Darwin Nunez has scored one goal and received one red card in the Premier League so far this season for a €100 million move from Benfica to Liverpool, but he is not the only…
Darwin’s form is in stark contrast to Erling Haaland, who scored 11 goals, one every 52 minutes, after swapping Borussia Dortmund for Manchester City – for €40 million less.
That doesn’t mean the English champions have succeeded in everything. Football Transfers takes a look at the summer’s five worst new acquisitions.
5. Denis Zakaria – Juventus to Chelsea on loan with a €30m option to buy
Denis Zakaria arrived at Chelsea on transfer deadline day from Juventus as a loan player, as the club wanted to bolster the midfield, with Jorginho and N’Golo Kante turning 30 and their contracts expiring at the end of the season.
But Thomas Tuchel, the manager who brought Zakaria in, was sacked a few days later and replaced by Graham Potter, and the former Brighton manager apparently did not want to trust the Swiss international midfielder.
Potter may have only managed one game – 1-1 against Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League – but Zakaria watched it all from the bench, with Jorginho in central midfield flanked by Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount. Conor Gallagher was on the pitch at the end of the match ahead of Zakaria.
Zakaria had positive stats at Juventus and it doesn’t look good for a permanent contract.
4. Oleksandr Zinchenko – from Man City to Arsenal for €36.6 million
Oleksandr Zinchenko is a good player who won four Premier League titles in six seasons with Manchester City before moving to Arsenal this summer along with Gabriel Jesus.
Zinchenko has not disappointed this season and has helped Arsenal to the top of the Premier League, but the problem is that he started the first three games, came back for the game against Manchester United, which they lost 3-1, and then got injured again.
Zinchenko will miss the UEFA Nations League matches against Scotland and Armenia because of a strained calf. He was supposed to play against Scotland and Kieran Tierney replaced him.
Arsenal solved their problem of an injured left-back with an injured left-back.
3. Kalvin Phillips – Leeds – Man City for €51.4 million
At this rate, Haaland will go down in history as one of the biggest Premier League signings of all time. It’s early days, but so far in all competitions he has cost just €4.2 million per goal – a figure that gets lower with every game.
By comparison, Jack Grealish, who cost £100 million (€114.6), spent just over a season at Eithad and cost City €16.4 million per goal.
Phillips was not signed to score goals, but to help anchor a midfield that is built not to go the other way. But he missed 16 games last season at Leeds due to injury and has played just 13 minutes for City in all competitions this season.
Phillips now faces an extended period off the pitch after shoulder surgery, and he faces an uphill battle to get Rodri off – which he might have struggled to do anyway.
2. Casemiro – Real Madrid – Man Utd for €80 million
Casemiro arrived at Manchester United from Real Madrid with the important pedigree of a defensive midfielder who has won the Champions League no less than five times, and who has partnered Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane in the Red Devils’ dressing room.
But recently, when United picked up four straight wins, including against Liverpool and Arsenal, the Brazilian was barely visible and Scott McTominay shone instead.
Casemiro still has time to fit into the 4-2-3-1-1/4-3-3 system chosen by Erik ten Hag, but McTominay has improved his game since arriving and made a 100 per cent passing success against Arsenal.
But €80 million is a lot of money for a player who turns 31 in February, and even less for a player who could be outclassed this season by a rival five years his junior.
1. Darwin Nunez – Benfica to Liverpool for €100m
When Liverpool signed Darwin from Benfica, there was a big fuss at Anfield, including from manager Jürgen Klopp who described the Uruguayan as “an extremely nice boy! And a decent player!”
Goals in the Community Shield match against Man City and on Premier League opening day looked good, but Darwin has since received a three-match suspension for a headbutt against Crystal Palace’s Joachim Andersen and missed seven great chances.
Liverpool lost Sadio Manego to Bayern Munich in a €41 million deal last summer, and Darwin is expected to make up for some of his goals in the final third, albeit not exactly his attacking style.
But instead, Liverpool under Klopp have started worst in the Premier League and some wonder if the manager’s seven-year cycle is repeating itself.