Weep tears of joy!
Premier League football for the 2013-14 season has begun. With the first round of fixtures well underway, it's common to instantly regret every decision you've made. Did you put Simon Mignolet into your team before moving him out at the last minute? Don't be disheartened, a long and torturous season awaits.
With so many high-profile players up for grabs, it's easy to forget about how low-cost individuals can boost your squad. Separating Gareth Bale from Juan Mata isn't the clever bit of the game; it's those who can dig up a bargain who often prosper.
Which budget signings should you consider across the season? Using the Barclays Premier League version of the game, let's take a look.
Nathan Redmond, Norwich, £5 million
Redmond is one of the Premier League’s most interesting prospects heading into the new campaign. The 19-year-old represents good value-for-money in the midfield position for a Norwich City team that is looking to be on the up.
Chris Hughton is likely to utilise Redmond between the midfield and forward lines, with the youngster supporting forwards such as Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper. He is sharp on the ball and keen to pick quickly and turn possession over to those ahead of him.
Most importantly, Redmond is the type of player who quickly gains value after decent performances. At only £5 million, many individuals will pick him up once his talents are highlighted on the big stage.
Matthew Lowton, Aston Villa, £5 million
With a Premier League season already under his belt, Lowton should be considered by players who are looking to cut back on expensive defenders.
The 24-year-old attacking full-back loves to tackle. Lowton showed himself to be a determined battler in a difficult 12-13 season for the Villains. He should be confident after playing even better alongside improved team performances.
Plus, he’s capable of the spectacular.
Jermaine Pennant, Stoke City, £4.5 million
One has to question the sanity on this one, as Jermaine Pennant is one of English football’s forgotten men. The English winger started Mark Hughes’ first competitive game as Stoke boss and was unlucky to be on the end of a 1-0 loss to Liverpool.
At £4.5 million, he is one of the cheapest players in the game. On his day, Pennant is a direct, skillful and pacey attacker who can deliver accurate balls into the box. With forwards such as Peter Crouch and Kenwyne Jones lumbering around the area, this could produce a steady flow of points.
Cabral, Sunderland, £4.5 million
Paolo Di Canio’s new signing, whose full name is Adilson Tavares Varela, offers a presence of protection for Sunderland. He is a holding midfielder who likes to do the simple things correctly, including short passes and sticking to his positional duties.
Cabral is exactly the kind of player Di Canio will keep faith in. His determination to perform well in an unglamorous role should add a sense of grit to the Black Cats’ updated squad. For such a cheap price, he is likely to add a continuous stream of points across the entire year.
Which low-cost players are you picking up this season? Let me know in the comments section and be sure to hit me up on Twitter: