The Premier League's Bargain XI: 11 of the finest deals ever
Joe Hart (Man City): £100,000
He asserted his credentials as a top-notch goalkeeper with three consecutive Golden Glove awards from 2011 to 2013
It's somewhat ironic that after spending an astronomical amount of money on players, one of Manchester City's greatest buys only cost £100,000.
Bought from Shrewsbury Town in 2006, Hart only managed to break into the Citizens’ first team four years later, but he hasn’t looked back since. He asserted his credentials as a top-notch goalkeeper with three consecutive Golden Glove awards from 2011 to 2013, and has two Premier League and one FA Cup medal to his name.
A commanding goalkeeper blessed with incredible reflexes, the 28-year-old is now England’s undisputed No.1 and is among the best in his position around the world. He will be crucial to the cause for his country when the Euros commence in June this year.
Joel Ward (Crystal Palace): £400,000
Not only does he do his part in defence, but the Crystal Palace man is also excellent in providing support with his overlapping runs
It's easy to overlook Ward’s performances, especially as he doesn't play for a big club. But you know you're doing something right when you have fans calling for your inclusion in the England squad.
Over the past few seasons, Ward has put in a series of stellar displays to underline his status as one of the most consistent defenders in the Premier League. Not only does he do his part in defence, but the Crystal Palace man is also excellent in providing support with his overlapping runs.
The 26-year-old’s biggest asset though is his ability to pop up with crucial goals. Most recently, Ward scored against Southampton to help the Eagles reach the fourth round of the FA Cup. At £400,000 from Portsmouth, Palace certainly scored themselves a bargain.
Ashley Williams (Swansea): £400,000
His performances have not gone unnoticed, with clubs like Liverpool and Arsenal having been reportedly interested in acquiring his services in the past
Williams was once Swansea’s record signing at just £400,000 from Stockport County in 2008.
While it may have seemed like a huge amount for the then-third tier Swans to shell out at the time, they've certainly got their money’s worth over the years with Williams playing a key role in helping them to the top flight.
A sturdy, no-nonsense defender, the 31-year-old is also an excellent leader who captains both Swansea and Wales. His performances have not gone unnoticed, with clubs like Liverpool and Arsenal having been reportedly interested in acquiring his services in the past. A good outing at the Euros this June will only boost his stock.
Wes Morgan (Leicester): £1 million
Morgan’s impact was almost immediate as he helped Leicester reach the Championship play-offs in his first season
When you look at Morgan in action now for Leicester, it’s hard to imagine that the defender only made his Premier League bow two years ago, at the prime age of 30.
Having spent 10 years in the lower echelons of English football with Nottingham Forest, Morgan finally got his big break when the Foxes came calling with an offer of £1 million in 2012.
A rock in defence, Morgan’s impact was almost immediate as he helped Leicester reach the Championship play-offs in his first season, where they lost out in the semi-finals. A year later, the Foxes made it back to the top flight after 10 years away where, remarkably, they are now in with a great chance of an epic title win.
Charlie Daniels (Bournemouth): £198,000
The attacking left-back doesn't look out of place in his first Premier League campaign – so far, the 29-year-old has two goals and four assists
Daniels began his professional career at Tottenham in 2005, but he'd never played in the top flight before this season, bouncing around the lower leagues with the likes of Gillingham and Leyton Orient.
Despite that, the attacking left-back doesn't look out of place in his first Premier League campaign – so far, the 29-year-old has two goals and four assists to his name.
Daniels only cost £198,000 from Leyton Orient, and has made himself a permanent fixture in manager Eddie Howe’s plan. Without him, Bournemouth’s fast-paced attacking game plan would not work so well. Should the Cherries drop back down to the Championship, he'll have no lack of suitors vying for his services.