Football Features

Premier League flops of the season

By Steve Jennings

Published: 19:58, 10 May 2019

It’s been a thrilling Premier League season, but not everybody has enjoyed the ride.

A number of new arrivals who were expected to have good campaigns have well and truly flopped this term at both ends of the table.

Indeed, it’s not easy to live up to a hefty price tag, or to perform to the best of your abilities when your side’s chances of survival or success rest almost solely on your shoulders.

That’s been the case for several new signings in the Premier League this term. Some have come from abroad and failed to adapt to new league, while some have struggled to settle at a new club in the same country.

We’ve picked the 10 biggest flops in the top-flight this season and looked into the reasons behind their failings.

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10. Andre Schurrle

Club: Fulham
Bought from: Borussia Dortmund
Fee: Loan

When Andre Schurrle arrived at Craven Cottage on loan from Dortmund last summer, the general consensus was that Fulham had pulled off a coup. The German World Cup winner’s early form backed up that line of thinking; Schurrle scored four goals in his first nine league appearances.

However, he has found the net just once since the turn of the year. In fairness, it was a goal of the season contender against Burnley, but Schurrle’s displays have otherwise been emblematic of his team’s form for most of the campaign.

The 28-year-old is on a two-year loan that Fulham reportedly intend to cut short midway through. Schurrle has shown little interest in helping the Londoners stay in the Premier League, and it looks like the club doesn’t believe he will be much help in getting them back there.

9. Ben Gibson

Club: Burnley
Bought from: Middlesbrough
Fee: £15m

Burnley equalled their record transfer by bringing Ben Gibson in last summer for £15m, the same amount they spent on Chris Wood a year prior. The fee suggested Gibson would be one of Sean Dyche’s first-choice centre-backs, but that has been far from the case.

The performances of Ben Mee and James Tarkowski have prevented Gibson from getting any opportunities for the Clarets. The 26-year-old has made just one Premier League appearances this term; remarkably he scored in that game against Everton, so his goal ratio isn’t half bad.

Gibson suffered a hernia injury and missed over two months of action early in the campaign, which clearly contributed to his lack of game time. But his minutes haven’t improved since his return and he will surely be aiming for an exit this summer.

8. Joe Hart

Club: Burnley
Bought from: Manchester City
Fee: £3.5m

The fact that Burnley have two players on this list is perhaps indicative of their poor start to the season. The team has turned its fortunes around over the course of the campaign, but Joe Hart is another player who clearly made the wrong move last summer.

Brought in due to injuries to two other English goalkeepers, Tom Heaton and Nick Pope, Hart was essentially given a challenge: perform and you might just become a first-choice Premier League goalkeeper again, and potentially an option for the England squad. But it wasn’t to be.

The former Manchester City man conceded 41 goals in 19 consecutive Premier League appearances, losing his place in the team once Heaton recovered. Burnley won just three of those 19 games with Hart between the sticks. Sadly, he just isn’t the goalkeeper he used to be.

7. Denis Suarez

Club: Arsenal
Bought from: Barcelona
Fee: Loan

Unai Emery was looking to bolster his squad in the January transfer window, so he turned to a player he had worked with before at Sevilla. Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez subsequently arrived on loan, although it is believed Arsenal have the option to make the deal permanent.

When the deal went through in January, most onlookers probably expected Suarez to become a permanent Gunner a few months later. That now seems very unlikely, with the 25-year-old only having made four Premier League appearances, playing for a total of 67 minutes.

Emery has suggested Suarez needs more time to adapt, but will the Arsenal board sanction a transfer for a player who has barely featured? It’s difficult to see it happening. Suarez will likely return to Barcelona this summer with his future uncertain.

6. Adama Diakhaby

Club: Huddersfield
Bought from: Monaco
Fee: £9m

Huddersfield survived in the Premier League by the skin of their teeth last season, so additions to the squad were needed ahead of the current campaign. Terence Kongolo was a must after impressing on loan. He arrived for £18 million, a club record fee.

The club’s second most expensive outlay of the summer was for Adama Diakhaby, who – like Kongolo – joined from Monaco, but far less was known about the £9m winger. Huddersfield were in the difficult position of being unable to attract the same level of player as the clubs around them. Unfortunately, Diakhaby’s displays have emphasised that.

The Frenchman has failed to register a goal or an assist in his 12 Premier League appearances for the Terriers. Manager Jan Siewert will hope Diakhaby is better suited to the Championship because it’s clear he doesn’t possess the sufficient quality to play in the English top-flight. At just 22, there is hope for his future.

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5. Samir Nasri

Club: West Ham
Bought from: Unattached
Fee: Free

At the turn of the year, West Ham were handed the opportunity to sign a midfielder who has played at the very top level in the Premier League. Samir Nasri’s drug ban had just ended, and the Frenchman started training with his former manager from Manchester City, Manuel Pellegrini.

Pellegrini ensured the Hammers would take a punt on Nasri, agreeing on a short-term contract with the 31-year-old until the end of the current season. But it doesn’t look like Nasri will extending that deal this summer.

The ex-Arsenal star has played just five times for West Ham in the Premier League. And while he has provided two assists, he hasn’t done enough to convince anyone at the London Stadium when it comes to his fitness. Indeed, it looks like a calf problem has brought an end to Nasri’s Premier League career. A waste of time for club and player.

4. Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa

Club: Fulham
Bought from: Marseille
Fee: £22.3m

Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa was one of several signings that convinced many onlookers to predict Fulham would easily avoid the drop this season. We all know how that one ended; the Cottagers were relegated with five games remaining.

In fact, Anguissa was arguably the most exciting of all the Fulham acquisitions bar £27m record signing Jean Michael Seri, who is also considered a flop by some. But Anguissa has struggled more of the two, an ankle injury doing him no favours in that regard.

The 23-year-old has no goals, no assists and has created just seven chances for his teammates across the whole Premier League campaign. As a result, there is some confusion among Fulham fans as to what kind of midfielder Anguissa is. Perhaps we’ll find out in the Championship.

3. Mohamed Elyounoussi

Club: Southampton
Bought from: Basel
Fee: £16m

Southampton replaced the outgoing Dusan Tadic with Norway international Mohamed Elyounoussi. It’s safe to say they have enjoyed – or endured – majorly contrasting seasons; Tadic reached the Champions League semi-finals and has scored 34 goals across all competitions, while Elyounoussi has flopped at St Mary’s.

The former Basel winger was in and out of the team under Mark Hughes. He was given a fresh start when Ralph Hasenhuttl was appointed the Saints’ new manager, but Elyounoussi has been completely left out of the squad during the run-in.

A total of 16 league appearances have brought no goals and no assists. Southampton will be hoping for a return on their investment next season, but Elyounoussi’s woeful debut season in England could tempt the south coast club into selling.

2. Alireza Jahanbakhsh

Club: Brighton
Bought from: AZ Alkmaar
Fee: £17m

Not unlike Elyounoussi, Brighton’s Alireza Jahanbakhsh has found it difficult to adapt to the Premier League after dominating a lesser league. The winger scored 21 goals and provided 12 assists in 33 Eredivisie appearances last season, and the Seagulls couldn’t resist making him their new record signing.

But as these things so often go, Jahanbakhsh hasn’t been able to replicate his form from the Dutch top-flight in one of the world’s most competitive leagues. The 25-year-old hasn’t been directly involved in a single goal, something Brighton could have done with changing during a tough run-in.

Chris Hughton’s side managed to stay up in the end, but they will need better performances from the likes of Jahanbakhsh if they are to be more comfortable next term. Brighton must now decide whether to cut their losses or keep faith in the Iranian.

1. Fred

Club: Manchester United
Bought from: Shakhtar Donetsk
Fee: £47m

Both Manchester clubs were linked with Fred as a result of his fine performances for Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League last season. The Brazilian scored a stunning free-kick against City, which will have been all the more pleasing to United’s fans when the Red Devils won the race for his signature.

However, the City supporters will be the ones smiling now. Fred has looked out of sorts at Old Trafford, improving slightly when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer initially took over but otherwise flattering to deceive.

United parted ways with a massive fee to bring Fred in, but Jose Mourinho made it quite clear he would have preferred a pair of centre-backs. The sacked coach has certainly been proven right, but that will be no consolation to him or anyone else at the club. It’s unclear whether Fred will be part of the expected exodus from United this summer.