Our 2016/17 Premier League wrap-up continues with the worst midfield signings of the season.
While the likes of N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba led the way with positive showings in the colours of their new clubs, these five failed to make an impact.
Some are harsh, some understandable and others just downright poor; these are the five worst midfield signings of the 2016/17 Premier League.
5. Robert Snodgrass – Hull City to West Ham for £10 million
In need of some creative cover following the sale of Dimitri Payet, West Ham turned to Robert Snodgrass from Hull City in the January transfer market.
Justifiably so; Snodgrass shined in his 20 league appearances for Hull, scoring seven goals, assisting three, holding an 82.9% passing accuracy and laying on 45 key passes.
However, since signing for The Hammers, Snodgrass has hardly looked like half the player he was in the first half of the 2016/17 Premier League.
From his 15 appearances for his new club, Snodgrass has dropped to 17 key passes from 15 games (or 2.3 key passes per game with Hull to 1.1 key passes per game with West Ham), scored no goals, assisted twice and completed just five of his 14 attempted dribbles.
Perhaps this signing wasn’t so bad after all, at least on a personal level for Snodgrass. His former club have dropped straight back down to the Championship, while there’s every chance he could get another shot at Premier League football next season with The Hammers.
4. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – Bayern Munich to Southampton for £13 million
Southampton had freedom to manoeuvre in the transfer market as they wished following the sales of Sadio Mane, Graziano Pelle and Victor Wanyama, but have failed to adequately replace any of those players thus far.
Hojbjerg came in as a prospect from Bayern Munich in need of first-team football, as attempted through loan spells with Augsburg and Schalke. His £13 million move to Southampton seemed a steal given his potential, but the 21-year-old has a long way to go.
He finished the season with 22 Premier League appearances, only 14 of which were starts, scoring and assisting none, but has put in reasonable defensive numbers from midfield with 33 interceptions and 44 tackles.
Hojbjerg could have easily been replaced here with Sofiane Boufal, signed for a club record £16 million from Lille. However, Boufal did show glimpses of his obvious talent in his 24 appearances and dealt with several injury problems in a stop-start season.
3. Steven Pienaar – Everton to Sunderland on a free transfer
Sunderland have several entries on worst defensive and midfield signings for the season and, when looking at transfers like this, it’s becoming easy to see why.
David Moyes has simply gone to the well one too many times, signing players from his Everton days once again (Joleon Lescott in the other article), opting for the experience of South African midfielder Steven Pienaar
Make no mistake, Pienaar was a solid player under Moyes at Everton. He has 61 appearances for his national side and has player in over 200 Premier League games for Everton, Tottenham and Sunderland.
At 34 years of age (when Moyes signed him), Pienaar was more of a hopeful signing than one out of expectance. He went on to make just 15 appearances, scoring and assisting none, before continual calf, hamstring and ankle problems interrupted his season.
He started just one game in 2017 and now sits within the thick layer of deadwood that Sunderland’s next manager needs to clean out, as David Moyes has left the club following their relegation to the Championship.
2. Jordan Ibe – Liverpool to Bournemouth for £15 million
Bournemouth have performed well above expectations for the second Premier League season in a row, finishing 9th, but transfer business like this will do nothing for their long-term security.
Jordan Ibe has been one of the lower profile disappointments of the season, failing to register a goal or assist in 25 Premier League appearances for The Cherries.
He left Liverpool in search of first-team football, which Eddie Howe offered him by starting him in 11 league games up until November. Since then he’s started just twice, and the remainder of his appearances have been sporadic showings off the bench.
The 21-year-old impressed in spells of the 2015/16 season for Liverpool, forcing Bournemouth to make him their club record signing, but the opportunity has thus far passed him by.
1. Moussa Sissoko – Newcastle to Tottenham for £30 million
Quite possibly the only downside in what has been an amazing season for Tottenham.
Moussa Sissoko’s performances in last year’s European Championship with France suggested he was worth every bit of the money Spurs paid for him, but Sissoko has turned out to be nothing more than a peripheral figure.
In fact, Sissoko has turned into a £30 million bench-warmer since joining from relegated Newcastle in the summer, finishing the season with a measly eight Premier League starts.
Overall, he made 33 appearances in all competitions, scoring none and assisting twice to stand as the Premier League’s most expensive midfield flop of the season.