Southampton, Stoke, Swansea: How to make the most of your money
Whilst the so called “big teams” in the Premier League are always going to extraordinary lengths to secure world class players, the teams in the middle of the table conduct their transfer business in a more efficient way.
There were no pundits in the 2014/15 season who predicted Southampton to do well in the Premier League. In all fairness, it was hard to see how they would bounce back after they sold a large amount of their best players.
Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers, Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert were the five key players who exited St Mary’s Stadium to move to clubs within the top six in the Premier League.
Everybody had written Southampton off as a team that would struggle without their main men but they proved us all wrong. They bought Graziano Pelle, Dusan Tadic and signed Ryan Bertrand on loan.
All of those players contributed to Southampton’s best Premier League point haul of 60 points. At one point during the 2014/15 season, they challenged for a top four place and eventually finished 7th.
Southampton showed the top four teams that if you sell your key players and use the money in a practical and resourceful way, you can go on to succeed. The Saints signed a defender on loan, bought an attacking midfielder and an out and out striker. They made a concise list and adhered to it and it worked in their favour.
Stoke are another prime example of this. In the recent transfer window, they signed Xherdan Shaqiri for approximately £12 million on a five year deal. Premier League football fans were and probably still are in complete and utter disbelief.
Nobody could understand why Shaqiri would choose to come to Stoke. But he hasn’t quite lived up to the potential that first attracted people to him in the first place.
In all honesty, a player that has won the Champions League with Bayern Munich, as well as other honours, should not be playing their club football at Stoke.
There is nothing wrong with the fact that he is at Stoke and they should be incredibly proud of their acquisition, but it almost feels as if Shaqiri has done his career backwards.
However, it is interesting how the bigger clubs were apparently uninterested in Shaqiri and Stoke decided to go for him. This shows how ambitious Stoke have become and they should be commended for it.
If the signing of Xherdan Shaqiri wasn’t enough for Stoke fans to get used to, they also have Bojan Krkic, Ibrahim Afellay, Marc Muniesa and Moha El Ouriachi, four ex-Barcelona players within their ranks.
I have heard people say that they are Barcelona rejects and they won’t do well at Stoke, but in my personal opinion, there should be no such thing as a Barcelona “reject” because Barcelona is one of the biggest clubs in the world.
So if Barcelona even considered you as good enough to join their academy and play in their team in the first place, that is a huge compliment. Furthermore, Barcelona’s loss is definitely Stoke’s gain.
Since damaging cruciate knee ligaments in January, Bojan’s magic has been missed in the Stoke team. However, he made up for lost time when he scored against Leicester in September.
Fans want to see exciting football, and they are almost guaranteed that with the likes of Bojan and Ibrahim Afellay in their squad.
The last team showing the top four how to purchase above average players is Swansea. They acquired Andre Ayew from Marseille for a free transfer in the recent transfer window and amongst others, they got Lukasz Fabianski and Bafetimbi Gomis in the 2014/15 transfer window for no fee.
All of these players have been invaluable for Swansea City since they joined. Andre Ayew has lit up the Premier League since his move to England, contributing four goals and one assist since the start of the season.
Since stepping out of Wilfred Bony’s shadow, following his departure to Manchester City, Bafetimbi Gomis has been a real asset to Swansea and he has already scored four goals this season.
Lukasz Fabianski has established himself as the first choice goalkeeper for Swansea City and had a fantastic first season with them.
These three teams have successfully purchased players who have contributed significantly to their progression in the Premier League. Unlike the top four teams who often buy players for the sake of it, in recent seasons at least, Southampton, Swansea and Stoke have evaluated their squad and purchased players in the position that they need them in.
Featured image taken by Daniel Barrientos Tamayo.
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