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Gareth McAuley is one of West Brom’s best ever signings

When you think of the best buys in Premier League history you may think of the likes of Eric Cantona moving to Manchester United for just a touch over £1m, or something such as Chelsea landing Frank Lampard for just £11m.

One that may not immediately spring to mind though is a signing West Brom made back in 2011, but a deeper look into things shows that the Baggies pulled off one of the most brilliant coups in Premier League history in the early 2010s.

Signing a 31-year-old player who had never stepped foot in the Premier League sounds like a ridiculous idea for any team battling in the bottom half, but Gareth McAuley subverted all expectations when he joined West Brom.

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The Northern Irishman was the epitome of a late bloomer, making his top-flight bow in his 30s, but he still managed to have a more than respectable career at the highest level of English football.

The centre-back managed 203 league appearances for West Brom after signing in 2011, and he actually managed to pick up not one, but two Player of the Year awards, winning both the Players and Supporters Player of the year for his exploits in the 2012/13 season, beating Romelu Lukaku despite the Belgian having an incredibly lucrative loan spell at The Hawthorns.

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Can you name this obscure former West Brom player?

It was certainly a gamble for the Baggies to bring McAuley in nine years ago, you would have been forgiven for thinking that his career would have been winding down at that age, but things were just getting started for him.

Getting 203 top-flight games out of a man you signed on a free transfer in his 30s is incredible, and McAuley deserves to be in the conversation, not only for West Brom’s best signing ever but as one of the best Premier League signings ever, certainly financially.

In other news, one man is being underutilised by Slaven Bilic.

Article title: Gareth McAuley is one of West Brom’s best ever signings

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