The 2018 Summer transfer window in soccer was recently closed shut for the Premier League teams, and while clubs from other countries are allowed to make transactions, it doesn't seem like any more prominent transfers will go through. The top sides from Spain, Italy, and Germany, along with Premier League clubs, made some interesting acquisitions over the past few months to boost their squads. While the biggest transfer story of the summer is probably Cristiano Ronaldo moving from Real Madrid to Juventus, there are many other big transfers which went down recently.
While some of the prominent transfer deals, like Ronaldo's, will definitely help certain teams take big steps forward to success, some other big-money deals might not exactly be that rewarding for various clubs. Some questionable players have been bought by different clubs for a ton of money, but the lavish spending could come back to haunt these clubs when their players fail to perform to the level they expect them to. There will be a lot of pressure on these big signings to shine through, and that weight on their shoulders could lead to their downfall. While the limelight has been on the big transfers, there have also been some relatively discreet transfers involving players who have gone under the radar because of the little hype surrounding them.
It's because of Europe's soccer competitiveness that the big signings might flop badly while the small-time ones surprisingly shine through for their clubs. So let's look at 2018's 10 big soccer transfers that will flop and 10 smaller ones that might surprisingly succeed.
20 Succeed: Stefan De Vrij To Inter Milan
Stefan de Vrij is widely considered as one of the most promising central defenders in Europe right now. Having consistently performed well in Serie A, he seems like quite the signing for Inter Milan.
Inter brought in De Vrij to help stabilize their defense next season and knowing how commendable he is in containing attackers, he could help his club become an impenetrable unit.
De Vrij was superb for Lazio last season and although his transfer to Inter didn't garner much hype, he seems to be a very clever signing by them. De Vrij could help Inter's defense remain rock-solid for years to come now and will probably turn out as a really prolific signing for them.
19 Flop: Fabinho To Liverpool
Fabinho's transfer to Liverpool seemingly happened out of the blue, signing for the Reds a few days after their crushing loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League final. Fabinho is rated very highly in Europe because of his impressive years at AS Monaco, where he was a dominant figure in midfield and defense.
Fabinho's passing skills, defensive work, and work-rate make him a really energetic player, but he might find life very different in the Premier League.
Fabinho won't be at ease in the Premier League games and if he ends up crumbling under pressure and cannot adapt to the frantic pace of the Premier League, he could end up as a failed signing for Liverpool.
18 Succeed: Leon Goretzka To Bayern Munich
Germany's Bayern Munich might not have done much business in the summer transfer window, but one pivotal signing made by them was before the last season even ended. They signed the promising Leon Goretzka on a free transfer, something which could truly turn out to be a massive coup for them.
Goretzka is an extremely versatile player who can not only score and create goals, but play in multiple positions in midfield.
Gortezka's amazing potential was seen in his performances for the Germany's National team, for whom he scored many goals. Goretzka's development is going steadily and if he can keep up his form at Bayern, he could turn out to be a surprisingly profound long-term acquisition for them.
17 Flop: Andriy Yarmelenko To West Ham United
Andriy Yarmelenko was once regarded as Ukraine's biggest soccer talent because of his tremendous ability, but after making the big-time move to Borussia Dortmund, he's failed to fulfill that talent. West Ham United made some surprisingly big signings this summer, with the signing of Yarmelanko giving the Hammers more options to further boosting their attack.
But Yarmelenko could end up failing to impress at West Ham and knowing his poor stint at Dortmund, things could get even more complicated for him in the Premier League. Yarmelenko only scored 4 goals and assisted 3 in all competitions for Dortmund last season and knowing his injury-prone nature and lack of consistency, he could struggle in the PL and end up becoming a flop signing.
16 Succeed: Mattia Caldara To AC Milan
AC Milan might've drawn a lot of attention on themselves with the signing of striker Gonzalo Higuain recently, but the other trade they made with Juventus was something which could turn out to be fantastic for them. Milan also signed promising young defender Mattia Caldara from their rivals and now have some of the brightest prospects on their team.
Caldara is a terrific defender who shows amazing composure on the ball and has all the skills to contain the biggest of attackers.
Caldara's defensive skills are quite admirable and the fact that he'll only get better in the next years can turn out is the reason why his signing can be a surprisingly superb signing for Milan.
15 Flop: Kepa Arrizabalaga To Chelsea
Chelsea surprised many by breaking the transfer record for a goalkeeper when they signed Kepa Arrizabalaga for almost $90 million as a replacement for World Cup Golden Glove winner Thibaut Courtois. The goalkeeper from Spain will be under immense pressure to perform because of his incredible fee.
Knowing how young and inexperienced he is, Kepa might find life difficult in the Premier League.
He kept only around 6 clean sheets for Athletic Bilbao last season and looked shaky on a few occasions for them. For Kepa, even the slightest of mistakes will be criticized because of his fee, which can make for his downfall at Chelsea and if he crumbles under pressure for the Blues, he'll be soon termed as a flop signing.
14 Succeed: Justin Kluivert To AS Roma
The son of legendary soccer star Patrick Kluivert, Justin Kluivert has some big shoes to fill as he looks to become as much of a popular player his father was after making a move to AS Roma. While Kluivert's move to Roma didn't exactly garner the same response as some of the bigger ones did, he is nonetheless a terrific coup for them and is currently developing to be a top attacker.
Kluivert scored 10 goals and assisted 5 for Ajax last season and Roma can be the perfect platform for him to develop into a world-class striker, as his transfer to Roma has the potential of being the best business done by any club from Europe this year.
13 Flop: Richarlison To Everton
Richarlison came to the center of attention during the summer transfer window when Everton spent more than $50 million to rope in the winger, who had a pretty good season with Watford last time out. Despite being superb in patches, Richarlison had some very bad matches for Watford and just phased out of many games for them.
He only scored 5 goals and assisted 4 in his debut season in the Premier League and because of the huge fee Everton signed him for, he'll be under pressure to perform much better. There will be a lot of weight on Richarlison's shoulders to take Everton to success and if he fails to live up to his hype, he'll definitely be a failed signing for the Toons.
12 Succeed: Joao Cancelo To Juventus
Joao Cancelo's move to Juventus was overshadowed by the Cristiano Ronaldo one, but that doesn't mean that the defender from Portugal isn't a valuable addition to the Italy's champions. Cancelo was fantastic in his debut season in the Serie A last season for Inter Milan, for whom he was superb defensively and going forward as well.
Not only did he help Inter keep many clean-sheets, but he was also prolific on the attack for them.
Cancelo seems like a terrific, modern wing-back who become a mainstay in Juventus defense for years to come because of his terrific overall ability. Cancelo's move might not have much hype because of Ronaldo, but he can become a prized asset who keeps on delivering for Juventus for years to come.
11 Flop: Radja Nainggolan To Inter Milan
The signing of Radja Nainggolan seemed like a massive coup for Inter Milan earlier in the summer, when the rock-solid midfielder moved on from AS Roma after many years at the club. Nainggolan was one of Roma's top stars for years and his energetic display in the center of the park makes him a commendable midfielder.
He scored 4 goals and assisted 9 in the Serie A last season for Roma and helped them play some really impressive soccer.
While he's known to be a resurgent midfielder, this big-time move might fall flat in Nainggolan's face if he can't live up to the hype if he fails to be their "leader", Nainggolan will face some harsh criticism from many.
10 Succeed: Lucas Torreira To Arsenal
Arsenal might not have dazzled everyone with any star signing this summer, but new coach Unai Emery has made a valuable acquisition in Lucas Torreira, who shone through for Uruguay during the World Cup. Torreira had a prolific season with Sampdoria in the Serie A last time out, scoring 4 goals and assisting one despite playing very deep in midfield.
He has proven to have the ability to create opportunities for his side, plus his ball-winning ability and defensive awareness in the center of the park is superb. Torreira has everything in himself to bring some stability in midfield for Arsenal and can prove to be the surprise package for the Gunners in the Premier League this season.
9 Flop: Riyad Mahrez To Manchester City
Riyad Mahrez's move to Manchester City might've failed in January, but the Premier League champions came back to make him their marquee signing in the summer. Mahrez had a superb outing for Leicester City last time out, scoring 12 goals and assisting10 in the Premier League for the Foxes.
But having moved to a big club like City, Mahrez will have added pressure on him to perform in order to retain his place in the starting XI. He's already been slightly underwhelming for City in pre-season games and doesn't seem to be that well synced with his team-mates. Mahrez will find it difficult to shine on this City team and might flop badly if he can't adapt to his new surroundings.
8 Succeed: Axel Witsel To Borussia Dortmund
Axel Witsel had quite the prolific World Cup campaign with Belgium and it was his impressive work for his nation which earned him a move to Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
While Witsel's move wasn't given that much attention, it could prove to be one of the signings of the summer knowing his unbridled talent.
Not only does Witsel possess the ability to break down attacks and win back the ball for his side, but he also has a creative side to him which can help him thrive at Dortmund. Witsel moved to Dortmund to be their "top guy" and knowing the amount of talent he has, he could surprisingly turn out to be one of the best players in the Bundesliga this season.
7 Flop: Arturo Vidal To Barcelona
Arturo Vidal was arguably Barcelona's biggest signing of the summer. He has been an absolute relentless midfielder for years now and helped Bayern Munich achieve much success during his stint with them. But something that has plagued him recently is his poor injury record, as he tends to get injured too frequently.
Vidal also has a very questionable life-style and is too reckless on the field at times, which can hurt his chances of shining through in La Liga.
There will be much pressure on Vidal to perform at a high level for Barcelona and if he's unable to do that, Vidal end up being termed as a flop.
6 Succeed: Adama Traore To The Wolves
Wolverhampton Wanderers made a flurry of signings after getting promoted to the Premier League this season and despite adding many renowned stars, their most impressive signing seemed to be that of Adama Traore from Middlesbrough. Wolves had to break their transfer record to sign Traore.
Despite the transfer getting overshadowed by some others in the EPL, Traore has in it in him to light up the league with his skills.
He scored 5 goals and assisted 10 for Middlesbrough last season, with his fantastic skill on the ball making him a great player to watch. Traore seems to be tailor-made for the Premier League and could be the breakthrough player who takes Wolves to newer heights this season.
5 Flop: Emre Can To Juventus
Despite the spotlight being on Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus also made another pretty big signing in midfielder Emre Can, who is renowned for his playing days at Liverpool. Can is known to be an extremely talented midfielder, but he's very inconsistent and can be needlessly rash at times.
The player from Germany is too aggressive for his own good and got booked 8 times last season in the Premier League.
Can might find it difficult to adapt to the more tactical league of Serie A and knowing how he snaps under frustration could cost him. Can will find it difficult to tackle competition in the Juventus team and his inability to coping with pressure could make for a problematic tenure in Italy.
4 Succeed: Gelson Martins To Atletico Madrid
Gelson Martins is one of the up and coming stars from Portugal, and even though he didn't get much time to impress during the World Cup, at club level he was superb for Sporting Lisbon last season. Martins was one of the prime attacking forces for the Portuguese clubs and dazzled everyone with his skillful attacking game-play.
Martins scored 8 goals and assisted 8 in the league for Sporting, and earned quite the reputation with his impressive performances.
Martins left Sporting controversially and recently joined Atletico Madrid on a free transfer! It was an absolute bargain for Atletico, who might've made one of the signings of the season by signing the talented Martins, who can be extremely successful for them.
3 Flop: Vinicius Junior To Real Madrid
Vinicius Junior became a very rich teenager when Real Madrid signed him for more than $45 million because of how amazing the 18-year-old was in the Brazil league. Despite his age, Vinicius has already proven to be an extremely talented player who has the skills and ability to dazzle audiences in the Santiago Bernabeu.
Despite Real Madrid giving him time to adapt to the new conditions, Vinicius could really struggle in making that transition from Brazil's style of play to the way they play in Europe. Vinicius has a lot of pressure on him to perform quickly thanks to his transfer fee and we could see a decline in his game because of the high expectations which might degrade him into becoming a failed signing.
2 Succeed: Marko Pjaca To Fiorentina
Marko Pjaca failed to have a memorable stint with Juventus, where he could never adapt to their system and found it very difficult to break into their team. Pjaca recently enjoyed a pretty good loan stint with Germany's Schalke, for whom he scored two goals in seven appearances.
He actually looked really dangerous for Schalke, and having moved to Italy's Fiorentina recently, he'll probably blossom even more in his new environment.
Pjaca is quite the creative player with an eye for goal and at a team like Fiorentina, he'll be able to really thrive without much pressure on him. Pjaca could turn out to be a fantastic signing for Fiorentina and be a real surprise package in the Serie A this season.
1 Flop: Bernd Leno To Arsenal
Bernd Leno seems to finally be the goalkeeping signing Arsenal fans have been craving for years now and knowing his resume, he seems like a really good signing for the Gunners. Leno was a superb goalkeeper in the Bundesliga, where kept 9 clean sheets for Bayer Leverkusen in 30 appearances last season.
But for Leno, the transition from playing in the Bundesliga to the Premier League could be too drastic to bear.
He could face problems with the physicality and will definitely be bullied by opponents, something which can cause for problems for him. Leno could well and truly fail to impress for the Gunners if he can't adapt quickly and turn out to be another flop signing.