The top ten bargain buys of the current season.
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For the purposes of this list a bargain buy must come in at less than £10m.
10. Geoff Cameron – Stoke City £1.8 million
American soccer players have certainly made an impact on English football over recent years.
What was once a haven for goalkeepers has now extended to the rest of the pitch as they have finally caught up with the rest of the world in terms of star names.
Cameron joined Stoke in the summer from MLS side Houston Dynamo for a fee of just £1.8 million and he has been one of the bright sparks in an otherwise disappointing campaign for The Potters.
A versatile player, he is capable of playing at centre back, as a defensive midfielder or as a right back, where Stoke have predominantly deployed him this term.
Mentally strong and technically adaptable, he has impressed during his maiden season making 35 appearances as he establishes himself as a regular first team starter.
Everton were also rumoured to be interested in him before the move to Stoke came about, and though it’s unlikely now, if Stoke do suffer relegation over the coming weeks then he should have no problem finding another club willing to take him on board.
9. Steven Davis – Southampton, free
A name many had forgot about having spent five seasons north of the border with Rangers. He joined Southampton when he rejected the opportunity to drop down to the Scottish 3rd division with the Glasgow side this summer.
The 28-year-old made a name for himself as a youngster at Aston Villa where his quick passing and strong dribbling ability singled him out as one to watch. However, falling out of favour under Martin O’Neill he was moved on for a solitary season with Fulham where he failed to impress.
The great range of passing is still there, only now it is coupled with a mature and level head having captained Rangers and Northern Ireland on a number of occasions.
It’s been a tempestuous season for The Saints as they’ve spent the bulk of it in and around the drop zone despite chipping in with their fair share of good performances.
Davis has scored twice in 30 appearances on his return to the Premier League and has been a steadying influence in the middle of a side trying to consolidate themselves back in the top flight.
8. Claudio Yacob – West Bromwich Albion, free
The Argentine midfielder has been one of the unknown gems to flock to the Premier League this term.
Joining Albion on a free transfer Racing Club in his homeland, little was known about the 25-year-old despite him having already won international honours, but he quickly set about making a name for himself.
Slotting into Steve Clarke’s midfield, he has formed a solid partnership with Youssouf Mulumbu and is in the process of helping The Baggies to their best ever Premier League finish.
He made an immediate impact winning a man of the match award during his debut against Liverpool. As his output continued throughout the following months, he won the club’s player of the month award in March.
He has made 24 appearances for Albion so far this season with a string of niggling injuries holding him back slightly recently. However, expect him to take another step forward next term after getting acquainted with the rigours and demands of a full Premier League season.
7. José Manuel ‘Chico’ Flores – Swansea City, £2 million
One of the major reasons that Ashley Williams has won so many plaudits this term is because he has a dynamic ball playing defender next to him.
Flores has fit into the ethos of Michel Laudrup’s philosophy perfectly, acting as the ideal foil to Williams, which has been a contributing factor to the club’s success this year.
Signing from Italian side Genoa (via Real Mallorca) for just £2 million he made his debut in Swansea’s 5-0 mauling of QPR on the opening day.
Injuries and suspensions have caught up with him at times over the course of the campaign, but by and large he’s been a successful acquisition.
He’s not afraid of getting his hands dirty either. Despite being comfortable with the ball at his feet, he possesses a quick turn of pace and isn’t afraid to use his 6’2 frame when attacking or defending set pieces.
He may only have made 21 appearances so far but his influence has been clear and will likely become a staple figure in Swansea’s future plans.
6. Victor Moses – Chelsea, £6.5 million
There was a time where Moses was seen as a bright spark for the future. As a youngster at Crystal Palace he was 2009’s Wilfred Zaha.
He surprised many by joining Wigan a year later and though he showed glimpses of what he could do he left a lot to be desired in highlighting his inabilites.
However, a steady run in a two-year spell at a club of Wigan’s size was really the best move for him as it allowed him to grow and develop into a Premier League player in a relatively low-pressured environment.
And if those who were surprised by his move to Greater Manchester they must have had an even bigger shock when he joined Chelsea last summer for a modest fee of £6.5 million.
He’s managed 38 games in his maiden season at Stamford Bridge and when he has featured in the league (19) he’s played some dazzling football, linking up well with the club’s other talented forwards.
He did miss a chunk of the season helping Nigeria to win the African Nations in January, bagging both goals in the 2-0 win over Ethiopia on their way to the final.
5. Moussa Sissoko – Newcastle United, £2.2 million
The latest in a long line of French and Francophone players to join Newcastle over the last 18 months, there’s a sense that he may have joined the club at the wrong time.
Signing from Ligue 1 side Toulouse for a knock down price of just over £2 million, The Magpies beat a host of fellow English clubs to his signature.
It may be a strange choice to see him included in this list considering the club are in freefall, hovering just a place above the relegation zone on the back of a week that has seen them concede nine goals with no reply, but his individual performances have belied Newcastle’s position.
A fine debut week saw him create an assist in the 2-1 win at Aston Villa before scoring the equaliser and the winner in a 3-2 victory over Chelsea.
His brute physical strength has been coupled with an impressive array of passing and apparently, an eye for goal too.
On current form, Newcastle aren’t safe from the drop, and he took a risk joining on a six-and-a-half-year deal. There won’t be any shortage of suitors, but if the club can get their act together then they will have a tremendous player to build the midfield around next term.
4. Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool, £8.8 million
The Brazilian was highly sought after in January, but opted to join the Reds as his chances at Inter Milan were limited.
A renowned dribbler, the creative attacking midfielder arrived in Italy to much hype, or rather to too much hype.
With all those heavy expectations on his shoulders he wasn’t able to express himself the way he likes to, which was shown on a short and successful loan spell with Espanyol last season.
He’s already settling in well at Liverpool, contributing two goals and five assists in just ten appearances.
The 20-year-old was exactly the kind of player that Liverpool needed, an exciting young talent who is able to get fans on their feet and provide a feeding line to Luis Suarez to compensate for Stuart Downing.
Adapting well in January is always a tough task, especially for somebody so young and not used to the physical aspect of the game, but he’s slotted in exceptionally and should be expected to push on next season in Brendan Rodgers’ bid to make Liverpool a force in the Premier League once again.
3. Lewis Holtby – Tottenham Hotspur, £1.5 million
It’s always a coup when one of the Bundesliga’s hottest prospects joins a Premier League side, though Holtby may only cause English fans to ask ‘what if?’
The 22-year-old was born to English parents and is exactly the kind of player that The FA are hoping to develop with the newly opened St George’s Park.
Holtby was already enjoying a strong start to the season with Schalke, scoring four goals in 26 appearances (six of which were in the Champions League.)
He has already featured 15 times for Spurs this season, and though he may not have had the immediate impact that fans were hoping for, Spurs can rest in the knowledge that they have managed to sign a player with six years of experience in a tough league and the potential to push on a be a success in England too.
Next season will be the time to judge him, but for the money they paid it’s a relatively low risk to take.
2. Christian Benteke – Aston Villa, £7.8 million
It doesn’t bear thinking about for Villa fans to think where the club would be without the 22-year-old this season.
Already, in his maiden campaign, he’s bagged 42% of Villa’s goals in a season of transition for the club.
A surprise signing from Paul Lambert, Benteke has proved that he’s not over awed on the big stage as his brute strength and quick feet have made him an instant success.
At just 22, he can still look a little raw. Villa have relied on him heavily this season and at times he can frustrate himself by trying to do too much. But one thing is certain; his finishing is lethal.
A number of clubs are already sniffing around the Belgian international, but should Villa stay up, he won’t come cheap. Villa signed him for just over £7 million and he is only eight months into a three-year deal. Whether stay up or go down, they can charge triple that after the way he’s performed this campaign
Already with 22 goals in 38 appearances he’s proved that goal scorers are out there and they are affordable if club’s decide to extend their scouting networks to places slightly more off the beaten track.
1. Michu – Swansea City, £2.5 million
In modern football, the general rule of thumb is that if you want goals then you have to spend big. This summer Swansea not only disproved that theory but, also laughed in it’s face at the same time.
When Michael Laudrup arrived at the club he quickly identified the need for a new striker capable of fitting into his philosophy that won’t break the bank to acquire.
With the club’s limited funds he turned to Spanish side Rayo Vallecano where he was able to pick up a striker who had scored 15 goals for just £2 million.
Michu’s class was evident before he’d even joined – to score 15 goals a season for a small side in a league so badly dominated by two teams was impressive to say the least, and he’s carried on that good form for the South Wales side.
A successful season not only for him, but for the club too has seen him bag a League Cup winners medal and secure European football next season.
Beginning his career at the now fan owned Real Oviedo he spent five frustrating seasons with Celta Vigo before joining up with the Madrid based club.
He’s since spelled out his desire to stay at Swansea, suggesting that he is not only happy at the club, but keen to stay on and build on this season’s success. Something that is becoming a rarity in football these days. However, reports today suggested that the club may be willing to cash in on the forward, with two Russian clubs apparently readying £20+ bids to bring him away.
If they do let him go they will be able to charge what they like, and with the current state of the transfer market, someone will probably pay it.