Tag Archives: Manchester City

Yaya Sanogo leaves Arsenal – But who are the other Premier League flops?

Yaya Sanogo has finally left Arsenal. And the fanfare in the British media highlighting him as one of the biggest Premier League flops in history is laughable. Yes, he did not do much in his time at the club, but it should always be remember that he did cost Arsenal nothing.

He was essentially a youth team player who failed to play a game. There are hundred of Yaya Sanogo’s who have joined a Premier League club for a free transfer (or nominal fee) and done nothing. I guess it just shows, stories about Arsenal sell.

In the interest of fairness, I decided to write a few words on some strikers who have failed to make the grade at top clubs, some of which were much more expensive flops than Yaya Sanogo, and all of whom garner less criticism than the Frenchman.

I will start with the man himself…

Yaya Sanogo – Arsenal – Free Transfer

On paper, Yaya Sanogo joining Arsenal should not have made headlines.

A 20 year old French youth international signed on a free transfer. A risk free punt. If it pays off, it is a sign of ArseneWenger’s genius in spotting top young talent. If it does not pay off, well no one really know about him, he would be forgotten about quickly and we would move on.

The problem with the Sanogo signing is the circumstances he came in under.

The summer of 2013, arsenal begun it by courting Stevan Jovetic, quickly moved on to Gonzalo Higuain, and finally settled on Luis Suarez, activating his release clause. Liverpool stood firm. Arsenal ended up with just Sanogo.

The reality is Arsenal should have secured one of the above mentioned names, and Sanogo should have gone into the youth team, but we cocked it up and Sanogo was suddenly thrust into the limelight. A figurehead of everything that had gone wrong in the summer.

Sanogo actually ended up playing 20 games for Arsenal, scoring 1 goal. 1 curious performance was when he was picked to start against Bayern Munich. He also played 120 minutes of the 2014 FA Cup semi final against Wigan.

Whilst he did almost nothing in his career, Arsenal fans should always be grateful to Sanogo for winning the corner that led to our equaliser against Hull City with 19 minutes to go of the 2014 FA Cup semi final.

Sanogo leaves Arsenal with an FA Cup winners medal (more than what Harry Kane has won at Spurs).

He might not have had the career at Arsenal he would have dreamed of, but it should always be remembered he cost nothing. A flop. But an inexpensive one.

Bebe – Manchester United – £7.4m

Sir Alex Ferguson famously spent £7.4m on Portuguese striker Bebe without ever having seen him play.

Bebe joined Portuguese top-flight side Vitoria on a free transfer from Estrela da Amadora in 2010 and played well in their pre-season friendlies, scoring 5 goals in six games. A few weeks later Manchester United made their move, signing the street kid.

Just two league starts for Manchester United in 4 years, Bebe was loaned out 4 times before joining Benfica who then loaned him out within 6 months. Two years and two loan deals later, Bebe found himself on the move again, joining Spanish side Eibar in 2016.

Spending £7.4m on a player you have never seen play is one hell of a risk. A risk that never paid off for Sir Alex Ferguson. At least Sanogo was a free transfer.

Iago Aspas – Liverpool – £7m

In 2013, Liverpool signed 26 year old Iago Aspas from Celta Vigo for a fee in the region of £7m off the back of a single season in La Liga.

Aspas played 14 league games for Liverpool, failing to score a single goal.

A year later he was sold to Sevilla, who immediately sold him on to Celta Vigo where he has recently re-found his scoring touch.

Fabio Borini – Liverpool – £10.5m

The second Liverpool flop on this list.

Fabio Borini was Brendan Rodgers’ first signing when he joined Liverpool for £10.5m from Roma. Big things were expected of the former Chelsea trainee.

2012/13 saw 1 goal in 13 games saw him loaned out to Sunderland for the 2013/14 season. Mysteriously, Borini was not sold by Liverpool after his poor spell on loan and in 2014/15 was once again part of the Liverpool first team squad. 1 goal in 12 games led him to have the fabulous record of 2 league goals in 25 league games for Liverpool.

Somehow Liverpool managed to recoup nearly all of their money for the Italian when they sold him to Sunderland for £8m, despite 3 poor seasons in the Premier League. I guess signings like Borini is why Sunderland went down.

When you add in Aspas, Liverpool spent £17.5m on 2 strikers who scored 2 league goals between them.

Romelu Lukaku – Chelsea – £17m

When you have millions to spend on players, no need to balance the books, and a sugar daddy with pockets that are amongst the deepest in the world, you can spend big on the likes of Andriy Shevchenko and Fernando Torres for a combined £100m and get very little return.

Whilst both of these are often labeled as expensive flops due to their return against their cost and hype, they did score 67 goals between them.

Romelu Lukaku was a different case.

Signed in 2011 for £17m from Anderlecht, he was immediately labeled as the next Didier Drogba, due to the fact he was a big, black striker.

In his first season at Chelsea, he struggled to make a start, playing just 8 league games and not hitting the net once. He was loaned out to WBA where he showed his ability – scoring 17 goals in 35 games.

A couple more games at the start of the 2013/14 season also failed to see a goal materialise and he was then loaned at once more – this time to Everton. 15 goals in 31 games was still not good enough for Chelsea to give him the chance and he was sold to Everton for £28m. A nice profit for a player who had failed to make the grade.

Last season he scored 25 goals in 37 games, which ha sled rumours of a big money move back to Chelsea this summer – likely in the region of £60-70m.

His transformation into one of the most dangerous strikers in the Premier League has made people forget about his Chelsea years. But there is no doubt if you spend £17m on a striker to only play him 15 times in all competitions over 3 years (and get no goals from it), he is a flop.

Lukaku could go on to be one of the highest scoring strikers in Premier League history. It makes it even more stupid that Chelsea signed him for so much and did not play him.

Jo – Manchester City – £19m

Brazilian striker Jo was signed in July 2008 under the Thaksin Shinawatra regime. 2 months after he signed for the club, Manchester City were sold and Robinho was signed.

At the time, Jo was being courted by many around Europe, seen as the next big striker to come out of Brazil.

His stay at Manchester City saw him loaned out 3 times (twice to Everton!). In 21 league games for the Citizens, he scored just once, and in 2011 he returned to Brazil.

Hélder Postiga – Tottenham – £8m

Under Jose Mourinho at Porto, 20 year old Helder Postiga led the line as the Portuguese outfit won a historic treble. Postiga scoring 19 goals in the process.

What followed was a big money move to Tottenham, as the North London club declared they had signed the new Thierry Henry.

As it turned out, Spurs had secured an average player who only got 71 caps for Portugal because there were no other options.

In his time at Spurs – 1 year to be exact, Postiga playued 24 games and scored just twice. He was sold back to Porto with Spurs recouping most of their original outlay.

Grzegorz Rasiak – Tottenham – £3m

On the final day of the 2005 summer transfer window, Tottenham Hotspur spent £3m on Derby County’s Polish striker Grzegorz Rasiak.

Rasiak had failed to fire Derby to promotion out of the transfer window, and, under pressure to raise cash to keep the club afloat, Derby sold him to Tottenham.

Rasiak was at Spurs for just 143 days – starting 5 games; scoring 0 goals – before he was loaned (and later sold) to Southampton.

Like many of these players, he is not an expensive flop, but a flop none the less.

Keenos

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England’s Big 6 – Who had the best season?

Chelsea

Did Antonio Conte take a team who finished 10th to Champions, or did Jose Mourinho take a team who finished Champions down to 10th? The reality is both statements are true.

Antonio Conte has been given a lot of credit this season for taking the Chelsea side to the league title, having finished 10th the previous season. Whilst he does deserve the credit, it must not be forgotten that the year before Chelsea finished 10th, they won the league.

The core of the team remained the same. It was not a squad that should have finished 10th the previous season. Conte merely returned the side to their former glory.

As well as praising Conte, questions must be asked of the Chelsea players – such as Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa & Eden Hazard – who had such a bad season last year, sandwiched between title winning seasons. Clearly they stopped playing for Jose Mourinho. Poor attitudes all round.

Where Conte deserves immense credit is the change of formation.

When Arsenal beat Chelsea 3-0 back in September, it looked like Chelsea were going to be Top 4 at best. He bought in his favoured 3-4-2-1 formation and the side never looked back. And where he led, other teams since followed.

The FA Cup defeat is a big black stain on their season, the performance and the defeat. Chelsea looked like they had been on holiday for 2 weeks and looked unmotivated. A side that struggled last season with motivation after winning the league, could the same happen next season?

Chelsea are deserved Champions this year, but let’s not going OTT with the praise of 10th to 1st. Chelsea never had the 10th best squad in the Premier League.

Manchester United

Much criticised throughout the season, Manchester United still ended up with two trophies.

Yes, they might have been minor ones – the League Cup and the Europa League – but they all count. Whilst other teams that finished above them – like Liverpool and Spurs – talk about progression and putting the pressure on, Manchester United had trips to Sweden and Wembley and got their hands on actual silverware.

After signing Paul Pogba for a world record fee, and spending around £150m last year and getting in Jose Mourinho, they did under perform in the Premier League. But we need to remember the Premier League is not the be all and end all.

The marketing machine of both the Premier League and Champions League make it appear that no other competitions mater and some fans buy in to that propaganda. A few years ago the media laughed Arsene Wenger out of the room when he spoke about Top 4 being like a trophy. But now the same media are happy writing off a side that has won 2 trophies whilst praising sides who won nothing, just because they finished in the Top 4.

Give me a League Cup and Europa League over finishing Top 4 any day of the week.

Arsenal

What felt like a horrible season as Arsenal finished 5th ended up in a successful one as they won the FA Cup.

Whilst the likes of Spurs, Manchester City and Liverpool finished above The Gunners in the league, the fact they all finished pot less and Arsenal won a trophy means that there is no debate to have. Arsenal had a more successful season.

Chelsea with the league title and Manchester United with their (minor) cup double were the only sides to have better seasons than Arsenal.

A football season is the league, 2 domestic cups and Europe. A chance to win 4 trophies. Arsenal won 1 out of the 4.

Plenty of problems at the club, and maybe some cracks were papered over, but Arsenal have been a club in crisis for 4 years, and have won 3 FA Cups in that time.

Would I take finishing 5th again next year if we have a day out like Saturday again? Of course.

Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs have won more trophies this season than any other side:

  • Finishing Above Arsenal Cup
  • Most Points Over Two Seasons Trophy
  • Most Points in 2017 Trophy
  • Most Improved Cup
  • Top 4 Trophy

The reality is whilst they have had a good season for Spurs – finishing 2nd for the first time in over 60 years – they finished the season without a trophy.

It is now no league title since 1961. No FA Cup since 1991. No trophy since 2009. And yet they celebrate finishing 2nd and finishing above Arsenal with a pitch invasion.

They have looked very good this season. Scored goals at will and have had a mean defence. They were the 2nd best side in the league, and finished 2nd. 2nd is first loser.

Their fans will point to a low net spend, low wages in comparison to their opponents, but it is all a little bit Arsenal isn’t it? Justifying failures with excuses.

History will not show Spurs 2016/17 as showing progression with a low spend, it will them as once again not winning a trophy.

I guess when it comes down to it, success is relative. Finishing 2nd for a team like Spurs is a success. Finishing 2nd for the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea is a failure.

Mauricio Pochettino has still won nothing as a manager. Something that will need to change quick otherwise he will be labelled as a fraud.

Manchester City

If you spend £500m over a 3 year period and hire one of the most successful managers this century, you should expect more than a 3rd place finish.

Manchester City were never in the title race – finishing 15 points behind the champions, Chelsea. They struggled once more in Europe, winning just 3 out of 8 games, and saw their cup hopes end by Manchester United and Arsenal respectively.

Little has been written about Manchester City’s failures over the last 3 years. A single League Cup to show for £500m investment over that time is shocking. Add in the wage bill, they have spent £1billion in 3 years for that single League Cup.

They have already spent £80m-ish this summer on a new goal keeper and an attacking midfielder, but they once again show that it is not about what you spend, but who you spend it on.

The fact they have spent over £200m to find a partner for Vincent Kompany highlights how poor they have been in the transfer market. With the money they have backing them, they can afford to make expensive mistake after expensive mistake.

A failure of a season.

Liverpool

Anyone would think Liverpool had a brilliant season this year the way the press have gone on about them. Talk about how much they have progressed. How well they have played. How they are moving forward.

But the fact is they finished 4th, 1 point ahead of crisis hit Arsenal, 17 points behind the leaders, were never in the title race and ultimately, failed to win a single trophy – they now have just a single League Cup in 11 years.

I laughed when one media outlet spoke about ‘a tremendous points haul this season’. Laughable.

We all know why the press will never criticise Liverpool (scared of boycotts) but the fact remains that this has been an unsuccessful season for them.

The great Jurgen Klopp has attempted to deflect any negativity by claiming that Top 4 is as important as a trophy – note the lack of mocking from the media in comparison to when Arsene Wenger said similar.

Liverpool have qualified for the Champions League for the 2nd time in 8 years. If they were a small side, you would praise their efforts, but they are Liverpool, and for a club like them finishing 4th should not be something they celebrate.

The press paint them as having had a successful season, but the reality is, like Spurs, no trophy means no success.

Keenos

When was the last time your club won a trophy?

The fall out from this season continues. A lot of talk about progression over trophies and that Spurs finishing 2nd is a more successful season than Arsenal winning the FA Cup (if they do) got me thinking.

We had a decade of the media going mad every time Arsenal got knocked out of a competition. An extra year added to the Years Arsenal have gone without a trophy spreadsheet. And the press are already counting the years since the last league title.

Now whilst the decade of Arsenal not winning a trophy and 13 years without a league title is too long, and each year hurts, I do notice a double standard.

No other side in English football has their Years since they won something documented as much as Arsenal. So I put together a little bar chart. And this then expanded to a few more bar charts. Some of you might find it interesting reading. Others will probably say I am just trying to deflect from the criticism of Arsene Wenger and justify our failures using other clubs failures.

Whatever your thoughts or agenda, the below does make interesting reading: