Most players today come at a premium, but the Bosman ruling has meant that the power is with the players. While there were some extremely expensive buys, there were also some freebies on offer, and they could prove to be equally important.
Below is a list of the best Premier League free deals from 2013:
Mark Schwarzer (Fulham to Chelsea)
The 40-year-old was surprisingly let go off by his previous employers at the end of last season.
Schwarzer is an experienced custodian and brings a sense of assurance and reliability, something the London club has been missing over the years in their second choice keepers. And the Australian is an able back-up to Petr Cech.
Yaya Sanogo (Auxerre to Arsenal)
A typical Arsene Wenger signing this, as the Frenchman has raw talent and who better than the Arsenal manager to help refine his skills.
The 20-year-old powerful stoker, who suffered a double fracture in 2010 that kept him out of the game for two years, scored four times in 17 minutes for previous employers Auxerre against Laval earlier this year.
With the North London side lacking in depth upfront, a fit Sanogo would do well to act as Olivier Giroud’s deputy.
Jose Canas (Real Betis to Swansea)
Swansea love a bargain don’t they? Last season they signed Michu for peanuts, while this year, they seem to have outdone themselves.
The 26-year-old Spaniard is a touch-tacking defensive midfielder, with great position awareness and good vision. And while he may not be as flashy as his counterpart, he is sure to be just as important in Michael Laudrup’s side.
Kolo Toure (Manchester City to Liverpool)
The Ivorian arrived at Anfield to fill the massive void left by Kop legend Jamie Carragher’s retirement. And what an astute acquisition the 32-year-old has been for Brendan Rodgers.
The former Manchester City and Arsenal centre-back brings bags of experience and leadership skills that were lacking at the back for Liverpool. Prior to his injury against Notts County in the League Cup, Toure showed why City paid £14m for his services in 2009.
Mathieu Flamini (AC Milan to Arsenal)
Before the deadline-day signing of Mesut Ozil, Wenger was publicly criticised for resigning someone who left five years ago for a better pay package.
And while Ozil and Aaron Ramsey have garnered all the applause, the Frenchman has gone about his dirty business by protecting the back four rather nicely. The old-boy has restored the bite that was missing in the Gunners’ midfield, allowing the others around him to surge ahead and grab the headlines.
The unsung hero has probably been the best value-for-money deal and could prove to be as important as the deadline day club-record signing, if Wenger’s men do finally end their long overdue trophy drought.