Rubbish... the lot of 'em
There’s nothing like the summer transfer window to ramp up optimism among football supporters. Fans almost invariably greet new signings with excitement, but it often doesn’t take long for that pre-season enthusiasm to be dampened.
In this slideshow we pick out 15 newcomers to the Premier League who are yet to live up to expectations…
Che Adams (Southampton)
Southampton have been surprisingly underwhelming in the first third of 2019/20 and currently occupy a position below the dreaded dotted line.
They memorably shipped nine goals to Leicester in a historic encounter at St Mary’s, but scoring goals has been a problem too: Saints have found the net just 13 times, the joint-fourth worst record in the league. Hasenhuttl certainly would have hoped for more from Adams, who’s yet to score in seven top-flight appearances since his £15m transfer from Birmingham.
Craig Dawson (Watford)
After a season in the Championship with West Brom, Dawson returned to the Premier League as a Watford player at the start of 2019/20. Things haven’t gone to plan since then: the Hornets are rock-bottom of the table after 13 matches, having won just a solitary game.
Dawson, of course, isn’t solely responsible for the Hornets’ dismal start, but nor has the centre-back been blameless in his new side’s shipping of 26 goals, among the three worst records in the division.
Danny Drinkwater (Burnley)
Drinkwater is in danger of letting his career drift away. An integral part of Leicester’s title-winning team in 2015/16, the midfielder was a rare bright spot the following year too, before departing for Chelsea for £35m.
Drinkwater appeared sporadically under Antonio Conte but was then frozen out by Maurizio Sarri – and a loan switch to Burnley hasn’t changed his predicament. The former England international has yet to feature in the Premier League and won’t find it easy to break into a starting XI that Sean Dyche rarely shuffles.
David Luiz (Arsenal)
A signing that seemed to make sense at the time, Luiz has actually exacerbated Arsenal’s defensive woes. Individual errors against Liverpool and Watford proved pivotal, and he was also caught absurdly trying to play offside for Southampton’s opening goal last weekend.
Luiz has plenty going for him and has shown in the past that he’s capable of dominating opposition strikers. But to the chagrin of the countless Arsenal fans who celebrated his arrival, the Brazilian’s chronic ill-discipline has reared its ugly head in recent months.
Albian Ajeti (West Ham)
West Ham conducted an overhaul of their centre-forward options in the summer, parting with Andy Carroll, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez while bringing in Ajeti and Sebastien Haller.
The latter was always likely to be the Hammers’ first-choice focal point, but Ajeti has done little to challenge Haller for a starting spot. Granted, the Swiss striker has only been afforded a handful of minutes by Manuel Pellegrini, but it’s notable that the Chilean has still not thought to throw him into the starting XI during West Ham’s dreadful recent run of form.
Emil Krafth (Newcastle)
Krafth was a mainstay of the Amiens team that successfully avoided relegation in Ligue 1 in 2018/19, and he’ll hope for a similar outcome at St James’ Park this time around. He already has no chance of matching last term’s tally of 35 league appearances, however, having already been omitted from more than half of Newcastle’s 13 encounters up to now.
DeAndre Yedlin has his deficiencies, but he seems to have already convinced Steve Bruce that he’s a better option at right-back than Krafth, who’s looked defensively shoddy in his five league starts.
Ismaila Sarr (Watford)
Still just 21 years old, there’s plenty of time for Sarr to come good at Vicarage Road. Last-placed Watford don’t have the luxury of thinking of the long-term right now, though, and the 21-year-old has shown little this season to suggest he can help the Hornets out of their rut.
The Senegalese winger has had little impact in any of his five Premier League appearances and may find game time increasingly hard to come by as Watford battle against the drop.
Jesus Vallejo (Wolves)
Wolves’ rise up the Premier League table went a little under the radar until last weekend, which they ended in fifth spot thanks to a 2-1 victory over Bournemouth. It did take Nuno’s men a while to get going this term, though, and they found themselves in the bottom three little more than two months ago.
Their worst performance of the campaign was a 5-2 home loss to Chelsea, in which Vallejo made his only start of the season. The centre-back had a torrid time and hasn’t been seen a Premier League XI since.
It would be harsh to label Joelinton a complete flop this early in his Newcastle career, but he hasn’t exactly hit the ground running on Tyneside either.
Signed for a club-record £40m from Hoffenheim, the burly Brazilian has found the net just once in the Premier League this season. His touch and hold-up play aren’t the most polished, and some Magpies fans have called for Joelinton to be replaced as the team’s line-leader.
Moise Kean (Everton)
Kean was one of Serie A’s brightest youngsters last season, and his signing by Everton was very much with the long-term in mind. His inclusion here, then, is not a judgment on his overall ability but merely on his contributions on Merseywide up to now.
Kean was left out of the starting XI in the early weeks of the season, but most expected him to grab hold of the No.9 shirt sooner rather than later. That hasn’t happened, though, and the Italian is still waiting for his first goal for the Toffees.
Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal)
Arsenal fans were generally delighted with their transfer business in the summer, with Pepe the headline addition at a club-record fee of £72m. The former Lille winger has had a few positive moments – he was dangerous for much of the defeat by Liverpool, for instance – but hasn’t yet done enough to justify that outlay.
Indeed, Pepe has scored just once in the Premier League this term, and Unai Emery has found it difficult to accommodate him in the same team as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil, who’s returned to the fold of late.
Pablo Fornals (West Ham)
West Ham were hailed for their purchase of Fornals in the summer, and it wasn’t hard to see why. The midfielder had improved year on year in La Liga with Malaga and Villarreal, and at 23 had plenty of room for further improvement.
That remains the case a few months later, but Fornals hasn’t lived up to expectations so far. No goals and no assists tells its own story, and the Spaniard has duly started just one Premier League game since mid-October.
Ravel Morrison (Sheffield United)
Bringing Morrison to Bramall Lane always represented a calculated gamble from Chris Wilder, and the move certainly hasn’t backfired given Sheffield United’s magnificent start to the campaign.
Yet nor can this transfer be labelled a success. Morrison’s talent has never been in question, but the fact he’s played just 12 minutes in the Premier League so far this season suggests his application remains substandard.
Roberto Jimenez (West Ham)
Roberto has endured a calamitous start to his West Ham career, so much so that it’s difficult to see the Spanish goalkeeper finding a way back from here.
Drafted into the starting line-up after Lukasz Fabianski tore a hip muscle in late September, the former Olympiacos custodian has made a string of costly errors as West Ham have tumbled towards the relegation zone. The sooner Fabianski’s back, the better.
Victor Camarasa (Crystal Palace)
This looked like a smart signing back in the summer: Camarasa was one of Cardiff’s standout performers in the Premier League last term, and Palace had only committed to an initial season-long loan from Real Betis.
In fact, the Spaniard has been on the pitch for just five minutes in the league so far this term. His absence is curious given Palace’s lack of creativity, but reports suggest Camarasa has been unimpressive in training, while he was also thoroughly disappointing in a League Cup defeat by August in September.
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