Not always. Lost among the hyperbole of the summer's great transfer sagas, barely a footnote in the year of the great spend, was Wolves's purchase of the reigning Serbian player of the year. Nenad Milijas cost Mick McCarthy about a 10th of a Lescott, a measly £2.6 million, from Red Star Belgrade. If his performance here is anything to go by, he represents hope those forced to shop in the bargain bin are not always rooting among has-beens and never-will-bes.
Related ArticlesMcCarthy missing cutting edgeMcCarthy: success is survivalWigan v Wolves previewSport on televisionPremier League Transfer TalkIt was from his free-kick, just six minutes in, that the industrious Andy Keogh headed the visitors into the lead just 120 seconds after hitting the crossbar after a clever turn in the box. Two corners should have brought two more, had Keogh again and Greg Halford shown more composure. Blessed with the de rigeur Balkan technical excellence, he was an oasis of calm in a frantic, chaotic blitzkrieg of a game.
He was removed after an hour his manager admitting he was 'not having the best time of it' as tiredness set in - allowing the hosts to assume complete control. On Roberto Martinez's home debut, Wigan Athletic had gone close in the first half, but it was after Milijas's withdrawal that the siege began, Scott Sinclair flashing a header wide in the dying minutes as the chances came and went.
In the end, McCarthy's side were somewhat fortunate to hang on for Wolves's first away win in the top flight for 25 years - "pleasing," said the Yorkshire-born Irishman - deprived as they were of the player who offered them a semblance of control. Mark Hughes take note: it's amazing what you can pick up for £2.6 million these days.