From Michu to Mohamed Diame, there have been a number of transfer success stories in the Premier League this season, with clubs showing that there is still value for money in an increasingly inflated transfer market.
With that in mind, here's a look at an all-star XI of bargain buys from the 2012/13 campaign. But do you agree? Leave a comment and let us know.
Manager: Michael Laudrup
In his first season with Swansea City, Laudrup has more than filled the void left by the influential Brendan Rodgers. After 28 rounds of league football, he has Swansea fighting for 7th place, qualified for Europe, and has delivered their first trophy in 100 years. Oh, and the season is not over yet.
Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris
Price: £10m - Lyon to Tottenham
It was mind-boggling then, and it is mind-boggling now. Only Daniel Levy could manage to lure a goalkeeper of Lloris' pedigree to Tottenham for a mere £10m. Other than to plan for the future, there was no reason to replace an everlasting Brad Friedel, but it does not change the fact that £10m is a clear discount on the French goalkeeper's market valuation. He has so far lived up to his reputation and Tottenham continue to acquire top talent around Europe at bargain prices.
Right-back: Geoff Cameron
Price: £2.2m - Houston Dynamo to Stoke City
As an unknown quantity, Geoff Cameron arrived in the league to many skeptics. Slotting in at a team where his physicality is put to regular use, he has become a solid, no-nonsense defender. His growth over the season easily justifies a small price tag.
Price: £2.5m - Genoa to Swansea City
Chico looked to be a David Luiz-esque defender who left far too much space behind him. Supporters were concerned and critics had their field days. After an adaptation period, Chico has turned his aggression into tenacity. He has regularly displayed a powerful aerial presence combined with crunching tackles. Laudrup now employs Chico as his favourite choice to man-marking menacing strikers. £2.5m has provided Swansea with a mainstay defender that helped them win the League Cup in their second season.
Centre-back: Jan Vertonghen
Price: £12m - Ajax to Tottenham
The Tottenham favourite is an indispensable part of Tottenham's defence. As they say, results speak for themselves. Tottenham lie third in the Barclays Premier League, and Vertonghen has played in 24 of 28 league matches.
Left-back: Ben Davies
Price: Academy graduate - Swansea
Not many notable left-backs made a switch during the 2012/13 season. However, Ben Davies made his professional debut for Swansea City in August 2012, where he has since taken the vacancy left by Neil Taylor and made the position his own. As a determined and ambitious young defender, Davies makes good, conservative decisions on defence but also gets forward on a consistent basis. A very impressive debut season for the youngster, and a cost effective solution to Swansea's left-back problem position this season.
Centre-midfield: Moussa Sissoko
Price: £2.5m - Toulouse to Newcastle
His debut was stunning, and his transfer price even more shocking. Running rampant with power, pace, and a thunderous shot, Moussa Sissoko has taken Tyneside by storm. As a versatile athlete, Sissoko plays behind Papiss Cisse but has traditionally played as a defensive or centre-midfielder. Consistent performances and a growing cult following is supported by three goals three assists eight games, making £2.5m look like a heist second only to Michu's move to Swansea.
Centre-midfield: Mohamed Diame
Price: Free - Wigan to West Ham
Diame has played next to Mark Noble, where his pure athleticism has shown his ability as one of the best transition leaders in the league. In fact, he is such a crucial part of West Ham's tactics to the point where they simply are a different team without him. With the exception of Moussa Sissoko and Yaya Toure, there are not many others in this league that can singlehandedly drive a team's shape from defence to offence. Despite injury concerns, he has played over 21 games, scored two goals, made two assists and made a whopping 90 tackles in the process (third highest in the league). The widespread interest from big teams say it all.
Right-wing: Joe Cole
Price: Free - Liverpool to West Ham
Completely written off by Liverpool after a decent spell at Lille, Joe Cole returned to the ground where it all started. His arrival has brought an visible injection of technique and movement. A vast improvement over the previously ineffectual Gary O'Neil, inconsistent Ricardo Vaz Te, and disappointing Yossi Benayoun. In seven games, he has managed two goals and two assists; a nice return on a free investment.
Attacking midfield: Michu
Price: £2m - Rayo Vallecano to Swansea City
Nothing much needs to be said about the lanky Spaniard who arrived on English shores as an unknown and is already a champion. A mere £2m has provided Swansea City with 19 goals and four assists in 33 matches, and the tally looks unlikely to end anytime soon. Swansea City has procured the league's joint 4th leading scorer for pennies. Without question, the season's greatest heist.
Left-wing: Steven Pienaar
Price: £4.5m - Tottenham to Everton
Pienaar left Everton for potential Champions League football, but never found his best form at White Hart Lane. David Moyes has brought his star man back, and Pienaar is just about back to the player he was that earned him a move to Spurs in the first place. A fine season for the left forward, backed by six goals and six assists in 32 games.
Striker: Dimitar Berbatov
Price: £4m - Manchester United to Fulham
The former Manchester United and Tottenham frontman has galvanised Fulham with his elegant touch and goalscoring. For mere £4m, Fulham have gotten 10 goals and three assists in 24 matches, and enough highlights to keep supporters chatting over the next summer. A shrewd transfer considering his obvious pedigree, experience, and proven ability to build an offence around him.
Total cost: £40m, or Eden Hazard.
For just £40m, you could field a competitive XI that would have no trouble holding its own in the Premier League. Who ever said you can't get value for money in the modern day transfer market?
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