The Best EPL 11 Under £11M
Transfer season is upon us.
Eden Hazard, Edinson Cavani, and Robin van Persie come to mind as players who appear set for a big payday.
But, if Jurgen Klopp and Alan Pardew have taught us anything it is that sometimes less can get you more.
What follows is a starting 11 which you could assemble in the Premier League for less than £11 million apiece.
Figures are based on a compilation of news reports and third party valuations from transfermarkt.co.uk. Players are placed within a 4-2-3-1 formation.
GK: Tim Howard, Everton £6.6M
Howard continuously turns in consistent performances for both club and country and earns his inclusion as the only American on this list.
Howard turned in 12 clean sheets and 95 saves for Everton this season.
His exploits as an international for the United States also bear recognition. He has been the unchallenged starter since Brad Friedel stepped down and is a vocal leader on the pitch.
Few can forget his Golden Glove performance at the 2009 Confederations Cup.
RB: Rafael, Manchester United £7M
Goal.com reported last week that Rafael is replacing Dani Alves in the Brazilian starting lineup. There is a reason.
While twin brother Fabio has struggled, Rafael has slowly been earning his keep at Old Trafford.
At just 21 years of age, the Red Devils' right back has a bright future ahead of him.
However, his profile is still low enough that he could be made available for less than the likes of Glen Johnson, Micah Richards, or Pablo Zabaleta.
CB: Brede Hangeland, Fulham £8.8M
The Norwegian has been the heart of Fulham’s defense since 2007.
At 6 ft. 6 ½ inches tall, he is an opposing force and excellent in the air.
My only regret is that he chose to play for Norway rather than the United States at the international level. The 30 year old center back was born in Houston, Texas.
CB: Ryan Shawcross, Stoke City £7.5M
Shawcross anchors the line for Tony Pulis’ defensive unit. The 24 year-old defender from Chester performed admirably in that capacity in 2011.
Stoke plays a brand of football which is hard on the eyes, but produces results. They routinely pack eight into the box, placing a tremendous amount of pressure on the back.
As captain, Shawcross leads that effort in impressive fashion. I expect to see him on the English national side as more of the old guard moves on.
LB: Benoit Assou-Ekotto £10.5M
Assou-Ekotto currently sits in poll position to edge out David Luiz of Chelsea in the annual Side-Show Bob doppelganger contest. Carles Puyol gets the bronze.
Hair aside, there is nothing funny about his football. Benoit has done an outstanding job of providing consistency within a defense that has had personnel problems all year.
Rumors abound that he may have a few suitors coming to London this summer.
CDM: Mohamed Diame, Wigan Athletic £Free
The Mail reports that Wigan's star midfielder is set to snub Arsenal, Spurs, and Liverpool on his way to Manuel Pellegrini's Malaga side.
Diame provides the steel in Wigan's defense and helped propel them to some impressive results to avoid the drop.
At this point, you have to ask the question. What is Grant Whelan doing at Wigan?
The team appears set to lost both Diame and Victor Moses for a combined £3 million this summer.
ACM: Gareth Barry, Manchester City £10.5M
Gareth Barry’s career has grown exponentially since leaving Aston Villa for Eastlands in 2009.
He is a quintessential holding midfielder and exhibits outstanding composure on the ball.
At 31, Barry is valued quite inexpensively, however I do not see Roberto Mancini allowing his exit any time soon.
Expect him to feature prominently for the Three Lions this summer.
RW: David "Junior" Hoilett, Blackburn, Free
Another player who makes this list more because he is between contracts than because of actual value.
He will be a big loss for EPL fans.
Hoilett lights up the wings and gave Blackburn fans something to cheer about all season.
LW: Adam Johnson, Manchester City £10M
The Mirror reports that Johnson is surplus to requirements at Eastlands and may be available for just £10 million.
Why this guy has not gotten more of a shot in Manchester I do not understand. Why this guy did not deserve a place ahead of Stewart Downing for England I also do not understand.
But that’s football. A change of scenery should pay huge dividends for a young winger who has many years of great football left.
CF: Gylfi Sigurdsson, Swansea City £5.3M
The 22 year-old Icelandic talent joined the Welsh club in January and did not look back.
Most players struggle to adjust to the speed of the Premier League. Sigurdsson went the other way, and won Player of the Month for March.
Whether or not Rogers can hang on to this prized talent remains to be seen.
ST: Demba Ba, Newcastle United £7M
In reality, Ba is worth far more than the figure quoted.
However, there is a rumored buy-out clause written into his contract which makes him available far below his market rate.
Accordingly, Abramovich is inquiring into him as a replacement for Didier Drogba.
Ba scored 16 league goals and is being called the signing of the season in the Mail.
So that's my list. Make of it what you will.
If you disagree, who would you add/replace and why?