With the conclusion of the 2014/15 season, we run through the biggest transfer flops of the past window. Who made the number 1 spot?
10. Filipe Luis
There is a bit of sympathy for this man as he was rather unfortunate to be kept out of the side by an in form Azpilicueta. Regardless, a £15.8 million signing who was anonymous at best in all his 15 Premier League appearances is surely not what Jose Mourinho had in mind when signing him from Atletico Madrid. It will be interesting to see if Chelsea decides to move him on this summer window.
9. Ben Davies
Didn’t have the worst season on the list and like Filipe Luiz, no one would have predicted Danny Rose to have a breakout season. Davies’ performances were ok when on the pitch, but ok wasn’t enough to displace Rose. In hindsight, Tottenham must regret the £10 million outlay. However he is still young – next season may be a make or break year for the 22 year old.
8. Adam Lallana
Liverpool raised a few eyebrows when the opted to sign Lallana from Southampton in a £25 million deal. 6 goals in 41 matches across all competitions was a poor return for the faith that Brendan Rogers had shown in him. Now 27, he really only has one more season to turn his fortunes around – which can potentially be made simpler should Liverpool manage to sell Raheem Sterling this summer.
7. Alessio Cerci
The 2013/14 season was an incredible year for Cerci, leading Torino to one of the best campaigns in recent years. His strong performances saw him move to La Liga Champions, Atletico Madrid for a reported €20 million transfer. The pacey winger never fired in Spain, managing only 6 appearances before being sent on loan to AC Milan in exchange for Fernando Torres.
6. Luke Shaw
I must admit; when I heard that Luke Shaw signed for Manchester United for £30 million I thought it was a joke, or at the very least I had the wrong currency in mind - perhaps €30 million, not Pounds. Chelsea were said to be interested in the 18 year old, but they backed away from a deal fearing the teenager's excessive pay demands would cause friction in their dressing room. Only managing 20 appearances across all competitions, Shaw hasn’t replicated the form he had shown for Southampton and United fans must surely hope that they haven’t invested heavily in a one-season wonder. Next season may prove very defining for his career in Manchester.
5. Eliaquim Mangala
Mangala signed for Manchester City on a five-year contract for a reported £31.8 million transfer fee. His debut in a 1-1 draw against Chelsea drew praise as his performance was described by BBC Sport as “colossal”. But performances after that were unsure at best with costly errors including penalties and dismissals. Despite media criticism, manager Manuel Pellegrini said "we continue to trust him because he is a very good player who had very bad luck". Despite this statement of support, he was only used in 25 league matches and 3 in Europe – stark in contrast to John Terry who played every minute of Chelsea’s title winning campaign.
4. David Luiz
Despite PSG claiming a domestic treble, directors must surely regret shelling out £50 million for David Luiz, making him history’s most expensive defender. They must feel had they approached him after the World Cup they probably would have picked him up for about a third of that sum. This season he was up to his old tricks and it was characterized by his performance against Barcelona where Luis Suarez nutmegged him twice for 2 goals – something more likely to happen in a kick about at the park rather than the world stage. Roy Keane even suggested that he was really out of his depth, “he doesn't smell danger and the stuff there is literally schoolboy stuff. You've got to give the boy sympathy, a little bit. Because he doesn't look like he knows what he's doing."
He did pop up for an important goal or two this season, but at the end of the day is not a reliable figure and reliability is essentially what one is judged on as a centreback.
3. Dejan Lovren
Liverpool haven’t had much luck with recent transfers. Arriving at Merseyside for a reported £20 million, he has been a weak link in an already unconvincing backline – despite statistics suggesting he was the best centreback this Premier League season. His lack of pace was always going to be an issue, but despite his large physical frame, he is not strong enough and his positioning this season has cringe worthy. His horrid season was capped off with his stunning penalty miss against Besiktas in the Europa League.
2. Radamel Falcao
The modern day Torres – it’s hard to believe that this was once one of the most feared strikers on the planet. Signed on loan for an initial £6 million with the option to purchase for an additional £43.5 million, Falcao was expected to add firepower to an already impressive United forward line – the result was anything but. Some comical misses and general poor performances lead to a man earning a wage of £265,000/week feature for the club’s under-21 side – to his credit, he did so humbly. A return of 4 goals in 26 matches was not enough to convince the Red Devils as they cut their losses not exercises their option to buy outright. The one-year deal saw Manchester United outlay a total £20 million in fees and wages - £5 million per goal.
1. Mario Balotelli
Undoubtedly the worst transfer this past season. Despite a horrid World Cup, Adriano Galliani still managed to convince Liverpool to spend £16 million on Balotelli – what Christian Vieri described as “the greatest masterstroke in the history of Milan”. Falcao and his ridiculous wages were a close contender for our number 1 spot - but he isn’t tied down to a 5-year contract at the club.
Scoring just one premier league goal, causing disharmony in the dressing rooms, arguing over penalties and a general refusal to do anything team orientated – his only saving grace was he managed not to see red this season. And to think Liverpool felt they landed themselves a bargain. It is unimaginable for Liverpool to find a club stupid enough to take him off their hands, saving them from his +£4 million annual wage.
It is said that the devil’s greatest trick was convincing the world he didn’t exist, when in fact it was actually convincing the world that Balotelli could play football.
Honorable mention to Thomas Vermaelen; injury has limited him to only one appearance following his £15 million move from Arsenal to Barcelona. In official statistics he goes down in the history books as a treble winner following Barcelona’s Champions League triumph.