Black Friday: The Premier League's 19 greatest bargains include Man Utd and Liverpool legends

  • Kobe Tong

Ah, Black Friday, the day where everybody scrambles to get the craziest ten-gazillion percent discount on that toaster you’ve been checking out for months.

The bonkers situation we find ourselves in means that footage of people piling over each other in America won’t be happening this year, but that won’t stop people hammering away at their keyboard at 100mph.

But who can blame them? We all love a bargain and the same can even be said of Premier League clubs, which, I know, seems hard to believe in a world where players go for tens of millions.

Crazy transfer spending

Nevertheless, regardless of how astronomical transfer fees have become over the last decade, it’s all a matter of relativity and therefore, there’s always room to find yourself a bargain in the market.

I’m sure some incredible footballing steals are already coming to mind and no, we’re not talking about Barcelona spending over £200 million on Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele.

Rather, we’re turning our attention to the Premier League and channeling the Black Friday spirit to name the 19 moves we think have been the biggest coups in the competition’s history.


Premier League’s greatest bargains

From ‘Invincibles’ going for loose change and treble-winners arriving for coppers, there’s plenty of examples where Premier League clubs have struck gold without spending it – check out our picks:

1. Andrew Robertson – Hull City to Liverpool (£8m)

Nobody could have predicted that Jurgen Klopp’s coup from newly-relegated Hull would go onto become arguably the world’s best left-back and a Champions League winner.

2. Dele Alli – MK Dons to Tottenham Hotspur (£5m)

Say what you like about his recent form, but Alli – who is now valued at £46.8 million – has still been an absolute steal for Spurs, inspiring Mauricio Pochettino sides to two agonising title challenges.


3. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink – Boavista to Leeds United (£2m)

It’s not every day you stumble upon one of the Premier League’s greatest strikers for just £2 million with Hasslebaink proceeding to become a lethal goalscorer for Atletico Madrid and Chelsea

4. Edwin van der Sar – Fulham to Manchester United (£2m)

It’s well documented that United struggled to replace Peter Schmeichel in the early 2000s, but their wallet hardly noticed the hit when they stumbled across the world-class man for the job.


5. Eric Cantona – Leeds United to Manchester United (£1.2m)

What’s there to say about Cantona that hasn’t already been said? The Frenchman is one of the most iconic players in English football history, winning the championship four times at Old Trafford.

6. Sol Campbell – Tottenham to Arsenal (free)

Hardly any journalists turned up for Arsenal‘s surprise press conference that turned out to be the unveiling of the newly-signed Tottenham captain in a brutal use of the Bosman ruling.

Campbell was rewarded for crossing the north London battlelines, however; winning two Premier League titles, losing zero games in the latter, and scoring in a Champions League final.

7. Sami Hyypia – Willem II to Liverpool (£2.6m)

It’s not for no reason that Jamie Carragher credits Hyypia for revolutionising Liverpool‘s defence and their minimal spend was repaid by the time he helped the Reds to a cup treble in his second year.


8. N’Golo Kante – Caen to Leicester City (£5.6m)

Kante might only have spent a single season at the King Power, but it saw him play an invaluable role in the Foxes’ fairy tale Premier League win and earned himself a big-money move to Chelsea.

9. Lucas Radebe – Kaizer Chiefs to Leeds United (£50,000)

A footballer signed for only £50,000!? It seems staggering these days, but that was all it cost the Whites to secure a bonafide club legend, who plied his trade at Elland Road for over a decade.


10. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – Molde to Manchester United (£1.5m)

Although the current United boss was a cheap buy from Norway, he was worth his weight in gold once he arrived, repaying the club for THAT goal in the 1999 Champions League final alone.

11. Nicolas Anelka – PSG to Arsenal (£500,000)

Nobody could spot a bargain quite like Arsene Wenger as the Arsenal boss spent less than £1 million to bag himself the perfect foil for Ian Wright in a strike force that won a historic double.


12. David Ginola – PSG to Newcastle United (£2.5m)

We’re not sure there has been a more entertaining player in the history of the Premier League and I’m certain plenty of Newcastle fans would think his beauty locks alone were worth the price tag.

13. Patrick Vieira – AC Milan to Arsenal (£3.5m)

Another Wenger masterclass. It wouldn’t be outrageous to argue that Vieira is the Premier League’s greatest midfielder, but what is irrefutable is the fact he captained Arsenal’s legendary ‘Invincibles’.


14. Nemanja Vidic – Spartak Moscow to Manchester United (£7m)

Strictly speaking, Vidic has one of the highest transfer fees on the list, but it still looks minuscule considering his Herculean displays on the way to Premier League and Champions League glory.

By the time Vidic had hung up his boots at Old Trafford, he’d become the first defender to ever be crowned the Premier League Player of the Year on more than one occasion. Remarkable.

15. Philippe Coutinho – Inter Milan to Liverpool (£8.5m)

The most expensive player on the list and one that earned Liverpool a gargantuan profit when his eclectic performances on Merseyside, complete with weekly screamers, caught the eyes of Barca.


16. Kolo Toure – ASEC Mimosas to Arsenal (£150,000)

Yup, that’s right, the centre-back partnership that formed the Premier League’s only ever unbeaten champions cost less than the top prize on ‘Deal or No Deal’. Fair play to you, Arsene, fair play.

17. Ashley Cole – Arsenal to Chelsea (£5m + William Gallas)

But on a sourer note for Arsenal, their London rivals casually helped themselves to the world’s best left-back for next to nothing and marched to Premier League and Champions League glory accordingly.


18. Patrice Evra – Monaco to Manchester United (£5.5m)

He might not have looked like a bargain after his disastrous debut, but by the time Evra waved goodbye to Old Trafford, he was an undisputed club legend with every trophy worth winning.

19. Vincent Kompany – Hamburg to Manchester City (£6m)

Signed as a holding midfielder, nobody could have predicted that Kompany would become one of the great Premier League captains, leading City to all four of their triumphs in the competition.


Bargains out there to be had

It goes to show that if you’re canny enough in the transfer market, you don’t need to spend the GDP of a small nation to bag yourself a player who’s going to lead you on to historic success.

Don’t get us wrong, long gone are the days where a £6 million player resembles a bargain, but if you’re securing a price that’s well below the market average, then you could be onto a winner.

However, it goes without saying that for every Cole, Vidic and Ginola, there are also reams and reams of transfer flops who haven’t even been worth their cut-price fees in the Premier League.


But reassure yourself with the fact there isn’t that same level of unpredictability when you’re battering the space bar to make sure that oh-so gorgeous toaster is safe in your shopping cart.

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