Is Riyad Mahrez the biggest bargain in Premier League history?
Leicester City have shocked football fans on a weekly basis this season and while it has been a team effort for the Foxes two men in particular have stood out.
One of the men is Riyad Mahrez and while he flew under the radar for much of last season the Algerian has been arguably the best player so far this campaign.
City are now in the enviable position of being able to hold on to a top quality player or sell him on for a huge profit having brought him in for a bargain price from Le Havre.
But is the 24-year-old winger the biggest bargain in Premier League history? Check out the Ladbrokes news top five and have your say in the comments section below…
Riyad Mahrez – Le Havre to Leicester – £375,000
Having started his career with French amateur side Quimper there were fears that Mahrez’s slender frame would halt his progress up the ranks. His superiors footwork soon saw Le Havre come calling, however, and after a spell with the reserves he went on to play 67 times for the first team scoring 10 goals.
He arrived at the King Power Stadium to little fanfare and while his three goals in 19 games helped the Foxes gain promotion in 2014, four strikes from 32 outings in a debut top flight season did little to spark the imagination.
Fast-forward to this season, however, and the Algerian has been in the form of his life, smashing 15 goals from 26 games so far and on the brink of helping guide the Foxes to a title win that would send shockwaves through the world of football.
Jamie Vardy – Fleetwood Town to Leicester – £1m
While costing more than double his Foxes team-mate Vardy has proved an absolute slip at £1m. Having plied his trade for non-league sides Stocksbridge Park Steels and FC Halifax Town Vardy was happy to get the call from then-Conference side Fleetwood Town.
A haul of 34 goals in 42 games for the Cod Army soon saw bigger clubs circling, however, and Leicester won the race, with some questioning the wisdom of paying £1m for a non-league striker.
And with a return of just five goals in his debut Foxes campaign no one could have seen the bright future that lay ahead. A total of 16 goals the following season fired the Foxes to promotion and like Mahrez; Vardy struggled to cope in the top flight at first with five goals from 36 games.
This season the 29-year-old has been a revelation, scoring in a record-breaking 11 consecutive games. His season tally stands at 18 and he has broken into the England set-up. Rumours of a move to one of Europe’s biggest club abound and the sky really is the limit for Vardy now.
Joe Hart – Shrewsbury Town to Manchester City – £600,000
Sir Alex Ferguson has famously admitted that he passed up the opportunity to sign Hart from Shrewsbury Town for just £100,000 and has regretted it ever since.
United’s loss was City’s gain, however, and while the Citizens had to shell out £600,000 to get their man that works out at £1,829 per game (minus wages). Not bad for the England number one who has helped deliver two Premier League crowns, an FA Cup and a League Cup. Especially when you figure Craig Gordon cost Sunderland £94, 736 per game and won zilch.
Seamus Coleman – Sligo Rovers to Everton – £60,000
David Moyes was renowned for spotting a bargain while at the helm at Goodison Park but few players proved better value than the Irishman.
On the advice of former team-mate Willie McStay Moyes signed Coleman from Sligo Rovers for the bargain sum of £60,000. Now 27 the defender has played more than 200 games for the Toffees and is regularly linked with a big-money move to the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea.
Nicolas Anelka – PSG to Arsenal – £500,000
While his ‘Le Sulk’ persona has tarnished his career at times Arsenal couldn’t had hoped for a better deal when snapping up a promising young PSG striker for just £500,000.
In just three years at Highbury Anelka managed to score 28 goals in 90 Gunners games, helping the north Londoners to a Premier League and FA Cup double in 1997-98 before being sold to Real Madrid for a £22m profit.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.