Each transfer window brings increasingly daunting transfer fees, particularly in the Premier League.
However, there are still opportunities for teams to make high-quality deals for lower fees. Here are five affordable players who could move to and improve Premier League teams…
Wissam Ben Yedder
Sevilla have consistently been one of the best teams in La Liga, and are a regular on the European stage. Central to this is possessing players who can reliably score goals, and one of these players is Wissam Ben Yedder.
The 28-year-old Frenchman scored 18 goals and had 9 assists in 31 La Liga appearances last season. Ben Yedder is a well-rounded striker, scoring 8 times with his left, 8 times with his right, and 2 headed goals. He also averages 1.3 key passes per 90 and 1.3 dribbles per game, showing he can create chances both for himself and other teammates.
Ben Yedder is not particularly young, but his track record of consistently scoring goals makes him well worth his £36 million pound release clause, and teams should be looking to land the French poacher.
As wingers operating as inside forwards have become more common, the need for dynamic fullbacks who can provide width while also maintaining defensive solidity has increased. Given this, a right-back of the quality of Fabricio Bustos with a release clause of just £16 million is a rare phenomenon that Premier League teams should be looking to take advantage of.
The 23-year-old Argentinian impressed for Independiente in the Argentine Primera Division, with solid performances defensively and offensively. Bustos made 3.5 tackles per game and 1.8 interceptions per game, and impressed further forward with 1.5 dribbles per game, 0.8 key passes per game, and 3 assists in 21 appearances.
Bustos is a potent attacking threat, especially towards the byline or at the edge of the box, where he excels at making quick, diagonal passes along the ground. As shown by the stats, he can also hold his own without the ball. While he would take time to adapt to English football, Bustos is a steal for just £16 million and teams would be wise to sign him this summer.
After missing out on the World Cup in 2018, Chile impressed at the Copa America this summer by reaching the semifinal and losing to eventual champions Brazil. At the heart of their success was 25-year old defensive midfielder Erick Pulgar, who followed up an impressive season for Serie A side Bologna with his intentional side.
In Serie A last season, Pulgar made 2.3 tackles per game, 1.8 interceptions per game, and won 1.6 aerial duels per game. This well-rounded defensive game is combined with an equally impressive attacking game. He has a pass completion rate of 83.9%, with an impressive 3.6 accurate long balls per game. Despite being a defensive midfielder, Pulgar makes 2.1 key passes per game and takes 1.2 shots per 90 with a third of them hitting the target.
He is an excellent passer, capable of launching direct attacks from the back, rotating possession, and switching the play. Combined with his defensive acumen, his £11 million release clause says little about the true value he could bring to Premier League teams.
Mixing intelligent coaching, sensible recruitment, and exceptional youth development, Ajax emerged as the most exciting side in Europe this season. Their exceptional attacking play captured the imagination of football fans around the world, and central to this was Moroccan attacker Hakim Ziyech.
He was hugely productive for Ajax last season, with 16 goals and 13 assists in the Eredivisie. His passing stats are incredible, with 3.7 key passes per game, 2.5 crosses per game, and 0.7 through balls per game. He averaged 5.3 shots per game, 3.3 of which were outside of the box.
In both shooting and passing, Ziyech demonstrates a high output that contributes to his team’s offensive capability. Ziyech is a unique attacking weapon, and is far different from most wingers. Rather than using searing pace to get beyond defensive lines and affect the game in advanced areas, Ziyech tends to do his best work dropping deep to link play and arriving late in the box to score.
While this difference in playing style should be accounted for by teams looking to sign him, his statistics given his tendency to drop deep are all the more impressive. With Ajax reportedly valuing him at a fee around £35 million pounds, Ziyech is a serious attacking talent who is available for a very reasonable price.
Hakim Ziyech | All goals & assists 18/19 ?
Ajax Player of the Season, UCL Team of the Season, most assists in the league, 40+ goal contributions. Hakim Ziyech has been one of the best players in Europe this season and is ready for a bigger challenge. pic.twitter.com/cdU0NkHlEj
— Maghrib Foot (@MaghribFoot) June 6, 2019
After spending huge amounts of money early in the transfer window, Real Madrid will be looking to offload several of their players to bring in money and trim their squad. Among these players will be James Rodriguez. While he was out of favor at Bayern Munich last season and will likely face the same fate under Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid, this is far from a reflection of Rodriguez’s quality.
He burst on the scene at Monaco, playing as a right-winger and impressing with 21 goal contributions in 30 appearances. Rodriguez was then used as a number ten at Real Madrid, where his creativity, passing, dynamism, and dribbling made him a potent creative attacking force.
? #OnThisDay June 28, 2014
James Rodriguez scored this absolute beauty that went on to win the Puskas Award ??pic.twitter.com/N0XqtRoUjk
— Goal (@goal) June 28, 2019
During his first season at Bayern, he was used in a deeper position as a number eight, either in a double pivot or in a midfield three. Rodriguez was often the central cog in Bayern’s build-up play, dictating where the attack would be initiated through penetrative passes.
At all of the clubs he’s played for, Rodriguez has been a consistent goal threat, effective from both wide and central areas, a willing presser, and an excellent set-piece taker. With a skillset as diverse and developed as Rodriguez’s, it’s perplexing as to why more Premier League clubs are not linked with him. Combined with the fact that Real Madrid would likely be happy to loan him out, James Rodriguez should be a high priority for several top-flight clubs.