Been playing on the iPhone for a bit and now on my third season with Newcastle (1st in Championship, 10th in Premiership), however I am struggling to buy players. I'm having to offer at least twice to get players (ones recomended by Ass Manager, Scout and even those who are placed on transfer list with asking price!)
A players valuation is in 'neutral' circumstances for the player involved, that is if the club have no attachment to the player at all.
If a player is wanted by his club then you will naturally have to pay over this valuation in order to obtain the player, if you want to obtain bargains then look for slightly older players or those out of favour with their clubs - especially if unhappy and transfer listed.
PS - If you're poaching from clubs in your own division, especially those competing with you that might add a premium also, finally don't forget bosman signings ...
Im no expert but with swansea, I got into the premiership on the 2nd attempt, and lie 10th. Go take a look at player search, and as mark said, use the Contract expiring option when looking for players and although your gonna have to wait for the contract to run out, Of your like me you will have 20 odd players joining you free.