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Challenges The Premier League Bargain Buy Challenge


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The phenomenal global popularity of the Premier League has raked in so much revenue from sponsors, broadcasters and supporters that a frankly eye-watering amount of money has been spent on players who haven't always been worth the price-tag. However, on the other hand, some signings have seemed relatively bargainous. Here are 20 purchases which even the most parsimonious bank manager couldn't help but applaud.


No. 20 – Michu (Spain, midfielder) Rayo Vallecano to Swansea for £2 million.


The languid attacking midfielder could not have enjoyed a more perfect season in South Wales, scoring 22 goals in all competitions, winning the League Cup and being named the Swans’ Player of the Season that year.

No. 19 – John Stones (England, defender) Barnsley to Everton for £3 million


 Before he was playing the ball out of the back like Franz Beckenbauer, the former Barnsley defender was just trying to make a name for himself at Goodison Park. Although he didn’t make a single appearance in his first season, his bravery on the ball and defensive improvements without it saw several big clubs begin to sniff round. In the summer of 2016, he joined Manchester City in a £47.5 million deal, earning the Toffees a sweet profit.

No. 18 – Lucas Radebe (South Africa, defender) Kaizer Chiefs to Leeds Utd for £250,000


Rumour has it that Leeds didn’t even intend to purchase Radebe in 1994; the Yorkshire outfit were so keen on Kaizer Chiefs striker Phil Masinga that they ultimately accepted a £250,000 package deal which also included the central defender, who was represented by the same agent as his fellow South African. While Masinga only lasted two seasons at Elland Road, Radebe became a Leeds legend after over a decade of service. The defender played more than 250 times for United, even staying on following the club’s relegation to the Championship in 2004.

No. 17 – Nicolas Anelka (France, striker) PSG to Arsenal for £500,000


When Arsene Wenger signed the 18-year-old from Paris Saint-Germain, he had just 12 professional appearances to his name and Gunners fans were less-than convinced with the Frenchman. However, 28 goals in his two full seasons at Highbury soon changed their minds as he led the line superbly in their Double winning season of 1998.

No. 16 – Tim Cahill (Australia, midfielder) Milwall to Everton for £1.5 million


The signing of Millwall midfielder Cahill in the summer of 2004 was seen as a shrewd piece of business – especially as he had just led the Championship side to the FA Cup final. By the time he left for New York Red Bulls in 2012, his 56 goals in 226 league games had helped cement his status as a Goodison Park legend.

No. 15 – Paolo di Canio (Italy, striker) Sheffield Wednesday to West Ham Utd for £1.5 million


The fiery Italian was practically a leper in 1999 after pushing referee Paul Alcock to the ground during a match for Sheffield Wednesday – no one wanted to touch him. However, Harry Redknapp decided to take a punt on the striker and the rewards were huge. In just four seasons, Di Canio secured a place in the hearts of Hammers’ fans everywhere with his trickery and ingenuity wowing the Upton Park faithful.

No. 14 – Demba Ba (Senegal, striker) West Ham Utd to Newcastle for free


After failing to keep West Ham United in the Premier League in 2011, the Senegal international invoked a clause in his contract to leave for free. Despite being offered £50,000-a-week by the Hammers, Ba joined Newcastle United for nothing and could not stop scoring. When the goals began to dry up, he turned provider for Papiss Cisse.

No. 13 – Ashley Cole (England, defender) Arsenal to Chelsea for £5 million


Shortly before the switch from Highbury to the Emirates, Arsene Wenger sanctioned a controversial move to Chelsea for the left-back. Cole established himself as one of the best defenders in the world at Stamford Bridge and clinched the Champions League title in 2012, scoring a penalty in the shootout win.

No. 12 – Sami Hyypia (Finland, defender) Willem II to Liverpool for £2.6 million


Few knew who Hyypia was when he signed from Willem II in the Netherlands in 1999, but he was a cult hero by the time he left. A commanding presence at the heart of manager Gerard Houllier’s defence, the Finn was a proper, old-fashioned centre-half who stood for no-nonsense. In a decade with the Reds, he won the Champions League, two FA Cups, two League Cups and the UEFA Cup.

No. 11 – Joe Hart (England, goalkeeper) Shrewsbury Town to Man City for £100,000


Signed from Shrewsbury Town in 2006, Hart only managed to break into the Citizens’ first team four years later, but he subsequently asserted his credentials as a top-notch goalkeeper with three consecutive Golden Glove awards from 2011 to 2013.

No. 10 – Ole Gunnar Solksjaer (Norway, Striker) Molde to Man Utd for £1.5 million


When Alan Shearer opted to sign for boyhood club Newcastle United in the summer of 1996, the Red Devils were disappointed to see a little-known Norwegian skulk his way into the club instead. Little did they know, the club had just signed one of the most clinical and effective strikers in Premier League history who would go on to help them complete an historic treble three years later.

No. 9 – Dele Alli (England, Midfielder) MK Dons to Tottenham for £5 million


The former MK Dons star was close to joining Liverpool six months before completing his move to Spurs but he is more than at home in north London now. Still just 22, he has plenty of time to develop his game.

No. 8 – N'Golo Kanté (France, Midfielder) Caen to Leicester City for £5.6 million


One of the nicest men in football, Kante’s rise from Ligue 2 to World Cup winner in just five years is nothing short of miraculous. Signed by Claudio Ranieri to break up opposition attacks, the diminutive midfielder seemed to be absolutely everywhere for the Foxes as they claimed a spectacular Premier League title win in 2016.

No. 7 – Seamus Coleman (Ireland, Defender) Sligo Rovers to Everton for £60,000


The Irish side could not have foreseen in 2009 just how incredible the right-back would become of course, but such a nominal fee in the current market is incredible.

No. 6 – Jamie Vardy (England, Striker) Fleetwood Town to Leicester City for £1 million


It seems incredible that this transfer is seen as a bargain, considering the Foxes forked out the highest transfer fee for a non-league player in history to bring him to the King Power stadium in 2012. His pace and direct approach had seen him plunder goals for fun at Fleetwood Town, but it wasn’t until the 2015/16 season where Vardy showed his class. He set a new Premier League record of scoring in 11 consecutive games and travelled with the England squad to the European Championships in France later that summer. He also was part of the squad that reached the 2018 World Cup semi-final.

No. 5 – Kolo Toure (Ivory Coast, Defender) ASEC Mimosas to Arsenal for £150,000


The Ivory Coast international became a mainstay in the Gunners defence and helped the club to several pieces of silverware before departing for Manchester City in a big-money move. His greatest claim to fame has to be the fact he is an Invincible in both England and Scotland, after being part of teams – Arsenal and Celtic – that went an entire season unbeaten.

No. 4 – Riyad Mahrez (Algeria, Midfielder) Le Havre to Leicester City  for £450,000



No. 3 – Peter Schmeichel (Denmark, Goalkeeper) Brondby to Man Utd for £500,000


The man Alex Ferguson called the ‘bargain of the century’ is often considered to be one of the greatest goalkeepers in Premier League history. Ferocious on and off the pitch, the ‘Great Dane’ very nearly got sacked after an explosive row with Fergie at Anfield in 1994. However, he used his rage for good – winning ten trophies in eight years and leaving shortly after completing the fabled treble in 1999.

No. 2 – Robin van Persie (Netherlands, Striker) Feyenoord to Arsenal for £2.75 million


The Dutchman went from being a scorer of great goals to a great goalscorer before his untimely departure for rivals Manchester United in 2012. Although he is not remembered too fondly in north London for his apparent betrayal, RVP’s transformation from lanky winger to prolific hitman during his eight years there was nothing short of remarkable. He may have won just the one piece of silverware in north London, but 30 Premier League goals in his final season is the stuff of legend.

No. 1 – Patrick Vieira (France, Midfielder) AC Milan to Arsenal for £3.5 million


Many people think Vieira was completely a Arsene Wenger signing, that the talented Frenchman was plucked from obscurity by Le Professeur – but he actually arrived at Highbury in 1996 before Wenger. For a midfielder who could do it all, £3.5m was an absolute steal and Vieira became one of the best midfielders in Premier League history. His ferocious battles with Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane were the stuff of legend, and may never be seen again.

 Can you take in all the bargains and turn them into real stars??


Challenge Set-Up:

  • Load up England and take hold of any Premier League team.
  • You have 10 seasons for which to do your 20 signings and they all have to be of the same nationality and play at the same position as the list, so, for example, if you are looking for your new Van Persie, he has to be from Holland and has to play as a striker and no other positions will be allowed.
  • You are allowed the max. transfer fee same as the list. So, for example, you can only buy your new Toure from Ivory Coast for no more than 150,000. 
  • Your challenge ends when you have sold each of the 20 players that you had purchased or a max. of 10 seasons, whichever comes earlier.
  • Your points will be calculated on the profit you make on the selling of the 20 players.
  • Bonus points - You get 5 points for every domestic award won by your transfers and 10 points for every international award won by your transfers.
  • So, your total points will be the profit + the bonus points. So, if you make a profit of 100 million, your points will be 100 + any bonus points you earn.

So, let me know how you feel about the challenge. If there is enough interest, i may do similar challenges based in other leagues.





Edited by Kanegan
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44 minutes ago, PilgrimAsh said:

Very good challenge, nice work! 


9 hours ago, Woody said:

Brilliant....very creative.


13 hours ago, samhardy said:

Brilliant challenge! 

Thanks all. It would be nice to see someone attempt it. I may have a go at it once i am free of other challenges.

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