Here are the five smartest summer transfer moves for £5 million or under.
Arsène Wenger once signed Nicolas Anelka for £500,000 before selling him for £22.3 million. The French manager signed a world-class talent for a bargain-basement transfer fee before making a substantial profit. Talk about a genius.
These players have the potential to become their team's MVP.
From Bayer Leverkusen to Schalke For Free
When Switzerland outclassed Germany 5-3, Benedikt Höwedes was at sixes and sevens trying to defend Tranquillo Barnetta.
Even though he has an extended history of hip and knee injuries, Schalke were right to gamble for two reasons: 1. He is a make-something-happen type of midfielder, and 2. He was signed on a Bosman.
From Stuttgart to Reading For Free
When Pavel Pogrebnyak played for Stuttgart, he looked lethargic and clumsy. He turned into Eduard Streltsov during his loan spell at Fulham—that’s how good the 28-year-old played.
Keep in mind, Pogrebnyak profited from Clint Dempsey’s runs and Moussa Dembélé’s creativity.
The Russian was signed on a Bosman, so it’s a safe and logical move for Reading, who should expect 10-15 league goals this season.
From Rayo Vallecano to Swansea City For £2 Million
Swansea City’s brains trusts have consistently signed quality players at bargain-basement transfer fees: Michel Vorm, Danny Graham, Scott Sinclair, Àngel Rangel, Leon Britton.
Last season, Brendan Rodgers brilliantly took advantage of Gylfi Sigurðsson’s awkward situation at Hoffenheim, and the Icelander became an elite Premier League on loan for the Swans.
Now Michael Laudrup has persuaded Michu, a classic overachiever with high intangibles, to sign with Swansea.
Michu scored 15 league goals last season, taking 5.9 shots per goal, whilst playing with an agricultural Rayo Vallecano side. Rayo Vallecano is a team more known for their ravenous ability to win back possession, as epitomised by Javi Fuego, who was arguably the best ball winner in Europe last season.
From Feyenoord to Aston Villa For £2.5 Million
Was Karim El Ahmadi Feyenoord’s best player last season? No, Jordy Clasie was. However El Ahmadi’s experience, his ability to make tackles and complete incisive passes was a factor in Clasie’s rise to prominence.
As the Premier League’s reputation continues to grow, you’ll see more of these moves, where low-mid-tier Premier League clubs sign top-notch players for modest transfer fees.
Look at the impact Cheick Tioté made in the Premier League. El Ahmadi is a more calculated tackler and a better technician. Logic tells you that El Ahmadi will succeed in the Premier League.
If there isn’t an opening, El Ahmadi won’t launch a Hollywood pass like Charlie Adam, but the Moroccan will dink his way past his marker and make a high-percentage pass.
He is a thinking footballer who operates excellently with and without possession—what a wonderful signing by Villa.
From Fiorentina to AC Milan For Free
Riccardo Montolivo’s 6.4 tackles/interceptions per game proves how invaluable he is from a defensive perspective.
That isn’t even his best attribute because he is a world-class passer who can control the tempo of the game and create from a deep-lying position.