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The 9 worst Premier League signings of 2016/17 so far

Simone Zaza, West Ham

Arguably only Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton can be said to have acted expertly in the summer window, with nearly all the remaining 16 teams all making costly mistakes. For those supporters hoping to see their side splash the cash this month, let this lot serve as a warning that spending big is no guarantee of success...

9. Sofiane Boufal (Lille to Southampton, £16m)

Southampton’s 23-year-old attacking midfielder has suffered two knee injuries in 2016/17, helping to explain his slow start under Claude Puel. The Moroccan has looked exciting in flashes – his match-winning performance against Middlesbrough in December springs to mind – but overall he's yet to hit his stride.

In some cases quite the opposite, in fact – his lacklustre display in Saints' 4-1 home defeat to Tottenham was described by Soccer Saturday's usually-neutral Jeff Stelling as "the most disgraceful performance by a professional footballer I think I've ever seen in my life". 

Having had an operation on his knacked knee in May, Boufal spent four months on the treatment table and, worryingly, suffered an inflammation of the same area last week. His transfer from Lille will prove to be disastrous if injuries and an iffy attitude continue to trouble Saints' club-record signing.

8. Jordon Ibe (Liverpool to Bournemouth, £15m)

Eddie Howe has had to deal with a player who spends too much time with his head down, running blindly into cul-de-sacs

Bournemouth expected big things when they broke their transfer record to bring Ibe to the south coast for £15 million in July. At 20, the winger had already racked almost 60 first-team appearances for Liverpool, and the chance to play week in, week out would surely aid his development.

Within Anfield, though, there were concerns that his occasional flashes of technical quality weren't supported by an astute football brain. As such, Eddie Howe has had to deal with a player who spends too much time with his head down, running blindly into cul-de-sacs.

“He hasn’t been a regular in the team so that would be a disappointment for him and us,” Howe told the Bournemouth Echo after his side's FA Cup trouncing at Millwall this month. In 16 matches for the Cherries, Ibe has failed to record a single goal or assist.

7. Andros Townsend (Newcastle to Crystal Palace, £13m)

Townsend’s one-dimensional attacking play and defensive laziness have shown why Spurs fans were happy to see him leave

At the time, £13 million for Townsend looked like a smart piece of business. Alan Pardew’s wing-focused, counter-attacking Crystal Palace needed a speedy winger to ease the pressure on Wilfried Zaha, and the ex-Tottenham man's directness seemed to fit the bill.

However, after just one goal and one assist in 20 league games, Townsend’s one-dimensional attacking play and defensive laziness have shown why Spurs fans were happy to see him leave. According to reports, Sam Allardyce isn't a fan and could sanction his departure this month – back to Newcastle. 

6. Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow to Leicester, £16.6m)

Here was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend big on exciting players, but instead the Foxes splurged £69 million on six additions who have made minimal impact

Leicester's title defence has been an unmitigated disaster, and while a regression to the mean was to be expected, Claudio Ranieri’s summer signings were poor.

Here was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build on their achievement and establish themselves as a bigger force for the years to come, but instead the Foxes splurged £69 million on six additions who have made minimal impact. The worst offender is Musa, who's started just six league games since joining from CSKA Moscow. Back-to-back strikes against Crystal Palace and Tottenham in October sparked hopes of a goal rush, but instead Musa went on a nine-match scoreless run.

His double in the FA Cup defeat of Everton could be a turning point – or another false dawn.

5. Borja Baston (Atletico Madrid to Swansea, £15m) 

The Swansea hierarchy should bear the brunt of the blame for sealing the deal so late in the summer

You could be forgiven for drawing a blank on this name. For those who aren’t sure, Baston is Swansea's record signing and scorer of one league goal in 12 appearances in 2016/17. 

It's perhaps a little unfair to judge Baston so soon. The 24-year-old scored 18 La Liga goals for Eibar last season and looked like a sensible signing back in August, while an injury soon after arriving in Wales cannot have helped. The Swansea hierarchy should bear the brunt of the blame for sealing the deal so late in the summer, too.

4. Vincent Janssen (AZ Alkmaar to Tottenham, £17m)

The Tottenham hierarchy are still hoping the 22-year-old, who scored 27 times in the Eredivisie last season, will come good

Harry Kane’s back-up has been ineffective since joining from AZ Alkmar. The Dutch forward has netted a measly three goals in 23 games for the club, but Mauricio Pochettino has promised to show him more “love” and the Tottenham hierarchy are still hoping that the 22-year-old, who scored 27 times in the Eredivisie last season, will come good.

Along with Sissoko and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, Spurs wasted around £58 million in the summer.

3. Claudio Bravo (Barcelona to Man City, £17m)

Signed for being adept with the ball at his feet, it turns out Bravo isn’t much good with his hands

You have to feel for Bravo. Joe Hart was a very popular figure in Manchester and the goalkeeper chosen by Pep Guardiola to replace him was always going to be under significant pressure. But the Chilean hasn't helped himself, and as the weeks pass Bravo increasingly symbolises everything that's gone wrong for Guardiola this campaign.

Signed for being adept with the ball at his feet, it turns out Bravo isn’t much good with his hands – and rarely has any interest in using them. Frustration with his poor performances peaked with the 4-0 loss at Goodison Park last weekend, when Bravo failed to save a single shot on target, making it 14 conceded from the last 22 shots on goal.

On Sky Sports, Jamie Carragher summed up the nation’s thoughts as he struggled to find the words to describe Bravo’s performance: "He's got to save this... Jesus Christ."

2. Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle to Tottenham, £30m)

He's struggled to fit in with Spurs' high-tempo, short-passing philosophy when featuring from the bench

Many were surprised when Mauricio Pochettino paid so much money to bring a relegated hit-and-miss player to Tottenham, and nothing that’s happened since will have changed their minds. The Frenchman has only managed six starts and struggled to fit in with Spurs' high-tempo, short-passing philosophy when featuring from the bench.

Given how well Pochettino's charges have been playing this season, his hefty price tag is even more frustrating. Just imagine what they could have done with that money…

1. Simone Zaza (Juventus to West Ham, £4.1m loan)

West Ham are slowly rediscovering some of their verve, but a litany of poor signings last summer almost cost Slaven Bilic his job. Any one of his eight new additions could have made this list, but Zaza is most deserving of inclusion thanks to a bizarre clause in his contract: the Hammers would have been forced to buy the 25-year-old for £20 million had he played in 14 matches. Unsurprisingly, Bilic promptly stopped picking the Italian once he neared this landmark.

Zaza has since left the club to join Valencia until the end of the season, and to his credit admitted that “I think the main blame lies with me because I was not right mentally... I was very negative and in all the things that happened I never saw the positive side.”

Neither did the West Ham fans.

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