With just under a week until the transfer window slams shut I take a look at the teams who have managed to secure quality reinforcements for the right price. After all, football players are commodities in today’s bloated investment market.
1. Diego Costa- Chelsea– Price: £32m
After a season where only 19 of their 69 goals in the Premier League came from the front-line (and not just one player, but three strikers collectively), it was clear for everyone to see where Chelsea needed to invest. Costa came from Atletico Madrid – a team known for producing world class strikers. Look at the likes of Sergio Aguero, Radamel Falcao and a young Fernando Torres, all top quality forwards and Diego Costa is the next product from their conveyor belt. Two goals in two games already for Chelsea, and Costa looks well and truly set for a strong season.
2. Gylfi Sigurdsson- Swansea City- Price: straight-swap with for Ben Davies
Having spent the past two years at Tottenham, Gylfi Sigurdsson is back to finish what he started at Swansea City. Whilst on loan at the Swans in the latter part of 2012, he notched an impressive seven goals in 18 games. Swansea fans will be disappointed to lose their highly-rated left back Ben Davies but it’s a shrewd piece of business to bring back this playmaker.
3. Bojan Krkic- Stoke City- Price: £3m
Once described as the next Lionel Messi, Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has put his magicians hat on in bringing Barcelona striker Bojan Krkic to Stoke and at a price speculated at just £3m it’s hard to find any risk involved with this deal. Having spent time playing on loan at some of Europe’s top clubs – Ajax, Roma and AC Milan – since his Barcelona days, Bojan has a wealth of experience playing football at the top level and is well-equipped to bring some finesse to the Britannia stadium.
4. Fraser Forster- Southampton- Price: £10m
Goal-stopper Fraser Forster went 1,256 minutes without conceding last season for Celtic and if he can replicate half of that record this season down on the south coast, Saints fans will be purring with delight. It’s fair to say it’s been difficult as a Southampton fan this summer, with the team having lost their manager and four of their starting eleven, but signing this potential future England star goes some way to repairing the damage.
5. Marcos Rojo- Manchester United- Price: £16m
It was painfully clear for everyone to see just how frail United’s defence was last season as they stumbled to their worst league position in 24 years (7th) and without qualification to the majaor Europe tournament for the first time in 25 years. With three of their defensive veterans (Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand) having left the club, United fans are sure to have breathed a sigh of relief at the arrival of Argentine World Cup centre-back Rojo at a reasonable fee of £16m.
6. Eric Dier- Tottenham Hotspur- Price: £4m
Fantasy football managers will be desperately drafting in Eric Dier into their teams after the defender notched up two goals and two clean sheets in the first two games for his new club. Having learnt his trade at Sporting Lisbon, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino appears to have pulled off a real coup in signing young Englishman Dier especially after their well-criticized expenditure last summer.
7. Mario Balotelli- Liverpool– Price: £16m
Many speculators will question the logic of replacing bad boy striker Luis Suarez with the petulant Mario Balotelli, however nobody can question the deal financially with it only four million more than Shane Long’s transfer to Southampton. Balotelli is reunited with the Premier League after two years with AC Milan and it will be interesting to see if Liverpool receive Euro 2012 super Mario or the sulky Mario that single-handedly disrupted the Manchester City dressing room and continually tested then-manager Roberto Mancini. I wonder if Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has what it takes to tame this livewire where so many others, including Jose Mourinho, have failed in the past.
8. Eduardo Vargas- Queens Park Rangers- Price: Undisclosed – season-long loan
QPR could have pulled off the deal of the summer in signing Chile international Vargas on loan from Napoli. Needing a strike partner for want-away Loic Remy, QPR’s wheeler-dealer coach Harry Redknapp has struck gold and will be hoping Vargas can fulfill his huge potential at the club.
9. Jack Rodwell- Sunderland- Price: £10m
Two frustrating seasons at Manchester City see Jack Rodwell – once considered the future of the England midfield – desperate to get his career back on track and Sunderland fans will be hoping that will be with their club. An equalizer against Manchester United at the weekend will go someway in helping justify his price tag.
10. Angel Di Maria- Manchester United- Price: £59.7m
Okay, so it’s not the bargain of the summer but bringing superstar Di Maria from Real Madrid to the Premier League has to be applauded in the same way as Arsenal bringing in Alexis Sanchez. Only time will tell whether this mega deal will prove to be a masterstroke or the next costly mistake in a similar vein to Juan Sebastian Veron.
Other notable players who narrowly missed out on making my Top 10 list are Eliaquim Mangala to Manchester City, Calum Chambers to Arsenal, Siem De Jong to Newcastle and Stephen Caulker to QPR.