Plenty of Premier League clubs completed some impressive business ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline, while many others did not do so well. Here, we look at moves that fall into the latter category.
Related: Winners and losers of the Premier League transfer window
Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
Fee: Reported £60 million
Riyad Mahrez is evidently a very good footballer and would improve many a starting XI across Europe. So, it’s a tad odd that perhaps the one club for which he is not good enough to start is the one that signed him. Manchester City are already inundated with top-quality wide players – Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, and Bernardo Silva, to name but three. Mahrez will not dislodge Sterling or Sane on a regular basis and Silva has impressed in preseason; as such, the Algerian will often find himself reduced to substitute roles and limited starts. Sure, he will still rack up the appearances and, most likely, assists across all competitions, but it’s hard not to in this City team. The decision to drop £60 million – just shy of what the club paid for Kevin De Bruyne two years ago – on a backup player is questionable at best, particularly given City have talented prospects like Patrick Roberts or the versatile Brahim Diaz waiting in the wings.
Andre Gomes (Everton)
Fee: €2.25 million (£2.02 million) for season-long loan
Another player with obvious technical quality is Andre Gomes, who joined Everton on loan from Barcelona on deadline day. The Portuguese international has been out of his depth at Camp Nou and the Blaugrana have been desperate to move him on. Now, thanks to a not-insignificant loan fee and the fact the Toffees will be paying the 25-year-old’s wages – reportedly over £4 million annually – the Catalan club can sigh with relief. Gomes has quality and failure at Barca is a high class of failure, but he will struggle both to stay fit and adapt to the English game.
Andriy Yarmolenko (West Ham)
Fee: Reported £17.5 million
Andriy Yarmolenko’s signing has many in the east end of London licking their lips in anticipation, but £17.5 million is a lot to pay for a 28-year-old, even in today’s market. That doesn’t even account for the fact that, in reality, he is almost an entirely unknown quantity, having only made 13 league starts outside of his native Ukraine in his entire career. He’s capable of scoring stunning goals, but they mask deeper inconsistencies, and given they all come from him cutting inside from the right wing and picking out the corner once in a blue moon, West Ham fans probably shouldn’t pin their hopes on seeing too many of them. This is the sort of risky punt that has all too often backfired for the Irons.
Joe Hart (Burnley)
Fee: Reported £3.5 million
One of this summer’s most bizarre deals. Tom Heaton and Nick Pope are suffering from injury, so Burnley was expected to sign a goalkeeper on an emergency loan. Instead, the Clarets inexplicably spent a reported £3.5 million on 31-year-old Joe Hart, handing him a two-year deal in a show of amazing generosity toward a stopper whose stock has undeniably plummeted in recent years. Not only that, it has created an awkward situation: Hart made it very clear he wanted to join a team at which he will be the first choice. At the Clarets, once Heaton and Pope return, he will surely be No. 3. Bizarre all round.
Diogo Dalot (Manchester United)
Fee: Reported £19 million
Jose Mourinho raiding his former club Porto for a signing shouldn’t be any surprise, but in the case of right-back Diogo Dalot, it is. The 19-year-old is talented and likely an investment for the future, but spending £19 million on a teenager with six league appearances in Portugal to his name is madness, especially when there were other areas more urgently needing solutions. At right-back, club captain Antonio Valencia has the first-choice spot locked down, and when rotation is needed, it can be offered by the still-existing Matteo Darmian as well as center-backs Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones. Those may not be the best deputy options for a top-tier side, but given United’s calamitous center-back search this summer, it’s a puzzler.
Bonus: Tottenham’s non-signing(s)
Continuity and internal development are great, but it sure feels like Tottenham took a step backward by not adding to their squad. Outside of Vincent Janssen’s return from loan, Spurs didn’t add a single player this summer, and you’ll struggle to find too many fans excited about the Dutchman resurfacing in north London.
Related: Tottenham make history by failing to clinch any summer signings
“It’s true our targets are always the same level as Manchester United, Manchester City, or Real Madrid, but for different circumstances, we can’t achieve that,” Pochettino said. He added: “If you can’t add a player that can improve your squad, the most important thing is to make sure you do not lose your best players.” That he was able to retain all of his primary stars is a victory in itself, but a prospective title challenger like Spurs not adding even a depth player is just astonishing in this day and age, and will surely bite them at some point this year.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)