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Five of the biggest flops in Europe this season

FILE - Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo applauds fans after the match. Photo: Ian Walton/Reuters

FILE - Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo applauds fans after the match. Photo: Ian Walton/Reuters

Published May 12, 2022


Durban - The harshest reality of modern day football is that clubs are taking massive risks when they buy big-money players, as often the players will not be able to adapt to the tactics or culture of the club.

We look at some of the biggest flops in Europe this season…

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Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)

Lukaku is probably the biggest flop signing across world football over the past year.

He was brought to Chelsea and was expected to challenge for the Premier League’s Golden Boot, but hat has not happened and Lukaku has joined the list of flop strikers signed by Chelsea that also includes Gonzalo Higuain and Fernando Torres.

Lukaku’s struggles are not his fault, but more so because his style of play does not suit Chelsea. What the Blues should have done was deploy Kai Havertz as a false nine. Lukaku is more suited to a counterattacking style such as that used by Antonio Conte under whom he thrived at Inter Milan.

Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)

Kane has looked good at times, but has come nowhere close to challenging for the Golden Boot.

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If we have learnt one thing this season, it is that Tottenham can actually survive without

Kane ,whom they have been accused of being over-reliant on.

It is actually Kane’s strike partner Son Heung-min whom they would struggle without.

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The 29-year-old is the biggest reason why Spurs are still in the top four race. Had it not been for set-pieces, he’d be leading the Golden Boot race ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah by a mile.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

On paper, this may sound harsh as Ronaldo is still a contender for the Golden Boot, but he was expected to add value to United on and off the field.

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While he has brought them a steady supply of goals, he was also expected to help his teammates improve in a similar way to what Karim Benzema and Roberto Firmino are able to do.

Instead, Ronaldo has not added value in that regard and United have regressed further.

Jack Grealish (Manchester City)

Hailed as a potential “next David Beckham”, Grealish has not had a promising first season at Manchester City.

While he has had a number of goal contributions, he has been outshone by the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus in terms of output.

Lionel Messi (Paris Saint Germain)

Messi has contributed assists for PSG but is destined to finish with his fewest goals in a season since 2005-/6 when he was still a teenager.

Messi is still an excellent playmaker who can get the job done, but his goal-scoring ability has taken a big decline.

He will not be in the Ballon d’Or conversation this term, and the only thing that can put him back in the running is if he inspires Argentina to World Cup success in Qatar later this year.