The five worst summer signings in Premier League so far

FT Desk
  • FT Desk
  • 22 Sep 2022 13:48 BST
  • 5 min read
FT Desk 22 Sep 2022 13:48 BST 5 min read
Darwin Nunez in action for Liverpool.

Darwin Nunez so far has one goal and one red card in the Premier League to show for his €100m move from Benfica to Liverpool, but he hasn't been alone in flopping…

Darwin's form stands in stark contrast to Erling Haaland's, who has plundered 11 goals at a rate of one every 52 minutes since swapping Borussia Dortmund for Manchester City - for €40m less.

That's not to say the English champions got everything right, either. Football Transfers looks at five of the worst arrivals this summer.

5) Denis Zakaria - Juventus to Chelsea on loan with €30m option to buy

Denis Zakaria arrived at Chelsea on loan from Juventus on transfer deadline day, the club keen to bolster things in central midfield with Jorginho and N'Golo Kante both now the wrong side of 30 and out of contract at the end of the season.

But Thomas Tuchel, the manager who signed Zakaria, was sacked days later, to be replaced by Graham Potter, and the former Brighton man seems reluctant to trust the Swiss international midfielder.

Admittedly, Potter has only had one game in charge - a 1-1 draw with Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League - but Zakaria watched the whole thing from the bench with Jorginho partnered by Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount in central midfield. Conor Gallagher got on ahead of Zakaria late in the game.

Zakaria had positively pedestrian stats at Juventus, and things don't augur well for a permanent deal.

4) Oleksandr Zinchenko - Man City to Arsenal for €36.6m

Oleksandr Zinchenko is a fine player, one who won four Premier League titles in his six seasons with Manchester City before making the move - alongside Gabriel Jesus - to Arsenal this summer.

Zinchenko hasn't disappointed when he has played so far this term, helping Arsenal to the top of the Premier League, but the problem is that he featured in their first three games, returned for a 3-1 loss at Manchester United, then got inured again.

Zinchenko will now miss Ukraine's UEFA Nations League games against Scotland and Armenia with a calf strain. The Scotland double-header would have seen him line up against a player he was ostensibly signed to replace in Kieran Tierney.

Arsenal solved their injury-prone left-back problem with an injury-prone left-back.

3) Kalvin Phillips - Leeds to Man City for €51.4m

At this rate, Haaland will go down as one of the greatest Premier League acquisitions of all-time. It's early days, but so far he has cost just €4.2m per goal in all competitions - a number that is getting driven down every game.

For context, the £100m (€114.6) Jack Grealish has had just over a season at the Eithad and set City back €16.4m per goal.

Phillips hasn't been signed to score goals, rather to help anchor a midfield built to stop them going in the other direction. But he missed 16 games through injury with Leeds last season, and has only managed 13 minutes in all competitions for City this.

Phillips is now set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after undergoing shoulder surgery, and has an uphill battle to dislodge Rodri - something he might have struggled to do anyway.

2) Casemiro - Real Madrid to Man Utd for €80m

Casemiro arrived at Manchester United from Real Madrid with a significant pedigree as a defensive midfielder who has won the Champions League no fewer than five times, reuniting with Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane in the Red Devils' dressing room.

But United's recent upturn in form, which has seen four consecutive wins - including victories over Liverpool and Arsenal - has barely included the Brazilian, with Scott McTominay shining in his stead.

There is still time for Casemiro to bed into Erik ten Hag's preferred 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 system, but McTominay has raised his game since his arrival, and had a 100 per cent pass completion against Arsenal.

And €80m is a lot of money for a player who turns 31 in February, let alone one that might see a competitor five years his junior overtake him this season.

1) Darwin Nunez - Benfica to Liverpool for €100m

There was significant excitement at Anfield when Liverpool signed Darwin from Benfica, not least from manager Jurgen Klopp, who described the Uruguayan as an "extremely good-looking boy! And a decent player!"

Goals in the Community Shield against Man City and the opening day of the Premier League augured well, but since then Darwin has picked up a three-game ban for headbutting Crystal Palace's Joachim Andersen and fired seven big chances off-target.

Liverpool lost Sadio Mane in a €41m deal to Bayern Munich this summer, and Darwin was supposed to replace some of his goals in the final third, if not exactly his style of attacking output.

But instead Liverpool have got off to their worst Premier League start under Klopp, and some are questioning if the manager's seven-year cycle is happening again.

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