With all the money involved in football these days taking the game into the stratosphere, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find a bargain, but they do exist.
With all the money involved in football these days taking the game into the stratosphere, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find a bargain.
Yet, they do exist. The following seven players prove that it doesn't always take an astronomical fee to secure the services of the some of the world's best talent.
1. Dele Alli
Transfer fee: £5m
There were whispers about the future potential of Alli prior to Tottenham Hotspur signing him from MK Dons for a paltry fee in 2015, but by the time most of us got to see him in action he was already a Premier League regular.
The box-to-box England international is an integral part of a Spurs side that continues to succeed, and he has already established himself as one of the most exciting young talents on the globe, with his brace against Real Madrid in the Champions League yet another example of his talent.
2. Mauro Icardi
Transfer fee: £5.8m
Now skipper of Inter Milan, Mauro Icardi was somewhat of a gamble when the Nerazzurri took him off Sampdoria's hands in 2013, but the Argentine striker has since gone on to become the main man at the San Siro.
A total of 82 Serie A goals in just 137 games for the Italian outfit should be evidence enough of Icardi's stature, yet it is his never-say-die attitude on the pitch that has really separated the 24-year-old from his contemporaries.
3. Raphael Varane
Transfer fee: £9m
A fee of just £9m seems like petty cash when considering that Varane is in line to become one of the world's best center backs. The Frenchman is Sergio Ramos' undisputed partner in the heart of the Real Madrid defense and he deserves such an honor.
The former Lens man uses a mix of extraordinary pace and a mature reading of the game to get the upper hand on most strikers, and he is tipped to weather the storm for both Los Blancos and Les Blues for years to come.
4. Philippe Coutinho
Transfer fee: £8.5m
Barcelona were prepared to pay around £120m for the Brazilian playmaker in the summer and that would have calculated to quite some profit for Liverpool, who took Coutinho off Inter Milan's hands for a fraction of that in 2013.
In the four years that he's been on Merseyside, the 25-year-old has come on leaps and bounds and is now the main man for the Reds. His creative ability, matched with an eye for goal, makes Coutinho an invaluable player and amongst the world's best.
5. Marco Verratti
Transfer fee: £10m
It is believed that Verratti is held in such high regard in the French capital that the Italian midfielder would not be sold under any circumstances, with some even suggesting Barcelona's interest in him caused PSG to move for Neymar.
Whatever you believe, the 25-year-old former Pescara man left his Italian homeland in 2012 to sign for the cash-rich Parisians and he has become the fulcrum in a PSG side that have dominated French football of late.
6. Joshua Kimmich
Transfer fee: £6m
The natural successor to Philipp Lahm, for both Bayern Munich and the German national team, Kimmich is already on the way to emulating his former teammate, despite not even reaching his 23rd birthday yet.
Signed by Bayern Munich from Red Bull Leipzig in January 2015, the versatile defender was eased into first team affairs in Bavaria but is now the regular first choice right back for both club and country.
7. Eric Dier
Transfer fee: £4m
It is no coincidence that Alli and Dier are best friends off the pitch, with the latter providing security for his mate on the pitch, with some bruising performances in the middle of the park.
Tottenham Hotspur grabbed the 23-year-old from Sporting CP in 2014 and, although initially deployed as a fullback, Dier has been instrumental in recent years in both central midfield and a center back. His incredible rise to the top was culminated by being selected as England captain in recent friendlies against Germany and Brazil.