top of page

10 Biggest Bargain Buys In Premier League History.

Updated: Jan 19

Throughout the years, The Premier League has become renowned for a host of high-profile transfers and extravagant spending. Yet there are certain signings that prove value can be found amongst otherwise crazy transfer fees.

These 'bargain buys' often immensely impact a team's success and remind those within the game that exceptional talent can be uncovered on a budget. Unearthing hidden gems that exceed all expectations is part of the Premier League’s magic.

So who are the 10 Biggest Bargain Buys In Premier League History?

10. Nicolas Anelka | PSG to Arsenal - £500,000 (1997)

Nicolas Anelk's move from Paris Saint-Germain to Arsenal saw youthful talent and raw

potential arrive at Highbury for only £500,000. The Frenchman was initially prolific, showcasing lightning pace, clinical finishing and intelligent movement.

During his two-year stint in London, he played a pivotal role in Arsenal's success. Anelka won two major titles with the Gunners including the Premier League title during the 1997-

1998 season and the 1998 FA Cup. He made 65 appearances for the club and scored 23 goals.

9. Paolo Di Canio | Sheffield Wednesday to West Ham - £1.5m (1999)

Di Canio moved to West Ham United from Sheffield Wednesday for a cut price of £1.5m, immediately making an impact and becoming a key player for the Hammers. He was a real fan favourite who was known for skillful play and flamboyant style. Di Canio had great technical ability, scored acrobatic goals and loved passionate celebrations. He won the FIFA Fair Play Award in 2001 for his memorable display of sportsmanship, catching a ball instead of scoring after Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard was injured.

8. Robin Van Persie | Feyenoord to Arsenal - £2.5m (2004)

After rising through Feyenoord's youth ranks, Van Persie made his professional debut for the Dutch side in 2001. He was a fantastically talented striker who gained a reputation for his agility and an eye for goal. Three years later the Dutchman made a switch to Arsenal and under the guidance of manager Arsène Wenger became a vital player for the Gunners. He won the Premier League Golden Boot twice in 2012 and 2013 - scoring 144 times across 280 matches.

7. Jamie Vardy | Fleetwood Town to Leicester - £1m (2012)

Jamie Vardy's journey from Fleetwood Town to Leicester City makes for a truly unbelievable

story. He played a crucial role in helping the club achieve promotion to League Two, with his

eye-catching performances earning him the title of Conference Premier Player of the Year in

2012. His explosive pace, goal-scoring prowess and relentless work rate quickly caught the

attention of scouts. In 2012, Championship side Leicester City signed Vardy for a reported

£1 million fee.

He became a vital cog in propelling Leicester City to their historic Premier

League title triumph in the 2015-2016 season, scoring 24 league goals, winning the Premier

League Golden Boot and being named the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year.

6. Vincent Kompany | Hamburg - Man City - £6m (2008)

Belgian centre-back Vincent Kompany made his Premier League move from Hamburg to

Manchester City in 2008. His leadership qualities and defensive prowess contributed greatly

to the immense rise of City as the dominant force of English football. His immeasurable presence at the heart of their defence saw the Belgium international cement his legacy as one of the greatest defenders of his generation. Kompany won ten honours whilst in England including four Premier League titles, two FA cups and four league cups. He was also named Premier League Player of the Season for 2011/12 and in the same campaign captained the side to their first league success since 1968.

5. Patrick Viera | AC Milan to Arsenal - £3.5m (1996)

Patrick Vieira arrived from AC Milan as a relatively unknown talent but quickly established

himself as a force to be reckoned with in the English game. His physicality, continental

technique and leadership had an immediate impact on Arsenal's midfield line-up.

Under the Frenchman’s captaincy, the Gunners saw tremendous success and claimed

numerous trophies during his nine-year tenure at Highbury. Vieira played a pivotal role in

Arsenal's "Invincibles" season of 2003-2004 when the team went unbeaten in the Premier

League. During his stay in London, he also helped the club secure three FA Cups and three

English league titles.

4. Cesc Fabregas | Barcelona to Arsenal - Free (2003)

Cesc Fàbregas joined Arsenal’s academy in 2003 on a free transfer from Barcelona and

eventually stayed at Highbury for eight years. After winning the FA Cup two years later, the

Spaniard quickly established himself as a regular for the Gunners and went on to play over

300 games for the side.

The Spanish world cup winner brought elegance and creativity to Arsenal's core. He

consistently featured towards the top of the assist charts whilst displaying impeccable vision

and passing range - providing 111 assists in the Premier League alone. Fabregas was often

the driving force behind Arsenal's attacking play, who would orchestrate their attacking

fluidity with precision and flair.

3. Peter Schmeichel | Brondby to Man Utd - £500,000 (1991)

Peter Schmeichel's move from Brondby to Manchester United was a game-changer for the

Red Devils. The Dane's arrival at Old Trafford signalled the beginning of a golden era for the club under Sir Alex Ferguson.

He had a commanding presence and exceptional shot-stopping abilities. During his eight-

year stay in Manchester, Schmeichel helped United win five Premier League titles, three FA

cups and 1999 Champions League - along with being a pivotal part of the infamous treble-

winning team.

2. Ashley Cole | Arsenal to Chelsea - £5m (2006)

Ashley Cole's transfer from Arsenal to Chelsea in 2006 was controversial because the

Gunners had gone and sold their defender to a fierce London rival. Yet the left-back

flourished at Stamford Bridge and was instrumental in the Blues' success for eight years or over 200 appearances.

Cole showcased exceptional defensive abilities, brilliant pace and incredible positioning

becoming one of the best full-backs in the game. He amassed an impressive collection of

trophies including the 2012 Champions League title, four FA Cups and one Premier League


1. Eric Cantona | Leeds to Manchester United - £1.2m (1992)

Eric Cantona left reigning Premier League champions Leeds United in 1992 and signed for

Manchester United. His arrival at Old Trafford proved the catalyst for United who would

embark on an era of unprecedented success.

The Frenchman was an enigmatic star with world-class technical ability and vision. He made

an instant impact on the entire club, going on to win four Premier League titles and two FA

cups during his five-year spell in Manchester before his retirement in 1997.

Follow Think Football Ideas across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page