10 expensive outcasts who are STILL at these Premier League clubs
Most Premier League clubs have more money than they know what to do with. They barely feel the loss when some is misspent on a player who fails to make a contribution, but it’s galling all the same. Given the financial disparity between the English top flight and leagues in other countries, many end up on contracts that nobody else can compete with.
Unless another Premier League club wants them, these players can be incredibly difficult to shift. With the end of the transfer window approaching, these 10 pricey outcasts are still to be moved on.
Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City)
Most of the world’s most expensive defenders ply their trade in the Premier League, predominately at the Etihad – but this isn’t the first one that springs to mind. While notionally still a Manchester City player, Eliaquim Mangala doesn’t seem to have a future at the club. The £42m signing from Porto arrived in England four years ago but has proved error-prone and unreliable.
He spent a season on loan at Valencia in 2016/17 and then six months with Everton, during which he made just two appearances before suffering a knee injury that saw him sidelined for the rest of his time at Goodison. In Nicolas Otamendi, Vincent Kompany, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones there are already enough centre-back options for Pep Guardiola to work with. Mangala, now 27 years old, will need to leave if he wants to play.
Islam Slimani (Leicester)
The summer after winning the title, Leicester spent heavily to consolidate their position in the top half of the table. Six senior players signed in 2016, with Islam Slimani the most expensive of the lot. The Algerian striker joined from Sporting Lisbon for £28m on transfer deadline day, becoming the club’s record signing.
Powerful and potent in the air, Slimani was the top scorer in Portugal the season before but has struggled terribly in England. A brace on his debut was as good as it got for a player who’s looked out of his depth since.
A loan move to Newcastle in January failed to reignite Slimani’s career. He arrived with a thigh injury which delayed his debut, failed to score in four games but did pick up a three-match ban for violent conduct. Leicester are presumably delighted to have him back.
Lazar Markovic (Liverpool)
In the summer of 2014, Liverpool spent their £65m Luis Suarez windfall eagerly but imprudently. Trying to spread the money across several signings, eight new faces were welcomed to Anfield with varying degrees of success. Four years and 34 competitive appearances on, Lazar Markovic – perhaps the worst buy of the lot – is still lingering in the background.
Bought from Benfica for £20m, the Serbian midfielder looked lightweight and ineffective under Brendan Rodgers. Markovic was on loan at Fenerbahce when Jurgen Klopp took over in October 2015, and has been sent on three more loan spells since then to mixed reviews.
The latest, at Anderlecht, was foreshortened by a lack of match fitness, meaning the 24-year-old had to spend six weeks getting up to speed before his debut. He’s presently back at Liverpool but surely not for much longer.
Ahmed Musa (Leicester)
As with Slimani, the £16.6m Nigerian was part of a batch of signings intended to strengthen the then reigning champions. Musa’s blistering pace stood out in a couple of exciting performances in pre-season friendlies but he failed to convert that early promise into consistent showings. There were just two goals in 21 league games in his first year.
Musa was ostracised by Craig Shakespeare and his replacement as manager Claude Puel, before being loaned back to the club the Foxes bought him from, CSKA Moscow, in January. Leicester will hope (and pray) that two well-taken goals against Iceland in the World Cup will help them to recoup as much of their money was possible.
Vincent Janssen (Tottenham)
Ever since Mateja Kezman and Afonso Alves flopped so badly in the Premier League, signing a prolific Eredivisie striker has always come with a few caveats and in-built reservations. Unfortunately, they can’t all be Luis Suarez or Ruud van Nistelrooy. Guess which category Vincent Janssen falls into.
Janssen had only spent one season in the Dutch top flight, but what a season it was. After signing for AZ Alkmaar he scored 27 goals, the most in the league, and won the Johan Cruyff Trophy for the best young player.
Those achievements led to international recognition and a £17m move to Tottenham in 2016. Intended to ease his way into English football as back-up to Harry Kane, an ankle injury for Spurs’ star man granted the Dutchman a more prominent role than expected. Janssen worked hard but it wasn’t enough, as he played 25 league games but scored just twice (one a penalty, the other a tap-in). He spent last year on loan at Fenerbahce and Tottenham are keen for him to leave if they receive the right offer. Possibly any offer.