Tanguy Ndombele’s time at Tottenham just hasn’t worked out for either party, with the midfielder now spending a third loan spell away from north London
He is far from the only record signing that has failed to live up to the heavy price tag, but what happened to your club’s most expensive transfer? Have they been a hit or a miss?
With many Premier League clubs breaking their transfer record this summer and those stars having barely kicked a ball in anger, we’ve excluded these moves from the list. There are still plenty big names though – and big disappointments – left on the list.
Tottenham’s record signing Tanguy Nbombele has proved to be a flop in his time in England
Arsenal – Nicolas Pepe
£72million from LOSC Lille
Nicolas Pepe joined Unai Emery’s Gunners for £72m from French side LOSC Lille. The Ivorian came with a reputation as a tricky winger who got fans off their seats.
His full debut came at Anfield where Pepe became the first player to dribble past Virgil Van Dijk in over a year, leaving supporters excited for the future.
Since then, however Pepe has been substandard in his three years at the club scoring 16 times in his 80 league appearances. Failing to cement any sort of place in Mikel Arteta’s squad, he has been allowed to leave the club to join Trabzonspor for just £3m.
VERDICT: Definitely a miss.
Nicolas Pepe had very little success after becoming Arsenal’s record buy under Unai Emery
Aston Villa – Emiliano Buendia
£38million from Norwich
Emiliano Buendia arrived at Villa Park after an impressive 19-20 season with Norwich despite the club’s relegation that year.
This led to Villa forking out £35m plus £3m in add-ons to secure the Argentine’s services. Buendia, although not always a guaranteed starter, has certainly shown his ability so far as an Aston Villa player.
A serious knee injury means he is yet to play so far this season but is definitely one to keep an eye on for the next couple of years as Aston Villa look to grow as a Club under Unai Emery.
VERDICT: The jury’s still out on this one.
Bournemouth – Jefferson Lerma
£30million from Levante
Bournemouth spent £30m on Jefferson Lerma from Spanish club Levante in the summer of 2018.
The tough tackling box to box midfielder represented the club for five years in both the Championship and the Premier League before leaving on a free to join Crystal Palace in July.
Becoming a fan favourite at the club after making 184 appearances for the Cherries, it is fair to say Jefferson Lerma has justified his price tag and will be a valuable asset in the Crystal Palace midfield for seasons to come.
VERDICT: A hit.
Brentford – Keane Lewis-Potter
£19million from Hull
Keane Lewis-Potter joined Brentford from Championship Hull City after scoring 12 times in the league, which encouraged the Bees to spend, £19m on the young right winger.
His first season at Brentford wasn’t an ideal one, as he struggled for game time before a knee injury cut his season short.
VERDICT: To call this transfer a miss would be extremely harsh, Lewis-Potter is only 22 and will want to kickstart his Premier League career by having a strong 23-24 season.
Brighton – Enock Mwepu
£23million from RB Salzburg
Enock Mwepu, at the age of 24, was forced to retire from professional football. A tragic story, the Zambian midfielder was diagnosed with a hereditary heart condition.
Joining the Seagulls from RB Salzburg, Mwepu still had some memorable moments for the club including stunning strikes away at both Liverpool and Arsenal.
VERDICT: A gem of a signing under better circumstances
Brighton’s Enock Mwepu was forced to retire from professional football with a heart condition
Burnley’s Wout Weghorst scored just twice for the club, and has had multiple loan spells away
Burnley – Wout Weghorst
£12million from Wolfsburg
Sean Dyche’s Burnley sat bottom of the Premier league entering the January window of 2022.
The Clarets ended up spending a club record fee of £12m to bring in 6ft 6in Dutch international striker Wout Weghorst in the search for goals to beat the drop.
Weghorst bagged twice for Burnley that season which wasn’t enough to keep them up.
The following season Weghorst refused to play in The Championship and was therefore loaned out to Besiktas.
Two more loan spells followed, including a return to the Premier League as a Manchester United player.
VERDICT: A club record fee for a player who only gave Burnley 6 months of service and two goals, this has to be a miss.
Chelsea – Enzo Fernandez
£106.8million from Benfica
After winning the Best Young Player Award at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Chelsea agreed a £106.8m fee with Benfica for Fernandez.
The midfielder was bought to help a struggling Chelsea side turn their results around.
Although Enzo has had impressive performances for The Blues, the Argentine has only won four league matches so far. Fernandez is undoubtedly a very talented player, but it remains to be seen whether this transfer can be labelled a hit or a miss.
VERDICT: Jury’s still out on this one
Crystal Palace – Christian Benteke
£32million from Liverpool
Christian Benteke arrived at Selhurst Park after failing to make his mark for Liverpool. Palace paid an initial £27m which rose to £32m after add-ons.
The Belgian striker scored 37 goals in 177 appearances, which isn’t exactly the most prolific return for a forward.
Now playing his football in the MLS, Benteke memorably missed a last second penalty in a 2-2 draw against Bournemouth in which he stole the ball from his teammates, disobeying his manager, Roy Hodgson.
VERDICT: A miss in our books.
Everton – Gylfi Sigurdsson,
£49million from Everton
Arriving from Swansea for a fee of £49m, the creative midfielder made a promising start to life as a Toffee, scoring 31 times.
Sigurdsson scored some wonderful goals from range in his time at the club, however he was released by Everton for the 2021-22 season. He now plays professionally in Denmark.
Fulham – Jean Michael Seri,
£30million from OGC Nice
A few eyebrows were raised when newly promoted Fulham signed Ivorian midfielder Jean Michael Seri from OGC Nice who was on the verge of signing for Barcelona the previous summer.
Chelsea and Napoli were also reportedly interested in his services that window which made it all the more surprising to see him end up at Craven Cottage that year.
Seri failed to live up to his record transfer fee though as Fulham finished 19th in the Premier League, crashing straight back down to the Championship. Chelsea and Napoli dodged a bullet, it would appear.
VERDICT: A huge miss.
Liverpool – Darwin Nunez,
£85million from Benfica
Darwin Nunez scored 32 goals in all competitions in a breakout season for Benfica. His bright performances in the Champions League caught the eye of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who demanded FSG splash the cash to bring the forward to Anfield.
His first season as a red was a tad underwhelming with the Uruguayan finding himself guilty of missing some huge chances throughout the campaign.
Being given the iconic number 9 jersey for this season, Nunez will want to silence his doubters and reward the faith shown in him by the Kop.
VERDICT: This transfer could still go either way.
Enzo Fernandez became the most expensive Premier League player when Chelsea bought him
Meanwhile, Luton Town’s most expensive player Carlton Morris cost just £2m from Barnsley
Luton Town – Carlton Morris
£2million from Barnsley
Premier League newbies Luton Town have broken their transfer record several times this summer in an attempt to build a squad capable of competing in the top division of English football.
Last summer they signed Carlton Morris from Barnsley for £2m, a record fee significantly less than the clubs around them.
Bringing in a striker who nets 20 league goals in his first year, to gain promotion to the Premier League for the first time in the club history for such a relatively small fee is the definition of value for money.
VERDICT: Without a doubt a hit.
Manchester City – Jack Grealish
£100million from Aston Villa
£100m for Jack Grealish was a transfer that many doubted at the time, due to the huge price tag and the fact the Premier League Champions did not have a recognisable number 9 in the squad after Sergio Aguero’s emotional departure.
Many thought a wiser investment of that money would have been to bring in fellow Englishman Harry Kane instead.
Grealish didn’t set the world alight in his first year although he was crowned Premier League champion. It was his second season in which he cemented his place on the left of Guardiola’s treble winning team with some memorable performances.
VERDICT: This transfer should prove to be a hit.
Manchester United – Paul Pogba
£100million from Juventus
Paul Pogba rejoined Manchester United for a world record transfer fee from Juventus in 2016.
The French midfielder joined Jose Mourinho’s team along with Zlatan Ibrahimovic to form a partnership that many thought would lead Manchester United to title glory.
It didn’t turn out that way whatsoever for Pogba, despite showcasing World Class ability at times, he never reached the consistency in his performances which his price tag warranted.
After six disappointing years at Old Trafford, Pogba returned to Juventus on a free.
VERDICT: Arguably the biggest miss of the lot.
Newcastle United – Alexander Isak
£70million from Real Sociedad
The Newcastle takeover has made the club a very attractive prospect for the world’s elite football talents.
Arguably the biggest coup of the lot has been talented Swedish Striker Alexander Isak.
The electric young forward has lit up St James Park many times already and was a huge contributing factor in the push for Champions League football.
VERDICT: With the ability Isak possesses at only 23 years of age its hard to see this transfer becoming a miss.
Nottingham Forrest – Morgan Gibbs White
£30million from Wolves
Nottingham Forrest poached Morgan Gibbs White from Wolves after promotion into the Premier League sent them on a transfer spending spree.
Gibbs White shone for Forest last season and helped the club avoid the drop. Following this, he was an integral part of the England Under-21s that won the Euros in Romania and Georgia.
It’s another transfer that is too early to label a hit or a miss, but if Morgan Gibbs White can keep the same level of performances year in, year out it, Forest will be more than happy with their returns.
VERDICT: May turn out to be a bargain of a transfer.
Sheffield United – Rhian Brewster
£29million from Liverpool
Rhian Brewster was a promising young striker coming through the academy ranks at Liverpool, there was lot of hype around him.
A strong loan spell at Swansea built on this hype and encouraged Sheffield United to buy the player permanently from Liverpool.
The campaign that followed was a let down to say the least, as Brewster failed to score while Sheffield United finished rock bottom. He has since only scored the 5 goals for the Blades.
VERDICT: It’s harsh but this has to be a miss.
Tottenham – Tanguy Ndombele
£62million from Lyon
Ndombele was a player bought in after Pochettino’s side lost the Champions League final two months prior.
This signing was seen as a statement from Spurs as the French midfielder was highly rated across Europe.
Clearly a very technically gifted player, Ndombele wasn’t up to scratch with the work-rate required off the ball in the Premier League.
Famously having a bust up with Jose Mourinho, Tanguy Ndombele has had three different loan spells in his four years at the club and joined Galatasaray on loan in September.
VERDICT: A stonewall miss.
Jack Grealish should confirm his status as a Man City hit after his £100m move from Aston Villa
Manchester United also spent £100m – but Paul Pogba proved to be a huge failure for them
West Ham United – Sebastian Haller
£50million from Eintracht Frankfurt
The Hammers finally thought they had signed striker of elite talent when they bought in Sebastian Haller after he had scored 20 times in all completions for Eintracht Frankfurt.
The 6ft 2 striker looked certain to score a hatful for David Moyes’s West ham side after being bought for big money.
His debut season in the Premier League was a big disappointment as the Ivorian Striker only netted seven times in 32 league appearances. This transfer is a miss, although Haller has since redeemed himself at Ajax earning himself a move to Borussia Dortmund.
VERDICT: Another miss in the striking department for the Hammers.
Wolves – Matheus Nunes
£45 million from Sporting Lisbon
Talented Portuguese midfielder Matheus Nunes joined Wolves last summer, the 23-year-old impressed in his first season in the Premier League which caught the attention of treble winners Manchester City.
Wanting to play for the champions, Nunes went on strike to force a late move to Pep Guardiola’s side. Nunes signed for City as a 53-million-pound fee was eventually agreed between the two clubs.
Wolves managed to make a profit on the player but in an ideal world would have loved to have kept him for a couple more years.
VERDICT: For his abrupt departure, it has to be a miss.