Premier League XI: Bargain buys of the summer

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Football is talked about as being all about the money in the modern day; particularly in England. In many respects, this is the truth. The teams that spend the most money are the teams that have the most success with Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United all prime examples.

All of this only serves to sweeten the feeling a fan gets when they see a player have great success, despite costing relatively little in terms of the transfer fee. This is a team composed of the best 'bargain' signings that we saw perform in this Premier League season. 

Goalkeeper: Julio Cesar | Queens Park Rangers (Free transfer)

Everyone was surprised when Julio Cesar signed from Italian giants Inter Milan for Queens Park Rangers, including the man himself.

Regarded as one of the best keepers in Europe, and with a Champions League winners medal to his name from the 09-10 campaign, and an established place in the Brazilian national setup, many expected him to sign for a considerably bigger club.

He was one of the few positive aspects of QPR's otherwise disastrous campaign, putting in some solid performances under a lot of pressure, sitting behind a defence as poor as QPR's. Six clean sheets and an average of 5.65 saves a match are very respectable statistics.

Left-back: Nathaniel Clyne | Southampton (£2.5 million)

A product of the famous Crystal Palace youth setup, he has featured regularly for newly promoted Southampton this season. Young, quality English defenders are a rare commodity in this age and Clyne showed his quality this season.

He played a large part in Southampton's swift attacking football, charging down flanks and providing three assists this season, scoring once. As a long term investment, this was a bargain, as the only way for Clyne is up.

Centre-back: Chico Flores | Swansea City (£2 million)

The first time but not the last that Swansea City will be mentioned in this list. Much has been said of Ashley Williams being the mainstay of a strong Swansea defence but less of Chico's impressive contribution. Of Swansea's ten clean sheets in the league this season, Chico participated in six.

Centre-back: Ron Vlaar | Aston Villa (£3.2 million)

In terms of defence, Aston Villa have had little to celebrate this season. They shipped 69 goals and kept only five clean sheets. However, Vlaar has been the exception. Brave and physical performances are typical of the man who leads Villa by example, a worthy captain indeed.

And there's also a matter of the two goals he's scored, an incredible long range effort against Swansea and a superb half-volley against Wigan. Vlaar will be present again next season as Villa look to improve in Paul Lambert's second season in charge.

Right-back: Geoff Cameron | Stoke City (£1.6 million)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Americans generally have little joy as outfield players in the Premier League. Geoff Cameron however has impressed since his arrival from Houston Dynamo in the summer.

He's had to adapt to the right-back position but those who have seen him know that he's done so impressively. He played an integral part in Stoke's impressive run of form at home this season and has participated in a very respectable 12 clean sheets.

Left-midfield: Robert Snodgrass | Norwich City (£2.5 million)

Something of a revelation for Scottish football, Robert Snodgrass signed for Norwich City from Championship side Leeds United. He proved his worth to the side with important goals such as the late equaliser against Tottenham Hotspur in September.

Six goals and nine assists is impressive by any standard in the Premier League and it showed as he finished runner up to Norwich's player of the season to Sebastian Bassong.

Centre-midfield: Steven Davis | Southampton (£800,000)

Part of the exodus from Rangers, Steven Davis was available for nothing and Southampton seized the opportunity. He has supplied Southampton with an impressive array of quick passing, fitting in perfectly with their fast attacking style.

Always in the mix and not afraid to put his body on the line with an important block or tackle, he has experience as captain of Rangers and Northern Ireland in the past years.

Centre-midfield: Claudio Yacob | West Brom (Free transfer)

Argentina international Yacob joined West Brom for a free in the Summer and struck up a fruitful partnership with fellow midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu that saw the club record its highest ever Premier League points tally.

Yacob was consistently impressive this season as he battled in midfield, an aggressive style that saw him receive seven yellow cards.

Right-midfield: Victor Moses | Chelsea (£9 million)

The most expensive player on this list, Moses makes it in simply because of the fact his impact came as such a surprise. Nimble and skilful, Moses proved himself on the highest stage with goals in Chelsea's unsuccessful Champions League campaign.

Another product of Crystal Palace's youth academy, Moses has become an important player for an already very skilful Chelsea side. He has held his own amongst players such as Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar.

Striker: Michu | Swansea City (£2 million)

Touted by many as signing of the season, Michu's goal return has been nothing short of outstanding when the initial outlay is considered. Eighteen goals in thirty-four appearances and a pivotal role in Swansea's acquisition of the League Cup, Michu is something of a freak occurrence in football at the highest level: a lot of goals, for not a lot of money.

Swansea fans will be relieved that he signed a four year contract in January but if Laudrup leaves the club, then there's a good chance Michu will too. If that was too happen though, it would still be a case of 'thanks for the memories' as Michu has contributed heavily to arguably Swansea's most successful season ever.

Striker: Dimitar Berbatov | Fulham (£4 million)

Barely recognisable as the player who ran only 2km in an international match for Bulgaria against Italy, Dimitar Berbatov made this season at thirty-three appearances. He has shown commitment to the cause and an improved return on effort, as seen from his five assists.

What has remained the same however is his goal scoring prowess, 15 goals in the league is a fine return for only £4 million and he has perhaps been the most important player in a Fulham side that struggled to reach mid-table this season.


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Dimitar Berbatov
Premier League

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