Club games in season 18/19 came to an end and now it's time for all kinds of summaries. Today I would like to focus on the biggest losers of the summer and winter transfer window from the previous campaign. The players presented by me played definitely below the expectations of the activists and fans, although they were paid a lot of money.
1. Kepa Arrizabalaga - cost EUR 80 million
This 24-year-old was the most expensive goalkeeper in football history last August. The activists of "The Blues" had to find a new goalkeeper after Courtois left. The choice fell on the then goalkeeper Athletic Bilbao, who collected great reviews in Spain.
Now we can safely say that Kepa wasn't worth the price. In the colours of Chelsea he played 54 games, in which he lost as many as 51 goals. He couldn't stabilize his form all season long. In one match he defended literally everything, but in the next round he scored 6 goals (the battle with Manchester City in the 26th series of games). He showed a complete lack of professionalism in the final of the English League Cup, when he opposed Maurizio Sarri and did not leave the pitch, which led his coach to anger. After this bizarre situation his position in the club has fallen sharply and for a few meetings he said goodbye to the performances in the top eleven. He led to more talk of his behavior than of the game. In the next season he must definitely come down to earth.
2. Thomas Lemar - cost EUR 70 million
The 23-year-old has consistently built his brand in AS Monaco. In France, he was dialing excellent statistics and in the summer of 2018 there was a queue of people who wanted to join him. The final battle for Lemar was fought between Arsenal and Atletico Madrid. After long negotiations, the Frenchman ended up in the capital of Spain. He was supposed to bring a breath of fresh air to the offensive and be a great companion in the attack for Antoine Griezmann.
Diego Simeone put him in the starting eleven for the first match of the season - the European Super Cup Final. Against the background of the Real players Lemar did very well. He played 90 minutes and made a big contribution to the victory of his new team. Unfortunately, as it turned out later, it was his best performance in Atletico colours. As time passed, he looked worse and worse, and Simeone gradually pushed him away from the starting eleven. Due to his poor disposition and numerous injuries, Lemar was unable to meet the expectations of the Madrid activists and fans. His contract is valid until 2023, so he still has time to prove his class and show that it was worthwhile to win him for such a large amount of money.
3. Fred - cost EUR 59 milion
In the summer transfer window the Red Devils activists were very economical. On the wish list of Jose Mourinho before the new season was Brazilian helper Szachtar Donetsk. The choice is quite unobvious, especially if we look at the performance of the 26-year-old in the Ukrainian league. In 92 games he scored 9 goals and scored 7 assists. However, statistics are not everything. The trainers who worked with Fred were all praised by the trainers. In Donetsk, he was called "conductor". He dictated the pace of his team's playing and created a lot of situations for his colleagues. It was supposed to be the missing piece in the puzzle of the then coach Manchester United.
Fred quickly found out that playing in the Ukrainian league was a completely different story than playing in the Premier League. He couldn't win a place in the starting eleven, next to Pogby and Maticia. Mourinho took a risk and this time it didn't work out well for him. When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over the controls on Old Trafford, the Brazilian was sometimes not even in the match team. Fred was supposed to be a reinforcement and became a reserve for 59 million euros.
4. Alvaro Morata - cost EUR 50 million (in case of redemption)
Morata delighted everyone with his talent during the Real Madrid game. When there was no room for him in the Real team, he moved to Chelsea. The game in the Premier League had to confirm its class and prove that it is able to play in the best European clubs. Unfortunately, he wasn't found at Stamford Bridge at all. The fans could not see how ineffective it was. Coach quickly lost confidence in him and in January it was already known that Chelsea activists were looking for a new attacker. A helping hand was extended to Morat from Madrid. The desire to buy it was expressed by Atletico.
The return to Spain was supposed to be a renaissance for a 26-year-old. At the beginning, Diego Simeone consistently bet on Morata and the Spanish striker played from the first to ninety minutes. Coach Atletico was waiting for the moment when the Spaniard would finally wake up and start shooting regularly. As it turned out later, such a moment never came, and Morata was pulled from the pitch more and more often. The season ended with six goals scored in 15 appearances in LaLiga. This number does not knock down and only confirms the fact that it was one of the worst campaigns performed by Alvaro Morata.
5. Vinicius Junior - cost EUR 45 million
The 18-year-old, considered to be one of the greatest talents of Brazilian football, went to the Real from Flamengo, where he began his football career. Before the season, all Real fans wondered if the player who played less than 40 matches in the Brazilian league would be able to withstand the pressure of playing in Santiago Bernabeu.
In Madrid, they tried to provide him with the best possible conditions for development and gradually introduced him to the first team. They were aware of the fact that such a young talent has to be handled very gently and cannot be thrown immediately into deep water. With each game he got more and more minutes from his coach on the pitch. Last season he was supposed to prove that he is a footballer, who in the future will determine the strength of the Real. In my opinion, however, he did not manage to do so. He had a lot of opportunities to confirm his class this season, due to the poor disposition of the vast majority of players Real. Everyone was counting on his help in the Champions League, in matches against Ajax. I would not like to give hasty marks after one season, because Vinicius is a very young player who is just getting to know great European football. However, taking into account the amount paid for it and what the Brazilian presented this season, it can be considered as a non-explosive transfer.
6. Douglas Costa - cost EUR 40 million
His career gained momentum in the Shahtar Donetsk. This is where he ended up in Bayern Munich. Everyone was delighted with its dynamics and dribbling. He was the fear of the Bundesliga defenders because of his incredible speed. He introduced freshness to the team of the German champion. His first season in the Bundesliga was very successful for him. Coach willingly bet on him and Douglas was the driving force of the Munich team. Then his position in the team fell. In the next campaign, he was just a reserve. He wasn't going to waste his potential sitting on a bench. In July 2018 he moved to Juventus.
He was hoping that in Turin he would be a basic player again. Unfortunately, the competition on his position was huge and he had to reconcile himself again with the role of the reserve. The fact that in February he suffered a serious thigh injury also worked against him. He did not appear on the pitch until the end of the season, leaving 16 league games. Trauma prevented him from fighting for a place in the starting line-up and from the new season he will have to prove to the coach his usefulness for the team. Otherwise, it will remain a reserve only.
7. Radja Nainggolan - cost EUR 38 million
He's in love with Serie A and the Italian climate. He has already played 315 games at the highest level in Italy. Last summer he moved from Roma to Inter last year. In Milan the team was strengthened before the upcoming season, where the charges of Luciano Spaletti waited for a rivalry in the Champions League. Nainggolan, as an extremely experienced player, had to manage the center of the field in the Inter team.
It quickly became clear that the radio was not in the highest hands. His game lacked freshness and flair. It wasn't the same player whose fans remembered from their Roma performances. It was supposed to be a driving engine of the Inter, and for most of the season it seemed to be sluggish and completely unprepared for the season. His poor disposition is confirmed by statistics. In 36 appearances this season he scored 7 goals and recorded only 3 assists. It was supposed to be a reinforcement of the team for the Champions League, and the reality was that in the whole group phase he scored only one goal. He did not miss injuries and minor injuries, which left him with six league matches. Looking back at his earlier achievements in Roma, fans and Interu activists may feel disappointed after this season.
8. Gonzalo Higuain - cost EUR 36 million (in case of redemption)
Fans at Stamford Bridge could no longer watch Alvaro Morata's game and in winter their suffering was to end, because Gonzalo Higuain came to London. After an unsuccessful adventure in Milan, the Argentinean was given the chance to rebuild his form in the Premier League. Maurizio Sarri wanted the most of this transfer. The Italian coach collaborated with Higuain in Napoli when the Argentinean attacker had his best time in his career. Sarri remembers him as an extremely effective sniper. Higuaine's arrival at Stamford Bridge was supposed to make "The Blues" fans forget about Morat in no time at all.
14 Higuain's performances in the Premier League were enough to make Sarri realize that he was not the same player he was working with in Napoli. His lack of physical preparation was staggering. It was as if getting to 90 minutes was a success for him. He was supposed to be a support on the offensive for Eden Hazard, but ended up scoring only five goals in the Premier League. I wonder if they'll give him another chance at Stamford Bridge.
9. Thibaut Courtois - cost EUR 35 million
Another player of the Real in this ranking, but it's no wonder, since the players from Santiago Bernabeu have one of the worst seasons in the history of the club. He went to the Spanish capital as the best goalkeeper of the World Cup in Russia. He knows the Spanish league very well, because he played 154 matches in the colours of Atletico Madrid. Later he was building his brand in Chelsea and finally it was time to move away from his dream club.
At Santiago Bernabeu not everything went as planned by Courtois. 48 lost goals and only 10 clean accounts is a summary of Belgium's performance in all the games of this season. Of course, this fatal balance was also earned by Real's defenders, while Courtois deserved to be criticised. He was supposed to give peace and confidence in the goal, which was definitely lacking. In addition, the Belgian goalkeeper suffered a number of injuries this season, and the most serious of them - thigh injury - excluded him from the game for five league matches. During his absence, Keylor Navas got a chance to perform in the basic eleven and often presented himself much more confidently and calmly than Courtois. We'll see if the Belgian will prove his class in the coming season.
10. Javier Pastore - cost EUR 25 million
Pastore went to Paris in 2011. In the French capital he looked very good and for many years he was a basic PSG player. Everything started to get complicated in season 17/18. The Argentinean felt underestimated by the coach, and his position in the club fell sharply. Throughout the season he was in the starting line-up only 11 times. He understood that he had to find a new employer as soon as possible. Eventually he went to Roma, who needed an experienced rider in the middle of the field.
The 29-year-old did not live up to the expectations of Rome's activists and supporters. In the fourth round of Serie A he suffered a calf injury, with which he struggled until the end of the season. Because of the trauma, he missed 10 league matches. Due to health problems, he was unable to reach his optimal disposition. He had to bring to the team experience and organize the game Romy in the middle of the field. It was announced that it will be a reinforcement for the Champions League, and in the group stage he played only 60 minutes. Perhaps the next season we will see a completely new player, healthy and full of strength. Pastore would like to forget about the past campaign as soon as possible.