Man United, Chelsea … Five of the biggest bargains in history

As the Premier League season reaches it’s climax over the coming weeks attention has already turned to the summer transfer window. Gareth Bale, Ross Barkley and Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling are just three of the players that have been linked with big money moves this week; deals that could cost in excess of £50m for any potential buyers.

Staggering amounts yes, but it’s the way football has become. Nowadays if you want the best talent, you have to be prepared to pay a lot for it. Well most of the time that is . . . Sometimes, despite the crazy money that players go for today, teams can still grab themselves a bargain. And it’s these types of signings that often prove to be the best.

Looking back at the way some players have performed since arriving for a moderately cheap fee in comparison to others around them, it’s hard to believe just what a good deal certain clubs have got when signing the cheque for these individuals.

Every Premier League team has nabbed themselves a bargain or two in recent seasons, and here are FIVE of the biggest:

Rafael van der Vaart

Rafael van der Vaart (Spurs)

At just £8m, Dutch midfielder Rafael Van der Vaart certainly proved to be money well spent for Tottenham after his arrival in 2010. He was instrumental in the side’s impressive Champions League campaign, and proved himself to be on the best attacking midfielders around during his two years at White Hart Lane.

He found the net 15 times during in his first season at the club before another 13 the following year. His departure back to Hamburg in 2012 did come as a slight surprise, but there was no surprise when Spurs announced that he was to leave for £2m more than they had purchased him for.

Philippe Coutinho

Coutinho3

Liverpool were said to be taking a gamble when they signed Philippe Coutinho for £8.5m after the Brazilian had failed to establish himself as a regular for Inter. But you just have to look at his performances this season to see it was certainly a gamble worth taking.

Coutinho continues to get better and better and has become a vital part of a Liverpool side pushing for Champions League qualification. Some spectacular goals alongside numerous assists has seen him to develop into one of the league’s top midfielders, and Inter must be looking back in envy at what he is producing on the pitch. One thing’s for sure; he’s worth a heck of a lot more money now.

Seamus Coleman

Seamus Coleman

It’s hard to believe that Everton managed to sign one of the Premier League’s best full-backs for as little as £60,000 back in January 2008. An unknown quantity when he arrived from Sligo Rovers, the Irish star has gone on to become an integral part of Everton, with his ability as an attacking defender attracting attention from Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Chelsea.

With greater importance on full-backs in today’s game, his ability to get up and down the wing, deliver quality crosses and chip in with a fair number of goals mean he is now a superb all-round defender. It’s difficult to see Coleman remaining at Goodison Park for much longer with the prospect of Champions League football sure to tempt him. But if he is to leave, Everton can easily pocket at least £20m which will mean a significant return on their investment.

Thibaut Courtois

Courtois

Belgian star Thibaut Courtois has finally established himself as Chelsea’s number one goalkeeper after taking over from Petr Cech and he looks set for a long career at Stamford Bridge. £8m for a 19-year-old goalkeeper appeared a hefty sum of money when they prized the highly-rated youngster away from Genk back in 2011, but he has certainly vindicated is price tag.

A hugely successful loan spell at Atletico Madrid saw him develop into one of the world’s best goalkeepers, and after winning a La Liga title and narrowly missing out on lifting the Champions League trophy, it was no surprise to see him return to Chelsea and become a regular in the side. It’s remarkable what this 22-year-old has already achieved in his career, and that £8m now looks like money well spent when you consider just how long he could remain at Chelsea.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

It’s not often you would perceive a fee of £12m to be a bargain, but perhaps the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo is the best deal in Premier League history. After impressing in a preseason friendly for Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United made sure he was soon to be a Red Devil, but not even they could have foreseen the impact he would have at the club.

Ronaldo spent six glorious seasons at Old Trafford where he won the lot. He developed into arguably the best player in the world with an outstanding goal-scoring ability that saw him break a club record with 42 goals in the 2007/08 campaign.

Losing a player of his stature was always going to be a huge loss for the club, but having always stated his ambition to play for Real Madrid not many held it against him – particularly after all he had done for the club. Ronaldo signed for the Spanish giants for a world record £80m in 2009, leaving United with a massive £68m profit.