With the exception of free-spending Manchester City, it has been a relatively quiet summer transfer window thus far. With the current tightening of finances across the Premiership, teams have been looking to pick up bargains from far and wide.
Whilst transfer fees of £10m used to be commonplace, only Manchester City and Manchester United have paid that figure for players this summer. Many deals are believed to be on hold for James Milner’s potential move to Manchester City to be confirmed, injecting cash into the English transfer market.
However, as teams look to build the squads to achieve their targets, whether that be to wrestle the title away from Chelsea, challenge for European football, or merely ensure their survival in the top flight, there have been a number of successful and promising transfers for smaller figures already. We'll look at some of the best signings thus far.
Jermaine Beckford has long been linked with a move to the Premiership after three successful seasons at Leeds, where he scored 72 goals in 115 league starts for the club. He hit the headlines when he scored the goal at Old Trafford that knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup last season.
Though an excellent finisher, he is unproven above the third tier of English football. David Moyes has taken a gamble on Beckford, but considering he came in on a free transfer, almost any success will represent an impressive return. He has the potential to be an excellent signing if he can make the step up.
Much of Birmingham’s success last season came from the strength of their defense, and particularly the presence of Joe Hart in goal. Having lost Hart, they needed a quality replacement, and, in Ben Foster, they seem to have found the man.
Formerly tipped as a future England international, Foster suffered from a lack of first team opportunities at Manchester United. He also suffered a little when under the intense spotlight at Old Trafford. However, he has proven in the past, at Watford, that he is a quality Premiership goalkeeper. At Watford, he won the ‘Player of the Year’ award, despite relegation.
Ben Foster will jump at the opportunity for regular football and will be looking to prove that he can fulfill the potential he showed as a youngster. An excellent signing for Birmingham.
Steven Fletcher was one of Burnley’s best players last year, scoring eight league goals in 35 appearances for the struggling Premiership side. Wolves found it difficult to find a regular partner for the impressive Kevin Doyle last season, with Ebanks-Blake, Maierhofer, and Keogh all proving that they were not quite good enough to make the step up.
The signing of Fletcher, a proven Premier League goal-scorer, is a great coup for Wolves. He can also cover just behind the striker or on either wing, should the situation arise. While he may not be the most fashionable signing of the transfer window, he has the potential to be one of the best deals.
The Egyptian defender already has 42 caps at age 22, and has been a long-time target of Sunderland manager Steve Bruce. Dubbed the ‘Egyptian David Beckham,’ he can play as a fullback or on the wing. He will provide pace and an excellent delivery from wide areas.
Given the fact that he has been brought in on loan, with an option to buy at the end of the season, he is a low risk signing. But, he has the potential to provide an excellent return on the £500k that Sunderland rumoured to have paid for the deal. If he can live up to his burgeoning reputation, Sunderland could have found themselves a bargain.
Martin Petrov’s Manchester City career was blighted by injury, making only 59 appearances in his 3 years at the club. An experienced international winger, he is known for his powerful shots, ability to go past players, and provide quality deliveries from the flanks.
He will prove an astute signing by Bolton manager Owen Coyle, particularly with his ability to create something out of nothing. Bolton fans will be hoping that he can create opportunities for the likes of Kevin Davies, so he can rediscover his top scoring form that once propelled the club into Europe.
After losing four central defenders this summer, Arsenal needed to find at least one quality replacement in this position. It looks as though they may have found one in Laurent Koscielny.
A player that relishes the physical side of the game will bring an added steel to an often fragile Arsenal backline, and if he can form a close partnership with Thomas Vermaelen, Arsenal will be confident of keeping more clean sheets than last season. At 6'1, he will also provide a bit of height to the Arsenal backline.
Jerome Boateng is one of the rising stars of German football, having broken into the national team ahead of the World Cup. He was a key part of the Hamburg team that reached the semi-finals of last year’s Europa League, and looks to be a promising talent.
Manchester City spent £11m to make him their first signing of the season, and he will be a regular part of their defense as they look to push on and make a realistic challenge for the title.
Javier Hernandez was unknown to many when his move to Manchester United was announced last year, but he has the potential to become a top quality striker. He has the natural instinct, combined with pace and power that belies his short stature, to prove himself in the Premiership.
Two goals in the World Cup showed that he has the quality to play at the top level. He will provide a welcome alternative to the unpredictable Dimitar Berbatov as Manchester United looks to try and regain their Premiership title from Chelsea.
When it was announced that Joe Cole would be available on a free transfer, it was obvious that he would become one of the most sought after players over the summer. This was proved with Tottenham, West Ham, and Liverpool, amongst others, trying to entice him to their clubs. Despite Tottenham appearing to be the favourite, he decided to move to Anfield.
He will provide extra quality to Liverpool and will help to take some of the creative responsibility off the shoulders of Steven Gerrard. Whilst he has never been a player to score lots of goals, he has the ability to create something out of nothing. With the finishing ability of Fernando Torres up front, he could be the catalyst that sparks a Liverpool revival.
A long-time target of Arsene Wenger, Marouane Chamakh finally completed his long-anticipated move to Arsenal this summer. A proven goal-scorer at both the club and international level, his early performances for Arsenal suggest that they have found a gem.
Signed on a free transfer, he has the ability to form a dangerous partnership with Robin Van Persie up front for Arsenal. At over 6’, he is strong in the air, which will enable Arsenal to introduce another dimension into their play. If they can sort out other areas of their team, they will have the power up front to launch a serious title challenge.