Now that the dust has settled around the insanity of the transfer window – a record spending spree for the Premier League – it’s time to take stock. While there were some marquee signings which left a few stunned, there were also a couple of bargain buys. ANTOINETTE MULLER picks five of the budget buys which could end up being some of the most successful.
Thanks to wads of cash from new television deals, European soccer clubs went big during the transfer windows. England’s top flight league splashed out £630 million in player transfers. That broke the previous record of £500 million from 2008 and the Premier League continues to grow, both financially and in popularity.
Premier League clubs will be able to share the revenues of over £1.6 billion thanks to new deals with BskyB and BT in Britain.
“As the financial rewards for participation and success in the Premier League increase, so it follows that clubs are investing on the pitch to ensure they continue to benefit from the remarkable Premier League growth story,” Deloitte’s Dan Jones said.
It’s raised a few eyebrows as the Financial Fair Play rules were introduced by UEFA this season, but most clubs should be fine thanks to lucrative new deals both with sponsors and from TV earnings and the cost of a player can be spread out for the duration of his contract.
“A lot of English clubs have gone on a spending spree but they haven’t breached the Financial Fair Play rules as they are only spending what they have earned,” said Simon Chadwick, a professor of sports business at England’s Coventry University.
It wasn’t all splashing the cash, though. A few clubs managed to land a couple of budget buys. These kinds of purchases don’t always pay off, but we’ve taken the risk to pick some of the best bargain buys of the transfer window.
Nathan Redmond from Birmingham to Norwich for £3.2m
The 19-year-old winger is a great coup for Norwich. Pacey and not shy to take a shot at goal, he could add some real value to Norwich’s attack. The best part is that he is still in his developmental stage and with a little bit of TLC, he could very well earn his club a massive profit once he moves on. It’s a bargain from a Championship club, considering Tom Ince is priced at around £8m. He started his career with Birmingham as a school buy and scored a hat trick for Birmingham’s under-15 team to take them to the Premier Cup semi-final for the first time in April 2009. Still a youngster, he made his debut for the club’s under-18 Academy team. He’s already made his debut for the club and netted two goals against Southampton to help Norwich to their first win of the season.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel from Sporting Lisbon to Norwich for £8.5m
Another bit of good business for Norwich comes in the form of 24-year-old striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel. Pricey for the Canaries but an absolute bargain in the context, especially considering what players of his ilk are going for. What allowed his move to be so cheap is that Norwich did their business early on in the year and Van Wolfswinkel was picked up at market value with Sporting Lisbon being keen to cash in. The striker has been prolific and scored 45 goals in all competitions over two years. Technically, he is very strong in the air and a very good finisher. He’s unfussed by bullying defenders. It was Robin van Persie who suggested he opts for Norwich and he completed his deal in March. He scored on his debut to help the Canaries to a 2-2 draw against Everton.
Yaya Sanogo free from Auxerre to Arsenal
A typical Arsene Wenger move, the 20-year-old striker might end up being one of those genius moves from The Grove’s professor. When he is fit, Sanogo is a very powerful attacker and he grabbed Wenger’s attention whilst playing for the Under-19 French team three years ago. In 2010, he suffered a terrible injury, a double leg fracture, which sidelined him for two years. Sanogo has also struggled with a knee issue and was on the verge of giving up football. Down and out, frustrated and ready to work in a post-office (no joke), his fellow Frenchmen Hatem Ben Arfa and Abou Diaby changed his mind. He was confirmed as an Arsenal player in July this year after the fit again player scored four times in 17 minutes for Auxerre. He ended up being the top scorer for France during their successful Under-20 World Cup campaign. Should he stay fit, Wenger will be lauded with praise. If he flops, well, he was free anyway.
Marco van Ginkel from Vitesse Arnhem to Chelsea for £8m
The 20-year old midfielder has been likened to a “young Dennis Berkgkamp” by a few pundits and while he is still very young with a lot to learn, he has all the potential to become one of the biggest stars of the Premier League. He was in high demand by a number of clubs in the Dutch league but insisted that he would only move if it was to Chelsea. He won the Dutch Football Talent of the year award last year and began his footballing career as a seven-year-old. A pacy player with a good cross, his biggest weakness is in the air.
Jose Canas from Real Betis to Swansea for free
Free buys will always seem like a bargain because, well, they’re free. The 26-year-old defensive midfielder is a great singing for Swansea, similar to Michu’s capture from last year. He won’t quite create as many headlines, but he is of equal importance. Betis finished 13th in La Liga last year, thanks to Canas midfield partnership with Beñat Etxebarria. Canas keeps things simple in the passing department and is acutely aware of those around him, which helps when it comes to protecting the back four. The pace and power of the premier league is different to that of La Liga, but he shouldn’t have too much trouble adapting. DM
Photo: Chelsea’s Marco Van Ginkel (L) fights for the ball with Romain Gasmi of Thai Singha All-Stars during their friendly soccer match in Bangkok July 17, 2013. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
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