Six of the best bargains from the Premier League season

Premier League clubs have broke transfer records once again this season with unprecedented levels of spending from England’s top clubs.

More than £2.8bn has been spent across the Premier League during the current campaign, with Chelsea alone having outspent the rest of Europe’s top leagues combined. As new faces have arrived and records have fallen however, there’s been several signings who have proven to be bargain buys.

We’ve picked out some of the best value-for-money deals of the Premier League season, each signed for less than £5m.

Here are six of the best bargain deals in the Premier League this season.

Christian Eriksen – Manchester United (Free)

Christian Eriksen’s return to football was one of the feel-good stories of last season, as the midfielder resumed his career just months after his life-threatening collapse at Euro 2020. Brentford offered the Denmark international a route back into football on a short-term deal and it proved an inspired move as Eriksen led the Bees to Premier League safety.

The six-month contract and Eriksen’s impressive performances led to summer interest in the 31-year-old, with Manchester United agreeing a deal to sign the midfielder as a free agent.

Erik ten Hag had helped facilitate Eriksen’s return from his cardiac arrest after allowing him to train at Ajax the previous season and brought in the midfielder to boost an engine room which had long been malfunctioning.

Eriksen has impressed at the heart of the side during Ten Hag’s debut season in English football, offering technical elegance in the centre of the pitch and an ability to progress the ball accurately through lines.

No Manchester United player has provided more assists (7) in the Premier League this season and it was little surprise to see a mid-season dip in form coincided with Eriksen’s absence through an ankle issue.

Craig Dawson – Wolves (£3.3m)

Wolves sought additions in January as the club looked to improve from a disappointing start to the Premier League season. Bruno Lage’s reign came to and in early October and Wolves won just twice in the Premier League before the World Cup break in November.

Craig Dawson might have been an unfashionable signing, but there’s little doubt he has had a major impact on Wolves’ defensive performances. The 32-year-old signed from West Ham – who had been reluctant to let him leave – after expressing a desire to move closer to his northern roots.

The Hammers’ loss has been Wolves’ gain, with Julen Lopetegui’s side having benefitted from Dawson’s old-school approach and determined brand of defending.

Wolves have kept six clean sheets in eight home fixtures since Dawson’s arrival late in the January transfer window, while the club have recorded four consecutive top-flight wins at Molineux for the first time since 1975 to move clear of relegation trouble.

Having reached the 40-point mark, attention can now turn towards next season and Dawson is the perfect figure for the likes of Nathan Collins and Max Kilman to learn from.

Boubacar Kamara – Aston Villa (Free)

Optimism is high at Aston Villa after an excellent second half of the season under Unai Emery, whose side are pushing for a place in Europe after remarkable progress under his management.

Steven Gerrard might have proven to be the wrong fit at Villa Park, but the club’s former manager looks to have left his old side a perfect parting present in Boubacar Kamara. The midfielder signed on a free transfer from Marseille last summer and has made an immediate impression this season, producing a number of classy performances at the base of the Villa midfield.

His contribution has gone somewhat under the radar outside of Villa circles, but those who have watched his performances this season are in little doubt about his promise.

Kamara was monitored by some of Europe’s top clubs before his move to Aston Villa and there might be some regretting their decision not to firm up interest. He has averaged more tackles per game than any teammate this season and stood out in a struggling team earlier in the campaign.

Injuries have halted his progress during the second half of the season, but the potential is evident.

Ben Mee – Brentford (Free)

Brentford capitalised on Burnley’s relegation last season to sign long-serving Clarets captain Ben Mee on a free transfer.

Mee was a diversion from Brentford’s usual transfer policy, with the Bees often focused on emerging talent with room to develop. Thomas Frank saw value in bringing in the experienced defender however, and Mee has proven a huge success in west London.

Backed among the pre-season favourites to be relegated, Brentford have exceeded expectations to sit comfortably in the Premier League’s top half as the season reaches its conclusion.

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The 33-year-old has excelled in a Brentford side who often look to find an advantage in the air, leading the Premier League for aerial duels won (122) this season. Brentford have averaged the most aerial duels won (17.7) per game this season, while only Liverpool and Tottenham have scored more goals from set-piece situations.

The towering presence of Mee – who has scored three goals in 34 Premier League appearances – has been a vital one in both boxes for the Bees.

Wilfried Gnonto – Leeds (£4m)

Wilfried Gnonto arrived at Leeds last summer as the club agreed a £4m deal to sign the teenager from FC Zurich.

Gnonto had captured the attention of the Italian national side to earn his first caps for the Azzurri last summer, but represented an unknown quantity after making his senior breakthrough in Switzerland.

The 19-year-old has enjoyed a promising debut season in the Premier League and has become a fans’ favourite at Elland Road for his positive performances. Full of drive, dynamism and close control, Gnonto has got fans on the edge of their seats when given a chance to take the game to teams this season.

He remains raw and in need of refinement, but Gnonto’s exciting attributes are understood to have alerted several sides higher up the division. Should Leeds be relegated this season, expect the Italian to move on for a considerable profit.

His return of four goals and four assists tells just half the story of a talent rich in potential, one who – considering Leeds’ struggle to survive – should really have been handed more opportunities.

Bernd Leno – Fulham (£3m)

Aaron Ramsdale’s arrival at Arsenal forced Bernd Leno into a back-up role, before newly-promoted Fulham offered the German a route back to first-choice status.

That decision has proven to be a shrewd one for Fulham, who have confirmed their Premier League status for another season after an impressive campaign under Marco Silva.

Key to that has been Leno, who ranks second in the Premier League for saves (132) and top of the division for save percentage (77.5%).

Fulham have significantly outperformed their xGA figure in large thanks to Leno’s shot-stopping heroics. According to the figures – which calculate the differential between the number of goals a club can expect to concede from the quality of chance, in comparison to actual number of goals conceded – Leno has prevented a huge 9.6 goals this season.

That’s the highest differential in the Premier League, ahead of Alisson (7.7) and Jordan Pickford (5.3), while Brentford’s David Raya is fourth with just 1.4 goals prevented.

It is a statistic that does not look good for Fulham’s defence, but paints a clear picture of Leno’s importance this season. For an initial £3m, he has been one of the pound-for-pound signings of the season.

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