The Bargains of the Season You May Have Missed

Xherdan Shaqiri Liverpool Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool

Demarai Gray - Leverkusen to Everton

After bursting onto the scene with an impressive spell in the Championship for his boyhood club Birmingham City, Demarai Gray earned his top flight move in 2016, and within six months, he was a Premier League champion with Leicester City.

He had all the raw talent you would want in a winger and was touted to be the sort of player who could attract a £30-40m fee, while also being a future England international. However, after losing his way at Leicester, he spent six months at Bayer Leverkusen, which also never went to plan. But now, he has been snapped up by Everton for a snip at £1.7m and with the Toffees' limited options on the wings, Gray has a better chance at first-team football at his new club.

In Rafael Benitez’s first two games as manager, Gray has been his best performer, creating plenty of chances, adding some much-needed pace to a very slow, lacklustre Everton team, and getting off the mark in their 2-2 draw at Elland Road last weekend. At such a bargain price of £1.75m, he looks like the sort of player Everton fans have been crying out for.

Xherdan Shaqiri - Liverpool to Lyon

The news was confirmed this week that Xherdan Shaqiri had left Liverpool after three full seasons at the club and joined French giants Olympique Lyon for around £9.5m. His time on the Liverpool bench has perhaps led many to forget how much of a quality player the Swiss attacker is, but his time at Stoke City and his continuous excellence for his national team suggests that Lyon have got a very suitable replacement for Memphis Depay at a discount price.

Shaqiri impressed at a fourth consecutive major tournament for Switzerland in the summer, taking his overall major tournament goal tally to a superb eight goals. The diminutive winger put in a Man of the Match display to see off Turkey, which sealed their knockout qualification, before scoring the equaliser in their quarter-final clash with Spain, despite eventually losing on penalties.

His time with Liverpool had some high points too including playing a big part in two of their most famous recent results: scoring two in their 3-1 win over Manchester United which led to the sacking of Jose Mourinho and filling the boots of Mohamed Salah in their 4-0 comeback win over Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals in 2019, setting up the equalising goal on aggregate.

Jack Harrison - Man City to Leeds

Jack Harrison has now started his fourth season as a Leeds United player, but only this summer was his move made permanent from Manchester City. After a two-year loan ended with Leeds winning promotion from the Championship, his loan was extended for a further year last summer and the wide man became a constant in Marcelo Bielsa’s Premier League starting XI.

He caught the eye instantly by scoring a superb goal on his top flight debut at Anfield, and followed that up by making a habit of scoring fantastic goals, with strikes against Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion certainly catching the eye.

To sign a player with a full season of Premier League experience under his belt which included eight goals and eight assists for just £11m is a brilliant piece of business by Leeds and with a full crowd back at Elland Road this season, Leeds will hope Harrison and co. can lead them towards a European charge.

Oliver Giroud - Chelsea to AC Milan

Perhaps the most underrated and underappreciated striker of the current generation, Olivier Giroud has now left English football after an illustrious nine years, in which he has won almost every major honour available, with nine trophies as well as a World Cup on his CV.

After slipping way down the pecking order at Chelsea behind Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham, the summer signing of Romelu Lukaku at Stamford Bridge suggested that Giroud was not in Thomas Tuchel’s plans this season.

He has now made the move to AC Milan for just £900,000 and even at 34, he has the ability to aid the Rossoneri in their potential title challenge this season. Ageing strikers have have enjoyed fruitful spells in Serie A in recent years with Cristiano Ronaldo, Fabio Quagliarella (both at 36) and Luca Toni (at 38) all finishing as the league’s top scorer in the last six years, while Milan’s other veteran, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, now 39, could have been top scorer himself had injuries not ended his season early after scoring 15 in 19 games across the last league campaign.

With Milan now back in the Champions League for the first time since 2013/14, Giroud will look to replicate his extraordinary record in Europe with Chelsea, scoring six goals in eight UCL games last season as Chelsea became champions of Europe, as well as bagging 11 in 14 when they won the Europa League in 2019.

Jean-Clair Todibo - Barcelona to Nice

A man who was heavily touted to make a move to the Premier League last summer was Jean-Clair Todibo, but after no move materialised, loans to Schalke and Benfica did not go as planned but he has seemingly found a new home at Nice in Ligue 1, after spending six months on loan there last season.

With Barcelona’s catastrophic financial situation at the moment, they were happy to sell Todibo for much less than his market value, just £7.5m for the 21-year-old who is one of the most promising young centre-backs on the continent.

Under the management of Christophe Galtier who won the Ligue 1 title against all the odds with Lille last season, Todibo could develop into a real sought after gem if Nice can reach similar levels to Galtier’s former side, with Tobido looking to follow a similar trajectory to Sven Botman, the stand out centre back for Lille last term who has been linked with multiple big clubs.

Nice and Galtier beat his former side 4-0 away from home on the second weekend of the Ligue 1 season and with the experienced Dante alongside Todibo, he is set to have a promising season.

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