With the January transfer window opening this weekend, here are 20 warnings from last summer for clubs who might think that splashing the cash is a guarantee of success
Editorial use only. No merchandising. For Football images FA and Premier League restrictions apply inc. no internet/mobile usage without FAPL license – for details contact Football Dataco Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jason Mitchell/IPS/REX Shutterstock (4775341ca) Nikica Jelavic of West Ham United West Ham United v Everton, Barclays Premier League, Boleyn Ground, London, Britain
20. Nikica Jelavic (Hull to West Ham, £2.8m)
Proof that West Ham’s transfer policy did not reap unanimous rewards in the summer. Jelavic, sadly, looks one of those players whose superb early form at Everton was a freak purple patch: he has never looked capable of replicating it and has yet to start a league game or score for West Ham.
Editorial use only. No merchandising. For Football images FA and Premier League restrictions apply inc. no internet/mobile usage without FAPL license – for details contact Football Dataco Mandatory Credit: Photo by Paul Greenwood/BPI/REX Shutterstock (5450289cl) Eder during the Barclays Premier League Match between Liverpool and Swansea City played at Anfield, Liverpool on 29th November 2015 Barclays Premier League 2015/16 Liverpool v Swansea City Anfield, Anfield Rd, Liverpool, United Kingdom – 29 Nov 2015
19. Eder (Braga to Swansea, £5m)
A player you might not even know existed unless you devotedly studied the Swansea bench from week to week. Just two starts since his summer move from Portugal and not even a sniff of a goal.
WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND – AUGUST 25: James Chester of West Bromwich Albion celebrates after he scores the winning goal from the penalty spot during the Capital One Cup Second Round match between West Bromwich Albion and Port Vale at The Hawthorns on August 25, 2015 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images)
18. James Chester (Hull to West Brom, £8m)
A curious signing for West Brom. Chester was highly regarded at Hull, and regularly mentioned in the same breath as John Stones. Yet despite making him the club’s most expensive ever defender, Chester still has not established a first team place at the Hawthorns.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 21 : Rudy Gestede of Aston Villa during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Aston Villa at Goodison Park on November 21, 2015 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)
17. Rudy Gestede (Blackburn to Aston Villa, £6m)
Yes, he is playing in a dreadful team, but any hopes Villa had of making Gestede a Benteke-light after the latter joined to Liverpool have proved ill-founded. Strong in the air but gets precious little service: on the floor he looks ponderous and ill-equipped for the top level.
Chelsea’s Papy Mison Djilobodji during the Barclays Premier League match at the White Hart Lane, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 29, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Tottenham. Photo credit should read: John Walton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
16. Papy Djilobodji (Nantes to Chelsea, £2.45m)
One of those signings which prompts mass conspiracy theories about how transfer matters are conducted at Chelsea. Jose Mourinho did not even appear to have heard of Djilobodji and it would be no surprise if he joined the massed ranks of Chelsea loanees sooner rather than later.
15. Patrick Roberts (Fulham to Manchester City, £5m)
Looks destined to be another bright young English talent who joined a big club too soon. He may still prove a star, but Roberts has played a grand total of 54 minutes since moving in the summer and it is inconceivable he will get many more when the season reasons its sharp end.
14. Matteo Darmian (Torino to Manchester United, £12.7m)
A very bright start suggested Darmian had solved United’s at right-back, but as the season has gone on, so his performances have slumped. Taken off against Arsenal, Southampton and Crystal Palace after being given torrid times in all three.
13. Rickie Lambert (Liverpool to West Brom)
Lambert has been unable to kickstart a career which stalled at Liverpool, making just a handful of starts at West Brom and scoring only one goal. A shame, as there should still be a Premier League striker lurking in there somewhere.
12. Connor Wickham (Sunderland to Crystal Palace)
Full marks for effort, but for over £8million – the second highest fee paid in the club’s history – Palace might have expected rather better than zero goals and a series of uncertain performances. Played well against Newcastle – then again, who doesn’t? – so maybe things will improve.
11. Roberto Firmino (Hoffenheim to Liverpool)
A huge transfer fee has appeared to intimidate Firmino, with nobody quite sure exactly what role he should play in Klopp’s Liverpool team. The answer – as evidenced in a very positive performance at Manchester City, when he scored his first goal – maybe to deploy him in a side missing a traditional striker, allowing him free rein in attacking areas.
10. Fabio Borini (Liverpool to Sunderland, £8m)
A big transfer fee for any club, but enormous for Sunderland – and the results have been pretty wretched. Five Premier League starts, three bookings and no goals represent the sum of his efforts thus far.
9. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Anderlecht to Newcastle)
Gets a point for being a generally entertaining character in a sanitised era, but he has done precious little for Newcastle’s cause in a miserable season. Has failed to curb his notorious temper and has forgotten how to score.
8. Gokhan Inler (Napoli to Leicester)
Probably the only disappointment in Leicester’s season of fantasy football. Arrived with a big reputation, having been courted by football’s elite over the years, but cannot break into Claudio Ranieri’s first team. His agent is already making noises about a January loan move.
7. Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern to Manchester United, £6m)
United probably suspected Schweinsteiger was not quite the all-conquering figure from his 2010 heyday, but they might have expected rather more from such an A-list talent. Has yet to contribute a big performance in a really big game – and his display against Arsenal at the Emirates bordered on the embarrassing.
6. Adama Traore (Barcelona to Aston Villa, £7m)
Inutterably useless for almost all the season, although he has had plenty of competition for the title of Villa’s worst player in 2015/16. He is still young and nobody who was schooled at Barcelona can be a lost cause (his one bright performance, against Crystal Palace in August, hinted at what he can do) but has a lot of convincing to do.
Chelsea’s Baba Rahman and Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Gal Alberman (on floor) battle for the ball during the UEFA Champions League match at Stamford Bridge, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday September 16, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Chelsea. Photo credit for should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire.
5. Baba Rahman (Augsburg to Chelsea, £21m)
Another of those mystery signings who are in danger of vanishing into the Stamford Bridge ether. If Rahman cannot not force his way into Chelsea’s starting XI when both their full-backs are performing so poorly, you wonder how he ever will.
4. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa to Liverpool, £32.5m)
Looked over-priced at the time, but at least Liverpool fans probably thought they were getting an effective goalscorer when they forked out such an eye-watering sum. Instead, Benteke has looked bereft of belief and sluggish in movement – bad news when your manager is Jurgen Klopp.
3. Florian Thauvin (Marseille to Newcastle, £12m)
There is lots of competition for the title of Newcastle’s most disappointing summer signing, but Thauvin takes it by a distance. Has made just three Premier League starts and looks pretty disinterested when he does feature. At least he’s scored one goal – against Northampton.
2. Memphis Depay (PSV to Manchester United, £19m)
A sprightly performance in a Champions League qualifier against Club Brugge suggested that Depay had what it takes to inherit the famed No7 shirt at United. Sadly, it has been downhill ever since. Hardly scores, has created precious little and looks like he is suffering in Louis van Gaal’s ultra-cautious system.
1. Radamel Falcao (Monaco to Chelsea, loan)
A signing that made absolutely no sense at the time still makes absolutely no sense. Anyone with functioning eyesight could tell Falcao has not been the same player since his desperately unfortunate knee injury with Monaco, but Chelsea obviously saw something in his lumbering displays at Manchester United which convinced them to spend over £5million in loan fees and £130,000-a-week trying to revive him. It has failed.
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