The Premier League attracts some of the best talent from across the globe. With its financial clout, history and worldwide audience, it’s not the most surprising thing written about football in England.
However, that doesn’t stop some teams signing some real duds. Sometimes they overpay, some fail to make the step up to the big club or some just simply struggle to adjust to a new league.
Here’s a look at 10 transfers during the 2016/17 season that clubs will be hoping they can find the receipt for.
#10 Jordon Ibe – Bournemouth
A move that raised eyebrows in the summer and has only created furrowed ones since, Jordon Ibe was initially taken as a statement of intent by Bournemouth. Unfortunately for them, that was spending millions on what turned out to be an expensive bench warmer.
The England youth international showed glimpses of potential when on loan at Derby County and briefly with Liverpool too but never became the difference maker that a £15m signing should be for a second-season top flight club.
Zero goals and assists throughout a campaign is a terrible return. Saying that, he is only 21 which gives him a little more leeway to improve in the future but he will need to really pull something impressive out of the bag to ever live up to his move to the south coast.
#9 Loic Remy – Crystal Palace
With his Chelsea career all but over, Loic Remy decided that a move across London could help reignite both his fitness and form. The former failed him again at Crystal Palace, while the latter never got off the ground when he was available for selection.
The Frenchman missed the first half of the season through various injuries before falling out with new manager Sam Allardyce after he reportedly criticised his tactics during training. Limited to just seven appearances in all competitions, failing to register a single goal or assist.
Palace will be glad they weren’t duped into signing him permanently while the 30-year-old might opt for a hop back over the pond in the hope that home comforts might cure what ails him. Having shown real promise at Newcastle United and in Ligue 1 before that, it would be sad not to see him have one last moment in the sun.
#8 Loris Karius – Liverpool
If the much-maligned Simon Mignolet has beaten you to the starting job, alarm bells should be ringing. £8m at the time seemed a steal when the Reds lured him to England from Mainz, with the young German expected to be the shot-stopper they had been praying for.
Instead, Karius proved to be a bag of nerves almost every time he stepped onto the field. He struggled to be commanding on crosses, his 69% pass completion rating is appalling in a Jurgen Klopp side and he made just 14 saves in 10 appearances, conceding 13 goals.
Those are some impressive stats, for all the wrong reasons. With the Belgian replacing him and actually improving as the season went on, even at 23, it could be a long road back to the number one spot at Anfield for Karius.
#7 Claudio Bravo – Manchester City
Brought in as a better fit in Guardiola's tika taka style, Claudio Bravo was to be Manchester City's pass master supreme between the sticks. Unfortunately for the Citizens, the Chilean international might be better served as a sieve for the canteen than a shot stopper, after a stat in late January revealed he let in 42.59% of shots he faced.
With Joe Hart unlikely to return and Willy Caballero moving on to pastures new, Bravo may have thought he stood a chance to start next season. That is until reports emerged that City are closing in on Benfica’s Ederson in a £33m deal, money you don’t spend on a substitute goalkeeper.
So back to the bench the 34-year-old goes, which is a shame for someone who did shine at times for Barcelona in the past. Maybe next time Pep Guardiola should focus on finding a goalkeeper with good hands first, rather than good feet, which even then he was wrong.
#6 Viktor Fischer – Middlesbrough
Formerly an up-and-coming prospect at Ajax, Viktor Fischer initially looked like a real coup for the north east club. Still only 22, there was a real optimism that he could blossom into a steal for the Riverside club as they looked to add more creativity as they stepped up to the Premier League.
Unfortunately, he brought all too little of that. Flashes of decent play in the first half of the season, two assists in 12 appearances, all came in brief appearances off the bench or in short starts.
After Christmas, the Danish forward did not feature until relegation was already confirmed, creating an assist in a meaningless game against Southampton. If you can’t break into a team that scored 27 goals all season, you have to be worried about your future prospects at the top level.
#5 Wilfried Bony – Stoke City
Wilfried Bony’s last few years almost seems like one of those cartoons where a character falls through the floor of a building, only to continuously drop deeper as his weight crushes the floor below that and so on.
His Manchester City excursion didn’t pay off for either party and a move to Stoke City looked on paper to be exactly the refresh he needed. A club looking for a brutish striker, a chance at a significant game time and a similar club to the one he profited in previously at Swansea City, it all made sense.
Until he barely showed up. Two goals, a number of lumbering performances and fallings out with management, it’s no surprise he’ll be heading back to the Etihad this summer only to be shown the door yet again as he tries to lumber his way into another club.
#4 Borja Baston – Swansea City
No one scores like Baston, no one flails like Baston, no one costs so much money than sinks like Baston. After a fabulous season for Eibar in Spain, many expected the Spaniard to even compete for a starting place at his then-parent club Atletico Madrid.
Swansea City then promptly made him their record signing, with the Spaniard joining for a £15m fee, which again had those who saw him in La Liga praising the Welsh club’s move. That smugness quickly faded after one goal in 20 appearances, with the 24-year-old completing 90 minutes just once, showed just how difficult it can be to move to another league.
With a knack for being caught offside, being caught on the ball or being caught running around in circles, it’s just good for the Swans that they had another Spaniard to score the goals to keep them safe this season. And if reports are to be believed, no one will leave like Baston in this transfer window either.
#3 Brice Dja Djedje – Watford
If you remembered that Brice Dja Djedje went to Vicarage Road this summer, pat yourself on the back because even the club seemed to forget him. The Ivory Coast international joined Watford for £3m but didn’t even make their Premier League squad for the season.
In fact, the 26-year-old made two cup appearances all season, costing the London club £1.5m per appearance. A total of 99 minutes on the pitch means just over £30,000 per minute played and for all it did to help the Hornets advance, they might as well put it through a shredder or made fancy origami out of it.
Dja Djedje was a decent player in a struggling L’OM side the season before but English fans may never know if he’s actually any good. In what was a strange old season for Watford, signing him might have been the most peculiar, which is saying something.
#2 Simone Zaza – West Ham United
After their first, second, third, fourth and probably fifth option for forward targets failed in the summer, West Ham United settled on Simone Zaza. The fact it took so long to get to the Italian should tell you that this looked like a bad move from the off.
Unable to surpass the abundance of attacking talent at Juventus, the 25-year-old joined the London club on loan with an obligation to purchase for €20m after a certain number of appearances. Since he’s now at Valencia, that again should tell you that they held off from hitting that target so they didn’t have to buy the misfiring forward.
No goals in 11 games in a team desperate for more firepower only exacerbates how frustrating a move this was. The Hammers’ search for a consistent goal-scorer who can stay fit as well is slowly becoming an epic saga.
#1 Joleon Lescott – Sunderland
Put a fridge on the field, it would have run quicker than Joleon Lescott. Just as Sunderland were sinking into the quicksand, David Moyes called on his old Everton stalwart to help plug a leaky defence.
Unsurprisingly, it did not work out. He was in and out of the squad in a method so erratic that it seems like the Scotsman’s team sheets were to the tune of the Hokey Cokey and 33 minutes off the bench made as much impact as a fly landing on the pitch.
He did get a nice run out for what was essentially John Terry’s testimonial, so there’s that. Other than that, don’t expect the former England international to be anywhere near the top flight again anytime soon.