In 50 years time, if they were to label the current age of football, it would be given the title ‘The Reactionary Age’, a time where one win see’s you labelled as title challengers, and one defeat see’s fans demand the managers head. A period where Tottenham reserve Andros Townsend can have 1 good game and be labelled as the future of English football, booking his seat on the plane to Brazil, whilst triple German Player of the Year Mesut Ozil has apparently lost his seat on the plane after going off at half time with an injury.
You have to wonder, with the current reactionary state, what would have happened to the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires had they been making their debuts this season. Would Cristiano Ronaldo, labelled as a “fancy dan cheat” when he first arrived, ever of become the worlds best player? Even more recent players, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker were written off after barely a season – they are now the best centre back partnership in the world. It seems we are very quick to right off a player as a ‘flop’ and it is dangerous to do so.
Yes, there are many big money flops who have played in the Premier League. Fernando Torres’ and Andriy Shevchenko’s big money moves to Chelsea never paid off, Juan Sebastian Veron’s time at both Manchester United and Chelsea, Andy Carroll, firstly at Liverpool, then at West Ham, has flopped. And what about Owen Hargreaves contribution to Manchester United? But Mesut Ozil is the 2nd most effective and consistent attacking midfielder in the Premier League. The Premier League spent £630 million in the summer and an additional £130 million in January, and many players have contributed a lot less than the under fire Mesut Ozil. Here is 10:
Erik Lamela (Roma to Tottenham – £25.8m)
The man who was set to replace Gareth Bale at Spurs arrived with a big transfer fee and big expectations. In a deal worth up to £30m, it is unlikely that Spurs will have to ever pay any of the ‘additional bonus payments’ as he is set to become the biggest flop ever in the Premier League. 3 league games started, 0 goals scored. That is nearly £10 million a start. And apparently you can not divide by 0, so I can not work out his goals/cost ratio. He has at least contributed 1 assist in the total of 9 games played in the Premier League. Spurs even tried to sell him in January!
Marouane Felliani (Everton to Manchester United – £27.5m)
When Arsenal were signing Mesut Ozil, Manchester United were signing Marouane Felliani. Many experts claimed Arsenal would have been better off buying the Belgium. Pointing out Arsenal required his strength and steel in defensive midfield rather than Mesut Ozil’s guile. Of course, these experts forgot that Felliani spent most of his time at Everton playing behind the striker. The big man has struggled to get into Manchester United’s midfield, despite it being useless. He has more red cards for Manchester United this season than he does goals and assists.
Willian (Anzhi to Chelsea – £30m)
Snapped up by Chelsea under the noses of Spurs, it could be argued that Tottenham got a lucky escape, until you remember they then turned their sights to Erik Lamela. £30m for an attacking midfielder who had a reputation for a hard shot, Willian has scored 2 goals with 6 assists in all conceptions. Super-flop Mesut Ozil, remember, has 6 goals and 13 assists this campaign. In Willian’s defence, he has not been helped by Mourinho turning him into a defensive forward (later to be known as the ‘Willian Role’). Although his record shows that he is not a goal scoring midfielder. You would certainly expect more for £30m.
Roberto Soldado (Valencia to Tottenham – £26.4m)
It is a pity that Roberto Soldado scored his 2nd league goal from open play against Cardiff City on March 2nd, as it meant the joke “What does Asmir Begovic and Roberto Soldado have in common? They have both scored 1 goal from open play” was no longer as funny. The Spaniard has been so bad that Emmanuel Adebayor has been recalled to the Tottenham 1st team.
Juan Mata (Chelsea to Manchester United – £37.1m)
He might have only just recently joined Manchester United, but in the Reactionary Age, I will happily label him as a flop. In 6 games since his move, he is yet to score and has 3 assists. In the last 6 games for Arsenal, Mesut Ozil has 1 goal and 2 assists. If one is on a poor run of form and makes him a flop, then likewise, we have to chuck Juan Mata into the fold too. You get the feeling with a side who already has Wayne Rooney, Kagawa, Nani and Young in its midst, Mata is a vanity signing, made by Moyes to make him look good.
Stevan Jovetic (Fiorentina to Manchester City – £22m)
A one time, long term Arsenal target, the decision of Arsene Wenger to pursue Gonzalo Higuain, and later Luis Suarez, led to Manchester City jumping in and signing the Montenegrin captain for £22m, despite already having Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo & Edin Dzeko in their squad. A mixture of injuries, unimpressive displays, and the pure weight of players ahead of him has led the 24 year old to start just 2 league games this season.
Andy Carroll (Liverpool to West Ham – £15m)
Last season, Andy Carroll joined West Ham on loan and scored a magnificent 7 goals in 24 years. This led to the Hammers spending £15 million on him. 2 league starts, 0 goals and 1 red card later has led Sam Allardyce saying he is finding it hard to pick between Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole, who they released on a free in the summer.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Gary Hooper and Johan Elmander (Sporting, Celtic & Galatasaray to Norwich – £13.5m total)
A 3 in one special here. Struggling for goals? Go out and buy 3 new strikers who scored 56 goals between all of them last season. End result? 10 goals between them over 70 games. Not really what you would expect from 3 high profile summer signings expected to score the goals to keep you up. Norwich are the second lowest goal scorers in the Premier League this year, despite signing the 3 strikers. Crystal Palace would have run them close for this spot had the secured the services of Lord Bendtner alongside Lady Chamakh and Dwight Gayle.
Mamadou Sakho (PSG to Liverpool – £18m)
The long hyped French centre back was sold to Liverpool despite being PSG’s youngest ever captain. Another one linked to Arsenal (more to do with him being young and French) the question on those who know a thing or two about football was ‘why would PSG let him go if he was any good’. And the answer is clear. He is not as good as Football Manager makes it out. Shifted between centre back, the left of a back 3 and full back, the Frenchman is now looking like a very expensive mistake. He has played just 13 games in all competitions for Liverpool, whilst Kolo Toure has been picked ahead of him.
Dani Osvaldo (Roma to Southampton – £15m)
Buy a player who has scored 42 goals in 3 years in Italy and Spain, then watch as he kicked and head butted a team mate, leaving ‘blood everything’ before later reportedly brining a samurai sword into training. They might have got 3 goals out of the Argentine, but it is unlikely he will ever play for again. A £15m buy bombed out within 6 months is surely a flop.