When the summer transfer window slammed shut on September 1st, the Premier League had shelled out a staggering £1.47bn. While the spending by England’s elite clubs dominated the press, the rest of the Premier League was just as active. All but four clubs outside the consensus top six brought in minimum five new players in their efforts to remain in England’s top flight.
As in any transaction, there is a certain amount of risk with each purchase. Many players join their new clubs and create an instant impact. However, there are always players who do not live up to the expectations of their price tag. Here are the worst five Premier League summer signings.
Worst Five Premier League Summer Signings
As a teenager, Jairo Riedewald was starting to make a name for himself with Dutch giants Ajax. In 93 appearances over a three-year span, he developed a reputation as a ball-playing centre-half – composed beyond his years.
Riedewald’s appearances for Ajax came predominantly under the management of Frank de Boer. This inevitably lead to Crystal Palace shelling out £8,100,000 for his services during the summer transfer period. With de Boer attempting to implement his possession-based style at Selhurst Park, a young centre-half who already knows the system seemed the ideal signing.
However, with Crystal Palace setting off to a historically poor start, life in London has not gone according to plan for Riedewald. After the 3-0 defeat to Huddersfield on the opening weekend, he was dropped from the matchday squad. Since then, he has only appeared three times in the Premier League as a substitute. Still just 21-years old, he has time to become the player Palace hoped he was. However with just 124 minutes of Premier League action to his name, it may be a long road ahead.
Davy Klaassen was a central figure in Ajax’s run to second place finishes in the Eredivisie and the Europa League. Aged just 24, he exuded leadership as the captain of an extremely inexperienced team. An impressive 20 goals and 12 assists in the 2016/17 season showed that the Dutchman was ready to take the next step in his career.
On July 15th, Everton spent £24,300,000 of their Romelu Lukaku money to sign Klaassen. Yet he has failed to recreate the form that earned such a lofty fee. With no goals or assists in any competitive match for the Blues this season, Klaassen has found opportunities very limited. He hasn’t appeared in the Premier League since September 23rd against Bournemouth when he was substituted after just 55 minutes. He was an unused substitute in Ronald Koeman’s last three Premier League matches and hasn’t made either matchday squad under David Unsworth.
Unfortunately for Klaassen, his chances to break into the starting 11 are going to become more limited. The majority of his performances came by way of the Europa League or Carabao Cup. With Everton now eliminated from both competitions, it will become even more difficult to impress.
The Premier League hasn’t seen many better goal-scorers than Jermain Defoe. The 35-year-old sits seventh in the all-time list with 159 goals. With over two years left on his deal with Bournemouth, he could well end up in the top five.
Hypotheticals are well and good, but Defoe’s performances on the pitch this season haven’t indicated that he will climb the table any further. He has managed to find the back of the net just once this season, despite appearing in all but one Premier League match. The Cherries’ continued faith may be due to Defoe’s massive £130,000 per week wage bill, which more than double’s their next highest earner.
Defoe is notorious for not providing much aside from goals on the field. Therefore, when Bournemouth signed the Englishman it was for one reason: to make the difference in tight games. The Cherries have lost five Premier League matches by just one goal along with a 0-0 draw against Leicester. Bournemouth gaining just five of those possible eight points would see them sitting mid-table, rather than one point outside the relegation zone.
West Ham has clearly struggled for creative flair since the departure of Dimitri Payet. When they splashed out a club record £25,000,000 for Marko Arnautovic it was a positive move that addressed a glaring need in the team. Despite his obvious personality issues, the Austrian does possess plenty of game-changing ability. But, so far, he is yet to show it for the Hammers.
Arnautovic was brought into to catalyse attacks in a lacklustre West Ham team. Yet he has done nothing of the sort having provided just two assists, both in the Carabao Cup, since his switch to the London Stadium. Even more startling, the 28-year-old is completing less than 70% of his passes and providing just 0.7 key passes and shots per game – resulting in an abysmal performance score of 6.02.
This may not improve for Arnautovic anytime soon. With David Moyes set to take over at West Ham he will look to bring consistency to the team. There will likely be no place for a livewire who is as likely to get sent off as he is to win a game.
In perhaps the longest transfer saga of the summer, Gylfi Sigurdsson finally put pen to paper with Everton for a club record £44,460,000. With a third of the Premier League season finished, this move still puzzles pundits and supporters alike.
The Iceland native forced his way out of Wales after an impressive second stint with Swansea City. Ten goals and 13 assists in 2016/17 is an impressive output, yet he is failing to recreate the same form for Everton. Through ten Premier League matches with the Blues, Sigurdsson has played over 80 minutes all but twice. In this time the 28-year-old has neither scored nor assisted.
Despite having no proven striker, Everton spent over half the money from the Lukaku sale on a player who didn’t impress when he joined Tottenham in 2013. Additionally, the Blues had already signed two players in the same position; Davy Klaassen and Wayne Rooney. Which makes his addition seemingly redundant.
Sigurdsson’s addition capped a frivolous summer of spending for Everton. Though the Blues spent a lot, they did not spend smart and currently sit 15th in the Premier League. If Sigurdsson cannot recapture his past form, he will be the poster boy for Everton’s worst season since 2003/04.