There’s Chelsea spending £50 million on Fernando Torres, and then there’s Manchester United signing Eric Cantona for £1.2 million.
The reason why Zlatan Ibrahimović is the most expensive footballer in terms of combined transfer fee is because he’s bankable.
In an ideal world, clubs want to short-change opposing clubs for proven commodity.
Here are the top nine best-value forward transfers of the summer. It does not include loan deals, and transfer fees cannot exceed £15 million (€19.1 million).
From FC Twente to Borussia Mönchengladbach: €15 million (£11.8 million)
Luuk De Jong is worth €25 million, not €15 million. Twente sold themselves short with their two most valuable assets in Ola John and De Jong.
Once Dusan Tadić becomes a household name, don’t be surprised if Twente sell themselves short a third time.
The club need to learn how to inflate transfer fees like Porto.
Here’s a look at Borussia Mönchengladbach’s impressive spine:
GK: Marc-André ter Stegen; world-class goalkeeper at 20 years of age.
CB: Álvaro Domínguez; classy 23-year-old defender.
CM: Granit Xhaka; 19-year-old midfield genius.
CF: Luuk De Jong; 21-year-old who will produce some highlight-reel moments.
From Roma to Liverpool: £11 million (€14 million)
Liverpool signing Fabio Borini from Roma is easily the weirdest transfer signing this summer.
Roma spent €1.25 million to sign Borini on loan from Parma, paid €2.3 million for co-ownership and then signed the forward outright for €5.3 million.
In total, they spent €8.85 million and then inexplicably sold the Italian to Liverpool for a €5.15 million profit. Borini was Roma’s second most valuable Under-21 asset behind Erik Lamela. The club’s decision made no sense whatsoever.
Borini plays with a chip on his shoulder because Chelsea management didn’t rate him. Last season, he still scored goals despite starting from a wide position, which demonstrates superb poaching ability and great positional awareness.
He has the will of a champion and will rise to the occasion just like Filippo Inzaghi.
Borini has the ability to score 15-25 goals per season. For £11 million, this is an excellent signing by Brendan Rodgers.
From Lech Poznań to Hamburg: €3.5 million (£2.7 million)
Hamburg will be hoping that Artjoms Rudņevs’ productivity is similar to former Lech Poznań forward Robert Lewandowski.
During the team's 2010-11 Europa League campaign, Rudņevs memorably dismantled Juventus’ defence with an astonishing hat trick.
The problem with Rudņevs joining Hamburg isn’t him, but the midfielders. The team's midfield was so unproductive last season that their most dangerous passer was left-back Dennis Aogo.
From Werder Bremen to Bayern Munich: Bosman
Claudio Pizarro was an elite forward last season, even though he was impeded by his teammates.
Markus Rosenberg’s shooting was dreadful and Mehmet Ekici was missing in action. Meanwhile, when Marko Marin played, he was anonymous and out of position as the No. 10.
With Mario Gómez out for six weeks, Pizarro’s signing looks even more impressive.
From Montpellier to Arsenal: £12 million (€15.3 million)
Last December, Montpellier’s maverick president Louis Nicollin demanded £42-50 million for Olivier Giroud.
Six months later, Nicollin went from pricing Arsenal out of a move to underselling Giroud to the Gunners for only £12 million.
Arsène Wenger has managed to secure another highly advantageous deal for Arsenal with this move. If Chelsea were interested, they would have signed the French forward for £30 million.
From Köln to Arsenal: £10.9 million (€13.9 million)
Lukas Podolski can play out wide, but he doesn’t want to play there and he’s better centrally.
Last season, Podolski managed to score 78 percent of his league goals as the make-shift No. 9 after Köln deemed Milivoje Novakovič redundant.
Podolski’s best position is as a deep-lying forward. Arsenal’s attacking trio in the 4-2-3-1 formation should comprise Theo Walcott, Podolski in the middle and Santi Cazorla as the workaholic false winger.
If Podolski plays as a deep-lying forward, he’ll score 20 goals and provide 15 assists.
Transfer genius Arsène Wenger foresaw Robin van Persie’s despicable, traitorous and Judas-like behaviour.
Le Professeur signed two elite forwards in Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud for a combined £22.9 million, knowing that he’d receive around £20-30 million for Van Persie.
In the end, the £24 million transfer of Van Persie to Manchester United leaves Wenger with an extra £1.1 million to spend.
Here are Wenger’s five shrewdest signings at £1.1 million or lower.
1. Nicolas Anelka (£500,000)
2. Sol Campbell (Bosman)
3. Kolo Touré (£150,000)
4. Alex Song (£1 million)
5. Mathieu Flamini (Bosman)
From Borussia Mönchengladbach to Borussia Dortmund: €17.5 million (£13.7 million)
It’s not just Marco Reus’ goals, but his dribbling and his ability to produce something out of nothing. Reus had the highest kicker rating last season and he was voted the German Player of the Year by the nation’s esteemed sports journalists.
Reus, who was a world-class forward for extended periods of last season, only cost Dortmund €17.5 million, which is around £13.7 million. Meanwhile, Liverpool wasted £35 million on Andy Carroll.
From Rayo Vallecano to Swansea City: £2 million (€2.6 million)
If you have a top-heavy forward line in fantasy football, Michu is the perfect mid-priced midfielder for you.
Rayo Vallecano listed Michu as a midfielder even though he clearly played as a deep-lying forward. The team's midfield was packed with agricultural tacklers, marshalled by the Honey Badger-esque Javi Fuego, yet Michu somehow scored 15 La Liga goals last season.
|Fantasy Premier League||£6.5m||1.8|
|Sky Sports Fantasy Football||£5.5m||1.2|
|ESPN Premier Fantasy||£5.5m||0.4|
|Telegraph Fantasy Football||£3.3m||1.7|
Tim Cahill's intangibles were the reasons why he was so successful for Everton. Michu is a taller version of Cahill, who spends a bit more time in the final third. The Spaniard will make some of the smartest runs you’ll ever see.
From Trabzonspor to Galatasaray: €5 million (£3.9 million)
There is only one expression in response to hearing Trabzonspor sold Burak Yılmaz for €5 million.
Talk about Trabzonspor screwing themselves over big-time.
Burak Yılmaz scored 33 goals in 34 league games last season, yet he was only sold for €5 million. According to Turkish-Football.com, Trabzonspor had inserted a paltry €5 million release clause in his contract, which Galatasaray gleefully activated.
If Yılmaz produces a Metin Oktay-like season, expect Galatasaray to shop Yılmaz around and possibly sell him for a minimum of €25 million. Anything lower, and Galatasaray should just keep Yılmaz and let him run riot in the Süper Lig.