In the era of £200 million signings, the world “bargain” is thrown away rather loosely, so how do you define the word? The answer is… there’s no answer, it’s all relative. For example, the £35 million signing of Mohammed Salah was a bargain for Liverpool but would have been double the transfer record of Newcastle United.
While there are some universally acknowledged bargains, like Arsenal signing Nicolas Anelka for £500,000 from Paris Saint-Germain in 1997, for the most part a bargain can be defined as this:
When the market value of a player is considerably less than the value that they can offer a team (goals, assists, etc).
These are five players that meet the ‘bargain buy’ criteria and the clubs that should sign them.
Part of the same Manchester United youth team that featured Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard, Joshua King was marked for big things at Old Trafford from an early age but after a few seasons of flirting with cup appearances and a place on the bench he moved onto Blackburn Rovers in 2013.
Whilst Blackburn have since fallen into Championship mediocrity, King’s career has gone from strength to strength with each passing season. The Bournemouth frontman’s strength, technical ability and prowess in front of goal have seen him finish as The Cherries top goalscorer in all of their 3 seasons in the premier league, and the best part is, at 27 years old he hasn’t even reached his peak….
Clubs who should sign him: Tottenham Hotspur
The fact that Fabian Delph has managed to maintain a semi-active role within the Manchester City squad over the last few despite the arrival of Pep Guardiola is a testament to his ability. When we first signed for Manchester City we all thought “this isn’t going to last”, when Guardiola came in and started clearing out players like a car boot sale we all thought “Delph’s next on the list”, but he’s still here and getting game time!
With the addition of every Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Gundogan, should have meant that Delph’s role became non-existent, but his versatility meant that he was able to fill in at left-back as cover for the injured Bernard Mendy. Last season he was an integral member of the record breaking Manchester City team that finished on 101 points last season and even earned himself a place on England’s World Cup squad in the process.
However this season his role in the side will be reduced even further as Mendy recovers from injury and Ukrainian youngster Oleksandr Zinchenko looks set to stake a claim for the left-back position.
During his heyday at Leeds and Aston Villa Delph was a combative midfielder who was capable of taking games by the scruff of the neck and changing outcomes with his tenacity. Whilst he may have lost a bit of his edge from all of those years spent playing out of position and sitting on the Manchester City bench, Delph could still offer a mid-table team some steel in the middle of the park.
Clubs who should sign him: Newcastle and Burnley
Not too long ago Nathaniel Clyne was Liverpool and England’s first choice right back but over the last two seasons, things have changed…
A combination of injury and the emergence of Trent Alexander-Arnold have seen him fall down the pecking order for both club and country and even miss out in a place on the staring line-up in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid last season.
Clyne is probably as well-rounded of a right-back that you can find in the premier league, equally adept at attacking as he is defending, so why is he on this list? He just isn’t as good as the man he’s up against…. that’s no slight against Clyne because there are few players who can boast having the same skill set as Alexander-Arnold, but it does mean that he’ll have to move on to have any chance at getting first team football.
This means that Clyne currently finds himself in one of the worst predicaments for a footballer, too good for the bench but not good enough to starting line-up. Liverpool’s lack of a reputable back-up might make them think twice about letting Clyne leave this summer, but a loan deal could definitely be on the table for potential suitors.
Clubs who should sign him: Bournemouth, Cardiff and West Ham
Supremely talented but often unreliable. If you look up the term “mercurial talent” in the Oxford dictionary you’ll find a picture of Roberto Pereyra…. probably in a Juventus shirt. The reason it’s necessary to make the distinction is because since the Argentine touched down on English shores from Serie A his talent has star has shone brighter and with increasing regularity; at Juventus he was a small fish in a big pond, at Watford he is the Great White Shark they need to navigate the ocean that is the Premier League.
Pereyra is a quintessential number 10, able to turn a game on its head at will; defence splitting passes, wonder goals out of thin air, you name it and he’s got it in his locker. Although his first two seasons at Watford were hampered by injury and inconsistency, he seems to have finally gotten his act together and could pay off big time for the club who’s willing to take a risk on him.
Creativity is a commodity in this league so he’ll probably cost more than the other players on this list, but under the right manager in the right system he has the potential to become a star.
Clubs who should sign him: Chelsea
During his 7-year spell at ‘The Bridge’ Gary Cahill has won every piece of silverware there is to win… 1 x Champions League, 2x Premier League, 1 x Europa League, 2 x FA Cup and 1 x League Cup… not bad for a player who Chelsea signed for £7 million from Bolton Wanderer… and it looks like he could become a bargain buy once more for another club in the near future.
With the arrival of Maurizio Sarri and the dawn of the era of “Sarri-Ball” it looks like Cahill’s days in the Chelsea starting 11 are numbered. It is rumoured that Sarri is keen to go back to his old club to acquire the services of Senegalese international Kalidou Koulibaly, further adding to Chelsea’s depth in the centre-back position – which already consists of Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz and César Azpilicueta.
Although Cahill may not have much to offer this particular Chelsea team at 33 years old he is still far from a spent force. With his experience at the top level of English football, Cahill could lead a defence or serve as a nice complimentary piece alongside a young defender learning his trade – His contract up next summer so it’s likely that Chelsea will let him go for little or next to nothing.
Clubs who should sign him: Crystal Palace, Watford, Burnley and Fulham
Built in the mould of Yaya Toure and Patrick Vieira, Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucouré style of play is very reminiscent of the ball carrying specialists of a forgotten era – tall, elegant and dynamic.
When he first arrived at Watford in February 2016 he was immediately loaned out to sister-club Granada for the rest of the season, and even when he did arrive back Vicarage Road he struggled to get minutes. Those days seen like they’re in the distant past now though… ever since the Frenchman was given a chance in the side he hasn’t looked back. The likes of Troy Deeney, Andre Gray and Richarlison took most of the headlines last season, but it was Doucouré who finished as Watford’s top goalscorer with 7 goals, and was a near ever-present with 37 starts in the league.
While Doucouré has said that he is enjoying playing for Watford he has also made no secret of his desire to play in the Champions League and force his way into the thinking of French national team manager Didier Deschamps before the World Cup, making him a prime target for a top 6 side.
Clubs who should sign him: Arsenal and Manchester United