With Denis Suarez reportedly set to be sent back to Barcelona early after his failed loan spell at Arsenal and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer supposedly wanting to ship the £500,000-a week Alexis Sanchez, here’s a look at some of the Premier League’s finer flops.
Beginning with those already mentioned, Denis Suarez has had a time to forget in north London. Managing a meagre six appearances, all from the substitute’s bench, Suarez has offered remarkably little to Unai Emery. It looks as if the deal will not be made permanent in the summer, and that the Spaniard will return to Barcelona having added nothing to his career.
At least Arsenal aren’t paying Suarez over half-a-million pounds a week, which is what marquee-signing Alexis Sanchez is costing Manchester United. Fourteen months into his move up north, and Sanchez is yet to light up Old Trafford. Whether he finds himself injured or on the bench, he certainly is scoring the goals that demanded his weekly wage. Mustering just three league goals in that time (he netted twenty-four in 2016/17), Sanchez has often appeared frustrated in the red of Manchester United. The Sanchez paradox is all the more confusing bearing in mind he is undoubtedly a proven Premier League player. To Suarez’s defence, he is not.
Staying in Manchester, who can forget Angel Di Maria’s fateful season in 2014/15? The £59 million paid to Real Madrid was at the time a British transfer record. Combined with his taking of United’s legendary number seven shirt, these were exciting times for the Premier League. A promising start – including THAT chip against Leicester – soon turned sour, with injuries, a red card, and three league goals to show after what would be his one and only season in Manchester.
Rewind to January 2011, and the name Fernando Torres automatically brought to mind the word ‘goals’. After a £50 million move from Liverpool (another British record at the time), Torres had to wait 903 minutes on the pitch before scoring his first goal for the Blues, on 23rd April. Different to the others so far, Torres spent a decent length of time in SW6, appearing 110 times in the league, netting a humble twenty goals. Compare that to the 65 goals he scored in 102 appearances for Liverpool and the ‘flop’ status is confirmed. His goal at the Nou Camp did go quite a long way to avoiding that, though.
It is far easier to dub an attacking player a ‘flop’ bearing in mind goals scored and chances created stats are so readily available. Sadly for them, a lack of goals usually equates to this unwanted label.
Unless you are Olivier Giroud, of Arsenal, Chelsea and French fame. Briefly moving away from the Premier League, he made headlines last summer for not managing a shot on target during the 546 minutes of football he played for France during their victorious World Cup campaign.
The pampered, expertly-groomed Giroud still managed to take the plaudits for his unrivalled hold-up play that paved the path for the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann to steal headlines.
Giroud is being kept out of the Chelsea line-up by one Gonzalo Higuain, who has hardly failed to light up Stamford Bridge since his January arrival. Giroud, ever the professional, keeps feeding off the scraps that is game-time in the Europa League, where his goal-scoring form has been formidable.
The list of ‘flops’ continues to grow and grow year on year. Max Meyer, paid £170,000 a week by Crystal Palace, is one of this year’s crop of flopping footballers in the Premier League. Used mostly from the bench, Meyer has left often left the Selhurst Park faithful bereft of optimism this term.
Who would be a footballer, after all?
Image: Ronnie MacDonald via Flickr