Not all transfers are chargeable. Some will go wrong. That’s the name of the game. So what races are going wrong right now? Very simple rules for this one: All players who changed clubs this summer are eligible, ready or permanent – it doesn’t matter, there is no minimum appearance and metric requirement to decide who gets the green light ? Completely subjective whim. Here we go, then.
GK : Pierluigi Gollini (Tottenham)
Atalanta’s loan signing should probably be relaxed, as most of his appearances have come during Spurs’ chaotic Europa Conference League campaign. But there is a chicken and egg side to it, with Gollini’s goalkeeper being a significant factor in the mess.
We’re not goalie or goalie experts, but one thing we’ve noticed over the years is that goalies tend to move. For example, they keep moving away from the goal line, or diving to try to save the ball, or stretch their legs to try to block, etc. Not Gollini, who has taken a minimalist approach to art, preferring instead to stand still and watch the shots go by. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton.
DD: Axel Tuanzebe (Aston Villa)
The loaned Manchester United player has not featured since Steven Gerrard arrived in the Midlands. Tuanzebe had a much more successful previous loan spell at Villa during his promotion season and surely would have anticipated other good times under Dean Smith. Smith is now gone, and at the current speed and course, he may not be the only one seeing his contract cut short. Forced to the right-back in this fictional XI, as all fictional XIs have to have someone playing slightly out of position, if only because it literally doesn’t matter because the team doesn’t. doesn’t really exist.
DC: Jannik Vestergaard (Leicester)
Described his time in Leicester after a good stint in Southampton as both ‘an upheaval’ and ‘a bit uneven’ which is, we suspect, a nice Danish-English translation at work. Perfect description, however, and one that we intend to borrow for any time we mess something up. This characteristic is a bit uneven. The cleaning of these toilets is a bit uneven. The quality of dinner tonight is a bit patchy. We’re also broadly in favor, more generally, of players describing their football in a way that looks a lot like Paul Hollywood judging a technique on the bake-off.
DC : Raphael Varane (Manchester United)
Now he’s obviously excellent and has played perfectly well when he was in good shape. But that’s precisely the problem: He isn’t in shape often enough, but is definitely a fool every time he is. It’s a dynamic that only served to create even more confusion in an area of the pitch where United were already a pickle. Obviously, injury issues are more or less the result of bad luck, but it has always been a plausible scenario and a United were aware of it.
DG : Junior Firpo (Leeds)
Adjusting to life in England under Marcelo Bielsa is a challenge that raises eyebrows for any new player, so when your first few weeks at the club are marked both by the capture of Covid and then the injury of four, it is not. Perhaps not surprisingly, Firpo found it to be such a struggle to settle down at a new club with new tactics, with scoring the men proving particularly taxing.
CM : Saul Niguez (Chelsea)
It looked like a very shrewd deal when Chelsea rushed in on deadline day. Turned out to be just another example of how we can all go wrong on this silly day. The main contribution of a Chelsea shirt so far has been a constant reminder of just how good Jorginho really is.
CM : Joe Willock (Newcastle)
Last season, on loan: eight goals in 14 games to catapult Newcastle out of relegation danger and move up the rankings.
This season, on a permanent: no goal in 12 games like Newcastle plunge into grim relegation plunge this could have serious consequences for everyone.
AD : Jadon Sancho (Manchester United)
Of all the players on this list, this is the one that you are most sure will be doing soon. He’s just too good not to, sure. But his first few months at Old Trafford certainly didn’t go as planned. There are few more damning indictments of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign than him finally getting his hands on the player United had pursued to the exclusion of everyone else for so long, without having the first idea of what to do with his shiny new toy.
AM : Léon Bailey (Aston Villa)
Injury played a role, but the Jamaican’s debut remains disappointing, especially after such an impressive 2019/20 in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen.
AG : Bryan Gil (Tottenham)
Has time on its side, could well come, bags of talent, etc. And so on. Has offered little at the Europa Conference or a handful of brief Premier League outings to suggest he is set to bust English football. He’s precisely the kind of player who could come alive at any moment or hit an unbearable purple spot of goals and assists. But for now he just looks like a little boy lost under his Beatles barnet and to top it off the Spurs have given a lot of money and the People’s Sh * thouse himself Erik Lamela to bring Bryan here. So far it’s been a dumb exchange, with Lamela for her part enjoying rare time in Spain as a very efficient super submarine for Seville.
CF : Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)
Look, it’s not like he’s been absolutely horrible or anything, but since defeating Arsenal in their first game at Chelsea it really didn’t seem to happen for Lukaku. After spending all that money – and that’s understandable given Lukaku’s record and pedigree – Chelsea look like a better team without him, letting all of their smart little players go and be small and smart, than they do with him. This is sub-optimal for someone costing nine digits.