Football Transfers reports that about €5 billion was spent on player transfers last summer, with three players—Darwin Nunez, Antony, and Aurelien Tchouameni—costing their new teams a respectively €100 million. However, not every approach has been successful.
Some of them have done so spectacularly. Erling Haaland cost Manchester City only €60 million when he transferred from Borussia Dortmund, and he has scored one Premier League goal every 62 minutes in 16 games to reach his current total of 21 goals.
There is a Nunez, however, who has scored substantially fewer goals for Liverpool while costing noticeably more than a Haaland does.
Seven of the worst European transfer failures this year are examined by Football Transfers.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Barcelona to Chelsea for €12m)
Chelsea agreed to pay Barcelona €12 million for 33-year-old Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after Barcelona outbid them for Raphinha and Jules Kounde and Andreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso, both of whom left for Camp Nou on free transfers.
The former captain of Arsenal played for exactly an hour with his former Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel before Graham Potter took over as manager. Since then, the former captain has made just nine Premier League appearances and scored just once, against Crystal Palace.
Raphinha (Leeds to Barcelona for €58m)
Raphinha and Chelsea had reached the point of talking terms before he decided to sign with Barca, but the more games he has played for the Blaugrana, the more it appears that the Blues avoided losing €58 million.
Brazilian winger scored twice in preseason, including a thunderbolt against Real Madrid, but after 20 competitive games, he has only three goals. Since then, Ousmane Dembele and Ferran Torres have surpassed the Brazilian as Xavi’s top wide receiver options.
Paul Pogba (Man Utd to Juventus on a free transfer)
The return of Paul Pogba from Manchester United may not have cost Juventus a transfer price, but the Frenchman’s injury issues and, more significantly, how he has handled them have rapidly converted fans’ enthusiasm into rage and dissatisfaction.
Before returning to United for €105 million in 2016, Pogba won four straight Serie A championships during his first stint at Juve. However, this time around, he hasn’t kicked a ball in anger due to a torn meniscus in his knee. However, he found time for a skiing vacation, which upset the Bianconeri supporters online.
Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea to Inter Milan on loan for €8m)
Romelu Lukaku, who cost Chelsea €115 million when he left Inter Milan, may have been the biggest failure of last season after scoring just eight goals in 26 Premier League games. He hasn’t improved much this year after returning to Italy on loan for a €8 million fee.
Due to concerns about his physical condition, Lukaku currently mainly observes as Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko lead the line. Five Serie A games with just one goal—against Lecce—was not the prescription, and it seems unlikely that Inter will extend his second spell at San Siro.
Darwin Nunez (Benfica to Liverpool for €100m)
Since his high-profile transfer from Benfica to Liverpool, the Uruguayan has caused controversy. His detractors will point out that he has scored nine goals across all competitions at a rate well below one every two games.
His xG and number of goals has likewise been quite similar. However, a striker who costs €100 million is anticipated to perform better than their xG, which is the measure of their purported ability to capitalize on opportunities that others couldn’t. The future of Bobby Firmino and Liverpool has rarely been so promising.
Richarlison (Everton to Tottenham for €58m)
Richarlison must be the first Brazil No. 9 in recent memory who is unable to play in his favorite position at the club level; yet, this is the situation he finds himself in after making a high-profile transfer from Everton to Tottenham Hotspur, where Harry Kane stands in his way.
Only half of Richarlison’s 10 Premier League games this season have had him start, and those games have seen him line up on the left or right flank with Kane in the middle. Though he hasn’t yet registered in the league, there are still rumors of a quick transfer to Real Madrid.
Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea to Real Madrid on a free transfer)
When he moved from Chelsea to Real Madrid, Antonio Rudiger appeared to be the free transfer of the season. The German defensive stalwart was especially impressive when the Blues won the Champions League under Tuchel in 2021, but things haven’t quite worked out for him at the Santiago Bernabeu.
As center back, Carlo Ancelotti still prefers the duo of Eder Militao and David Alaba, though Rudiger has occasionally been sneaked into the lineup at left back. has so far averaged fewer than one block or interception.