The Premier League's 10 Best Buys Under £10 Million
The summer transfer window is now shut. We can all breathe a sigh of relief.
The Premier League outspent the rest of Europe this summer with expenditure in excess of £610 million. The past few months have been awash with stories of big-money moves and mega-deals.
Transfer record fees have been smashed left, right and center, but mostly it seems at White Hart Lane.
Over the following slides, we tip our hat to a selection of less expensive players, listed in order of highest to lowest transfer fee.
All bought for less than £10 million, these players could have a huge impact with their respective new teams.
Is there anyone you'd like to see in the top 10? Let us know in the comments section below!
Transfer: Toulouse—Tottenham Hotspur
Fee: £9.6 million
The highly-rated defensive midfielder was being tracked by a number of clubs over the summer.
From a defensive midfield position, Capoue scored seven goals in 34 games for Toulouse last season.
The 24-year-old has already featured in all three opening Premier League fixtures with Spurs and played the full 90 minutes in the side's 5-0 Europa League win at Dinamo Tbilisi.
Unfortunately for Andre Villas-Boas' side, Capoue was stretchered off in the North London derby at Arsenal with an ankle injury that will keep him out for four weeks, as reported by BBC Sport.
The future looks bright for Capoue at White Hart Lane and £9.6 million looks like a steal.
Fee: £9.3 million
According to eplindex.com, new Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saved 73 percent of shots on target during the 2012/13 season, 68 percent of shots faced from inside the box and 45 percent of clear-cut chances conceded by Sunderland.
This term the Belgian has already acquitted himself incredibly well. With a penalty save on his Liverpool debut against Stoke City, and this crucial save against Christian Benteke when the Reds took on Aston Villa, it's no wonder that Liverpool have managed to keep three clean sheets in their opening fixtures.
Mignolet already looks like a top replacement for Pepe Reina and, at 25, has years ahead of him.
His performances have seen Liverpool enjoy their best start to a top-flight season since 1994. Bought for £9.3 million, Mignolet is a bargain of the highest order.
Transfer: Tottenham Hotspur—Cardiff City
Fee: £8 million
Steven Caulker's move to Cardiff City was a stroke of genius from the Welsh side, albeit a strange destination for the highly-rated defender.
Former teammate Angel Rangel commented on the transfer, suggesting that Caulker could have signed for an even bigger club. He was quoted by the Independent saying:
Being an England international and playing for Spurs, with respect, you would expect him to go to a big club.
He could play for Arsenal or these kind of teams. He's gone to Cardiff for some reason, I didn't expect it, but he knows he will probably be playing regularly, week-in, week-out.
Last season, Caulker made 18 appearances for Spurs in the Premier League, scored two goals and also received a call-up for England, when he scored in the 4-2 defeat by Sweden.
Two years ago Caulker spent a season on loan at Swansea, under Brendan Rodgers. The team finished 11th in their first season in the top-flight, so he knows what's required of a team trying to stay up in the Premier League.
Caulker has played every minute for Cardiff so far this season and looks set to be one of the signings of the summer for Malky Mackay's side.
Fee: £6.6 million
Paolo Di Canio's decision to bring in 14 new players over the transfer window is going to be one of two things—a masterstroke or the beginning of the end of his tenure as Sunderland manager.
Amid a slew of new players, several names stand out as very good buys and the pick of the bunch is Emanuele Giaccherini.
One point from a possible nine indicates that it may not have been a wise move to try and gel so many new players, but Giaccherini could turn out to be a key player for Sunderland this season.
For a start, he comes fresh from winning back-to-back Scudettos with Juventus, he has represented Italy 14 times, and was an outstanding performer at the recent Confederations Cup, where he scored this world-class goal against hosts Brazil.
Giaccherini doesn't score a lot of goals but he has a tireless work rate and can play in any midfield position. With the departure of Stephane Sessegnon on transfer deadline day, as seen on BBC Sport, Giaccherini is an ideal candidate to replace the Benin international.
A great buy for under £7 million.
Fee: £4.9 million
He hasn't had the best of starts at Craven Cottage, yet Maarten Stekelenburg still represents one of the best buys of the summer.
The goalkeeper played 76 minutes of Fulham's season-opener against Sunderland, making a string of fine saves before a shoulder injury forced him to be replaced by David Stockdale.
With Stekelenburg in goal for the majority of their first game, Fulham won 1-0. Subsequent matches with Stockdale between the sticks has seen the Cottagers lose 1-3 and 1-0 to Arsenal and Newcastle, respectively.
As per EPLindex.com, Stekelenburg's average saves per game is far lower than the departed Mark Schwarzer, with 1.89 to Schwarzer's 3.58.
However, in terms of distribution, Stekelenburg is top, with success rate of 83 percent to Schwarzer's 57 percent.
The 30-year-old's move to the Premier League has echoes of Edwin van der Sar's move from Juventus to Fulham in 2001. The pair both played for Ajax before moving to Serie A, followed by moves to the Premier League with Fulham.
Van der Sar went on to great things with Manchester United. Maybe there is still more to come from his countryman, who signed a four-year deal with the Cottagers in June.
Transfer: FC Twente—Norwich City
Fee: £4.8 million
Norwich have made some very astute buys over the summer, bringing in a raft of attack-minded players that should see them finish in the top-half of the table.
Of course, it's early days, but fans of the Canaries have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the 2013/14 campaign.
Leroy Fer is one such reason.
Signed from Eredivisie side FC Twente for less than £5 million, he represents very good business. Especially considering he was reportedly on the brink of moving to Everton for almost double that price last January, before the deal fell through.
Best in a central position, Fer can play anywhere in midfield. He has already shown what he's capable of in Norwich's 1-0 win against Southampton—the Dutchman was voted man of the match, bagged an assist and had the highest pass-completion rate of any player at 94 percent.
FC Nordsjaelland—Aston Villa
Fee: £4.1 million
Jores Okore looks like a 20-year-old with a big future. After impressing for FC Nordsjaelland against Chelsea in the Champions League group stages last season, the Blues tried to sign him. However, Okore turned down a move to Stamford Bridge in January, as seen on Skysports.com.
He played a full 90 minutes in Aston Villa's 1-0 loss to Liverpool last month but it was against Chelsea that he really impressed again.
Okore came on in the 43rd minute for for Ciaran Clark. He then proceeded to man-mark Demba Ba out of the game.
He's big, strong, quick and remarkably assured for his years. Paul Lambert acted well to bring Okore to Villa Park. A snip at £4.1 million.
Transfer: Birmingham City—Norwich City
Fee: £2 million, plus add-ons
Nineteen-year-old Nathan Redmond has taken no time at all to bed in at Carrow Road.
Norwich were one of the top-flight's lowest-scoring teams last season, with just 41 goals. However, Chris Hughton's side look set to be a lot more attack-minded this term as their recent arrivals indicate—Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Johan Elmander, Fer and Gary Hooper all joining over the summer.
However, it looks like Redmond may be one of Hughton's best new signings. Already a regular with the England U21s, the tricky winger can use both feet and can utilise his speed to devastating effect.
In his first two games for Norwich, he attempted 15 dribbles, successfully completing 67 percent and, as reported on EPLindex.com, Redmond was responsible for the most shots in the team, with a 50 percent shooting accuracy.
His accuracy needed no testing against Southampton, where he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win, sealing his side's first three points of the 2013/14 campaign.
Redmond looks like a genuine star for the future. Snapped up by Hughton for just £2 million, he represents great value.
Transfer: Manchester City—Liverpool
Kolo Toure is a contender for one of the transfers of the season. So far, at least, Liverpool have had a perfect record—played three, won three and kept three clean sheets. The Ivorian was instrumental in two of those games.
Liverpool showed how effective he has been in his opening fixtures with the club when they tweeted last week: "Kolo Toure has played more passes than anyone on the field - 85 - and has an incredible accuracy of 97.6 per cent."
At 32, it was thought that Toure would be a back-up player for Rodgers' side but he is already proving to be an integral part of the Liverpool defence, especially in the air.
In the Reds' opening game with Stoke, Toure won four aerial duels—more than any of his teammates.
Against Aston Villa, he kept Christian Benteke quiet, winning 2/3 aerial duels, whereas Benteke won 5/12.
After an injury sustained while playing in the Capital One Cup against Notts County, Toure did not feature in Liverpool's 1-0 win against Manchester United.
Signed by Manchester City for £16 million in 2009/10, the acquisition of Toure on a free transfer is a major coup for Liverpool.
Transfer: Anzhi Makhachkala—Chelsea
Samuel Eto'o, four-time African Footballer of the Year, signed for Chelsea for free last week.
The Cameroon international became the second player to sign for Chelsea from Anzhi Makhachkala within two days, after Willian penned a deal for £33 million.
When the 32-year-old agreed a one-year deal with Jose Mourinho's side, he told the club's official website:
I am very happy to be here but also anxious because I want to get playing as soon as possible.
It wasn't a hard decision. I saw the qualities Chelsea have and I was very happy with Jose Mourinho before, so when the opportunity came, I was very happy to take it.
Eto'o won the treble under Mourinho at Inter in 2010. Whether he's a Premier League hit or not, it's still exciting to see the striker ply his trade in the Premier League.
Chelsea have nothing to lose and everything to gain by bringing Eto'o on board.
Transfer: Anzhi Makhachkala—Chelsea
Samuel Eto’o, four time African Footballer of the Year, signed for Chelsea for free last week.
The Cameroon international became the second player to sign for Chelsea from Anzhi Makhachkala, after Willian had already penned a deal for £33 million.
The 32-year-old agreed a one-year deal with Jose Mourinho’s side.
"I am very happy to be here but also anxious because I want to get playing as soon as possible.
"It wasn't a hard decision. I saw the qualities Chelsea have and I was very happy with José Mourinho before, so when the opportunity came, I was very happy to take it."
Eto’o achieved monumental success in his career with Barcelona and Inter Milan. He may not be the player he was in the early Noughties but he may turn out to be one of the coups of the summer.
Won the treble with Mourinho at Inter in 2010. It will be exciting to see him in the top-flight.