This past week saw a major Premier League transfer in the form of Romelu Lukaku’s £75m move to Manchester United, where manager Jose Mourinho is hoping the prolific striker can score the goals to fire his side to the Premier League title. Meanwhile, Mourinho’s old rival Arsene Wenger has spent a cool £46m to bring French sharpshooter Alexandre Lacazette to the Emirates, again hoping that his goals can shoot them to glory.
Strikers naturally tend to command the biggest fees for the obvious reason – they score the goals that can lead a side to victory. But we have seen past Premier League seasons that often, the best strikers don’t actually cost the most money. That doesn’t mean of course that Lukaku and Lacazette won’t succeed, more that sometimes you don’t need to break the bank. Here are five of the best bargain Premier League strikers of all time.
Newly promoted Swansea were surprisingly successful in their virgin Premier League season, finishing 11th in 2011/12, but that didn’t mean they could suddenly sign big name players. Instead, relatively unknown Spanish forward Michu was signed from Rayo Vallecano in the summer of 2012 for just £2m. And whilst, he had scored his fair share of goals the previous season in La Liga not much was expected from the Spanish import.
That couldn’t have turned out to be further from the truth. Making an immediate impact, Michu scored twice and assisted in a third goal on his debut for the Welsh side as they defeated QPR 0-5 on the opening day of the season. His first goal was, in fact, the first of the season, and from there on he basically didn’t slow down. He ended up as the Premier League’s fifth-highest scorer with 18 goals and scored a total of 22 in all competitions.
Michu was so prolific in his debut season that he was linked with bigger clubs like Arsenal and ended up being called into Spain’s national squad by manager Vicente del Bosque for a 2014 World Cup qualifying match against Belarus, replacing the injured David Villa.
Unfortunately, that was as good as it got – in his second season Michu only scored six goals for the Swans and with new striker Wilfried Bony now firing plenty home, he was sent on loan to Napoli for a season before being released in November 2015. Still though, for those first season heroics, he stands as one of the Premier League’s greatest bargain strikers.