The Premier League is the richest league in the world and as such regularly splashes exorbitant fees on big-name players.
Sometimes clubs do their due diligence and play an absolute blinder, like Arsenal with the signing of Declan Rice, but sometimes things don’t work out as expected. Several of the summer’s biggest signings fall into the latter category.
Here are the five biggest flop transfers of the 2023/24 Premier League season (so far)…
Moises Caicedo – Brighton to Chelsea (€134m)
Expectations of Moises Caicedo are sky-high and perhaps unfairly so, but when you’re the most expensive player in Premier League history, there are certain heights that you need to reach. Thus far, the young Ecuador international has not managed to live up to the hype. A lack of pre-season and the poor form of Chelsea in general have contributed to Caicedo looking off the pace so far this term.
The defensive midfielder has not been atrocious for the Blues, of course, but he has been a far cry from the game-changer and stabiliser that Declan Rice has been for Arsenal. Taking into account his outrageous fee, Caicedo has to be considered the biggest flop of the season so far.
Rasmus Hojlund – Atalanta to Man Utd (€74m)
A star in the Champions League but a flop in the Premier League, Rasmus Hojlund‘s start to life couldn’t have been stranger. The 20-year-old striker has been prolific in Europe but it took him until December to score his first goal in the league.
Many felt that it was too soon for the young Dane to make the step up to the Premier League and become Man Utd‘s starting centre-forward and time has proved them right. Some will rightly point out that Hojlund’s lack of production is due to the poor (or non-existent) service he receives from his teammates but if you cost €74m, you simply must find a way to score more than once in 15 games.
Mason Mount – Chelsea to Man Utd (€64m)
Staying with Man Utd, Mason Mount has been equally disappointing or perhaps even more so than Hojlund. At least the striker has performed in the Champions League whereas Mount has thus far been a ghost for the Red Devils. Games have mostly passed the former Chelsea man by and he has thus far not managed a single goal contribution despite ostensibly being an attack-minded midfielder.
Injuries have hampered him to some extent, but Mount’s poor showings when fit have been nigh on unforgivable given the money spent. This transfer blunder from United is made all the more egregious by the fact that they could have signed Mount for nothing in the next summer window.
Sandro Tonali – AC Milan to Newcastle (€64m)
A shocking move at the time, Sandro Tonali‘s surprise switch to Newcastle quickly turned into an unmitigated disaster. Eddie Howe’s side have underperformed this term and Tonali was one of the biggest disappointments in the early stages of the season, being completely ineffectual in most of his outings.
Things got even worse when it was revealed that the midfielder was suffering from a gambling addiction. Having illegally bet on games while an AC Milan player – admittedly, this was unbeknownst to Newcastle before the move – the Italian has been banned from football for ten months and will not only miss the rest of the season but also the Euros in the summer.
Matheus Nunes – Wolves to Man City (€45m)
Brought in to replace Ilkay Gundogan, Matheus Nunes has been nothing like the new Barcelona man. The former Wolves midfielder has played 473 Premier League minutes so far and has been just another body in midfield rather than a standout player.
City essentially spent €45m on a squad player, and while that kind of money may not be a big deal to them, it would be for most clubs. Though not solely to blame for the club’s underwhelming league campaign so far, City’s summer signings have become quite emblematic of their season. Nunes, Jeremy Doku and Josko Gvardiol have mostly flattered to deceive.