The Bargain Success Stories of 2015-16
March 24, 2016
According to the bookies at Bethut, English clubs spent a grand total of £859.25 million on new signings during the summer of 2015. While this is not quite a record-breaking total, it is one that underlines the financial strength of the Premier League and desire of top-flight teams to spend huge amounts in the pursuit of glory.
Among a plethora of a high value deals, however, we also saw some bargain basement transfers of top quality performers last summer. Some of these players have enjoyed excellent seasons, proving that successful bargains can be found in the Premier League if managers look hard enough.
With this in mind, here are three of the most successful bargain transfers from last summer…
James Milner (Manchester City to Liverpool, free)
As Manchester City struggled to perform with any energy or intent during the recent derby -day defeat against United, the decision to let the bustling James Milner leave for free in the summer seemed decidedly strange. Milner’s drive and energy from midfield has certainly benefited Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool, adding a new dimension to their midfield and helping to instil the German manager’s intense pressing style. Given this and the fact that City have yet to fill the void left by the underrated Englishman, this free transfer has to go down as the bargain of the summer.
Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City, £12 million)
With the nickname ‘the Alpine Messi’, it should come as no surprise that Xherdan Shaqiri makes our list. The signing of this world class talent was an immense statement of intent from the ambitious Potters, but the fact that they got him for so little represented no-less than a steal. At just 24 years old he also has the best years of his career ahead, while his form throughout the season and excellent link-up play with Bojan Krkic has alerted clubs such as Liverpool to his undoubted quality.
If Shaqiri does move again this summer, the former Bayern Munich man is sure to fetch more than the £12million that the Potters paid.
Cedric Soares (Southampton, £4.7 million)
While the Saints have had an inconsistent season, they continue to defy the odds typically facing a selling club. Full-back Soares joined the Saints last summer after another forced clear-out of talent, with Ronald Koeman identifying him as the man to replace the fast and athletic Nathaniel Clyne. Costing a third of what the Saints recouped for Clyne, the former Sporting Lisbon has been immense for Koeman this summer and emerged as yet another success story for Southampton’s outstanding (and not to mention overworked) scouting system.
Let’s hope the Saints can hang on to Soares this summer, along with other star performers such as Saido Mane and Graziano Pelle.