Blog by: Shreyas
A month into the football season, strategies have been laid down, battles have been fought on the pitch, and a bunch of surprising results have already grabbed the headlines. Some of the new signings such as Mesut Ozil have done fantastically well for their clubs, while others are yet to come to terms with the rigours of a new club. With truckloads of money being shipped around in transfer fees, a signing is no joke, and with that in mind, let’s look at the top five most unnecessary signings of the transfer window and how they have fared.
5. Edinson Cavani – Napoli to PSG
For a hefty transfer fee of around €64 million, Edinson Cavani’s signing was definitely one of the most expensive ones this summer. Having grabbed eyeballs consistently with his performances for the Uruguayan national side and at club level with Napoli, Cavani has been reaching greater heights every passing season. While he has continued to find the back of the net, as one would expect, there are bigger headaches around his positioning on the pitch at PSG.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the established star of the club, and said to be closed to the idea of playing as anything other than the central attacker; a position Cavani also thrives in. A simple switch to 4 – 4 – 2 might seem the easy solution, but the fact that players like Ezequiel Lavezzi will be discomforted also needs to be taken into account. This means that Cavani is currently playing as a wide attacker, a role he doesn’t quite enjoy as much. A welcome, but unnecessary addition to the squad indeed.
4. Fernandinho – Shakhtar Donetsk to Manchester City
Having played a decent role in Shakhtar’s domestic as well as continental campaign last season, there would always be takers for Fernandinho when rumours spread that he was unhappy in Ukraine. Little would the player himself have expected to be the subject of a whopping £30 million swoop from Manchester City.
The Citizens, who boast the likes of Yaya Toure and Javi Garcia in their holding midfield department, in addition to many others who can be used as a makeshift, were perhaps one of the clubs which least require his services.
To his good fortune however, Fernandinho has been getting regular playing time, unlike poor Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair last season. The fact that he can perform Toure’s holding role means that the Ivory Coast star can push forward more often and bully the opposition. The threat, therefore, is to other attacking midfielders’ place in the line-up, rather than either of these players.
An unnecessary signing who has been cleverly adapted into the set-up by Manuel Pellegrini.
3. Willian – Anzhi Makhachkala to Chelsea
The second Brazilian midfielder on this list, Willian had his bags all packed and ready for London club Tottenham Hotspur before seeing his loyalty suddenly purchased by cross-town rivals, Chelsea. For a player who had just moved to Anzhi in the previous transfer window for about €35 million, the Russian club roughly broke even upon sale.
The amusement value of hijacking a Tottenham deal seems to have been deemed worth that amount of money by Roman Abramovich, as Willian has made only a couple of appearances thus far, neither of them in the Premier League. In a rigid line-up where Juan Mata is struggling to find a place, it seems quite unlikely that Willian will shine through and conquer.
One hopes for him that he does, but until then, an extravagant addition to the squad.
2. Thiago Alcantara – Barcelona to Bayern Munich
For someone who voiced his desire for more time on the pitch to prove his ability, Thiago Alcantara made a perfectly silly decision of moving from the crowded midfield at Barcelona to the Allianz Arena already bursting with world-class midfielders. While he may seem a reasonable expenditure at €25 million, Bayern perhaps knew perfectly well that he would be surplus to requirements even before signing him.
Whether he fooled himself into believing that the presence of Pep Guardiola meant that he would get regular playing time ahead of the likes of Thomas Muller, Mario Götze, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez, Toni Kroos, or even Arjen Robben/Franck Ribery, one cannot tell.
But the fact that he is much less likely to get on the pitch for the reigning European champions than for his former club, or suitors Manchester United, must have now become clear to him.
Two substitute appearances and an outing in the German Super Cup are certainly insufficient to satiate his appetite, aren’t they?
1. Gareth Bale – Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid
In the same time as Cristiano Ronaldo has made 7 appearances, scored 9 goals and grabbed 2 assists, Real Madrid’s marquee signing Gareth Bale has made a grand total of 2 appearances (1 as a substitute) and has scored 1 goal; a tap-in inside the penalty area. If those numbers by themselves aren’t sufficient to convince you why Real Madrid never should have made the Welshman the costliest signing in history, let’s take a look at the fallout of the move.
Mesut Özil , one of the best ‘trequartistas’ in the world, simply chose to move to Arsenal, where he feels happier and is contributing majorly to the team’s attacks. Carlo Ancelotti, who reportedly told Florentino Perez that Bale was an unnecessary target, has refused to bow down to pressure, and continues with what he thinks is his best line-up, devoid of Bale.
Bale himself, favoring the same position that Ronaldo does, can now only dream of winning multiple player-of-the-year awards as he did last season with Tottenham Hotspur. Angel Di Maria sees his position under no real threat, thanks to playing on the opposite flank as favoured by the Welshman. Isco has shone through bright on his entry to the big stage, blocking the possibility of Bale playing there either.
Just a brief summary is provided above to describe in brief the ridiculousness of Bale’s move to the Spanish capital. Perhaps intended simply to be Madrid’s reply to Barca’s signing of Neymar, this is a move which has seen only one club emerge as winners – Arsenal.