Arsenal, Swansea, Tottenham, Manchester United, Liverpool, West Ham, Chelsea, Fulham, West Brom and QPR have all pulled off some bargains this summer. Here's our low-down...
Michu – Real Vallecano to Swansea - £2.3m
The Spaniard has really hit the ground running for Michael Laudrup’s side, scoring four goals in three games and taking to the Premiership like a duck to water (or a Swan in this case). This will come as no surprise to fans of La Liga as Michu scored 15 goals for Vallecano last season, playing an integral part in them avoiding the drop. Many big clubs had been linked with Michu, but Swansea swooped in and took full advantage of the Madrid sides financial problems, paying a bargain €3m to secure his services, and getting one of the bargains of the decade.
Nuri Sahin – Real Madrid to Liverpool – Loan
Liverpool’s failure to strengthen their squad on deadline day may have put a negative slant on their business over the summer, but in Nuri Sahin they have added a genuine top quality midfielder to their ranks, albeit if only for a season. Contrary to reports, mainly from bitter Arsenal fans who claimed the Reds had spent in excess of £10m on the deal, they paid a loan fee of £1.6m and are paying 70% of his wages, taking the total cost to just over £5m. Sahin was the best player in the Bundesliga in the 10/11 season, and will add creativity to the Liverpool midfield that has been sorely lacking since the departure of Xabi Alonso.
Hugo Lloris – Lyon to Tottenham Hotspur - £8m
Whilst the signing of Lloris means that Spurs boast four ‘keepers in their squad who are all worthy of starting for a Premiership side, the French international goalkeeper is one of most talented and consistent stoppers on the continent and is definitely a coup for Andre Villas-Boas. Still just 25 yet boasting plenty of Champions League and international experience, the Les Bleus skipper could be a mainstay in the Spurs side for the next decade and truly become one of the elite goalkeepers in the world, making a mockery of his modest price tag.
Stephane Mbia – Marseille to QPR – Undisclosed
The ever-troublesome Joey Barton’s loan move to Marseille is one of the most surprising transfers of the summer, but perhaps even more bizarre was Marseille willingness to allow Stephane MBia to join QPR in return, but instead on a permanent deal (the fee is undisclosed, but is rumoured to be around €6m). The Cameroonian international is capable of playing at centre back or in midfield, and will add even more quality to the R’s squad. He only signed a two-year deal, though, so if he can transfer his Ligue 1 form to the Premiership, Mark Hughes may have a fight on his hands to keep Mbia beyond the next few seasons.
Petric has already shown he is a capable scorer and creator of goals, and along with fellow new signing Dimitar Berbatov, will help fill the void left by Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele.
Andy Carroll – Liverpool to West Ham – Loan
The towering Geordie struggled for form at Anfield, and Brendan Rodgers was adamant that Carroll would never fit in to his system, eventually allowing him to leave on loan and risk Liverpool being light on numbers up front. For Carroll and West Ham, though, this is a match made in heaven: the West Ham side is tailor made for a striker with big Andy’s attributes, and playing every week in a team that will give him plenty of service is just what he needs to rediscover his Newcastle form. The loan fee was just £1m, and if Carroll’s debut is anything to go by, he will play a key role in the Hammers’ bid to avoid relegation.
Shinji Kagawa – Dortmund to Manchester United - £13m
Although United paid a substantial amount of money for the Japanese star, it was still an absolute steal given his age, marketability, and, most importantly, his form for Dortmund over the past two seasons. He cost the Bundesliga Champions just €300k in the summer of 2010, and Fergie took full advantage of Kagawa’s contract situation – he had just a year left on his existing deal – to sign him for a cut price. In terms of talent and form, there is not much between Kagawa and Hazard, so for Man Utd to pay around a third of what Chelsea paid for the Belgian speaks volumes about the value for money the Reds Devils got.
Claudio Yacob – Racing Club to West Brom – Free
Yacob established himself as a real talent in his homeland, coming through the ranks at Racing and establishing himself as one of the most tenacious midfielders in the Clausura. Many players who come straight to England from South America take time to adapt, but the Argentinean international has fitted seamlessly in to the Baggies midfield and looks to be an absolute steal for Steve Clarke’s side since joining on a free transfer. At 25 he is entering his prime, and if he continues to impress then West Brom may want to think about extending his original three-year deal that he signed this summer.
Two-footed, nimble and fantastic vision, to name just three attributes, Cazorla will be a fans favourite at the Emirates for sure.
Mladen Petric – Hamburg to Fulham – Free
The experienced Croatian forward joined Fulham on a one-year deal after his contract at Hamburg expired, and is a player Martin Jol knows well as he managed him during the 08/09 season. Petric has already shown he is a capable scorer and creator of goals, and along with fellow new signing Dimitar Berbatov, will help fill the void left by Clint Dempsey, who left the club acrimoniously on deadline day, and Moussa Dembele, both of whom joined rivals Spurs.
Cesar Azpilicueta – Marseille to Chelsea - £7m
Whilst the defending European Champions have had an open chequebook this summer, in Cesar Azpilicueta they have signed arguably the best young right-back in Europe at a fantastic price. After breaking on to scene with Osasuna at just 18, Azpilicueta became a regular for Spain at all youth levels. A move to France followed, and he started extremely well for Marseille, but a cruciate injury kept him out for most of his debut season in Spain. He regained his form and fitness last season in what was a disastrous season for l’OM, and should make Chelsea’s right-back spot his own for the foreseeable future.
Santi Cazorla – Malaga to Arsenal - £12m
Arsenal didn’t properly replace Cesc Fabregas last summer, and suffered massively for it – the burden was on Robin van Persie to create chances with his movement, and Alex Song neglected his defensive duties to assist his captain. Now the Gunners have a proper replacement in Cazorla, and for a reported £12 million, it’s an incredible bargain. Two-footed, nimble and fantastic vision, to name just three attributes, he’ll be a fans favourite at the Emirates for sure.
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