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LIST: Six of the best value-fo...
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LIST: Six of the best value-for-money signings made by City and Chelsea

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

23:59 28 Jan 2015

Since Manchester City and Chelsea had the distinct pleasure of being acquired by Sheikh Mansour and Roman Abramovich respectively, the budget of a small country has been spent between them in bringing in a long line of expensive talent.

Some big-money purchases have worked out, but as always in football there is plenty of wastage.

That being said, both clubs have acquired linchpins over the years, without breaking the bank.

Here are six shining examples: 

 

Pablo Zabaleta (€8.5M)

Officially, the Argentina international is not a Sheikh Mansour signing. But given that he was brought in the day before the takeover at City, it is likely that the current owners rubber-stamped the deal back in August 2008.

Purchased from La Liga side Espanyol for €8.5M, he has established himself as the standout right back at the Etihad - seeing off the challenges of Micah Richards, and then Bacary Sagna - but Zabaleta has also become one of the preeminent full-backs in the top division thanks to his combative style, commitment and consistency.

Last season, he provided an impressive seven assists as City won the league. But it is also Zabaleta's contribution behind the scenes as a likeable member of the squad that appears almost as important. Watch any of the club's pre-match YouTube videos and you often see the Argentine jovially greeting the City staff.

  

Branislav Ivanovic (€13M)

The Serb's value to the Chelsea cause vastly outweighs the transfer fee. The man who headed in the winner on Tuesday night as the Blues beat Liverpool to a Capital One Cup final place, arrived at Stamford Bridge for €13M from Spartak Moscow in 2008. It is not a small fee by any stretch of the imagination but compared to some of the cash spent by Roman Abramovich since his takeover in the summer of 2003, Ivanovic is one of the best value-for-money signings.

After a slow start to life at Stamford Bridge under Avram Grant and Luiz Felipe Scolari, he is now one of the most trusted players in the squad. Versatility can be a curse, but not for Ivanovic who has made the right-back berth his own despite being able to cover centre-back adequately. Solid and dependable, he always pops up with a couple of goals per season due to his threat in the air.

Defensively he is rock-solid and has only been dribbled past 0.5 times per match this season. 

 

Petr Cech (€5M)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has a long list of players that he almost signed. One of those is goalkeeper Petr Cech. He would arrive in London in any case but in the blue of Chelsea for about €5M.

Only this season has the Czech Republic international been displaced by Thibaut Courtois in goal, but that should not be a slight on a player who was one of the totemic figures for Chelsea since 2004 alongside Didier Drogba, John Terry and Frank Lampard in a trophy-filled decade.

 

Thibaut Courtois (€9M)

Perhaps it is too early to judge the Belgium No 1. But most would agree that he is already one of the best goalkeepers currently playing at the elite level.

Signed from Genk as one for the future for a reported €9M in 2011, he excelled on loan at Atletico Madrid over two seasons as the Spanish club won La Liga, the Copa del Rey and played in the Champions League final.

When you consider that he is only 22, and that goalkeepers tend to enjoy remarkable longevity, the transfer fee paid to Genk would appear to be a bargain. 

 

Joe Hart (€0.1M)

Yes, the England No 1 can be prone to an error, but no one has managed to definitively supplant him as Man City's starting keeper since he returned on loan from Birmingham City in 2010.

He has been part of a team that has won two league titles, the FA Cup and a League Cup.

When you consider that City spent just £100,000 to prise from Shrewsbury in 2006 and then allowed him to progress to the position of No 1 in the big spending era under Mansour, he has to go down as a huge success.

Still only 27, he won the Premier League Golden Gloves for most clean sheets three times, and has also been included in the PFA Team of the Year twice.

 

Vincent Kompany (€8M)

Last but not least, the popular captain of City joined the club from Hamburg in the same month that investment came in from Abu Dhabi.

The 28-year-old heartbeat of the side was highly rated as a youngster at Belgium's most successful club, Anderlecht, yet arrived in Manchester for just €8M.

Compare that price to the €65M that Chelsea persuaded Paris Saint-Germain to purchase David Luiz for and your eyebrows will rise higher than Carlo Ancelotti's.

The fee certainly does no justice to a defender who not only excels as a player but has is unrivaled as a leader within the City ranks.

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