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The Most Pointless Summer Premier League Transfers


Every summer the sports headlines are dominated by news of the latest transfers and this year was no different. There were plenty of big name moves, a huge amount of money was spent, and fans began to eagerly await the start of the new season. However, not all transfers are successful and while the season is just a few weeks old, here we will take a look at some of the summer signings that seem to have flopped.

Joao Cancelo – Manchester City


Manchester City spent a whopping £60 million on Joao Cancelo over the summer and then restricted him to just three touches in the opening five Premier League games. Cancelo was bought from Juventus and so far has been used for just a few seconds by City, in their match against AFC Bournemouth. However, City do have the luxury of being able to wait for Cancelo to adapt to their style of play as they have Kyle Walker as a substitute, who has shown that is a very good right-back.

Speaking last month the City boss said, “Joao, we’re delighted with what we’ve seen but he arrived late and he wasn’t in pre-season. There are many things Kyle knows completely and Joao is starting to understand what to do. Maybe tomorrow, maybe after the international break. He needs to be ready and when he is, he will play.” However, it was Walker who was played against Norwich during City’s humiliating defeat.

Speaking recently Tony Cascarino said, “I think Kyle Walker is going to lose his place, he will be out of the team. Joao Cancelo will come in, they spent a lot of money on him from Juve and he will come in at right back now, I’m totally convinced. For the second goal [Walker] tried to play offside and realised where he is and then dropped off, and that allowed Norwich about ten yards of space for them to score. You can’t do that.”

Dennis Praet – Leicester City


Leicester City paid £18 million to bring Dennis Praet across from Italy this summer and after he played his first 17 minutes of football against Chelsea he said, “Training is really intense, a big difference in the Italian way of training and playing so I think I need some time to adapt to the Premier League.” He then went on to do very little in 65 minutes against Sheffield United and since then he has not been seen, except for 45 minutes in the Carabao Cup. Because of this, it seems strange that Leicester spent so much money on him when they have players such as Wilfred Ndidi, Youri Tielemans, Hamza Choudhury, Harvey Barnes and James Maddison available, all of whom Brendan Rodgers seems to prefer.

That said, this time last year people were questioning why Leicester City spent a similar amount of money on Cagyar Soyuncu, so perhaps in a year’s time people will be looking at Praet as a fantastic investment if they sell Maddison to Manchester United for £80 million.

Jay Rodriguez – Burnley



There were high hopes for Jay Rodriguez with many expecting Sean Dyche to be able to begin to use him as a replacement for Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood after he brought the former England player back to the club for £5 million. However, this appears to be completely incorrect as the team have now played five Premier League games and Barnes (who has scored four goals) and Wood hs started all five of them, while Rodriguez has had just a few minutes off the bench.

Speaking after Rodriguez was brought on, Dyche said, “Jay Rod came on sharp. Vyds looked sharp, running hard to affect the game, and that’s all we can ask when we make substitutions, that they come on with the will and desire to affect the game.” Hopefully, he will begin to make more use of his new player, otherwise fans may be wondering what he was bought for.

Andy Carroll – Newcastle United

Andy Carroll

Speaking recently, Steve Bruce said of Andy Carroll, “It’s always very difficult to put a timescale on someone like Andy, he’s fit when he’s fit. He’s joined in, he’s worked extremely hard, there’s a smile across his face this morning where he’s comfortable which is good.”

Carroll has made just ten Premier League starts in his last two seasons and bringing him to Newcastle seems like a sentimental move as it is difficult to know just how many games he will end up playing for the team over the coming year and it is not something that Rafa Benitez is likely to have done. While bringing Carroll may have pleased a number of fans, few expect him to rise to the level of double figure Premier League goals, a feat he last achieved when he left Newcastle for £35 million back in 2011.

Danny Welbeck – Watford

Danny Welbeck

When Quique Sanchez Flores returned to Watford and was confronted with a player who has not started in a Premier League game in close to a year he said, “Now, basically for the first match the most important thing is to take the players who are more fit, or with more minutes played, or this kind of thing because it’s more safe I think, for the immediate performance.” Flores did not give Welbeck the chance to even play for one minute against his old club and kept him on the bench for the entirety of the 2 – 2 draw with Arsenal.

Before the match Welbeck said, “Someone said the other day that maybe the script is written for me to score my first Watford goal against Arsenal, but the script writers aren’t playing the game so I’m just going to give my best and try to win the game for Watford.” Clearly he will have been disappointed not to have played and it looks like it may be a long while before he is given any playing time under a new manager who did not sign him and does not seem convinced that he was a worthwhile addition to the team.

James McCarthy – Crystal Palace

James McCarthy

Over the summer some were saying that Crystal Palace were locked in a steady decline due to the nature of their squad with Max Meyer the only regular player in the first team who is under 25, meaning that all of the other players were slowing declining in value and effectiveness. As a result, many were surprised when they bought Gary Cahill, who is 33 years old, James McCarthy, who is 28 years old, and secured Victor Camarasa on loan, who is 25 years old.

McCarthy has played less than four hours of Premier League football over the last few seasons due to a series of injuries, which begs the question why Palace paid to bring him to the club just to sit on the bench together with Camarasa. It was a strange decision at the time and it still does not make much sense.

Ben Osborn – Sheffield United

Ben Osborn

Sheffield United spent £3.5 million on Ben Osborn and seem to be using him as a back-up left wing to Enda Stevens. Upon signing Osborn, manager Chris Wilder said, “Ben is an intelligent footballer, he plays a number of positions and has got that attitude that he will slot in wherever.” However, so far, the only place he has been slotting in is on the bench and he has been given just six minutes of playing time in five games.

It seems that Wilder is happy to take his time over giving his new signings playing times. When they played Southampton, Oli McBurnie was the only starter who did not play for the team last season. At the same time, Osborn was one of five new summer signings who were consigned to the bench.

Albian Ajeti – West Ham United

Albian Ajeti

While it is highly unlikely that a Premier League club would buy a striker just because their former coach showed interest in him, it does seem strange that only Championship clubs such as Slaven Bilic’s West Bromwich Albion were being linked with Ajeti before West Ham realised that they needed to buy strikers and had only bought Sebastien Haller.

It is more likely that West Ham needed any striker and that Ajeti was available for just £8 million. However, he is yet to come off the bench in any Premier League matches and while he played 90 minutes against Newport in the Carabao Cup, it was not a particularly impressive performance. He was also recently part of a Swiss side that managed 40 shots against Gibraltar, but he did not score.

Bailey Peacock-Farrell – Burnley

Bailey Peacock-Farrell

After signing for Burnley Bailey Peacock-Farrell said, “I’m really happy to be here. A Premier League club is what you dream of when you are starting out in football and to say I’ve signed for Burnley is a massive honour.”

Given that he has not actually played for the team yet, he may be feeling a bit disappointed. Furthermore, there is a chance that it may not happen as the team bought him as their third-choice goalkeeper, behind Nick Pope and Joe Hart. This wouldn’t be the first time, Adam Legzdins joined Burnley over two years ago from Birmingham and is yet to play a minute.

OCA News Editor

Christian Bright is a professional sports commentator with keen interests in football, tennis and horse racing. His experience in the reporting on professional sports makes him a key asset to OCA’s coverage of athletic events and matches.