From Mahrez to Vardy: The ultimate EPL XI of players signed for less than £5m

It is no exaggeration to say that 2017 has been the year in which football well and truly lost touch with reality as billions of pounds changed hands between clubs for players this summer. 

Neymar’s record-breaking £198 move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain was just the tip of the iceberg as the 20 Premier League clubs alone surpassed the £1bn transfer mark for the second time in two years.
While world-class players such as Neymar should naturally command mind-boggling fees given the amount of money in the game at present, some of the transfers involving lesser talents were for mind-boggling sums of money.
If this summer is anything to go by, players who previously would have been valued around the £10m mark are now worth around £30m, while those who used to be £25m players are now closer to £60m.
Nevertheless, even in this mental transfer market, there are still bargains to be had (if you look closely enough).
Over the last few years, some Premier League clubs have managed to land themselves a bargain or two by snapping up players for £5m or under, making a mockery of expensive fees splashed out by their domestic rivals.
Don’t believe us? Just check out this team. Not bad, not bad at all.

Goalkeeper: Jack Butland

Club: Stoke City
Signed from: Birmingham City (2013)
Fee: £3.25m
Stoke City beat a host of clubs to the signing of the highly-rated Jack Butland in 2013 and he showed why the club had been so determined to sign him during the 2015/16 season, delivering a series of outstanding performances. Injury curtailed his performance last season but he is still regarded, alongside Jordan Pickford, as the natural heir to England’s no.1 jersey.

Right Back: Seamus Coleman

Club: Everton
Signed from: Sligo Rovers (2009)
Fee: £60k
Has there been a better bargain signing in Premier League history? Incredibly, Seamus Coleman cost under £100k and he has gone on to rack up just shy of 250 competitive appearances for the club.

Centre Back: Ryan Shawcross

Club: Stoke City
Signed from: Manchester United (2008)
Fee: £1.35m
Shawcross has been the constant in a ever-changing Stoke City side in recent seasons. From Tony Pulis’ rough and tumble early years all the way through to Mark Hughes’ revolution, Shawcross has been a mainstay in central defence and carved out a reputation at one of the Premier League’s most consistent performers. Flirted with an England call-up at the turn of the decade but is no longer in contention for international recognition.

Centre Back: Rob Holding

Club: Arsenal
Signed from: Bolton Wanderers (2016)
Fee: £2m
Holding has made quite the impression since being thrown in at the deep end in Arsenal’s defence. A promising performance in the 2017 FA Cup final was the making of the England youth international and it’s unlikely to be long before the former Bolton man is considered a senior first-choice option in defence.

Left Back: Danny Rose

Club: Tottenham
Signed from: Leeds United (2007)
Fee: £1m
Signed as a left winger from Leeds United in his youth, Danny Rose has developed into arguably the best left back in the whole of the Premier League, especially over the past two seasons. Will command a huge fee if he were to leave Mauricio Pochettino’s side anytime soon.

Centre Midfield: Aaron Ramsey

Club: Arsenal (2008)
Signed from: Cardiff City
Fee: £5m
Aaron Ramsey had been tipped to join Manchester United before Arsenal pipped their Premier League rivals to his signature. His progress was disrupted by a severe leg break but he recovered to become an important squad member for the Gunners, scoring two FA Cup final winning goals to secure his place in the club’s folklore.

Centre Midfield: Eric Dier

Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Signed from: Sporting CP (2014)
Fee: £4m
Eric Dier spent time on loan at Everton during his teenage years but his skills were honed at the world-renowned Sporting Lisbon academy which is where Spurs plucked him from. In either central defence or midfield, Dier has become a key man for Spurs.

Central midfield: Pascal Gross

Club: Brighton and Hove Albion
Signed from: FC Ingolstadt (2017)
Fee: £2.7m
Like all promoted teams, Brighton have been tipped to make a swift return to the Championship but if they are to stay afloat in the top-flight, Pascal Gross will likely have played a key role.
The playmaker suffered relegation for Ingolstadt last season but still created the most chances in the whole of the Bundesliga while he has already made a flying start to life in the Premier League. Regardless of the seasiders’ fortunes in the top flight this season, this transfer will go down as money well spent.

Attacking midfield: Riyad Mahrez

Club: Leicester City
Signed from: Le Havre (2014)
Fee: £400k
The story goes that Leicester’s scouts travelled to Le Havre to watch Ryan Mendes but instead returned with Riyad Mahrez for a bargain £400,000 instead. Mahrez was the star as the Foxes won the 2015/16 Premier League title landing the PFA Player of the Year to boot for his efforts. The Foxes are now commanding near £40m as European clubs circle around the Algeria international in the transfer window.

Attacking Midfield: Dele Alli

Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Signed from: MK Dons (2015)
Fee: £5m
Dele Alli established himself as a first-team regular for MK Dons at the age of 16 and attracted the attentions of Spurs who signed him in January 2015. Dele returned to Milton Keynes on loan before exploding into life in the Premier League upon his return to North London. Now regarded as the brightest young talent in English football, the midfielder would almost definitely be the most expensive English player of all time if he were to make a transfer.

Striker: Jamie Vardy

Club: Leicester City
Signed from: Fleetwood Town (2012)
Fee: £1m
Signed from non-league to go on to break the record for most goals in consecutive Premier League games. Jamie Vardy completed his remarkable rise to the top by scoring 24 goals for Leicester as they won the Premier League just a few years after he had been playing non-professional football. Turned down a transfer to Arsenal in summer of 2016 but there is no doubt he’ll go down as arguably the best £1m the Foxes have ever spent.
Source: All Football

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