2013 had a summer of spending like no other. Huge amounts of cash were blown on star names across Europe, and even Arsenal were convinced to part ways with £42 million in cold, hard cash.
What about the bargain buys, the steals, the coups? From Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Christian Eriksen, there were some stellar (and much cheaper) deals brokered during the transfer window.
Over the following slides, we look at 10 players who already look like fantastic pieces of business for their respective clubs.
Arranged in order of price, from highest to lowest, all the names you will find in this slideshow cost less than £20 million, with no loan moves included.
Anyone you would add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below!
All stats and transfer fees sourced on Transfermarkt.
The World Cup winner with the icy stare holds plenty of promise, but at this early stage, it feels like Jesus Navas is yet to hit his stride. At a cost of £17.5 million, he could turn out to be a steal for Manchester City.
Impressive at Toulouse, Capoue was brought in by Tottenham Hotspur for a relatively cheap £9.7 million. Injury has kept him out of Spurs' last two league fixtures, but he looks like a great acquisition for the North London club.
Kolo Toure may be 32 but his free transfer from Man City to Liverpool was a great move for Brendan Rodgers' side. A little uncomfortable against Swansea and Southampton when he was pushed out into a right-back role, Toure has been a rock when playing in central defence for the Reds.
Former Celtic man Victor Wanyama arrived at Southampton over the summer for £11.5 million. The defensive midfielder has played every minute of every game this season, in which the Saints find themselves in seventh place with only one loss recorded in their first five games. The Kenyan looks like he's going to play a big part for his side this season.
The 22-year-old German is a double-edged sword. So far he has shown glimpses of brilliance in his creative play for Chelsea—most notably in the Blues' last fixture against Fulham, where he created seven chances for his team, four more than any other player.
According to EPLindex.com, Schurrle is the Premier League's third-most creative player, behind Eden Hazard and Kyle Walker. However, in front of goal, he can be wasteful. In a 1-0 loss to Everton, he missed a number of opportunities in a match where Chelsea registered 21 shots on goal and scored nil. Whether Schurrle turns out to be a bargain at £19.3 million, remains to be seen.
The headlines may have been devoted to another midfielder arriving at the Emirates Stadium this summer, but Flamini's return to Arsenal was a shrewd move by club and player alike.
The 29-year-old, who rejoined on a free transfer, looks like he's never been away. He has already shown that he's lost none of his combative edge, imposing himself on the Gunners' games straight away, dictating the midfield play and looking like an absolute bargain.
Eriksen scores his first goal for Spurs against Tromso in the Europa League.
Christian Eriksen joined Spurs this summer for £16 million—a fee that could prove to be one of the steals of the season.
Highly rated and well-hyped before his arrival in the Premier League, the 21-year-old has not just lived up to expectations—he has far exceeded them.
The Danish midfielder has taken no time to bed in with Andre Villas-Boas' side. Calm and confident, he's already shown how skillful he can be in his two top-flight games for Spurs, most notably against Norwich where he played a part in each of Gylfi Sigurdsson's goals in the 2-0 win.
And, perhaps more importantly, he can do this.
According to Colin Mafham in the Express, Eriksen turned down a move to Manchester City before signing for Spurs. He was also a long-term interest for Liverpool, as seen in this article I wrote for B/R in May (h/t Independent).
A star of the future? James McCarthy.
Brought in to replace Marouane Fellaini in Everton's midfield, James McCarthy had big boots to fill. Unfazed by the task, McCarthy and 19-year-old Ross Barkley already have Toffees fans asking, "Marouane who…?"
McCarthy is a superb addition to a Roberto Martinez side whose tactics are based on keeping possession with composed, measured passing. As detailed on Squawka, the Republic of Ireland international was bettered by only five players in the Premier League in terms of number of passes made last season, with an overall accuracy rate of 87 percent.
Only 22, McCarthy has already played 117 games in the Premier League and he was part of the Wigan side that won the FA Cup last term. If he continues his ascent, he could be one of the top-flight's best midfielders over the next 10 years.
Signed from Vitesse Arnhem for £12.2 million, Bony's record of 31 goals in 30 Eredivisie games looked great on paper.
In the flesh, Bony looks just as good. He's slipped seamlessly into Michael Laudrup's Swansea side—the Ivorian has already scored one in the top flight, four in the Europa League (two in qualifiers) and notched one in the League Cup.
In a season where the Swans need squad depth and experience as they mount a challenge both domestically and in the Europa League, Bony looks to be a valuable asset.
Image from Bundesliga.com
Aubameyang joined the Bundesliga side from Saint Etienne and the 24-year-old has already proven his worth. With one strike in the DFB Pokal and five goals and two assists in six Bundesliga games, including a hat-trick on his debut, he has taken no time at all to bed in at Signal Iduna Park.
"I owe a lot to Jurgen Klopp, who's given me a lot of confidence," Aubameyang said on Goal.com. "Plus the team has received me really well. When everything goes well like this, it's great to be out there on the pitch and see the hard work pay off."
Aubameyang—a snip at £11.4 million.
Juve's Angelo Ogbonna.
Yet Angelo Ogbonna is knocking on the door of the Juventus first team.
Signed over the summer from Torino, he could be a stalwart at the back for years to come.
Left-footed, strong and with a pace sometimes found lacking in the Juve back line, it looks like Ogbonna could be a natural heir to 29-year-old Chiellini.
Given time, the Italy international should turn into one of Serie A's and the Azzurri's best defenders. In itself, that makes him a steal at £11.4 million.
Simon Mignolet is currently one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League.
After plying his trade with Sunderland for three seasons, the Belgian was snapped up by the Reds for £9 million.
It looks like Liverpool have found a long-term successor for Pepe Reina in the 25-year-old. In his short time at Anfield, Mignolet has already kept three clean sheets, saved a penalty and played a huge role in Brendan Rodgers' largely successful start to the season.
Liverpool may have lost 1-0 against Southampton in their last top-flight outing, but without Mignolet in goal the damage would have been a lot worse—this triple save being one of the highlights of the game.
Bringing Mignolet to Anfield was a superb piece of business from Rodgers.
The Croatian centre-back arrived at St. Mary's over the summer with little fanfare, when much of the talk was centered on Victor Wanyama and Pablo Osvaldo.
However, it looks like the 24-year-old former Lyon man will eclipse them both. Signed for just £8.8 million, Lovren has played every minute of every game for the Saints this season—with Mauricio Pochettino's side conceding just two goals in five top-flight games.
It looks like Lovren is striking up a great partnership with fellow defender Jose Fonte and, with years ahead of him, could prove to be a very astute signing for the St. Mary's side.
Love him or loathe him, it's hard to deny that, underneath it all, Carlos Tevez is an incredible striker.
Juventus moved swiftly over the summer when it came to buying the Argentine striker. Tevez, who was in the final year of his contract at Manchester City, sealed a three-year contract for £7.9 million (plus add-ons) in June.
He's already scored four goals for Juve, three in Serie A and one in the Supercoppa.
Juve manager Antonio Conte has been at pains to point out that his side are not dependent upon Tevez to win their third Scudetto in as many years, as seen on Goal.com:
Of course Tevez brought something more to the team in terms of skills. He is a champion and I'm very happy to have him. But we shouldn't forget that in the previous two years, Juventus managed to win without Tevez.
Tevez is part of a game which can enhance his skills and his skills can enhance our game. We have never depended on anyone and we never will. That is not my idea of football.
Signed for less than £8 million, Tevez provides great value for money.
The words "Hull" and "phenomenal" don't often crop up in the same sentence but, dare I say it, Tom Huddlestone's move to the KC Stadium can be described as such.
The midfielder racked up over 200 performances for Spurs before finding himself increasingly marginalized and was sold this summer for £5.1 million.
It was the 26-year-old's performance against Newcastle at the weekend that saw Hull run out as victors in the 3-2 win—the former England international dominating the game in midfield.
The small number of clubs interested in Huddlestone over the summer suggests he is somewhat underrated. The midfielder may lack pace but he makes up for it with his versatility and his vision. Compared to Glenn Hoddle in the past, he is a truly excellent passer of the ball who, according to EPL Index, is creating a chance every 38 minutes this season.
Hull manager Steve Bruce was quoted by Mark Ogden in the Telegraph, as saying:
He's such a natural footballer, he sees a pass, takes a pass, has both-foot control, and he’ll only get better playing every week. I can’t remember the last time he’s played 90 minutes of a competitive game and we are delighted to get him. When you have that ability, he’s just a wonderful footballer and makes it look so easy.
Hull will struggle this season, and a player like Huddlestone may well be the difference in staying up or going down.
At just over £2 million, Norwich bagged one of the best deals of the summer in Nathan Redmond.
A host of clubs, including Manchester City and Liverpool (as seen on talkSPORT), were rumoured to be interested in signing the winger last January, but it was Chris Hughton that brought him to Carrow Road from former club Birmingham City.
Redmond has played for England at every level up to the Under-21s, where he is a regular. He is widely regarded to be in Roy Hodgson's senior team before long.
Only 19, his performances for the Canaries are already winning him plaudits. He turned in a Man of the Match performance against Southampton in Norwich's first win of the 2013/14 season, with his link-up play with fellow new-boy Leroy Fer pointing to a successful partnership for years to come.
Norwich may find themselves currently occupying 17th place in the Premier League, but in Redmond they do have a genuinely exciting star for the future.