Can you smell the stench? It’s time again the Surgeons reveal this year’s edition of the “poo poo” list. You can find last year’s list here and our top player on that list, Granit Xhaka, has been so sweetly awful forgive us a small “we told you so”.
The markets across Europe slammed shut on September 1 and Soccer Surgery scoured the transfer logs to identify the transfers that stunk to high heaven.
The first transfer on everyone’s lips is Barcelona’s purchase of Ousmane Dembele but we again surprise as he does not make our list!
Why?… Firstly, as we continuously maintain on these pages, the value of transfers should be measured projecting forward primarily not fixated in past production. This boy will rock the world for years to come as the next destroyer of full backs’ souls after Neymar.
The price? Exorbitant of course but with Neymar’s sale concluded selling clubs walked into negotiations understanding Barca had no choice really. Our list of the absolute worse transfers therefore focuses instead on willful negligence – like “that guy on the internet” who climbs into a lion cage at the zoo.
Let’s get straight to the list counting down to the worst of the bunch (age in brackets):
5) Romelu Lukaku (24) to Manchester United – £76.2M
If respectable journos are to believed, Chelsea was desperately determined to land the beastly Belgian. So we had two of England’s biggest clubs dogfighting over a dug up bone when the steak and potatoes that embodies Alvaro Morata stood available at £20M less. Think about that for a minute. We declare the winner in the Lukaku dogfight by default the biggest loser.
Morata already looks a class and a half above; especially contributing to build up play. Lukaku is without doubt a good player who utilizes his physicality well but does he have the pitch awareness and touch to pull off the below inch perfect headed pass?
4) Alex Oxlaide Chamberlain( 24) to Liverpool – £34.2M
Bizarre business. When will he possibly start with Coutinho, Can assured starters, Keita to arrive next year and Llalana and Wijnaldum already favoured by the manager. Specifically Wijnaldum’s progression has been noticeable despite scattered but costly lapses of concentration.
In the mauling of Arsenal, his bullying of Ramsey and Xhaka was brutal to watch but take a view below if that sort of thing excites you . The surgeons don’t judge.
3) Gylfi Sigurdsson (27) to Everton – £44.5M
Solid performer in recent years but here again Everton have got carried away with production instead of projection. At Gylfi’s age his peek has probably arrived so a sell on loss looks inevitable which is noteworthy given Everton‘s revenue stream.
Secondly, with the club’s stated goals to break into the top 4 one questions whether he reaches the level of a “top 4 player”. It is easy to rack up numbers at smaller clubs having your foot on all corners, penalties etc amidst low expectations.
Those doubts will be confirmed shortly but regardless the fee is eye watering and that throws it onto our list alone.
2) Nmenja Matic (29) to Manchester United – £40.2M
The Serbians’ first game pumped in front his home crowd was excellent and then immediately a number on inconvenient truths were forgotten.
First, the price is crazy and notably the largest for a defensive midfielder moving clubs this summer. You must keep that in frame! Secondly, somehow Herrera, arguably United’s best player last season has now been displaced and likely demotivated. Lastly, note Matic‘s age and position in the war room of the team. Does anyone not have concern over his form to come?
Well some certainly did. Chelsea‘s fans in abundance expressed major concerns over the latter part of last season the crescendo rising to a head in the FA Cup Final loss. Conte also notably subbed him for Fabregas early several times suggesting a loss of confidence and a potential sale. Opta match statistics validate the fans and Conte‘s concerns:
Matic‘s last 6 Premier league starts stretching from April 8th vs Bournemouth to May 12th away game at West Brom:
- Tied for 5th most UNsuccessful passes(14) in his own half – sloppy with possession in dangerous areas
- David Sillva won one more tackle than Matic( 7) in the timeframe ; Kante (25) playing right next to him led all players for context – perhaps signs of the Serb’s ceasing engine?
1) Paulinho (29) to Barcelona – £36M
Corrupt business allegedly. You can go here to get the gossip but this transfer makes little sense to match perfectly with everything this current board does. Is he a player for the bench at that price? What about Barca’s pass and move 4-3-3 system for which he is so ill suited having failed at Tottenham under same? Does the club fetch any resale value at the end of the contract?
All rhetorical questions of course. The answers were obvious before he mangled his presentation keep ups.