The 10 best bargains in Premier League history: Legendary Man Utd stars, Arsenal icon, Everton skipper…

Superb Premier League bargains: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Eric Cantona (Man Utd), Patrick Vieira (Arsenal)

Superb Premier League bargains: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Eric Cantona (Man Utd), Patrick Vieira (Arsenal)

The amount of money spent on players these days is crazy – particularly in the Premier League – but there are still some great bargains to be had. 

In this article, we look at 10 of the best bargain transfers in PL history, but we have excluded free transfers such as Sol Campbell’s from Tottenham to Arsenal.

Some of the players in English football history feature on this list and every one of them cost less than £10m – and some were far below that figure.

Eric Cantona – Leeds to Man Utd: £1.2m

Manchester United needed a new striker in 1992 after Dion Dublin broke his leg. They initially offered £4m for Sheffield Wednesday’s David Hirst.

The Red Devils failed to bring in the Wednesday man and Sir Alex Ferguson turned to Leeds United’s Eric Cantona as an alternative.

Man Utd snapped the Frenchman up for just £1.2m and he went on to become a legend at Old Trafford.

Cantona scored a fantastic 81 goals in 183 appearances in a five-year stint at Man Utd in which they won four Premier League titles and two FA Cups.

Cantona’s arrival at the club marked the beginning of their dominance of English football that lasted another 20 years.

Patrick Vieira – AC Milan to Arsenal: £3.5m

Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups during his time in North London and cost the Gunners just £3.5m.

Most people think that Vieira was an Arsene Wenger signing, but he arrived in August 1996 – a month before the manager came to Highbury.

The 6ft4 centre-mid went on to make 405 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 32 goals and making 46 assists in the process.

Vieira’s ferocious battles with Man Utd icon Roy Keane were a joy to watch, the like of which we may not see again.

Seamus Coleman – Sligo Rovers to Everton: £60,000

Everton cult hero Seamus Coleman, at one point, was one of the best full-backs in Europe and he cost the Toffees just £60,000 in 2009.

Coleman, 35, has made 414 appearances for the Merseyside club to date, which equates to a cost of just £145 per match.

The Republic of Ireland international has worn the captain’s armband at Goodison Park since 2019 and is adored by the Evertonians.

Coleman’s contract is up at the end of the season, but Sean Dyche will hope that he can play a key role in keeping Everton in the Premier League once again after receiving a controversial 10-point deduction. 

N’Golo Kante – Caen to Leicester: £5.6m

N’Golo Kante spent just one season with Leicester City but his £5.6m switch from Caen was one of the main reasons why the Foxes lifted the title in 2015/16. He enjoyed arguably the best debut campaign of any player in Premier League history.

The Frenchman is considered to be one of the best defensive midfielders of all time thanks to his boundless energy and tackling ability.

Kante then joined Chelsea for £30m, where he lifted a PL and Champions League title as well as winning the FA Cup, Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup, before joining Al-Ittihad last summer.

Vincent Kompany –  Hamburg to Man City: £6m

Vincent Kompany is undoubtedly one of the best signings of Man City’s history and they brought him in for just £6m in 2008.

The centre-back laid the groundwork for the Cityzen’s success in the 2010s and was a huge presence in the team. He was awarded the captain’s armband by Roberto Mancini in 2010.

Kompany helped his team to lift four Premier League titles and will always be remembered for his stunning goal against Leicester in 2019, which was vital in Man City lifting the trophy that year.

He finished his career at boyhood club Anderlecht before retiring and later becoming Burnley manager.

Kolo Toure – ASEC Mimosas to Arsenal: £150,000

Ivorian side ASEC Mimosas have produced some top players over the years, with Emmanuel Eboue, Salomon Kalou, Gervinho and Yaya Toure being great examples, but Kolo Toure’s £150,000 switch to Arsenal in 2002 paved the way for all those big names.

After featuring in different positions, he nailed down a spot at centre-back and was one of the Gunner’s most important players in their Invincibles era.

Toure made 326 appearances in total for Arsenal – equating to a cost of £460 per appearance. In the process, he helped the North Londoners to win the Premier League, FA Cup and two community shields before leaving in 2009 for £14m.

Nemanja Vidic – Spartak Moscow to Man Utd: £7m

Nemanja Vidic is undoubtedly one of the best defenders to have ever played for Man Utd.

The Serbia international is the only defender to have been awarded the PL Player Of The Year Award on two separate occasions and cost the Red Devils just £7m.

Vidic made the switch to Old Trafford in 2006 and formed one of the best centre-back partnerships football has ever seen with Rio Ferdinand.

Vidic made 300 appearances in total for Man Utd, scoring 21 goals and lifting an incredible 15 major trophies in the process.

Phillipe Coutinho – Inter Milan to Liverpool: £8.5m

Liverpool signed Phillipe Coutinho from Inter Milan for £8.5m in 2013 and went on to score 54 goals in 201 appearances for the Reds.

The Brazilian simply had to be included in this list because of the huge profit Liverpool made after they sold him to Barcelona for a staggering £142m.

Coutinho remains the most expensive Premier League player sale ever to this day.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – Molde to Man Utd: £1.5m

Man Utd were desperate to sign Alan Shearer in 1996 and when they missed out on him, the supporters were disappointed to see little-known Ole Gunnar Solksjaer arrive instead.

However, the Norweigan striker ended up turning into one of the most clinical strikers in Premier League history.

He went on to help the Red Devils complete a historic treble three years later, scoring the crucial winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

Solskjaer scored an outstanding 126 goals in total for the Red Devils, went on to become their manager in 2018 and remains a fan favourite at Old Trafford.

Ashley Cole – Arsenal to Chelsea: £5m

After being left ‘trembling with anger’ at a contract extension offer from Arsenal, Ashley Cole always looked destined to leave the Gunners in 2006.

Arsene Wenger sanctioned Cole’s sale to London rivals Chelsea for just £5m and he went on to become arguably the best left-back in Premier League history.

The former England international helped the Blues clinch the Champions League title in 2012, netting a penalty in the shootout win.

Cole made 337 appearances in total at Stamford Bridge, winning nine major trophies in the process.

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