You Don’t Always Get What You Pay For

by Sam Wheatley

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Transfer are always the talking point during pre-season (and for many, the lack of them). Obviously we’re all much more aware of what’s been happening here in Albion and the big money transfers, but around Europe teams have been snapping up bargains all over the show, so we have compiled an eleven of players signed up in what may turn out to be inspired deals.

GK: Maarten Stekelenburg – Ajax to AS Roma – €6.3 million
Widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers at World Cup 2010, Stekelenburg represents something of a coup at under €7 million. In a climate in which even young goalkeepers are shifted on for quite a lot of money, Stekelenburg gets the nod as the bargain of this summer’s goalkeepers who have moved on.

RB: Martin Caceres – Barcelona to Sevilla – €3 million
With 33 Uruguay caps to his name at just 24 years of age, Caceres has won a treble with Barcelona and the Copa America with his national team. Though a peripheral figure in achieving those club honours, Caceres is integral to the national team set-up, and his dogged, determined defensive play is an absolute snip at just €3 million.

CB: Phillipe Mexès – AS Roma to Milan – Free
A sturdy but impetuous centre-back of international pedigree, though often overlooked by France. Mexès is possibly the standout defensive buy of this summer’s transfers, moving to Serie A champions Milan for nothing from Roma.

CB: Joris Mathijsen – Hamburg to Malaga – €2 million
Another part of the Dutch side that finished runner-up at World Cup 2010, the 31 year-old Mathijsen is a centre-back with 72 international caps that represents a good deal for big-spending Malaga as the club look to get the balance right.

LB: Taye Taiwo – Marseille to Milan – Free
Milan have been at it again to sign 26 year-old Nigerian (48 caps) left-back Taye Taiwo, famed for his free-kicks and long shots during his six years at Marseille in France. He made almost 200 appearances for the club, winning Ligue 1 in 2010.

RM: Hamit Altintop – Bayern Munich to Real Madrid – Free
The German-born Turkey international midfielder moved this summer on his second big free transfer, having previously moved to Bayern Munich from Schalke for nothing in 2007. Famed for his long distance shots, Altintop is a steady and versatile player who, whilst probably not being the first name on the team sheet at Real Madrid, will always put in a good shift when called upon.

CM: Andrea Pirlo – Milan to Juventus – Free
Although now 32 years of age, Pirlo is still a top class player. After winning Lo Scudetto last season with Milan, Pirlo has headed to Turin meaning that he has now represented Milan, Inter and finally Juventus and has been at the top of the Italian game since 2001. With 75 caps and having won every club competition it is possible to win, it would be fair to say that Pirlo represents good value at absolutely nothing at all.

CM: Owen Hargreaves – Manchester City – Free
The inspiration for this article, Owen Hargreaves has been plagued by injury in recent years, having cost Manchester United nigh on £20 million when he was signed from Bayern Munich. On his day, Hargreaves does a beautiful job of shielding the defence, breaking up play. With a fine range of passing and his ability from dead balls, Hargreaves can still play at the very top.

LM: Diego Capel – Sevilla to Sporting Lisbon – €4 million
It may be hard to believe, but Diego Capel is still only 23 years old. Despite featuring regularly for Sevilla last season, the saw fit to sell the winger to Sporting Lisbon of Portugal for a paltry €4 million, but I would not be surprised to see him back in La Liga before long, at a much higher price.

CF: Miroslav Klose – Bayern Munich to Lazio – Free
Part of a pair of aging but ultimately effective strikers that have left on frees this pre-season. Miroslav Klose has a record of more than a goal every two games for Germany. At 33, Klose may not be selected for every game, but you can bet that when he is, his physical presence and eye for goal will trouble the opposition.

CF: Ruud van Nistelrooy – Hamburg to Malaga – Free
We all know about Ruud van Nistelrooy in England. Although 35 years-old, van Nistelrooy was still putting them away for Hamburg last season just as he had for the previous seventeen seasons. Time will tell if he can still do it in La Liga, and despite his wages, nothing is still a good price for a truly legendary striker.

Subs: Brad Friedel (Free, Aston Villa to Tottenham), Fernando Meira (Free, Zenit to Real Zaragoza ), Martin Dimchelis (€3 million, Bayern Munich to Malaga), Joey Barton (Free, Newcastle to QPR), Joaquin (€4 million, Valencia to Malaga), Sebastian Giovinco (€3 million, Juventus to Parma), David Suazo (Free, Inter to Cagliari).

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  • dexylongshot

    Bargain city. I’m surprised no one came in for Mexes.

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