The 10 worst European transfers of the season

Jacque Talbot
Jacque Talbot
  • Updated: 15 May 2024 15:53 BST
  • 8 min read
Mason Mount, Man Utd, 2023/24

The transfer window is a chance for clubs to bolster their squads and make much-needed improvements in positions that were perhaps lacking before.

But it does not always work out that way, as we can see from this list.

Article continues under the video

Millions of pounds are spent each window across Europe’s top five leagues, with fans hoping to see their respective sides match their own ambitions.

READ MORE: Who is Willian Pacho? The defensive machine eyed by Arsenal & Liverpool

But, indeed, sometimes the recruitment team gets things wrong and the clubs end up forking out too much on a player who failed to live up to expectations.

Here, FootballTransfers goes through ten of the worst transfers from this season.

Mason Mount - Man Utd

Mason Mount was hugely linked to Liverpool last summer but it was Manchester United that the midfielder signed for, in a deal worth €64.2 million.

Looking back, the Reds are probably thankful that Mount signed for their rivals - he has struggled to find fitness throughout, and when he has played for Erik ten Hag’s side, he has failed to regularly find goals or provide assists.

Mason Mount has seldom played this season
© IMAGO - Mason Mount has seldom played this season

The 25-year-old has just one goal and one assist to his name for the Red Devils in his inaugural season at Old Trafford - hardly making his excessive fee worth it.

READ MORE: Who is Michael Edwards? Ex-Liverpool transfer genius set to return

Randal Kolo Muani - PSG

Randal Kolo Muani was one of the top names where transfer rumours were concerned last year.

Man Utd and Bayern Munich all had an interested in the striker, according to reports at the time. But it was Paris Saint-Germain who stole the march and secured the signing of the Frenchman from Eintracht Frankfurt for €95m including all potential add-ons.

But Kolo Muani has failed to find form for the Ligue 1 champions. Despite netting some important goals during the season, he has netted just six goals in the French top division in 25 matches so far.

Neymar - Al-Hilal

Al-Hilal paid PSG €90 million for Neymar last summer but the superstar has hardly justified the move so far. Injuries has meant that the former Barcelona winger has featured in just three games for the club this campaign, netting a single goal in that time.

Neymar suffered a season-long injury in September
© IMAGO - Neymar suffered a season-long injury in September

Neymar, who reportedly earns €150m a year at the Saudi Pro League side, was unregistered in January after enduring a season-ending injury while playing for Brazil.

The 32-year-old is currently working his way back to fitness but it’s not clear when he will return.

Sandro Tonali - Newcastle

Sandro Tonali was brought in as Newcastle’s marquee signing during the summer of 2023. In what was a hugely surprising move, AC Milan allowed the Italian to depart to St James’ Park in a deal worth €64m.

Dan Ashworth was credited with the deal, which was considered a coup at the time, and Tonali got off to a flying start with the Magpies, netting in his Premier League debut against Aston Villa.

Subsequent displays were decent from Tonali but then, in October, the Italian media revealed that the 24-year-old was being investigated by the Italian Prosecutor's Office and the Italian Football Federation in relation to alleged illegal betting activity.

Tonali was banned for the rest of the season for the breaches, leaving Newcastle fans rueing over the fact that the money spent on the player could have been used to purchase a right-winger instead.

Romeo Lavia - Chelsea

Romeo Lavia’s move to Chelsea caused a bit of a stir given the links that were suggesting that Liverpool were the frontrunners to his signature.

The former Southampton man had several top Premier League sides vying for him following a breathless campaign with the Saints despite their relegation to the Championship.

Romeo Lavia has played just once for Chelsea all season
© IMAGO - Romeo Lavia has played just once for Chelsea all season

But it was Chelsea that beat others to the punch and brought in the 20-year-old into Stamford Bridge in a deal worth €62.1m.

But injuries have plagued the youngster’s entire campaign and he only ended up playing 32 minutes of football for the Blues since signing for them. Lavia could go on to become a solid buy, but taking this season into account alone, it’s been a terrible start.

Vitor Roque - Barcelona

Vitor Roque’s time at Barcelona could be over as soon as it’s begun. The forward joined the La Liga giants from Athletico Paranaense in Janaury and marked his debut with a goal against Osasuna. But it’s been a downhill slump since that.

Xavi said at the time of the youngster’s arrival: “He’s a hope for the team. He’s a very good signing and I think he can contribute a lot to us. So many positive things come to mind, I don’t have time to think about the alternative. Work, goals, sacrifice… He’s a player that attacks the space.”

But the club legend and current head coach has not been using Roque and instead placing him on the bench. Now suggestions are that Barcelona are trying to outsource him for a loan.

Jesper Lindstrom - Napoli

Jesper Lindstrom rejected interest from Premier League clubs Arsenal and Liverpool in order to sign for Napoli last summer.

The 2023 Serie A champions paid Frankfurt €25 million plus add-ons for a player who had been one of the Bundesliga's most exciting attacking midfielders.

Jesper Lindstrom has had a campaign to forget
© IMAGO - Jesper Lindstrom has had a campaign to forget

However, Lindstrom has been a total disaster for Napoli.

He has zero goals and zero assists in 28 appearances, most of them from the bench.

Napoli, meanwhile, have had the worst Scudetto defence in the history of Serie A as they sit in ninth place with two games left.

Leonardo Bonucci - Union Berlin

Juventus legend Leonardo Bonucci signed for Union Berlin before the start of this season, spelling an end to 13 in-consecutive years with the Old Lady.

He began life in the Bundesliga by conceding a penalty in 2–0 home defeat against Hoffenheim and it's been downhill from there.

The 37-year-old played just 10 games in all competitions for Union, before announcing that he would be leaving during the January transfer window.

The veteran centre-back joined Super Lig club Fenerbahce, where he’s been ever since.

Bryan Zaragoza - Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich opted to bring in signing Bryan Zaragoza early - it was agreed that the 22-year-old would join them at the start of the 2024–25 season for €15m, but following an injury to Kingsley Coman, he joined up with the Bundesliga giants on February 1.

The winger has so far failed to make an impression for Bayern, however, failing to find a goal contribution in six games for them, with Thomas Tuchel opting to leave him on the bench for most games.

 Bryan Zaragoza has been left out the Bayern starting XI
© IMAGO - Bryan Zaragoza has been left out the Bayern starting XI

The German was quizzed about the player’s lack of minutes, to which he said: “It was big step for him, very big step - to come from where he played, with all due respect, to a Champions League team and in a difficult moment. I fought hard together with my sporting director to convince him to join us.

"Then soon after we didn't have good results and decided with the club to part ways in the summer. Bryan doesn't speak the language, no good English, no German. So it takes time, every transfer takes time. We're happy with him. He trains with us, he's here with us - but he still needs a bit of time. Everything is in place"

Donny van de Beek - Frankfurt

Donny van de Beek‘s career has taken a severe nosedive ever since joining Man Utd from Ajax in 2020 for €39m. The 27-year-old struggled with injuries and a general lack of form before switching to Eintracht Frankfurt on loan in January.

But even with the German outfit, Van de Beek has failed to live up to the mark and it’s reported that they will not be exercising the option-to-buy clause inserted in the deal, which means that he will be heading back to Old Trafford at the end of the season.

His agent Guido Albers told ESPN of the situation: “For me it is a very nice moment in his career to pick it up again. We said together, 'back to basics'. He's lost that a bit in recent years.

“He is hungry and eager to please. I came to an agreement with Frankfurt for him. Frankfurt still had an option until June 30, which they will not exercise. Officially he is now going back to Manchester United and I am now in discussions with him. Donny does not want to stay in the Premier League, also because United do not want that. That is not a good choice for him.”

Never miss the next big transfer!

Get the latest transfer insights and analyses directly in your mailbox.