Our summary of transfer activity from the 2016/17 Premier League season wraps up with a list of the top-five flop attacking signings of the campaign.
The list could easily be stretched out to a top-ten considering some of the profligate transfers made across the Premier League, as is quickly becoming the norm with the significant monetary coups that clubs take in for participating in the world’s most lucrative league.
Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi is a signing that could easily register here, and definitely would be if not for the last few weeks of the season. The Belgian striker was a mere footnote in Antonio Conte’s Chelsea, an expensive bench player who failed to make the starting line-up in the Premier League until their penultimate game of the season.
Up until that point, Batshuayi had just one league goal to his name. At the end of the season, he finished with five league goals, and nine overall, despite making just seven starts in all competitions. Such a lack of playing time prevents us from ever knowing what could have, or what could still be of the transfer, and the quality he showed towards the end of the season rules him out of this list.
5. Vincent Janssen – AZ Alkmaar to Tottenham for £17 million
After scoring a whopping 31 goals in 2015/16 for AZ Alkmaar, Vincent Janssen made the move to the English Premier League with Tottenham at just 22 years of age.
Bringing plenty of hype with him following his Johan Cruyff trophy win, awarded to the Dutch ‘Talent of the Year’, Janssen has turned into one of the biggest flops of the season.
Janssen made only 12 starts spread across the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League and Europa League, registering a further 26 appearances from the bench and scoring six times.
His goal-to-game ratio seems reasonable considering his limited starts, but four of those six strikes came from the penalty spot, and the Dutchman did not score from open play until March.
Overall, Janssen has shown glimpses of talent in his limited playing time but has not yet merited the fee Spurs paid for him, and could be on his way out of the club in the summer with the likes of Galatasaray, Lazio and Wolfsburg considering a move.
4. Ahmed Musa – CSKA Moscow to Leicester City for £16 million
Ahmed Musa was one of two expensive signings that Leicester City could afford to make following the success of 2015/16, the other being Algerian striker Islam Slimani.
While neither of them made the huge impact that their transfer fees might have suggested, Slimani proved useful in his scattered appearances for The Foxes, netting eight times in 29 outings (16 of them starts).
As for Musa, his campaign was much more of a letdown. Capable of playing either up front or on the flank, he failed to deliver a single assist all season and scored just four times from 32 appearances in all competitions.
The one similarity that his season had with Slimani is a lack of starting berths. Musa made just seven Premier League starts and 13 for the season, suggesting that constant squad rotation did nothing to aid the Nigerian’s adaptation to English football.
3. Wilfried Bony – Manchester City to Stoke City on loan
It’s fair to say that Wilfried Bony won’t be a Stoke City player next season.
Frozen-out by manager Mark Hughes, Wilfried Bony has not been seen on a football pitch at club level since late December, and hit out at his boss after he was urged to be ‘patient’ for his return to the squad.
Bony’s loan signing turned out to be one of the most underwhelming transfers of this Premier League campaign, making just 10 starts for Stoke and scoring twice in a move that hoped to revive his form after two disappointing seasons with Manchester City.
The Ivorian striker was one of several City players loaned out by Pep Guardiola in the summer, and is reportedly being monitored by Premier League clubs West Ham, West Brom and Everton, as well as Galatasaray and Lyon should Bony want to move abroad.
2. Borja Baston – Atletico Madrid to Swansea City for £15.5 million
When Swansea hit the mark with the signing of one Spanish striker, Fernando Llorente, they also proved that lightning can’t strike twice with the club-record purchase of Borja Baston.
The 24-year-old only ever made one appearance for his selling club, Atletico Madrid, before being sent out on no less than five loan spells across the top two tiers of Spanish football.
His loan spells were mostly productive, scoring 22 times in the Segunda Division with Real Zaragoza in 2014/15, and then going one step further with 18 strikes in La Liga with Eibar in 2015/16.
Baston’s knack for scoring prompted Swansea to splash £15.5 million for his services, but the move, like most areas of Swansea’s season, was a complete disaster. The club are now seeking to cut their losses as the Spaniard isn’t likely to feature in Paul Clement’s plans for next season.
Baston scored just one goal from 20 appearances, making only six starts across the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup.
1. Simone Zaza – Juventus to West Ham on loan (plus a £5 million loan fee)
The Hammers signed Italian striker Simone Zaza on a season-long loan which would allow them to make the move permanent for £20 million after a certain number of Premier League appearances.
However, the move turned out to be so calamitous that West Ham had made their minds up after just half a season, terminating the loan spell after 11 appearances.
Zaza failed to score in his brief spell in East London, where he started only five league games before being reduced to just substitute appearances for the remainder of the year.
A knee injury in December would essentially end any hope of a revival with The Hammers, who parted ways with the Italian some five months after completing his signing.
Zaza’s season had a positive ending on a personal level, as he hit six La Liga goals in 18 appearances in another loan move, this time with Valencia.
What did you think of the series? Let us know in the comments section below.
Also, the complete list of ‘best and worst’ articles can be found here.