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Nigeria’s Boniface, Bellingham, other top bargains of 2023 transfer market

The summer transfer window for the 2023-24 season shut down last weekend with clubs breaking the bank to get their top targets. While the football…

The summer transfer window for the 2023-24 season shut down last weekend with clubs breaking the bank to get their top targets.

While the football world witnessed historic levels of spending, Chelsea were not the only big guns that made waves in the transfer window. The likes of Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Manchester United also acquired key players at huge fees.

Although the rest of the big five leagues couldn’t come close to the Premier League’s spending spree, Bayern Munich, PSG, and Real Madrid led the transfer window for the rest of the big five leagues with some key and costly acquisitions.

Some of these players have hit the ground running, making immediate impacts in their new clubs that made their transfers top of the chart of bargain acquisitions this summer.

Below, Daily Trust looks at the top five bargain deals of the summer transfer:

Declan Rice
Declan Rice

Declan Rice (West Ham to Arsenal) – £100m plus £5m add-ons
Arsenal got their man Declan Rice after beating Manchester City to the England midfielder.

The Arsenal’s record signing has already set about paying the North London side back with a stunning performance and match-winning moment in the 3-1 victory over Manchester United in Match Day 4 of the season.

His defensive solidity on his debut against Manchester City in the Community Shield helped guide his new team to the win. Since then, his understanding of the Arteta system has allowed him to have a real influence on matches going forward.

Against Manchester United, the England midfielder made more passes in the opposition’s half than in his own for the first time this season, with 35 out of his 64 successful passes being in United’s half. A constant theme throughout the match was his connection with Eddie Nketiah with the former West Ham man constantly looking to find the feet of his compatriot. His manager praised his ‘tremendous’ display and touched on how the 24-year-old dominated the midfield.

Nobody could doubt Rice’s defensive capabilities, but with the ever-present class of Thomas Partey operating in the holding midfield role for the Gunners for the majority of last season, many were left puzzled about where Rice would fit into this Arsenal system.

However, Arteta could not have had a clearer plan for his star signing with the Englishman operating in the holding midfield role alongside an inverted fullback.

Rice’s match-winning goal against Erik ten Hag’s men took the roof off, while also showing his ability to find the back of the net in key moments.

He may only be 24 years old, but his display against the Red Devils which earned him a Man of the Match award showed all the experience that he has gained on both the international and European stages to date.

Jude Bellingham
Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid) – £88m plus £25.6m add-ons
Many pundits think this might be a bargain deal. Jude Bellingham is a phenomenal footballer and is still only 20.

Arguably the best deal of the window was done when Real Madrid beat Liverpool to snap up the England international.

There was no drama around the signing of Bellingham, for £115million from Borussia Dortmund, as the deal was finalised right at the start of July.

And Bellingham has wasted no time settling into Spanish football perfectly.

The young English midfielder has five goals in his first four La Liga games, to match Cristiano Ronaldo’s record when he first joined the club in 2009.

He also has an assist already.

Even for an all-rounder like Bellingham, morphing into a matchwinner from midfield was an unlikely outcome so soon after joining a team with such lofty standards.

Bellingham’s impressive form comes after a successful spell at Borussia Dortmund in Germany. And it cements his place on the Ballon d’Or’s 30-player shortlist this year, with the awards ceremony for the world’s best player on October 30.

Harry Kane
Harry Kane

Harry Kane (Tottenham to Bayern Munich) – £86m plus £14m add-ons
Some late shenanigans were not going to stop Bayern from completing a club and Bundesliga record signing once Kane “felt like it was the time to leave” his boyhood club.

Bayern Munich have a new talisman, as England international Harry Kane seems to be the missing link in the German giants’ team.

After completing a switch to the Allianz Arena, securing a €100 million transfer from Tottenham, Kane is now the team’s new star, hoping to replace Robert Lewandowski after the experiment with Sadio Mane failed.

Now off the mark at his new German club with three goals and an assist in three matches, Kane is into the Bundesliga books, hitting the ground running.

He’ll now chase Robert Lewandowski’s single-season Bundesliga scoring record of 41 in a campaign, which is a massively high mark to reach. Even if he falls short of that, Kane can still prove himself a huge success in Germany.

Victor Boniface
Victor Boniface

Victor Boniface (Belgian club Royale Union SG to Bayer Leverkusen) €20m with €7.5m add-ons

On July 22, 2023, Nigeria striker, Victor Boniface, joined German Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen from Belgian club Royale Union SG.

This is according to an official announcement on various Bayer 04 Leverkusen social media channels welcoming 22-year-old Boniface to the club.

The undisclosed financial detail of the deal is reportedly around €20 million, with an additional €7.5 million allocated for add-ons and contractual clauses.

Boniface finished as top scorer in the UEFA Europa League and also helped Union SG’s push for domestic success in a break-out 2022/2023 season.

In three matches for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga so far this season, he has scored four goals and provided two assists to sit second behind Serhou Guirassy of VfB Stuttgart on the scorers’ chat, putting him high on the list of top bargain deals last summer.

James Maddison

James Maddison (Leicester City to Tottenham Hotspur) £40m

James Maddison, an attacking midfielder made the switch to Tottenham Hotspur after the relegation of Leicester City last season and he started to impress his new club immediately.

In the English Premier League season 2022/23, James Maddison played 25 matches (plus 1 as a sub), scored 9 goals and had 8 assists.

Interestingly, the English midfielder is already being viewed as one of the best signings of the summer.

Maddison is making an instant impact following the exit of record striker Harry Kane, who joined Bayern Munich before the start of the season.

Maddison, 26, has scored two goals and set up another two in his first four games.

The attacking midfielder is undoubtedly one of the Premier League’s most in-form playmakers, setting him out as probably the bargain of the summer.

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