The most expensive football signings of 2021 across Europe who haven’t lived up to the expectations and why!
Jadon Sancho of Manchester United, Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea, and Jack Grealish of Manchester City have all been criticized for failing to live up to their $100 million transfer costs.
Sancho, in particular, has struggled and has only scored once in the Premier League.
However, he is far from the only expensive football signings of 2021 to have struggled recently.
Only five of the ten most significant international transfers in 2021 have played more than 1,000 minutes of league soccer this season, and only one of them, Tammy Abraham, is among their teams’ top five players, according to whoscored.com.
Several players on the list have had an even smaller impact on their respective teams than Sancho has had on Manchester United.
Only a few of the 20 Premier League clubs’ all-time best players are also their all-time record signings.
The only true contenders are Watford’s Ismaila Sarr, Southampton’s Danny Ings (currently at Aston Villa), Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans, and Everton’s Richarlison.
Only Jadon Sancho, Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong, and Chelsea’s Kai Havertz are in the top twenty-five all-time transfer costs, according to the CIES football observatory’s top twenty most valued players at the start of 2021.
Most of the players on CIES’ most valuable player list were either developed by their current club, such as Manchester City’s Phil Foden or Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood or were signed at a young age, such as Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland and Jude Bellingham.
Free transfers frequently wind up costing more in salary and signing on fees than paid moves, making them no better value than paid transfers.
On the other hand, high transfer fees are frequently paid in exchange for potential.
Except for Raphael Varane and Romelu Lukaku, all of the 10 most expensive foreign transfers of 2021 are under 25 years old and have recently completed their first major transfer.
Six players on the list are still under the age of 23.
Only one of CIES’ most important players is beyond the age of 25.
This means that when those players sign with a new club, they aren’t yet at the level of ability that justifies their pay, therefore it’s understandable if they don’t win Player of the Year in their first season, like Sancho and Havertz did.
The gap between transfer fees and a player’s instant influence appears to be wider than ever, especially with transfer fee inflation causing players to cost clubs twice as much as they did just a few seasons ago.
Because of the disconnect between transfer costs and what happens on the field, using transfer fees to predict a player’s impact on a team is becoming increasingly futile.
It’s also pointless to term players like Sancho or Havertz “failures” after only a few months at a new club.