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.