9 summer signings in the Premier League have already proven to be a bargain

It’s not always the most expensive signings that prove the best investments – and we’ve picked nine players signed by Premier League clubs relatively cheaply in the summer who already look like good deals.

First, there are a few caveats: One, cheap is relative, and here we are talking from a football perspective; Second, things can still happen that will make some of the options on this list look a bit silly in a few months.

Whatever the case, we picked nine players who signed for less than £20m in the summer of 2022 and we believe they were delivering value for money.

Beautiful ketchup shield

Possibly one of the most unannounced signings of the summer Premier League was Bella Ketchup, with the 20-year-old arriving at Southampton from Bochum in Germany for just £8.6m.

A few months later, he was called up to Germany’s squad for Nations League matches in September, and was linked (albeit falsely) with Premier League giants such as Manchester United and Liverpool.

Saints legend Francis Biennale certainly admired: “In the Manchester United game, despite their loss, he was one of the outstanding players, and in the victory over Chelsea, he was fantastic.

“It is still early days for him, settling into a new club, new environment and new culture, and that can often be challenging for any player, let alone a man in his young years. I am really excited to see his journey with the football club and where I hope to be. Our team takes the future.”

Joao Balenha

Signing a 26-year-old defensive midfielder from the Primeira Liga might not be that cool, but it was something very smart from Fulham and Marco Silva.

Balenha, who cost £15m, has shown why he is so impressed at Sporting, winning the Portuguese title in 2021 and Taca da Liga in 2021 and 2022.

His ability to destroy opponents’ attacks and then play simple, accurate passes to Fulham’s most creative players has made him a truly powerful possession.

Tyrrell Malacia

We really, really love Malacia. Calm and smart on the ball. fighting him. He seems like a very cute boy too. Eric Ten Hag must thank his lucky stars that United were able to sign him for Old Trafford, especially for just £13m.

After Liverpool’s match at Old Trafford, Gary Neville was asked in his broadcast on Sky Sports to point out the reasons for the improvement in United’s performance.

“I’m going to point to something simple,” Neville said. “I’m going to point to something I saw in the second half of the Brentford game.

“He’s left-back Malacia. Someone on the pitch with a bit of fighting, character and soul. But, against Liverpool, there was some real perseverance with him and Lisandro Martinez.

“And from that you see that Dalot is more aggressive. Midfielders are more aggressive. It takes pretending. It doesn’t have to be the leader or the captain. It can be someone on the team who inspires you.”

Really praise.

Read more: The Premier League’s 14 left-back positions are ranked from worst to best

Ivan Perisic

Perisic came with no initial fee at all, but for £178,000 a week, free isn’t exactly the word.

However, we think that’s a clever signature. Perisic has already proven perfect as a winger in Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 squad, winning the Scudetto under the Italian coach at Inter, bringing first-class experience and delivering a sinister combination to N17.

Pervis Estupinan

Brighton signed Marc Cucurella from La Liga for around £15m, then sold him a year later for £63m and signed another La Liga left-back for £15m at Pervis Estupinan.

He still has a bit of stability, and he’s prone to bizarre brain injury, but Estupinan is a quality player with Champions League experience, and he’s engaged perfectly in the five-man defense used by Graham Potter.

We’ll see what happens under new boss Roberto de Zerbe, but at this point, this looks like another big piece of business from Brighton.

James Tarkowski

Like Perisic, a free agent. And just as Perisic did at Spurs, Tarkowski went into Everton’s defense like his glove.

The Toffees couldn’t defend the dessert last season, but that campaign was changed thanks to the addition of Tarkowski and new partner Conor Coady (who didn’t qualify for this list on the grounds that he’s at Goodison on loan).

While Everton haven’t seen the minute action this season, their record of just six goals in seven games suggests they will avoid the relegation battle they were engaged in in 2021-22.

After the Liverpool game, the 29-year-old told Everton TV: “We have some real talent up front, and we also have the structure behind them to try and stop the ball from getting past our team’s goal.”

Seems like a recipe for success.

Fabio Carvalho

Liverpool paid an initial sum of £5 million to this boy. Five million pounds. Bloody light.

He’s already paid those fees in full with that goal alone, but we’re sure there’s a lot more to come from the 20-year-old.

Marc Rocca

Leeds boss Jesse Marsh may not have been the most popular man in Yorkshire after replacing Marcelo Bielsa last season, but after some smart summer signings, he was able to put together a team in his image at Elland Road in 2022-23.

Brendan Aaronsen was praised and Luis Sinistera looked sexy, but both came to just over our £20m limit.

But Marc Roca hasn’t, and while he’s not quite as eye-catching as the aforementioned duo, he’s done an excellent job in the middle of the white midfield so far. He’s sharp in the tackle, good pressure and can pick out a forward pass. what do you want more?

Nick Pop

This was very expected, to be honest.

After six seasons at Burnley as a truly consistent goalkeeper in the Premier League, Bob moved to Newcastle for £7m and has gone on to be a truly consistent goalkeeper in the Premier League.

Barring the injury, he’ll be on the plane to Qatar, and he’s worth it.

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