, which eventually cost the Foxes the game, would have reminded Rodgers that the Turk is still quite young and relatively inexperienced at the Premier League level.
3. Scott McTominay the standout performer for Man United
On a day where both the teams lacked creativity and finesse in the middle of the park, Scott McTominay put in arguably his best performance of the season so far and repaid Solskjaer’s faith in his abilities.
Playing alongside Nemanja Matic as a part of a double pivot in the midfield, the Scottish international completely bossed the midfield with his tireless running up and down the pitch, while his physical presence put off the likes of Hamza Choudhury and Youri Tielemans.
McTominay broke down the play really well with his tackles and interceptions, carried the ball forward with intent and was always at the right place and at the right time to safeguard United from Leicester’s forays.
The 22-year-old won 9 out of 16 duels on the ground, 3 out of 3 duels in the air, completed 2 out of his 2 attempted tackles and chipped in with 2 interceptions and 3 clearances.
Apart from that, he was instrumental in circulating possession in the midfield and switching the play, with the youngster registering 60 touches on the ball and completing 31 passes (accuracy rate of 79.5), including 6 successful long balls.
McTominay has shown signs of maturing into a powerful defensive midfielder this term and Man United have every reason to be pleased with his rapid development.
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