In a world where a player can now make over a million quid a month, and the prospect of a single player costing over £100m is now a realistic possibility, it’s nice to know that some club’s still try and get value for money. As a Liverpool fan, it’s hard for me to stomach that in terms of transfer fees, this side combined cost roughly half of what we paid for Andy Carroll. What is also rather damning is that when researching potential candidates for this eleven, very few transfers made by Premiership clubs matched up to any from the other major European leagues.
Without further ado, here are the best bargains from last summer’s transfer window:
(GK) Salvatore Sirigu - Palermo to Paris Saint-German - €3.5m
For all the Parisian club’s riches, the €3.5m they paid for Sasa Sirigu was an absolute steal. The Italian goalkeeper played every minute of PSG’s league campaign as they narrowly missed out on the Ligue 1 title and, at 25, his best years are in front on him. This season will see Sirigu test himself against Europe’s finest in the Champions League, and don’t be surprised to see him shine as Carlo Ancelotti’s side look to make their mark on the big stage.
(LB) Henri Bedimo – Lens to Montpellier - €2m
Montpellier were by far and away the surprise package across all of the major European leagues, with Rene Girard’s side going from narrowly avoiding relegation in the 10/11 season to becoming Ligue 1 Champions a year later for the first time in the club’s history. Bedimo played more minutes than anyone else in the Montpellier squad, starting all but two games and establishing himself as one of the most dependable left-backs in Europe.
(CB) Miranda – Sao Paolo to Atletico Madrid – Free Transfer
Few countries capitalise from the South American market like Spain do, and Miranda is just one of a long line of successful bargain signings from Brazil. Establishing himself as a valuable member of the squad – so much so that Atletico have sold Alvaro Dominguez, a product of their youth system - he really found his feet under Diego Simeone and was ever-present in Atleti’s triumphant Europa League campaign.
(CB) Aymen Abdennour – Etoile du Sahel to Toulouse - €500k
After a brief loan spell at Werder Bremen back in 2010, Toulouse signed Abdennour to a four-year deal for a modest fee. The Tunisian international went on to be a huge success in Ligue 1, so much so that TFC extended his contract for a further two years. Only 22, and already linked with a move to a whole host of European clubs, it will be interesting to see how long Abdennour remains at the Stadium Municipal.
(RB) Sebastian Corchia – Le Mans to Sochaux - €2m
After breaking in to the Le Mans side at just 18, Corchia looked like a star in the making. Although Sochaux were disappointing last season – securing their place in the division on the final day of the season – Corchia still showed plenty of promise, and he has already been linked with several of the bigger clubs in Europe. A regular at all youth levels for France, Corchia is definitely one to keep an eye on.
(CM) Andrea Pirlo - Milan to Juventus – Free Transfer
After a decade in Milan, Pirlo joined bitter rivals Juventus on a three-year contract, and he went on to have a sensational campaign, playing an integral role in Juve winning the Scudetto title for the first time since the Calciopoli scandal. Pirlo would not stop there, however, going on to be one of the stars of the EURO 2012 tournament which has put him in contention for the Ballon d’Or, proving true the old adage that form is temporary, but class is permanent.
(CM) Yohan Cabaye - Lille to Newcastle - £4.3m
Cabaye was a revelation for Newcastle during his debut season in England, as Alan Pardew’s side narrowly missing out on a Champions League spot. However, fans of Ligue 1 will not have been surprised by The French midfielder’s performances as he was a key member of Lille’s 2010 title winning side – and it was extremely surprising that the top clubs did not come in for him. Now a key member of the French national side, Toon fans will be hoping they can hold on to Cabaye, although they stand to make a huge profit should they decide to cash in.
(CM) Antonio Nocerino - Palermo to Milan - €500k
It is difficult to be surprised by bizarre transfers in Italy, but the fee that Milan paid for Antonio Nocerino had Calcio fans utter bemused; the midfielder had been one of Palermo’s most consistent performers and his market value was much higher than what he was sold for. He went on to become a key cog in Max Allegri’s midfield and finished the season with 10 goals – nearly double the number he managed in three seasons in Sicily – helping fill the void left by Andrea Pirlo.
(CAM) Isco – Valencia to Malaga - €6m
Valencia have been a production line of world-class players over the past decade, and Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez, ‘aka’ Isco is certainly no different. As with Jordi Alba, Isco only had a year left on his deal so Los Che were forced to settle for a fee that was much lower than the player’s true value. The 20-year-old fast became a key member of Mauricio Pellegrini’s side as they secured a Champions League place, and it will be interesting to see how he fares in European competition.
(ST) Miroslav Klose – Bayern Munich to Lazio – Free Transfer
Klose was often described as a Jekyll and Hyde player; prolific for Germany, but erratic for Bayern Munich. He found a new lease of life in Rome, though, becoming the focal point of the Biancocolesti attack. He missed the last few months of the season through injury, and Lazio struggled for goals in his absence, meaning they failed to qualify for the Champions League. The slower pace of the Italian game seems to suit him, and another successful season is in the offing.
(ST) Arouna Kone – Sevilla to Levante – Free Transfer
Cash-strapped Levante were one of the real success stories of La Liga, and Kone was the driving force behind it. After a difficult few seasons since moving to Spain, the Ivorian rediscovered the form that made him so highly sought after in Holland. In a bizarre story, he actually missed the final three games of the season as, with him being on 17 goals for the season, a clause in his contract meant that an 18th goal would have forced him to return to Sevilla. Instead, he signed a permanent deal with Levante in the summer after a successful loan spell.
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