Some of these players are considered among the best to have played for their respective clubs.
Every year in the transfer window, hundreds of players switch clubs all over the world. Some of these players fetch high transfer fee, which does not always guarantee success to the clubs. However, some signings turns out to be underrated and those players become cult heroes and even legends at their respective clubs.
Here, we look at five most successful underrated signing in the last decade in Europe.
5. Michu to Swansea City
Miguel Perez Cuesta aka Michu was brought in 2012 by the then Premier League side Swansea City for a rumoured value of £2 million, as a replacement of Gylfi Sigurdsson. Michu arrived from Spanish side Rayo Vallecano as Swansea was looking for an attacking midfielder.
Michu spent two years at Swansea City and was an instant success for the club. He took the Premier League by surprise and massed up 22 goals in 43 appearances in his debut season. He helped the Swans win a League Cup trophy in 2013 under the tutelage of Michael Laudrup, which resulted in them qualifying for the UEFA Europa League.
Following that season, Laudrup disclosed that Michu was his best buy as he said, “I always try to get good deals for players, but Michu has been my best buy because of the importance and the impact he had on the squad.”
4. Miranda to Atletico Madrid
Brazilian defender Miranda was brought by Atletico Madrid in 2011 from Brazilian giants Sao Paulo and was one of the mainstays in the heart of their defence alongside Diego Godin till 2015.
In the 2013-14 season, he helped Los Rojiblancos claim their first La Liga title in 17 years. He was nominated in FiFPro 2014 for his exploits in the league as well helping the team to reach the UCL Final in 2014. He spent four years at the Spanish capital and moved to Inter Milan in 2015. The 36-year-old currently plies his trade in China for Jiangsu Suning.
3. Paul Pogba to Juventus
The Frenchman signed for Juventus on a free transfer in 2012 after rejecting a contract extension due to limited first team opportunity at Manchester United. The transfer didn’t go well with the Manchester United hierarchy as then-manager Sir Alex Ferguson was visibly displeased by the move as he called it a disrespect.
However, Pogba became one of the most exciting youngster across Europe at Turin during his stay there. Along with Italian great Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba were mainstays of the Juventus midfield for number of years. He was also awarded with Golden boy award in 2013. In 2016, he returned to his boyhood club Manchester United in a then world record of £86 million.
2. James Milner to Liverpool
One of the most underrated signings of the last decade, Liverpool brought James Milner in 2015 in a free transfer from league rivals Manchester City. Since then, he has been a cult hero for the Reds’ fans. Milner has been a yes man for the manager, due to adaptability to play in various positions and his attitude on pitch.
During his stay at Anfield, he has played in a number of positions for the club and has given his heart and soul whenever he stepped onto the pitch. With Liverpool, Milner has won an UEFA Champions League trophy as well as the club’s first league title in 30 years. His leadership skill on and off the field has been immense in their recent success.
1. Jamie Vardy to Leicester City
Jamie Vardy’s career is nothing short of a fairy tale. In 2012, then-Championship outfit Leicester City signed Vardy from non-league side Fleetwood Town in a £1 million deal, which was a record. Following his move to the club, he turned out to be one of the biggest contributors for Leicester City to gain promotion to the Premier League in 2014.
In his Premier League debut season, the foxes survived relegation scare and finished on the 14th position. In the following season, he was a talismanic figure when they overcame all the odds to claim the Premier League title. His exploits in the league earned him a spot in 2016 Euros. In the 2019-20 season, he won the golden boot at the age of 33, with 23 goals!