EPL: The 20 Best Transfer Bargains of the Summer
Stewart Downing, Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri, Ashley Young.....
All great signings, but not bargains.
We English love a bargain, and even though we have spent £485 million over the summer, Premiership sides still search for value in the bloated transfer market.
Some bargains are risky.
Player behaviour, age and injuries all play a part in transfer value, but there are some that are absolute steals.
Of course, some of the players that make this list haven't kicked a ball for their new sides yet, so this list is sheer prediction and will be re-visited by the end of the season to see if any diamonds emerge.
20) Owen Hargreaves: Manchester City-Free
What did I say about risks?
I cannot remember Owen Hargreaves' last game.
The oft-injured, former England international will not see much immediate playing time at Manchester City, but if he can regain his fitness, expect him to be a big part of Mancini's midfield.
The Italian loves a holding midfielder, and, when fit, Hargreaves is one of the best in England.
Hargreaves was England's best player in the 2006 World Cup, and it has been such a shame that chronic knee injuries have allowed him only four appearances since 2008.
I do like the gamble, though, and feel that if City get him fit, he'll be a great asset.
And if nothing else, his being in the news means we can all watch this!
19) Demba Ba: Newcastle-Free
The Senegalese striker was hot property in the free-agent market before being snapped up by Newcastle United back in June.
After moving to West Ham United in January last year, Ba impressed many with his 7 goals in 12 games for the Hammers.
Ba scores goals and will continue to score goals at St. James' Park, and in a summer that has seen some unrest on Tyneside, Ba is a transfer silver-lining.
18) Jonathan Woodgate: Stoke City-Free
Like Owen Hargreaves, Jonathan Woodgate's career has floundered due to injury.
The once Real Madrid man found life at White Hart Lane tough as he constantly battled groin injuries and has only played four games in two years.
Woodgate can operate at a high level and has already played twice for Stoke, showing signs of being back to his best.
If Tony Pulis can keep Woodgate fit, this may be one of the most astute signings of the summer.
17) Michel Vorm: Swansea- £1.5 Million
Swansea may have been put to the sword by the best transfer of the summer, Sergio Aguero, but Michel Vorm more than held his own against the might of Manchester City.
Vorm made 11 saves at the Etihad Stadium and followed that up with a penalty save at Wigan in his next game.
The Dutch stopper will need to be at his best for the rest of the season as Swansea don't look like they'll start defending anytime soon.
16) Gael Clichy: Manchester City- £7 Million
The French left-back teeters on the brink of bargain, but £7 million for a starting defender with Premier League experience is good business in my book.
Having played nearly 200 times for Arsenal, Clichy made the Manchester switch in July and looks set to cement his place as City's starting left-back.
Clichy will have to improve his attacking play as only three assists in three years will not be good enough for Mancini and his new-found attacking flair.
15) Sebastian Larsson: Sunderland- Free
Formerly of Birmingham City, Larsson left following the Midland's club relegation and was another hot property on the Bosman market.
Sunderland got their man, and so far he has not disappointed, playing well in all three games Sunderland have had so far this season.
The Swedish international is a set-piece specialist, and his free-kicks have been ranked by Opta Sports as the most accurate in the Premier League.
14) Davide Santon: Newcastle Utd- £5.6 Million
Formerly a winger but now a full-back, Santon has earned rave reviews during his fledgling career and has been compared to Italian legend Paolo Maldini.
Know for his forward play as much as his defensive, Santon is yet to play more than 20 games in a season and needs to turn his potential into performance.
At only 20 years old, Santon could be a fantastic buy as he needs to cement a place in the Italian national side and will be hungry to impress following his inconsistent time at Inter.
Bought as a replacement to another man on this list, Jose Enrique, expect Santon to see a lot of playing time for Newcastle this season if he can stay fit.
13) Craig Bellamy: Liverpool- Free
Having already had one spell at Anfield end thanks to a 9-iron, Craig Bellamy moves back to Merseyside with a lot to prove.
Dalglish has been exceptional this transfer window, and Bellamy is the only question mark on Liverpool's summer activity.
All depends on how Bellamy takes to his a role as a bench player, if the Welshman understands his role he will thrive under Dalglish's man-management.
If Bellamy continues to moan due a reduced role, expect to see him shipped out come January.
With Suarez, Carrol and Bellamy up top, opposing defenders will face a torrid time this season when playing the Reds.
12) Roger Johnson: Wolves- £4 Million
Another ex-Birmingham City man, Johnson has obviously made an impression at Wolves as he already wears the captain's armband for the Molineux side.
Depending who you believe, Johnson either cost £4 or £7 million, but either way he is a steal.
Part of a great centre-back pairing with another list member, Scott Dann, Johnson is a born leader and is great in the air.
A League Cup Winner with Birmingham and FA Cup Finalist with Cardiff City, Johnson and his solid play is one of the reasons for the Wolves' great start to the season.
11) Joey Barton: QPR- Free
The Premiership's first Twitter philosopher, Barton was forced out of Newcastle United after a great season last year.
The Barton saga looked to be over until the final days of the transfer window when, seeking a contract extension, Newcastle told the midfielder he should look elsewhere.
The very thought of Joey Barton and Neil Warnock at the same club is exciting.
Surely there will be a bust-up before the month is over?!
Barton seems to have grown-up both on and off the pitch (just don't tell Gervinho), and his Premier League experience will be great for newly promoted Rangers.
10) Brad Friedel- Spurs- Free
I think Brad Friedel invented football, he's been playing for that long.
Listing all the teams the American shot-stopper has played for deserves it's own slideshow, and, at 40, Friedel shows no sign of slowing down.
With the incredibly inconsistent Heuerelho Gomes and ex-Chelsea keeper Carlo Cudicini also at Spurs, it's a shame Tottenham can't play all three, it might have helped them out against Manchester City!
9) Yohan Cabaye: Newcastle United- £4.8 Million
One of the more controversial names on the list, Cabaye may not be the best player signed this summer, but he is a real bargain.
A fixture in Lille's starting eleven for several years, Cabaye moved to Newcastle for the challenge of Premier League football and looks to have settled well.
Having represented France at all levels before the first team, Cabaye will only get better as his time in England grows and he learns the way of English football.
Even though he is 25, Cabaye is one to watch for the future.
8) Sebastian Coates: Liverpool- £8 Million
At 20 years old, Coates is £8 million worth of potential.
The Uruguayan international was named best young player at the Copa America and joins countryman Luis Suarez at Anfield.
By signing the centre-back to a long-term deal, Liverpool may have ensured the strength of their defence for years to come.
At 6'6", Coates seems the right size for Premier League football, but the adjustment from the South American to European game is always tricky.
Given time though, Coates will be a Liverpool star for years to come.
7) Shane Long: West Brom- £5 Million
Irishman Shane Long has started the season as good as anyone in the Premier League.
Goals against Manchester United and Chelsea would have erased the £5 million spent had West Brom been victorious in both games.
The striker has shown his lethal scoring ability and has already settled well at his new side.
Formerly of Reading, if Long continues in this form, West Brom will have the buy of the season.
6) Scott Dann: Blackburn- £6 Million
Scott Dann deserved so much better than Blackburn Rovers.
Linked throughout the summer with both Arsenal and boyhood club Liverpool, Rovers have secured the services of one of England's brightest defensive talents.
A month ago, if I was told Dann and Christopher Samba would be playing alongside each other, I'd have pictured them in Arsenal red.
If this new partnership works out, Steve Kean may have done enough to keep Blackburn in the Premier League.
5) Andre Santos: Arsenal- £6.2 Million
Any Brazilian international that costs less than £10 million is a good move.
Attacking full-back Santos may not offer much to Arsenal's ailing defense, but going forward the Brazilian will be a great asset to Wenger's side.
At 28, Santos may be a little on the older side, but in a squad lacking experience, a defender that has played in the Champions League and won trophies for both club and country will be a massive boost.
4) Charlie Adam: Liverpool- £7 Million
Scottish international Charlie Adam is a born leader and set-piece extraordinaire.
The ex-Blackpool midfielder is one of Kenny Dalglish's cheapest summer signings, but he looks set to become one of his best.
Adam has played well for Liverpool this season, scoring in his last match against Bolton.
With Steven Gerrard out injured, Liverpool have needed Adam's long ball accuracy, but when the captain returns, it will be interesting to see how Dalglish manages his well-stacked midfield.
3) Scott Parker: Spurs- £5.7 Million
With the price of English players always rising, getting a starting international midfielder for under £6 million is a great bit of business.
Cockney geezer Harry Redknapp must love a bargain, and Parker represents one of the best this year.
Comfortably West Ham United's best player for several years, Parker is a great holding midfielder who works like no-one else in the Premier League.
A real box-to-box player, Parker should have had a much better career had he not been traded in his earlier years to sit on the bench at Chelsea, but he is finally getting the praise, and caps, he deserves.
2) Shay Given: Aston Villa- £3 Million
The Irish international was unlucky to be squeezed out at Manchester City due to the emergence of Joe Hart, but City's loss is Villa's gain.
With two clean-sheets already this season, Given is a fantasy football manager's dream and has helped solidify the defense at Villa Park.
At 35, age will always be a sticking point, but there is no reason that Given will not be playing for the remainder of his five year deal at Villa.
A real bargain.
1) Jose Enrique: Liverpool- £6 Million
Liverpool don't sign good full-backs.
Jose Enrique breaks that long-standing rule of Premiership football.
With English football experience already under his belt, Enrique has shown his worth already this season as he has been Liverpool's best new signing.
A great English speaker, the former Newcastle man already looks delighted to be playing at Anfield and is surely a future Spanish international now that he is playing on the biggest stage of his career.
Forced to work his way up the divisions in Spain before being snapped up by Valencia, Enrique has impressed with all aspects of his game since coming to England in 2007.
Sticking by Newcastle during their Championship season, the Spaniard gained the respect he deserves from the Geordie faithful and now looks to be doing the same on Merseyside.
Of course, it is still only the early days with all of these moves, but Jose Enrique looks to be the pick of the bargains from this summer's transfer activity.
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