Could Wigan's Arouna Kone prove to be the bargain of the season?

The in form striker might end up being the key to Wigan's survival this year, and having signed the Ivorian for just €3.5million, Roberto Martinez might claim to have made one of the shrewdest purchases of last summer.

Whilst the competition to be named Premier League player of the year is set to continue for a few weeks yet, with Luis Suarez, Juan Mata, Gareth Bale and Robin van Persie all holding a fair claim to the title, it is already widely accepted that Swansea's Michu is the undisputed bargain of the season.

The Spaniard has been a revelation for Michael Laudrup's side, scoring 20 goals to fire the side to the League Cup and the top half of the Premier League. Whilst the Swans might fade a little in the closing weeks of the season as they have little to play for, at £2million, it is hard to see another player who could challenge Michu as the best value for money this year.

One man who perhaps could is Wigan's Arouna Kone, who was bought for a similar price to Michu and might end up the key to his team’s Premier League survival. Whilst Aston Villa and QPR are looking to expensive signings Christian Benteke and Loic Remy to save them, it is Kone who is currently leading his side to safety above those teams.

Kone has scored ten times this season, but has found a happy knack of earning three points with his goals. His last two strikes have both been late winners, against Norwich and Newcastle United, which have earned his team a crucial pair of wins that have lifted them out of the relegation zone.

Kone has now scored four in his last four league games, with his return from the African Cup of Nations proving the key to his side's recent resurgence. He might not end up with as many goals as Michu this season, but if he fires Wigan to safety, and perhaps to an FA Cup final and the Europa League place that comes with it, Arouna Kone's claim to be the bargain of the season might be just as strong as the Spaniard's.

image: © illarterate

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch