Black Friday is here! That’s right, the annual 24 hours in which budding shoppers from the USA and the UK recreate scenes from The Purge to ensure nobody beats them to a toaster with five quid knocked off its recommended retail price has finally arrived.
A strange tradition but an increasingly popular one nonetheless. Last year, a whopping £810million was spent by online consumers alone; one can only imagine the total with all those riotous shoppers trampling over small children on their way to the discount lampshades isle included as well.
And in homage to this year’s Black Friday, Football Fancast have been prowling the transfer market for some of its best bargains on behalf of the Premier League’s top clubs – in this instance, Chelsea and Manchester United.
Some come with knees made of glass, off-field baggage and controversial reputations, but all are available for a knock-down rate this Black Friday!
What better way to kick off Black Friday than signing an experienced goal scorer without spending a penny?
Indeed, only 25 players throughout the competition’s history have scored more Premier League goals than Emmanuel Adebayor, who boasts an impressive return of 96 from his spells with Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.
Chelsea and Manchester United are both believed to be in the market for added firepower, the Blues’ reportedly concerned with the sharp decline of Diego Costa and the Red Devils’ current strike-force of Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial finding just five Premier League goals between them this season.
The 31-year-old represents a short-term fix until more coveted targets become available. He’s certainly well experienced in life at a major club, but like most Black Friday giveaways, the Togo international isn’t exactly reliable.
Another experienced striker striker doing the rounds is Alexandre Pato, whose services have allegedly already been offered to Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs at the relatively cheap cost of £11million.
The 26-year-old is best famed for his prior spell at AC Milan, where he scored 51 goals in 117 appearances, but has spent the last three years rebuilding his career in the Brazilian league after enduring 18 months of injury hell at the San Siro.
That may put some off the 5 foot 11 striker. Nobody wants a television set with a busted up aerial, regardless of how cheap Currys are selling it for.
But the Brazil international has now enjoyed three straight seasons of full fitness and just come to the end of the most prolific campaign of his career, netting 26 times in 56 appearances on loan at Sao Paolo.
Sao Paolo can’t afford to sign him permanently, parent club Corinthians are keen to cash-in and Pato is resultantly eyeing a return to European football.
Boasting fantastic athleticism, great versatility and relative youth, Joel Matip has plenty to offer a top European club like Chelsea or Manchester United.
The Cameroon international measures in at 6 foot 4 but is slight and agile, whilst his ability on the ball has seen him feature in defensive midfield as frequently as his preferred position of centre-half throughout his Schalke career. He’s even filled in at full-back on occasion too.
The 24-year-old has been deployed exclusively as a centre-back this season and is arguably enjoying his strongest form to date, averaging 1.5 tackles, 3.5 interceptions, 5.5 clearances and 3.8 successful aerial duels per match whilst claiming two goals and one assist in 13 Bundesliga outings.
But with his contract set to expire at the end of the season, some Black Friday haggling could see the Miners surrender Matip on the cheap.
If you’re spending Black Friday searching for a bargain centre-half, then look no further than Marseille’s Nicolas N’Koulou.
The Cameroon international has been regarded as one of the French top flight’s leading defenders for some time, having twice claimed a slot in the division’s Team of the Season since moving to Stade Velodrome in summer 2011.
The 25-year-old has been tipped for a Premier League move before without anything materialising. But N’Koulou is now edging upon the final six months of his Marseille contract and without a new deal in sight, he’s another who can be whisked away on the cheap with a bit of bartering.
The third and final bosman-bound bargain on this list. Sofiane Feghouli’s contract situation at Valencia has seen him linked with countless clubs over the last few months – not least including Chelsea, Manchester United and Barcelona.
The Algerian international isn’t exactly a world-beater, finding six goals and six assists in 33 La Liga outings last season, but he’s a real nuisance in the final third and at 25 years of age could up his game to a new level within the next few years.
He possesses the pace and power to be a real hit in the Premier League and although Valencia are optimistic of eventually agreeing extended terms with the African attacker, a decent bid will certainly make them think twice about his future.
Chelsea perhaps aren’t in need of added options out wide but Louis van Gaal has made no secret of his desire to add a speedy winger to United’s starting line-up. Feghouli could be the man for the job.
A considerably pricier Black Friday deal compared to the rest on this list but one that represents good value-for-money nonetheless.
Mario Gotze is best famed for scoring the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final but his club career has somewhat tanked since moving to Bayern Munich in summer 2013.
Indeed, he’s gone on to see just 4476 minutes’ worth of action in the Bundesliga under Pep Guardiola, which works out at just shy of 50 full appearances from a possible 81, and often finds himself benched for Bayern Munich’s most important Champions League fixtures.
The German international’s agent made plenty of noise about leaving due to a lack of game time during the summer and the situation hasn’t particularly improved, with Douglas Costa and Kingsley Coman representing even greater competition for a regular starting berth.
So with Gotze’s contract set to expire at the end of next season, a cheeky bid around the £20million-£30million mark might just convince Bayern to cash-in on the disillusioned 23-year-old.
What a Black Friday coup that’d be!