tribalfootball.com has produced our take on the best value XI since the summer 2011 transfer window opened.
Over the past four transfer market openings, managers from all Premier League clubs have made shrewd signings but some have been more astute than others.
tribalfootball’s Value XI since 2011
The little-known Dutchman came to the Premier League in the summer of 2011 without much fanfare or expectation but his signing has proved to be a positive enterprise. Since his Liberty Stadium arrival, Vorm has made 63 Premier League appearances and two in the FA Cup, only losing his spot in the Swans line-up last season to Gerhard Tremmel because of injury. His value has now soared to around £7m.
Sascha Riether: - Signed by Fulham from FC Cologne on loan, then for £1.2m
The German right-back was snapped up on a season-long loan by Fulham in July last year and quickly became a staple in Martin Jol’s side. Riether went on to win the clubs layers’ Player of the Year award before the Cottagers signed him permanently for less than £1.3m. Rated ninth in the EA Sports Player Performance Index for defenders last season.
Spanish centre-back Chico Flores has been steady for the Swans since moving from Italian side Genoa last summer. Reunited with former Mallorca boss Michael Laudrup in south Wales, Flores missed 12 games because of injuries and suspension but was a key figure in the back four and his presence during the Capital One Cup campaign was evident, although he was forced out of the final triumph over Bradford City with an ankle problem.
Gary Cahill: - Signed by Chelsea from Bolton for £7m
Chelsea brought in Cahill in January 2012 and although he found life at Stamford Bridge a touch difficult at the beginning, he is swiftly becoming the player the Blues paid just over £7m for. The 27-year old made 24 Premier League appearances last season as Roberto Di Matteo and then Rafael Benitez rotated the squad, this coming after he and David Luiz thwarted the Bayern Munich attack in the successful 2012 Champions League final. In terms of pure value for money, Cahill doesn’t top the list, but he is now valued at £16m on the transfer market and is likely to lead the Blues defence for at least the next few years under Jose Mourinho.
Norwich made a very shrewd acquisition in May when they signed Javier Garrido permanently from Lazio. The Spanish left-back initially joined the Canaries on loan in August last year and made 34 assured starts in his first season at Carrow Road. He impressed so much that Norwich signed him on a two-year deal for £1.3million as he prepares to become a mainstay for the future. Man City paid around £2m for him in 2007.
The Scottish winger had become a top quality Championship player with Leeds before Norwich snapped him up in July 2012. The transfer fee of just under £3m appears to be good business by the Canaries following Snodgrass’ debut Premier League campaign which yielded six goals and as many assists. Is dangerous with his left foot, cutting in from the right flank.
Yohan Cabaye: Signed by Newcastle United from Lille for £4.3m
Cabaye has become one of Newcastle’s most consistent performers since joining from Lille in the summer of 2011. The 27-year old French midfielder cost less than £4.3m and has already notched up 60 Premier League games for ten goals and eight assists. One to keep things calm in a frenzied Toon affair and has helped the clubs burgeoning French contingent settle in the Northeast.
Claudio Yacob: - Signed by West Bromwich Albion from Racing Club de Avellaneda for free
A masterstroke signing by the Baggies. The 25-year old Argentine defensive midfielder is the type of player you can build a team around. Yacob arrived at The Hawthorns for nothing in the summer of 2012 and Albion were pleasantly surprised when he made 29 Premier League commanding starts with little fuss after coming to England’s West Midlands as a virtual unknown.
In a roundabout way, Pienaar’s second coming has been a blessing for Everton. The South African was sold to Tottenham for £3m in January 2011. A year later and he was back at Goodison Park on loan, scoring four times and providing seven assists in just 14 appearances in the second part of the 2011/12 season. The Toffees then decided to take a small loss on Pienaar by purchasing him back for £4.8m, although it was only an £800,000 deficit as they made around a £1m profit on the sale to Spurs. In terms of actual cash handed over, Everton have not pocketed anything, but they have seen a more hungry incarnation of Pienaar who formed a dazzling left-sided duo with Leighton Baines on his way to six goals and six assists last season.
Arguably the signing of last season. The 27-year old took the Premier League by storm after arriving from Rayo Vallecano for a little over £2m. He scored 18 goals in 35 appearances, helping the Swans lift the Capital One Cup, and saw his value rise to in excess of £11m. One of the many recent success stories to star in England after moving over from Spain.
Of course, Ba now finds himself at Chelsea but in terms of pure value, his success after his move to Newcastle in June 2011 for nothing is almost unprecedented in modern times. The Senegalese striker scored 29 Premier League goals in 54 appearances for the Toon before they sold him for £7.2m to Chelsea in January. Since he moved to Stamford Bridge, Ba has struggled in front of goal with just two league goals in 14 appearances and four in the FA Cup, only for the Magpies to walk away with a bag of cash after paying nothing for his services.
Christian Benteke: - Signed by Aston Villa from Genk for £7m
The little-known Belgian talisman swanned into the Premier League last summer and a year later has almost doubled in value and emerged as a target for top clubs following his 23-goal (19 in the league) debut season.
Another shrewd acquisition from Villa. The 24-year old right-back played 37 times in the Premier League last campaign after making the jump from League One.
The highly-rated 22-year old midfielder arrived at White Hart Lane in January this year for what is classified these days as next to nothing. The Germany U21 captain may not have set the world on fire in his first few months with Spurs but is expected to have a long and illustrious career in North London.
For a player who once cost over £30m, Fulham did well to bring in the Bulgarian striker for less than £4.5m. Berbatov scored 15 goals for the Cottagers after crossing from Manchester United last summer, bringing plenty of bite and creativity to the Fulham attacking line.