Gonzalo Higuain

Welcome guys to the inaugural “poo poo” list. If you have a toddler at home you certainly are familiar with the term and we thought it perfect given the stench emanating from a terrible transfer decision.

Soccer Surgery painstakingly scoured the transfer logs to identify the transfers that absolutely stink the most in our view. Of course, with one week left in the window there is time for our selections to be outdone but have no fear. We will be back next week with a special panic buy edition once the window closes on August 31st.

It makes sense to acknowledge here the great obscurity over the transfer fee due to each club’s interest in saving face but we trust  as an accurate enough source over the years.

So let’s get straight to the list counting down to the worst of the bunch:

5) Henrik Mkhitryan to Manchester United – £35M

Good grief, that is an eye watering sum for a player who would have been available on a bosman (free) transfer in a year. This is the most fiscally irresponsible deal in our list by a mile (perhaps ever) and speaks to the desperation of the United hierarchy. The only reason we don’t place it higher in our list is that the player is an absolute beast and the bottomless money pit at United renders the sum possibly irrelevant. We echoed these thoughts in our assessment of the Pogba deal.

4) Yannick Bolassie to Everton – £25M

The storm of arms and legs that is the beast Bolassie is a handful for any opposition full back. However, a club record fee for a player who has never scored more than 5 goals or registered in excess of 8 assists in 4 seasons is a head scratcher. Perhaps their thought was that at age 27 he’s entering his prime and due to reach another level. However, one should also look at the glass half empty and acknowledge the resale value is also therefore limited once his time at Goodison Park comes to an end.

3) Jordan Ibe to Bournemouth – £15M

Another club record fee despite the relatively modest sum. Another crazy financial decision. Bearing in mind the club’s limited revenue last season of just in excess of £70M, primarily from its share of television rights revenue, they displayed shockingly blind faith in Ibe’s ability. We use the word “faith” for a reason. Ibe has barely played any football with only 50 games at senior level displaying the inconsistency one would expect of such a young player. So why have they placed their  survival on his young shoulders?

2) Gonzalo Higuaín to Juventus – £76M

Forget his summer weight gain, breaking the Serie A goal scoring record last season where players such as Batistuta, Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo failed has to be applauded. However, the issues here are (1) his age (28) which eliminates any resale prospects and (2) his reputation as a flat track bully; a term which the cricket lovers would understand. For the non-cricket lovers, effectively Higuaín feasts on feeble opposition but turns squeamish when faced with the big occasion (Major rivals, Champions League, Tournaments). This is not a new development even back to his days at Real Madrid. Should the record fee for a striker, eclipsing the Suarez £65M deal, be paid for a striker who can’t deliver when needed?

Even Higuaín’s greatest defenders don’t deny this label with gusto anymore but the video never lies:


but our winner( or perhaps loser) is……………………….

1) Granit Xhaka to Arsenal – £30M

Not the biggest outlay on our list but a criminal transfer for so many reasons it shoots to the top of our list:

  • Everyone knows Arsenal need a striker to either replace or push Giroud – so if any deal would have been wrapped up in June it would have been that!
  • There are several players of adequate quality who play Xhaka’s deep lying playmaker position  – Ramsey, Cazorla, Elneney.
  • The kitty is too small every window to devote such a large sum to what most would perceive to be an unnecessary acquisition.
  • The fee is at least £5M too high – which is rich irony given Wegner’s stubbornness to “pay over the odds”
  • In isolation, Xhaka is not the best fit for the Premier League given his lack of pace.

The criticism of Wenger is over the top in our estimation which we will touch on in an upcoming article. Stay tuned! That said, he gives ammunition to the pitch fork army with transfers like these. Maybe he has lost it.









  • Anish August 24, 2016 at 10:23 am

    You should have put up the picture of Higuain’s stomach…lolololol…how is he not number 1?

    • Soccer Surgery August 24, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      A food belly can go away and we don’t doubt his talent. Contrary to your view many actually would even question his place on the list. There are sufficient merits to the deal just washed away by the deal’s economics and the strategic aims of Juventus.

  • Alex August 24, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Ayew has to be there…now injured for 4 months

    • Soccer Surgery August 29, 2016 at 10:44 am

      Really touch break for Bilic..Ayew is a curious transfer given his best position mirrors the club’s best player – Payet. One of the reasons we don’t like the Xhaka deal as huge admirers of Cazorla.

  • Artish August 24, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    I don’t think Ayew was a bad buy…Xhaka also may turn out to be a gem in Wenger’s system but it really is criminal not to buy a striker

  • Craig August 24, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Poo poo list :)…not a bad list..the market has gone inwane I feel for the clubs

  • Rob August 28, 2016 at 4:01 am

    Higuain and Xhaka are not to be underestimated. Given the talent Higuain has and the end product he gave to Napoli. And the writer needs to really see Xhaka to know why he costs so much (not denying English football transfer inflation also is a culprit)

    • Soccer Surgery August 29, 2016 at 10:51 am

      Thanks Rob for the input. We value both as good players and extensively reviewed Xhaka’s more recent work at Gladbach and for Switzerland. Undoubted talent with great passing range. The issue is fit(to pace of premier league and current squad needs) and fee(as you acknowledge) . I’d invite you to look at Watford’s goal on the weekend which may offer insight to our concerns on Wenger’s use of Xhaka as a defensive mid.

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