The consequences of the global pandemic had little to no effect on the Premier League club’s spending ahead of the 2020-21 season. While Chelsea ended up splashing over £200m on new signings, the likes of Manchester City and Leeds United weren’t behind.
However, money never guarantees success and these spendings have also had mixed results so far. While there have been players like Tomas Soucek, Ollie Watkins and James Rodriguez, who have impressed one and all, there have been others who have failed to live up the hype.
Today, we take a look at five such players who have struggled to live up to the expectations.
Willian - Arsenal
Willian arrived at Arsenal amidst much fan-fare and the Brazilian put on a man-of-the-match performance on his PL debut for the Gunners as well, assisting two goals in a 3-0 win over Fulham. However, that has been his only notable contribution in an Arsenal shirt till date. Since then, he has only provided a solitary assist and has failed to score a single goal across four different competitions. What’s more worrisome is the fact that his conversion rate has deteriorated considerably as he averages1.3 shots per 90 minutes. Note that this is the same player who bagged 11 goals last season with Chelsea.
Kai Havertz - Chelsea
Kai Havertz became the most expensive player of the 2020 summer transfer window when Chelsea decided to pay £71million to Bayer Leverkusen for the 21-year-old. Coming at the back of a fantastic season in Bundesliga, where he had scored 18 goals and nine assists, fans and experts had expected a commanding display from the German but the youngster has not only failed to justify his price tag, but his ineffective displays have drawn extreme criticism as well. So far, the 21-year-old has scored four goals across four competitions and has provided as many assists.
Donny van de Beek - Manchester United
The signing of Donny van de Beek from Ajax was a smooth transition, to say the least, but many supporters and even the former players questioned why he was signed by Manchester United in the first place. Fast forward to the date and the 23-year-old still remains a deviant figure at the club. Regardless of the talent he brings, the title of being one of the worst transfers comes on the back of an extreme muddle as no one is still aware of his best position. Manager Ole Gunnar-Solksjaer has answered the questions regarding his absence in sheer professionalism, but the fact remains that he has started just two league games this season
Timo Werner - Chelsea
"At the beginning, I had this self-image that I can go on doing my thing here, but in the last few months, I have been brought down to earth. It's the way in England that you never have a quiet game,” striker Timo Werner recently made an honest admission about his time in the Premier League.
The German international, who bagged 34 goals and 13 assists for RB Leipzig last season, has been relatively quiet in the Premier League this term. Joining the Blues for £47.5 million, the 24-year-old fell short of expectations and has failed to adapt to the rugged style of the league, meaning that he has been limited to just five goals in the league; a far cry from the standard he showcased last season. Now, there are several reasons as to why Werner has been failing to find the goal, with one being Frank Lampard’s use of the striker. During the tenure of the former manager, Werner was used in four different positions and that pretty much explains why he is struggling with consistency.
Rhian Brewster - Sheffield United
Splashing a club-record £23.5 million for a player who was yet to make a single Premier League appearance was always going to be a gamble, and that hasn’t really paid off well for Sheffield United this season. The signing of Rhian Brewster from Liverpool received rave reviews considering the fact that he had scored 11 goals in 22 games during his brief loan spell at Swansea City in the 2019-20 Championship season. That £23.5 million, however, has given Sheffield United 734 league minutes, zero goals and as many assists. The 20-year-old has made 18 Premier League appearances so far and averages a mere 0.7 shots per game; certainly not a figure that he wants to be associated with.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Ian Kington, Stu Forster