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Top 10 Premier League transfer bargains

PL bargains

Riyad Mahrez is an enigma. Dancing around defenders, setting up, scoring goals seemingly at will, the Leicester City winger has all the traits of becoming the next superstar of world football. He’s worth his weight in gold at the moment, made especially clear by manager Claudio Ranieri, who says his prized architect is not for sale. And he cost Leicester City a princely sum of 400,000 pounds, a little more than Wayne Rooney’s weekly wages.

With Mahrez epitomising the term ‘transfer bargain’, we take a look at 10 such blockbuster moves in the Premier League era, which make ‘value for money’ seem an understatement.

10. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Molde FK to Manchester United, £1.5 million

126 goals in 336 appearances, and most of them from the bench, showcased the value of a player who quickly racked up two nicknames – Baby-faced Assassin and SuperSub – and with them a fearsome reputation for Manchester United. The injury-time winner against Bayern Munich in the final of the 1999 UEFA Champions League was Solksjaer’s highlight moment in his time at the club.

9. Michu: Rayo Vallecano to Swansea City, £2 million

A transfer from Spanish club Rayo Vallecano to Swansea City at the start of the 2012-13 season raised quite a few eyebrows, when Michu was bought for a pricey 2 million pounds. But a storming season, which saw the striker pump in 22 goals for the club, left fans in awe. That season Swansea qualified for European competition by winning the Capital One Cup, thanks in no small part to Michu.

8. Kolo Toure: ASEC Mimosas to Arsenal, £150,000

When Arsene Wneger signed Toure from Mimosas in 2002 for a paltry 150,000 pounds, no one expected the Ivorian defender to make much of an impact. But Toure proved his doubters wrong by forging a lasting partnership with fellow defender Sol Campbell. That partnership laid the foundation for Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ campaign, in which they went a whole season and more unbeaten.

7. Nicolas Anelka: Paris St Germain to Arsenal, £500,000

17-year-old Anelka made the move across the English channel and joined the ranks of Arsenal under new manager Arsene Wenger. He was a key player in Arsenal’s double-winning campaign of 1997-98, netting the most goals for the club that season. The next season Anelka moved on to Real Madrid for a staggering 23 million pounds, a huge profit for Arsenal.

6. Joe Hart: Shrewsbury Town to Manchester City, £100,000

Hart made quite the transfer jump in May 2006, moving from League Two side Shrewsbury Town to Premier League outfit Manchester City. After brief loan spells at Tranmere, Blackpool and Birmingham, Hart broke into the first team and quickly cemented his place as No. 1, both at City as well as for England, from the 2010-11 season.

5. Peter Schmeichel: Brondby IF to Manchester United, £505,000

Sir Alex Ferguson call him the “bargain of the century”. Arguably the best goalkeeper to have ever played in the Premier League, Schmeichel has an envious record of keeping a clean sheet every second game, letting nothing past him in 145 games out of the 292 he played. Scheichel won 15 major titles, including 5 Premier League titles and a Champions League title, in the 8 years we was at Old Trafford.

4. Robin Van Persie: Feyenoord to Arsenal, £2.75 million

Arsene Wenger bought Robin Van Persie for a cut-price 2.75 million in 2004 and quickly saw the striker become the central figure in his strike force. Van Persie galvanised Arsenal and was part of the ‘Invincibles’ team, and his time at the club was characterised by precide movement and spectacular goals. Manchester United then bought the forward for a massive ₹24 million in 2012.

3. Eric Cantona: Leeds United to Manchester United, £1.2 million

When Eric Cantona had a fallout with his Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson in 1992, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was the first to react and quick to pounce on the Frenchman. Cantona arrived at United and quickly became instrumental in shaping the club’s destiny. He scored 64 goals in 143 appearances, won four Premier League titles and two FA Cups. He also turned Number 7 into the iconic United shirt, later worn by the likes of David Beckham, Michael Owen and Cristiano Ronaldo.

2. Frank Lampard: West Ham United to Chelsea, £11 million

In 2001, lampard moved from West Ham to rival London club Chelsea for £11 million. For the next 13 years, he would turn into a mascot for Chelsea, taking them to the heights of glory never before experienced in the history of the club.

From his debut, Lampard was ever-present in the Chelsea first team, making 164 consecutive Premier League appearances, a record. His vision and goal-scoring prowess led Chelsea to back-to-back Premier League titles in 2004–05 and 2005–06 and a domestic double in 2007. In 2009–10, Lampard helped Chelsea secure their first league and FA Cup Double.

A three-time Chelsea Player of the Year, Lampard is still the club’s all-time top goalscorer with 211 goals in all competitions. He remains the only midfielder to have scored 150 or more goals in the Premier League, and is second only to Ryan Giggs in the Premier League’s all-time assists table.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo: Sporting CP to Manchester United, £12.2 million

In 2003, Sir Alex Ferguson lapped up Portuguese teenage sensation Cristiano Ronaldo for £12.2 million, a substantial amount for such a young player. In 2004, he won his first trophy, the FA Cup. Ronaldo began slowly, showing flashes of individual brilliance, he grew in stature, and in the 2006-07 tasted success in the Premier League for the first time.

In 2007 and 2008, Ronaldo was named FWA Footballer of the Year, and was named the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year, on the back of impressive performances which saw United take the Champions League.

In 2009 he won the FIFA Puskás Award for Goal of the Year, and then became the world’s most expensive player when he moved from United to Real Madrid in a transfer worth £80 million – a staggering £68 million profit.

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