Manchester United's summer spending spree got us thinking: How much do the first XIs of the title contenders cost in the Premier League? And who did they pick up for a bargain?
Note: all undisclosed fees are estimates and may not represent the exact figure.
CHEAPEST: LIVERPOOL, 125.6 million pounds
Assuming that 25 million-pound midfielder Adam Lallana comes back and takes his place in the starting XI, with 16 million-pound new boy Mario Balotelli on the bench, there isn't even a space for 15 million-pound defender Mamadou Sakho. English talent (Jordan Henderson, Glen Johnson and Lallana) have all cost Liverpool a pretty penny in the past, so how on earth did they manage to get Daniel Sturridge for just 12 million pounds?
Summer splash: Lazar Markovic (£20M)
Overpaid? Dejan Lovren (£20M)
Bargain? Daniel Sturridge (£12M)
Worth over 5x their price? Raheem Sterling (£600K)
Expensive sub: Mamadou Sakho (£15M)
TWO BIG BUYS: ARSENAL, 150.5 million pounds
Arsene Wenger had a habit of not getting the chequebook out too often, but that seems to have changed with the arrival of Mesut Ozil at 42.5 million pounds and this summer's splash on Alexis Sanchez for 35 million pounds. Wenger still has the likes of Wojciech Szczesny and Kieran Gibbs, who cost nothing, while Jack Wilshere will be kicking his heels on the bench if all players are fit. But only three players in this XI (the aforementioned two and Santi Cazorla) cost over 15 million pounds, which is impressive. Even English quartet Danny Welbeck (£16M), Caulm Chambers (£16M), Theo Walcott (£12M) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£12M) may not get in.
Summer splash: Alexis Sanchez (£35M)
Overpaid? Mesut Ozil (£42.5M)
Bargain? Per Mertesacker (£8M)
Worth over 5x their price? Aaron Ramsey (£5M)
Expensive sub: Calum Chambers (£16M)
STILL SPENDING TO SUCCEED: CHELSEA, 190 million pounds
Chelsea are looking to balance the books a bit more nowadays with FFP in the picture, so the sale of David Luiz (£50M) went a long way toward the 62 million pounds spent on Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas. What's really amazing is that all five of the Blues' current first-choice defence were all put together for a cost less than Fabregas himself (£29M). Jose Mourinho, of course, would have had a bench that almost amounts to more than his first XI if Fernando Torres (£50M) had stayed, but it still has the likes of Willian (£32M), Felipe Luis (£15.8M) and Kurt Zouma (£12.5M) kicking their heels.
Summer splash: Diego Costa (£32M)
Overpaid? Cesc Fabregas (£30M)
Bargain? Gary Cahill (£7M)
Worth over 5x their price? Thibaut Courtois (£5M)
Expensive sub: Willian (£32M)
A CHAMPION'S RANSOM: MAN CITY, 230.6 million pounds
Clearly, City have been the leaders of the pack when it comes to splashing the cash in recent years, and it has gotten them two Premier League titles to boot. If you consider the impact that Yaya Toure (£24M), David Silva (£24M) and Vincent Kompany (£6M) have made, then you could certainly consider them all bargains -- although the Belgium defender is head and shoulders above the rest in that regard. An outlay on Fernando (£12M) this summer, along with Eliaquim Mangala (£32M), will strengthen an already strong team, while the free transfers of Bacary Sagna and Frank Lampard prove that good business can be done on the cheap. City still have a host of expensive talent such as James Milner (£26M), Stevan Jovetic (£22.8M) and Jesus Navas (£15M) on their bench to complement the second-most expensive XI.
Summer splash: Eliaquim Mangala (£32M)
Overpaid? Fernandinho (£30M)
Bargain? Vincent Kompany (£6M)
Worth over 5x their price? Joe Hart (£600K)
Expensive sub: James Milner (£26M)
HEY BIG SPENDERS: MAN UTD, 262.5 million pounds
What happens when the world's most marketable club, who have consistently spent vast amounts of cash in the Premier League era to bring success to Old Trafford, fall out of contention and out of Europe? Well, the answer is that they spend even more! In fact, new arrivals Luke Shaw (£27M), Marcos Rojo (£16M), Ander Herrera (£28.8M) and Angel Di Maria (£57.9M) come in at all cool 135 million pounds on their own, while they spent some significant cash to bring Falcao (£12M) in on loan for one season as well (and it's not even clear where he will fit into the XI.) On the bench, players such as Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher and Jonny Evans cost nothing, while Adnan Januzaj was only about 300,000 pounds, but they are surrounded by a host of expensive flops: notably Marouane Fellaini (£27.5M) and Anderson (£20M). From the most expensive first XI in the league, the cheapest player (excluding Evans) you can find is 16 million-pound new arrival Rojo, so the club will expect a big return on their investment this season.
Summer splash: Angel Di Maria (£59.7M)
Overpaid? Ander Herrera (£28.8M)
Bargain? David De Gea (£18.6M)
Worth over 5x their price? Jonny Evans (free)
Expensive sub: Ander Herrera (£28.8M)