This summer, the transfer window gave us loads to talk about. So, being a chatty lot here at Rush Football, we decided to launch a three-part series that looks at the seven best transfers, the seven worst transfers and seven free transfers that prove you still don’t need to spend a penny…
*Disclaimer* when we say good and bad, we’re not referring to the actual ability of the player in this article but their value for money in today’s crazy market. Good, let’s crack on…
In today’s part, we review the worst transfers of the summer, even if the player is brilliant, the fee is far too much. These guys are known as ‘The Bad’.
Davinson Sánchez occupies 7th spot on the list today. Tottenham have a brilliant record when buying former Ajax players, especially centre backs. However, £42 million is an awful lot to spend on a player who has only had one season in Europe. He did win Ajax’s Player of the Season award but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will succeed in the Premier League. Additionally, centre back isn’t a position that Spurs needed to strengthen. In Alderweireld and Vertonghen, they have two centre backs who are likely to start nearly all matches, as Kevin Wimmer found out after his move to The Lane. In Carter-Vickers and new summer signing Foyth, they also have two young players for the future. All this begs the question why not use the money on an area of the squad that does require more depth?
In 6th place lies another player related to Tottenham, this time though, they were on the other side of the rip off. Kyle Walker moved 200 miles north to Manchester City in a £50 million deal and the size of the fee could still grow further based on any subsequent add-ons. Make no mistake, Walker is a good right back and made the PFA Team of the Year last year. In essence though, he was made to look brilliant by a manager who knew exactly what his strengths and weaknesses were. He is not a brilliant defender but has always been able to cover his mistakes with exhilarating pace. Against top teams though, this can be exploited. The home-grown factor must have added a few million too, but even so, there are far cheaper pacey wide men available than Kyle Walker.
5th place goes to another Premier League, English signing in Andre Gray. Gray played 32 times in his debut Premier League campaign but only returned 9 goals. Whilst this is not a bad return, it does not warrant Watford making him their record signing for £18.5 million. If you are purchasing a forward that is going to lead the forward line for you, then you would be expecting goals in the double figures. Furthermore, with Troy Deeney, the club captain, having scored 10 goals last season and 13 the season before, you really wonder if Gray was actually needed. All that being said, at 26 he is approaching the peak of his career and if he is as prolific as he was in the Championship, then he could still prove value for money.
4th place is the first not to be occupied by a Premier League signing. Ousmane Dembélé was made the world’s second most expensive transfer when he moved from Dortmund to Barcelona this Summer. The transfer currently stands at £96.7 million, but this figure could rise as far as £130 million. Again, it must be noted, I know Dembélé is an excellent footballer and has the potential to be a future Ballon d’Or winner. However, Dembélé has only one full season at a top European club and in that season, he only scored six goals, this is not someone who can simply replace Neymar. It will take time for him to grow and adapt, I personally believe when paying such an astronomical fee, you should be receiving the finished article.
Vinícius Júnior is our 2nd place pick. It is never the player’s fault for his own transfer fee, the 16-year-old Brazilian has had the spotlight shone on him from out of nowhere and his every step will now be examined. Real Madrid paid Flamengo £39.6 million to part with their young prodigy. He is not allowed to move internationally until he turns 18 for legal reasons. At this point, he will be loaned back to Flamengo for the following season. What player Madrid will be getting by the end of the 2019 season is unknown. He has made a career total 21 competitive appearances for Flamengo, scoring three goals in the process. This may not sound brilliant but in March 2017, he scored seven goals to help Brazil win the Under-17 South American Championship and was named the tournament’s Best Player. Is this enough to demand the size of the fee paid though?
2nd place is actually the smallest fee on this list. Sam Clucas swapped the Championship for the Premier League as he moved from Hull to Swansea for £13 million. To his credit, he is a player who has had to battle at the bottom of the Premier League before, this experience may help but it was a battle he eventually lost last season. The interesting part about this transfer is that he wasn’t one of Hull’s stand out performers either. When you think of their best performers, you tend to think of: Snodgrass, Livermore, Maguire and Robertson and half of these left for less than £13 million. If that is the cost of a good Championship player, then this truly shows how crazy the market is, not the £198 million paid for Neymar.
1st place is a transfer that has baffled people in all corners of the globe. It is the second-time Barcelona have made this list, maybe they panicked with all that Neymar money. Paulinho sealed his dream move this summer, but it was not a dream shared with Barcelona fans. All summer Barcelona had been coveting a Brazilian with an abundance of flair and they ended up with a Brazilian who struggles to grow chin hair. Paulinho has moved on since his ill-fated spell at Spurs and performed well in China but £36.4 million is a lot of money for someone who has never performed well in Europe. Barcelona have spent nearly all of the Neymar money on Paulinho, Dembélé and Deulofeu. This summer they have been the perfect example of how not to spend money.
The final part of this series will contain the best free transfers this summer. Let us know in the comments below if you disagree with any of the choices above, or think we have missed anyone off the list all together!
All prices listed have been taken from the Guardian’s list of transfers.
Featured image from Reto Stauffer on wikimedia commons