The nominees for the PFA Player of the Year were announced last week and it is interesting that out of all of the new players that transferred to Premier League sides in 2013, none of them managed to get a nomination. Sarah Fitzpatrick discusses the biggest flops of the season.
The summer of 2013 saw changes in many of the Premier League’s squads which resulted in fans having big expectations for the new players that had arrived to their respective clubs. However, a number of these ‘stars’ failed to live up to expectation.
5. Yaya Sonogo (Arsenal)
Arsenal made minimal signings in the summer of 2013 where they managed to secure the future of German star Mesut Ozil and young French striker Yaya Sanogo. Sanogo was brought in by Wenger as a big hope for the future as he began his footballing career at Co Les Ulis which is the same Parisian club that Arsenal legend Thierry Henry began his career. Sanogo went on to continue his career at French club Auxerre where he scored 11 goals in 21 games before his move to Arsenal on a free transfer.
Sanogo has failed to push his way into the starting XI for the gunners and has only appeared in the Premier League on six occasions. The French youngster has spent most of his playing time in the FA Cup, a competition in which he has also failed to score. Sanogo’s disappointing form and lack of confidence in front of goal became evident during Arsenal’s struggle against Wigan where he wasted numerous chances. Sanogo’s future at Arsenal is unsure but he may be given more time from Wenger to prove himself, although this season he has looked more like the next David N’Gog rather than Thierry Henry.
4. Iago Aspas (Liverpool)
Iago Aspas made himself a hero for Celta Vigo in his five years there by helping them win promotion to La Liga with his 23 league goals in 2011-12 and then preventing them from being relegated in 2012-13 with his 12 goals in La Liga. In the summer of 2013, Aspas made the big move to Liverpool for £7.7m but has failed to live up to the reputation he built for himself in Spain.
Aspas began the season in the Liverpool starting XI but soon became a squad player once Suarez returned from suspension. He was then unfortunate to pick up an injury which prevented him from being able to prove his quality to Brendan Rodgers. The Spaniard’s only goal of the season came in the FA Cup win against Oldham which has led to speculation suggesting that he may return to Spain next season. However, last week his agent told the Metro:
“Iago has a four year contract with Liverpool and is very happy to be with the reds, apart from the fact that he would obviously like to play more”.
3. Jozy Altidore (Sunderland)
Sunderland brought in Jozy Altidore in July 2013 for an undisclosed fee from AZ Alkmaar. Altidore is an American international who from a young age created hype around himself to become the greatest American soccer player (the Freddy Adu curse).
Jozy started his career at the New York Red Bulls before moving to Villarreal for €7.4m which broke the record for the biggest fee for an MLS player. He failed to prove himself at Villarreal and had loan spells at Xerex, Hull City and Bursaspor before being sold to AZ Alkmaar. Altidore began to find his form at AZ which was shown through his 38 goals in 67 games but was then sold to Sunderland.
Altidore began the season in good form putting in an impressive performance in his first Tyne-Wear derby but his form began to slip and he was eventually dropped to the reserves. Altidore has frustrated Sunderland fans for the majority of the season with his lack of pace and skill but gave them something to celebrate by winning them a penalty last weekend which secured Sunderland victory against Chelsea.
2. Roberto Soldado (Tottenham)
Roberto Soldado was one of the biggest transfers by a Premier League club in the summer of 2013 when he moved to Tottenham for £26m. However, the Spaniard has failed to transfer the goalscoring abilities that he showed in La Liga to the Premier League.
Soldado began his career at Real Madrid as a youth player and made 16 appearances for the senior side, scoring two goals. Madrid loaned him to Osasuna before selling him to Getafe where he scored 29 goals in 60 games which created much interest from bigger clubs. Soldado made a move to Valencia where he showed his most impressive run of form by scoring an impressive 59 goals in 101 games. Tottenham signed the striker for a huge sum of money, underlining their confidence that he could perform for the club in same vein of form at which he performed at the Mestalla.
However, Soldado has scored just 6 goals in 26 games and the majority of his goals have been penalties. This disappointing form has resulted in a lack of goals for Tottenham and sees them fighting to secure a Europa League place instead of a title challenge.
1. Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United)
Marouane Fellaini made one of the biggest moves of the summer transfer window by following David Moyes to Old Trafford for a whopping £27.5m. There were huge expectations for the potential attacking line-up of Rooney, Van Persie and Fellaini although the transfer has instead resulted in one of the biggest flops of the season.
Fellaini began his career at Anderlecht before joining Standard Liege where he made a name for himself as one of Belgium’s biggest potentials. The Belgian won the first division with Standard Liege and the award for the best player in the Belgian league with African heritage which is known as the ‘Ebony Shoe’. Fellaini went on to make a big money move to Everton for £15m and soon became one of their key players under David Moyes, scoring 33 goals in 177 appearances.
However, since his move to Manchester United, Fellaini has failed to score in the league and missed two months of the season due to a wrist injury.
These flops of the season have negatively affected the ambitions of Manchester United, Tottenham and Sunderland much more than Liverpool and Arsenal. Liverpool are fortunate that Suarez and Sturridge their unbelievable form throughout the season as it has negated the potential impact of Aspas’ terrible season. Similarly, Arsenal’s Giroud (to a certain extent) and Podolski have made up for the unconvincing Sanogo. Alas, Sunderland were not so lucky and find themselves fighting for survival at the bottom of the league while Tottenham and Manchester United are fighting it out for a Europa League place while watching their rivals fight it out for the title.
Sarah Fitzpatrick, Pundit Arena.