Amid a summer in which the Premier League teams spent a collective £1.4billion on inward signings, it’s easy to overlook some of the value for money English clubs acquired during the last transfer window.
Southampton, for example, paid a club-record £15.4million fee for a talent of huge pedigree in Mario Lemina, a former U20 World Cup winner with France who has already plied his trade with two European institutions in Marseille and Juventus.
Manager Mauricio Pellegrino has been slowly bedding the Gabon international into his side, but Lemina completed his first full 90 minutes for Saints against Crystal Palace on Saturday and produced easily his best performance yet.
Indeed, although the Eagles made the job somewhat easier for the deep-lying midfielder in a largely toothless display, the 24-year-old finished up with the most tackles, most interceptions and most touches of the ball of any player on the pitch, while completing a whopping 90% of his passes.
Defensive-minded midfielders rarely pick up the biggest price-tags, but it’s rather incredible to think Chelsea paid more than twice as much for Leicester City’s Danny Drinkwater, who will spend most of the season on their bench, while Stoke spent more on a centre-back in Kevin Wimmer who couldn’t even get a look-in at Tottenham Hotspur.
Defying the trend of ever-escalating super-spending, Southampton’s swoop for Lemina and his performance on Saturday proves there are still deals to be had for Premier League clubs.