Football Features

Premier League deadline day: Last-minute signings that turned out to be bargains

By Squawka News

Published: 17:14, 30 January 2022


Transfer deadline is is often a law unto itself, a soap opera soaked in drama that defies any logic or reason.

If Peter Odemwingie isn’t turning up at random club car parks trying to force a move, then Harry Redknapp is rolling down his window and having a good ol’ chinwag with reporters. It’s truly a spectacle like no other!

For some managers, though, deadline day is a time of panic. The crisis klaxons seem to sound the minute Jim White puts on his yellow tie and fax machines across the continent go into overdrive, unless you’re in Madrid, of course. Sorry David de Gea.

With that, some weird and wonderful deals can sprout up, typically out of the blue. As managers roll the dice, last-minute gambles can often backfire, like Fernando Torres to Chelsea, Andy Carroll to Liverpool or Radamel Falcao to Man Utd.

But, there are some that go on to become absolute steals, Eleventh Hour deals that prove managers can have the Midas touch even in desperate times. Here are 13 such examples over the years.


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Ashley Cole

From: Arsenal

To: Chelsea

Fee: £5m plus William Gallas

Perhaps it’s a bit cheeky of us to put Cole in this list given that William Gallas was used in a part exchange, but only £5m was actually exchanged between Chelsea and Arsenal.

Cole was already one of the best full-backs in Europe when he left the Gunners but during his time at Stamford Bridge, he established himself as perhaps the best left-back in the world and his trophy cabinet from his time at the Blues only backs up that claim up.

Alvaro Arbeloa

From: Deportivo La Coruna

To: Liverpool

Fee: £2.6m

Arbeloa was a favourite during his two-and-a-half years on Merseyside, making the right-back slot his own and consistently performing for Liverpool.

The Spaniard only cost the Reds £2.6m when he moved to Merseyside in 2007 and his efforts earned him a move to Real Madrid two years later.

Glen Johnson

From: Chelsea

To: Portsmouth

Fee: £4m

Johnson had already spent a year on loan at Portsmouth before the club signed him permanently on deadline day in 2007. The right-back would help to win the FA Cup in his first season after establishing himself in their back-line.

The defender impressed for England, was named in the PFA Team of the Year in the 2008/09 season and eventually earned a big-money move to Liverpool – a decent £4m move by the South Coast outfit!

Asmir Begovic

From: Portsmouth

To: Stoke City

Fee: £3.25m

Goalkeeper Begovic joined Stoke as a back-up on the last day of the 2010 winter window and worked his way to first-choice just 18 months later.

The Bosnian’s form helped establish the Potters as a consistent figure in the top flight and the shot-stopper’s excellent efforts earned him a move to Chelsea in 2015 as a result.

Rafael van der Vaart

From: Real Madrid

To: Tottenham

Fee: £8m

Still one of the most left-field transfers in Premier League history, supporters from across Europe couldn’t believe it when Tottenham signed Real Madrid playmaker Van Der Vaart in 2010 for just £8m.

The fee was simply too good to pass up and the Dutchman established himself as a fan favourite during his time at White Hart Lane, helping the club to reach the Champions League quarter-finals before they were eliminated by his old side.

Christian Benteke

From: Genk

To: Aston Villa

Fee: £7m

Questions were asked of Paul Lambert when he sanctioned a deal for Benteke but while most of the manager’s other signings at Villa flopped, the striker was a sure hit.

A powerful and consistent forward, the Belgium was Villa’s main front-man for three years and took the Premier League by storm before moving to Liverpool.

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Hugo Lloris

From: Lyon

To: Tottenham

Fee: £8m

Another brilliant purchase by Tottenham, Spurs paid just £8m for the Frenchman from Lyon a decade ago.

Undoubtedly Lloris was on his way to becoming a top goalkeeper when he moved to White Hart Lane and now at 35 he has truly established himself in that bracket. Not only that, but he is also Tottenham’s captain! Not bad business at all.

John Stones

From: Barnsley

To: Everton

Fee: £3m

Not many Everton fans paid much attention when their club brought in John Stones from League One Barnsley in 2013. The youngster was clearly a signing for the future, if he could make it in the top level.

However, three-and-a-half years later, Everton got over ten times back on their investment when Stones moved to Manchester City for £50m in 2016, having become an essential member of the Toffees’ defence.


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Scott Dann

From: Blackburn Rovers

To: Crystal Palace

Fee: £1.5m

Most people thought Dann’s crack at the Premier League had passed when he was relegated with Blackburn Rovers in 2012, the third relegation of his career.

Despite this Crystal Palace took a chance on the defender in 2014 and he went on to make over 180 appearances for the Eagles before leaving in the summer.

Dele Alli

From: MK Dons

To: Tottenham

Fee: £5m

The Dele Alli of today would look out of place on this list. But before his form nosedive, the 37-capped England international struck 46 goals in his first three seasons in north London, also helping Mauricio Pochettino’s men reach the 2019 Champions League final, in which he started. He now has 91 goals which, let’s face it, is certainly not bad for £5m, no matter his current position at the club.

Tariq Lamptey

From: Chelsea

To: Brighton

Fee: £4m

With a surfeit of wing-back talent emerging from Cobham, chiefly Reece James, Chelsea allowed Tariq Lamptey to move to Brighton for just £4m in January 2020. Having only made one Premier League appearance for the Blues, £4m looked like savvy business from both parties.

Brighton gambled on the unheralded youngster, and that gamble has more than paid off. The 21-year-old is now considered among the best wing-backs in the division, thriving in Graham Potter’s fluid system, and were Brighton to sell him now, they would command a very lofty fee.

Jarrod Bowen

From: Hull City

To: West Ham

Fee: £22.5m

A £22.5m fee for a Championship player certainly didn’t seem like a bargain when West Ham brought Jarrod Bowen to the London Stadium in January 2020, but given his current form — the winger has been directly involved in 13 goals during 2021/22, more than any other English player in Europe’s top five leagues — David Moyes has a player on his hands potentially worth triple that value.

The Hammers were in relegation trouble when they reached out to Hull, who knew they could demand a premium for their prized asset. Moyes gave the green light, and Bowen has now gone on to become one of the Premier League’s most devastating forwards, capable of unlocking doors, breaching nets and turning full-backs inside out. That £22.5m fee now looks an absolute snip.

Raphinha

From: Rennes

To: Leeds United

Fee: £17m

There were, of course, two summer deadline days in the 2020/21 season. The first ending on October 5, and the second — for domestic signings only — ‘slamming shut’ on October 16. For the first, which allowed overseas purchases, Marcelo Bielsa strengthened his frontline with the acquisition of Raphinha from Rennes.

The Brazilian was a bit of an unknown entity on these shores, but he quickly set to work transfixing terraces with his dazzling imagination and quick feet. Style and substance are rarely happy bedfellows, but Raphinha encompasses both; a player who would not look out of place in a YouTube highlight reel set to dubstep, but also a player who makes a tangible impression on Bielsa’s attack (eight Premier League goals this season attests to that notion).

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