Most disappointing transfers of the 2019/2020 season

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 31.8.2020.

Most disappointing transfers of the 2019/2020 season

Having high hopes only to see them fall short is a constant of life but even more frequent for football fans. Getting your excitement up when the first transfers rumours connect your club to a rated player in late spring and then latching onto the story became a tradition. When the official confirmation of a deal comes, it can feel like Christmas for grown men. We suppress the known fact that some of these players are bound to become flops. Like these most disappointing transfers of the 2019/2020 season did.

For a year, to be fair, there’s still hope for some of them to turn it around. If not, a few on this list could join Chelsea’s Fernando Torres’ on the biggest flops of all-time list.

But a season of failed expectations with millions of transfer fee euros on your back, in this (social) media climate, can truly wear on players. We’ve included some of these most disappointing signings of the previous season on our predictions for the best signings of the summer and winter transfer windows. It alone doesn’t feel good. Let alone giving tens of millions of Euros to sign a player.

Yet, the reasons for a bad season of a newcomer are plenty: injuries, managerial change, miscommunication between the sporting director and the head coach, not fitting in the locker room… We take a look at how and possibly why did these signings fail in their first season.

10. Joao Cancelo - Juventus to Manchester City for Danilo + €30,000,000

While his performances were far from abysmal, Joao Cancelo arrived at Etihad to a domestic treble-winning side, with an impressive CV, a massive transfer fee, and failed to make a difference. Not only did City send Danilo to Juventus for him, but they also paid €30,000,000 making the deal worth somewhere in the region of €65,000,000.

Cancelo received a six-year contract at City, and why wouldn't he. During his season in Italy, he was often the best right and left-back in the world simultaneously. Yet, at City, he only managed to earn 17 appearances in the league with Kyle Walker being his only competition. The Portuguese managed one goal and one assist in 33 games he played overall.

9. David Luiz - Chelsea to Arsenal for 9,000,000

A transfer so disappointing that the fans started calling David Luiz a Trojan horse at the Emirates. Luiz was so poor the only reason he isn't ranked higher on this list is that the fee was acceptable for such an experienced player. Although, one that has been playing in the wrong position for most of his life.

As a centre-back, Luiz is always a liability by either going to high up the pitch or by making the reckless tackle in the box. A signature card of his first Arsenal season. With his technical skills, he would be a far better choice at the defensive midfielder position. Despite all of his shortcomings, he did manage to play in 44 games last season and win the FA Cup.

8. Luka Jovic - Eintracht Frankfurt to Real Madrid for €60,000,000

A €60,000,000 paid striker who only netted twice and recorded two assists ranked as high as eight? Well, Luka Jovic has some damn good excuses for such a poor showing after a fire season that recommended him to Real Madrid in the first place. The Serbian scored 27 goals in his last season with Eintracht but he spent 3,302 minutes on the pitch. He represented Real for only 806 minutes overall.

Out of his 17 league appearances, only four didn't come from the bench. Furthermore, InsideSport can confirm from the sources close to Luka that knew he wouldn't get plenty of chances in his first season. What’s more concerning is his love life that seems to have taken over his focus and focus was the main difference in Benfica Luka Jovic and Eintracht Luka Jovic.

7. Sebastien Haller - Eintracht Frankfurt to West Ham for €50,000,000

Back to back, two former Eintracht Frankfurt strikers and as much as they did bring joy to the club in a memorable season, the executives of the Bundesliga side must be rubbing their hands in satisfaction. Haller is West Ham's record signing and hence the biggest disappointment as the tall striker didn't deliver.

Only seven goals for a striker paid that sum draws the eyes to Haller's name when looking for a reason for West Ham's relegation battle this season. While the summer looked hopeful as ever. The Hammers didn’t strike gold with their other major summer signing Pablo Fornals even though he arrived with an even better pedigree.

6. Moise Kean - Juventus to Everton for €30,800,000

There are no fools at Juventus. Even though the young forward got the opportunity from Max Allegri in the 2018/2019 season, scoring some popular goals, the Old Lady was quick and easy to give out on the then-teenager. Something was fishy about that and considering the number of flops recorded by Everton, it's clear - as with West Ham - that money alone isn't the solution for transfer success.

Keane played in 29 games of the English top division, 33 matches overall, and his record is mere two goals and two assists to his name. He spent only 1,024 minutes on the pitch despite working with an Italian manager Carlo Ancelotti.

5. Nicolas Pepe - Lille to Arsenal for €80,000,000

Eight goals and 10 assists in the whole season don’t look so bad but it absolutely is when you were paid €80,000,000 and don't have youth as the excuse. Nicolas Pepe is 25 and in his 42 matches, he showed only glimpses of ability a player of that value needs to deliver week-in, week-out. While often making negative viral videos, not quite his teammate from this list at least.

If anything, Pepe showed how Ligue 1 is still a risky market to dive in as players don't transition well to other leagues consistently. In 31 Premier League matches Pepe scored five goals and got six assists. Even if he doubled his league output in the 2020/2021 season he would be considered a flop with that price tag attached to him.

4. Alex Iwobi - Arsenal to Everton for €39,000,000

The second appearance of Toffees on the list confirms their reputation of a flop factory, established a couple of windows ago. With Alex Iwobi, Arsenal earned on the infamous English player tax as they sold a player who scored 15 goals for them in 149 matches for nearly 40 million euros.

Although a winger, Iwobi failed to make a single assist this season in 29 matches he played and 1,941 minutes spent on the pitch. At that, he scored only one PL goal and one other in the league cup. For a 24-year-old simply switching clubs, not leagues, Iwobi was a major disappointment in a side that will never reach the ambitious heights it aims for until their recruitment improves.

3. Joelinton - Hoffenheim to Newcastle United for €45,000,000

Almost as disappointing as their failed takeover by the Saudis, Newcastle United fans at least became numb to failed high expectations after their prime signing failed miserably. A club-record signing, the 24-year-old played in every possible Premier League game and only managed to bag two goals. The Magpies said goodbye to their supporter Aleksandar Mitrovic even though he delivered better stats for a smaller fee.

Combined with the cup games, the Brazilian played in 44 games, scored four goals and made as many assists. All while he was expected to lead the charge towards Europe. Joelinton almost made our list of best transfers of the summer window last year after the market was closed, that’s how good his performances with the German side were. Yet, turning a stint is far harder with the encumbering €45,000,000 hanging from your shirt.

2. Tanguy Ndombele - Lyon to Tottenham for €72,000,000

After reaching the Champions League for the first time in history and their stadium almost finished at the time, Spurs fans were hoping for a summer to remember. What they got is the beginning of an end for an era. Tanguy Ndombele played a major role indirectly in that. Mauricio Pochettino didn't want him yet he became the club's biggest signing in history! This created the massive rift between the manager and the board.

Yet, that's not Ndombele's direct fault. But his performances were as was his approach which lacked after Jose Mourinho arrived at the club as well. Ndombele is one of these most disappointing signings of the 2019/2020 season who is in serious danger of becoming a solidified flop. Mourinho criticized his professionalism openly and rumours of his departure from London are heating up day by day.

Not only costing the club the pivotal season that was supposed to establish them as perennial contenders but also the reputation for conducting business.

1. Eden Hazard - Chelsea to Real Madrid for €100,000,000

The second Real Madrid man on this list despite the title returning to Santiago Bernabeu, as it was mostly due to the worst possible seasons by Atletico and Barca. In Eden Hazard (29), Real bought a dependable, consistent maestro as he played in 348 league games for Lille and Chelsea in the last decade. Yet, what they got was an injury-riddled regular winger, with a check of €100,000,000.

In the whole season, despite it being so prolonged and allowing players to recover from injuries, Eden Hazard played in only 16 league games, scoring one goal. A €100,000,000 per goal as brilliant internet mathematicians noticed.

Seven assists in his 22 games overall don't help his case much as Hazard struggled with injuries and with weight both. While the first problem seems like pure luck, it's in fact closely related to the nutrition and the weight placed on the body. So Hazard has to raise his hands up and admit his fault. He indirectly admitted to being one of the most disappointing transfers of the 2019/2020 season as he boldly stated: "I will be judged by my second season!"

Cleanse your palate of the disappointment and look at the last season’s signings who turned out great.


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