There is a common misconception in the Premier League that bargains can’t be found during the January transfer window.
In fact, if you know where to look and are tuned into the unique situations of specific targets, particularly in regards to contracts, then the exact opposite is often true.
And just to illustrate that point, GIVEMESPORT have outlined the 17 greatest bargains in the history of the January transfer window, since it was first introduced for the 2002/03 season…
17. Wilfred Ndidi – £15.84m, January 2017
After N’Golo Kante’s departure to Chelsea the transfer window previous, Leicester were still searching for a long-term successor when they eventually settled on Genk’s Ndidi four years ago. While £15.84m isn’t exactly small change, Leicester could easily demand four times that sum should a club come knocking for their midfield enforcer at some point this month.
16. Kieran Richardson – Loan, January 2005
Kieran Richardson being carried off the pitch by Baggies supporters after spearheading West Brom’s legendary great escape is perhaps the most iconic image ever produced by a Premier League relegation battle. Three goals in 11 games was a massive contribution from the then-Manchester United youngster, however it also set a standard that Richardson would struggle to live up to for much of his career.
15. Jon Stead – £1.69m, February 2004
The archetype saviour signing brought in mid-season to steer a club clear of relegation. Blackburn took a major punt on then third-division striker Jon Stead when they signed him from Huddersfield in the second-ever January transfer window, but it duly paid off with six goals in 13 games being just enough to keep them in the top flight. He’d only score twice more for Blackburn, however, before becoming a classic Football League journeyman.
14. Michael Keane – £2.3m, January 2015
After an initial six-month loan Burnley decided to sign Keane permanently in January 2015 for a bargain price. Within two-and-a-half years, the no-nonsense centre-back had helped keep Burnley in the top flight, established himself as an England international and secured a big-money move to Everton, with the Clarets pocketing over £20m in profit.
13. Nikica Jelavic – £5.94m, January 2012
Everton were quick to capitalise on Rangers’ financial implosion and snapped up star striker Jelavic for the second half of the 2012/13 campaign. In that time, the Croatian would score nine goals in 13 games, which in turn pushed Everton up four places in the table by the season’s end. However, the goals soon dried up and he was eventually sold to Hull City for a small profit.
12. Papiss Cisse – £10.8m, January 2012
Newcastle looked to have made the signing of the century when they picked up Cisse nine years ago. His first 14 Premier League outings brought 13 goals and 2 assists including the Goal of the Season vs Chelsea as the Senegalese struck up a potent partnership with Demba Ba. It proved to be more of a purple patch than an accurate indicator of Cisse’s true quality but nonetheless, 44 goals in 131 outings for the Magpies isn’t to be sniffed at.
11. Clint Dempsey – £2.7m, January 2007
The MLS has always been something of an inconsistent recruitment pool for Premier League sides but Dempsey remains one of its best-ever imports. Despite initially struggling to make an impact with only one goal in his first half-season, the versatile forward went on to become their all-time top scorer in the Premier League before eventually leaving for Spurs.
10. Moussa Sissoko – £1.8m, January 2013
Back in January 2013, Newcastle’s transfer policy was pretty simple – buy cheap players from Ligue 1. It didn’t always work out but Sissoko was one of their real success stories; the midfielder made 133 appearances for the Magpies, registering 31 goal involvements, before being sold to Spurs for £31.5m.
9. John Stones – £3.15m, January 2013
Despite not making a single senior appearance during his debut half-season at Goodison, by the time Stones’ first full campaign was over he was already being heralded as the second coming of Franz Beckenbauer and therefore England’s future at the heart of defence. Roll on a couple more years and Stones was sold to Manchester City for £50m.
8. Robert Huth – Loan, February 2015
One of the greatest signings in Premier League history. Huth not only helped secure Leicester’s survival upon arriving on loan midway through the 2014/15 season, but after the move was made permanent in the summer for £3.78m he went on to become the defensive bedrock of their shock Premier League title win the year after. Inspired.
7. Nemanja Vidic – £9.45m, January 2006
Very much an unknown quantity when Manchester United first signed him and yet now remembered as one of the greatest Premier League centre-backs of all time. Vidic struck up a partnership with Rio Ferdinand that was the backbone of the Red Devils’ later success under Sir Alex Ferguson, and he even captained United to Fergie’s last two Premier League titles.
6. Patrice Evra – £7.2m, January 2006
Manchester United no doubt had high hopes for Patrice Evra, having already established himself as a France international at Monaco, but the left-back quickly exceeded them. Within two-and-a-half years he’d already helped the Red Devils win the Champions League, while Evra would go on to lift copious domestic titles as arguably the best No.3 around before eventually leaving for Juventus.
5. Daniel Sturridge – £13.5m, January 2013
Despite being something of a transfer punt, a young Sturridge came straight into Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side and instantly formed a deadly partnership with Luis Suarez. By the end of their first (and sadly last) full season together, the SAS had almost fired the Reds to their first Premier League title with Sturridge netting 21 times. Sadly his career’s gone south since then, but at £13.5m the Merseysiders can’t have too many complaints.
4. Gary Cahill – £7.56m, January 2012
In terms of pure value-for-money, it really doesn’t get much better than this. Cahill appeared little more than a stocking filler when Chelsea snapped him up from troubled Bolton but by the end of his time at Stamford Bridge, he’d won every trophy available to him (except the Club World Cup), made it into the PFA Team of the Year thrice and even captained the Blues following John Terry’s retirement. He’s still going strong at Crystal Palace.
3. Wilfried Zaha – £3.42m, February 2015
Having initially re-signed him on a season-long loan, Crystal Palace were very wise to secure Zaha’s services for a second time on a permanent basis during 2014/15’s midseason window. During his current spell for Palace – loan included – he’s scored 44 Premier League goals and laid on 25 assists. Very good going considering Palace had initially sold him to Manchester United for around three times more than what they bought him back for.
2. Philippe Coutinho – £11.7m, January 2013
Eventually sold to Barcelona for over ten times what Liverpool paid Inter Milan, Coutinho must represent one of the biggest mark-ups in Premier League history. He also averaged almost exactly one goal involvement every two games for Liverpool and regularly lit up Anfield with stunning long-range goals.
1. Seamus Coleman – £63k, January 2009
Pretty much the best-value signing in modern footballing history when excluding free transfers. £63k wouldn’t be enough to pay a week’s wages for most Premier League players these days, but out of that miserly sum Everton have unearthed a 300+ game servant, a club captain and a former PFA Team of the Year member who at his peak was one of the best right-backs around.