The 10 Most Disappointing Premier League Buys of 2013/14
The Premier League season is now 25 games in, and it's turning into a truly fascinating season at both ends of the table.
In addition to being the most exciting league in the world, there has been some fantastic technique on display this term with the talents of Mesut Ozil and Alvaro Negredo joining a division that already boasted the likes of Sergio Aguero, Luis Suarez and Eden Hazard.
However, not every new addition has worked out great. Here's a rundown of the 10 most disappointing summer signings. These are not necessarily the worst acquisitions, although most of them would also appear on that list, but they are certainly the players who have so far failed to live up to expectations.
Arouna Kone: Everton
After scoring an impressive 11 goals in his maiden Premier League season, Arouna Kone followed former Latics manager Roberto Martinez to Everton. Many anticipated another successful campaign for the Ivorian striker, but thus far, it's been an unfruitful and anticlimactic spell at Goodison Park.
Just weeks after Kone's £5 million move, Romelu Lukaku was brought in on a season-long loan from Chelsea. The Belgian's introduction instantly condemned Kone to the bench, and the Ivorian failed to make an impact in five Toffees appearances.
In October, Kone was injured against Hull City, and the subsequent surgery means the 30-year-old will play no more part in the current campaign. It's a bit premature to label the transfer as a flop, but his inaugural season at Goodison Park has been one void of any real promise.
Toffees fans will hope next season proves to be far more productive.
Andreas Cornelius: Cardiff City
Signed for a club-record fee believed to be £8 million, expectations in Wales were high; unfortunately for Cardiff, Andreas Cornelius failed to live up to the hype.
Just six months after joining the Premier League new boys, the Danish striker was shipped back to former club Copenhagen for an undisclosed fee. His short spell with the Bluebirds ended with just eight appearances and not a single goal to his name.
In fairness to the 20-year-old, his time in Wales was majorly hindered by an ankle injury that was initially incurred during the pre-season and then subsequently aggravated just a couple of weeks into the campaign.
At such a young age, time is on his side, and perhaps we'll see Cornelius in the Premier League again one day. But, for now at least, he'll be remembered as just another Scandinavian who couldn't make the grade.
Etienne Capoue: Tottenham
The former Toulouse man was touted as the next big thing to come out of France, but since making the switch to White Hart Lane, Etienne Capoue has failed to realise that promise.
Having previously struggled for minutes under Andre Villas-Boas, Capoue has barely started since the appointment of Tim Sherwood. Despite scoring his first goal in the 5-1 loss to Manchester City, the 25-year-old was nearly sold during January.
After his proposed departure broke down, the Frenchman blasted the new Spurs boss in an interview with French newspaper l'Equipe (via the Metro). Sherwood quickly told Capoue to do his talking on the pitch, but with his game time limited to cameos from the bench, it seems that the midfielder will be hard pushed to force his way into the starting XI.
He might not have been the most expensive acquisition Tottenham made last summer, but the Spurs faithful will have expected a lot more from the Frenchman.
Adel Taarabt: Fulham
Considering the former Spurs player has previously been linked to Real Madrid, per Goal.com, the fact he joined Fulham on loan from QPR this summer tells a story of unfulfilled potential. His six-month stay at Craven Cottage was nothing short of disastrous.
No goals from the attacking midfielder in a dozen games signals a hugely disappointing spell in west London which ended last month when the 24-year-old made the switch to AC Milan—on loan from QPR once more.
Adel Taarabt's lack of impact has played a huge part in Fulham's downfall, and he has left the Cottagers in the unenviable position of fighting for survival. He did score on his Milan debut, though.
Martin Demichelis: Manchester City
With Vincent Kompany absent at important parts of the season, Manchester City have been in dire need of an understudy capable of stepping in to marshal the back four.
On paper, an Argentina international who has played for Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid sounds like the perfect solution, but Martin Demichelis' first season in England has been turbulent at best.
The 33-year-old has often looked shaky, particularly against stronger opposition. In addition to his central defensive frailties, he looked completely out of his depth playing the holding midfield role in the recent 1-0 defeat to Chelsea.
His €5 million transfer fee is minimal in comparison to other purchases in recent years, but should City fail to win the title, some may argue it's been the most costly signing of all.
Dani Osvaldo: Southampton
Here's another club-record signing who failed to produce in England.
The Italy international joined Southampton from Roma for £15 million last summer but has made more headlines for antics off the pitch rather than goals scored on it.
Dani Osvaldo, who had previously punched former teammate Erik Lamela whilst playing for Roma, was banned by the club after a training-ground assault on fellow Saints star Jose Fonte. The fallout from that episode was a January return to Serie A via a loan deal to Juventus.
With Juventus reportedly open to the option of a permanent move in the summer, per the Press Association (via The Guardian), it seems Osvaldo's time in England is destined to remain restricted to just 13 appearances.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel: Norwich
After scoring on his debut against Everton, Norwich fans would have been forgiven for expecting big things from their record signing, who arrived at Carrow Road on the back of scoring 45 goals in a two-year stint at Sporting Lisbon.
However, since that promising debut, Ricky van Wolfswinkel has offered very little cheer to the Canaries fans and is still searching for his second goal in England. The 25-year-old's 15-game drought has been a barometer for Norwich's struggles, and if they are relegated, then the Dutch striker's inability to find the net will unquestionably be regarded as one of the major factors behind it.
For €10 million, the Canaries would have expected so much more.
Roberto Soldado: Tottenham
Tottenham's temporary record signing started quite well but has now been condemned to the shadows following the rejuvenated form of Emmanuel Adebayor.
In 20 league matches, Roberto Soldado has scored just five times—when you factor in that four of those came from the spot, it starts to paint a pretty bleak picture regarding the £26 million man's time in north London.
The 59 La Liga goals in three years at Valencia seem a lifetime ago.
Erik Lamela: Tottenham
With three Spurs players making the list, it's not hard to see why AVB got the sack.
The 21-year-old's transfer made him Tottenham's most expensive player—breaking the previous record set by the earlier summer acquisition of Roberto Soldado—but so far, the former Roma starlet has failed to live up to the hype.
Injury has hampered his maiden season in England, restricting him to just nine league appearances, and you also have to feel for a youngster who was half expected to fill the giant shoes left by Gareth Bale. Nevertheless, the Argentina winger has struggled at White Hart Lane, and his only noteworthy contribution came in the Europa League victory over Sheriff Tiraspol. So far, it's simply not good enough.
Time is still very much on Erik Lamela's side, but the fact he was linked with a January departure, per Sky Sports, highlights just how difficult his first year in London has been. Spurs will be praying for a bigger return on their investment over the coming months; that's if his thigh ever actually heals.
Marouane Fellaini: Manchester United
The biggest disappointment of the lot.
Year 1 AF (after Ferguson) has been Manchester United's worst Premier League campaign by far, and poor old Marouane Fellaini's name will be synonymous with that disappointment for years to come. David Moyes' first marquee signing has been a total disaster.
Signed for £27.5 million—after the Red Devils had failed to secure the deal prior to the expiration of a £23.5 million release clause—as a last-minute act of desperation by the new boss, many questioned whether the big Belgian would fit into the Manchester United style of play. Those fears were vindicated almost immediately, and the 26-year-old has not done much since to relieve those concerns.
Fellaini has made just four league starts all season. Mark Ogden of the Daily Telegraph suggested that his fitness is an issue, and when he has appeared, his level of performance has not mirrored that of a man carrying that price tag. Currently, those frustrations are compounded by a hamstring injury.
If he remains at Old Trafford, it's hard to picture the Belgian reigniting his career any time soon.