Everyone loves a bargain. There is great satisfaction to be had from knowing that you’ve paid less for something than it’s worth. Or in football terms that you’ve seen within a player the potential that has yet to be unearthed and think you can get good value. So looking over this seasons acquisitions I’ve constructed a bargain Premier League XI. The rule I imposed on myself in this little challenge was that the team had to work on the pitch, so no, you can’t play five forwards and stick one at left-back, I don’t care how good value they were. All the players have to have been signed this season and you can have a maximum of three loans.
Jussi Jääskeläinen – Free
Big Sam loves a free signing. Even better when it’s somebody he’s worked with before and knows well. There were question marks to begin with, was he past it? Could he still cut it at the top level? Well, plainly yes. Incredible value, he’s had an excellent season.
Sascha Riether – Loan
He’s a rapid little full-back who is perfectly suited to the rigours of the modern full-back role. At 30 years old he’s got plenty of experience and can be relied upon to play consistently throughout the season, when you’re looking for a bargain it’s hard to ask for more than that.
Chico Flores – £2 million
He might not be everybody’s cup of tea or glass of sangria but it’s hard to argue against his record. Swansea don’t concede many, especially away from home and Chico is a big part of this. Always good to have a centre-back who is as happy with the ball at his feet as he is winning it with his head.
Sebastian Bassong – Undisclosed
I hate undisclosed signings, just tell us the price. The rumours are that Norwich paid somewhere between £4 and £5million and even if it was a little more it would still be a bargain. I’d suggest that he’s been such a rock at times this season he’s easily worth double that now. It does beg the question, why did Spurs sell him and keep William Gallas?
Javier Garrido – Loan
Not got a bad word to say about Garrido. Came into the Norwich side and improved it. Settled immediately with no fuss whatsoever. Having seen what can happen when loan deals go wrong (thanks Glenn Roeder) it’s great when you can find one who gives everything and clearly cares about the fortunes of the team.
Robert Snodgrass – £3 million
Of Norwich’s many recent recruits from The Championship he’s the best. He didn’t take any time to adapt to the Premier League and looked right at home from the start. He’s got quality from set-pieces and a goal threat and would perhaps have more goals to his name if he didn’t work so hard tracking back for the good of the team.
Jonathan de Guzman – Loan
What a brilliant technical footballer. I find it hard to believe that there wasn’t more interest in him, I’m sure come summer there will be. He’s arguably improved a Swansea midfield who lost Joe Allen for £15 million but in my opinion they replaced him with someone better for next to nothing.
Mohamed Diame – Free
Big Sam strikes again with another good free signing. Although in this case I think West Ham had to pay significant wages to get him, the fact that he was available for free still makes him a bargain. Strong and dynamic he’s certainly helped West Ham keep it tight and when he breaks from midfield with power he can make things happen.
Pablo Hernandez – £5.5 million
Alright, 5.5 million isn’t exactly the bargain bin at the petrol station, but for a player of his calibre it represents exceptional value. Hernandez is a winger well capable of playing Champions League football, so for Swansea to land him was a big coup and for the money they paid a fantastic signing.
Michu – £2 million
17 goals in 30 league games. That in itself would be an incredible bargain but Michu offers so much more besides. Real footballing ability goes with a lethal eye for goal and a deceptive amount of pace making him versatile, a technically excellent target man combination and clever number 10 who can find a pass, teams all over Europe are wondering how they missed him.
Dimitar Berbatov – Undisclosed
Again having to work off rumours but they suggest a fee of around £4 million which if true… Well lets just say deals that good don’t happen very often. He and Martin Jol obviously have an understanding and Jol knows how to get the best out of the enigmatic character. Berbatov at his best offers technical brilliance and incredible goals. When he’s on song he can carry a team so we can live with the odd game on a cold wet night where he doesn’t really fancy it can’t we?
Jaaskelainen – Riether, Chico, Bassong, Garrido – Snodgrass, De Guzman, Diame, Hernandez – Michu – Berbatov
From this it’s pretty clear to see that Swansea did very well in the summer transfer window. With Fulham, West Ham and Norwich also finding some good value. When club’s like Liverpool and QPR having repeatedly paid over market value to secure their targets it’s good to see that you can still build a good Premier League side on a budget. I’d be willing to bet that this team would finish in the top half.
Estimated total spent: £20.5 million not taking into account any loan fees.
If you there is someone you think I’ve missed or that you can name a better bargain XI stick it in the comments.