There are dozens of players who fail to live up to their billing in the English Premier League each and every season and the 2014-15 campaign is no exception. Some players come with high expectations due to their past achievements while others are expected to achieve simply due to the price tags on their transfer deals or playing contracts. However, many of these players made names for themselves while playing in other leagues in different countries and to be frank, these competitions don’t live up to the skill level of the Premier League.
In addition, too many players are signed from other nations without being properly scouted. English clubs just check out a player’s statistics and perhaps watch him for two or three games and assume he’s good enough to sign. This leads the Premier League clubs to often overpaying drastically for mediocre talent. Too many players are signed on the basis of just one good season or a good performance in a top-class tournament such as the World Cup or European Championships. There are also rare occasions when players are bought sight-unseen. Who can forget former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson shelling out seven million pounds for Portuguese player Bebe. Ferguson later admitted that he’d never seen Bebe play or had never even heard of him, but signed him on the recommendation of somebody else.
Some Premier League flops have the talent to succeed in the league, but often don’t because of poor management. These players find themselves glued to the bench game after game even though they’re better options than many of their teammates. They aren’t given the opportunity to prove what they can do because many managers have a poor track record of recognizing true talent. However, the following 10 players have made this list mainly due to poor performances when they’ve been given the chance to play.
10 Simon Mignolet, Liverpool
Belgian international goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was considered one of the Premier League’s best at his position when he played with Sunderland, but he’s fallen from grace at Liverpool this season. The 26-year-old moved to Anfield in 2013 at a cost of nine million pounds and played admirably last season as the Merseyside team finished as runner-up in the league behind Manchester City. Mignolet and Liverpool struggled earlier this season as he had problems with crosses and rebounds and seemed to be making too many mental errors. He’s definitely not the worst keeper in the Premier League, but he’s certainly nowhere near the best either.
9 Matt Jarvis, West Ham
Matt Jarvis, the 28-year-old midfielder/winger with West Ham United played for England in 2011 and his career has basically gone downhill from there. He’s never been called up again by his homeland’s national squad and he rarely gets a game in for the Hammers. Jarvis cost the London club a then-record fee of 10.75 million pounds from Wolverhampton Wanderers in the summer of 2012 and played 70 games in all competitions with them in his first two seasons.
Jarvis managed just six goals in those contests though and has been glued to the bench most of this season. He’s has started just three games for West Ham in 2014-15, with one of them being in the Premier League and the other two being in FA Cup tilts. In total, he’s made just half a dozen appearances this campaign.
8 Andre Schurrle, Chelsea
Andre Schurrle proved his worth to Germany last year in the team’s 2014 World Cup triumph, but he’s simply not getting the chance to do the same with Chelsea. This could be Schurrle’s own doing because of lack of form in training or fans could blame manager Jose Mourinho for the player’s bench-warming stint. Mourinho signed the 24-year-old from German Bundesliga side Bayern Leverkusen when he returned to Chelsea in 2013 and played him in 43 games last season. Schurrle cost 18 million pounds and managed nine goals last season, but has started just five league matches this campaign and has played the entire 90 minutes just once. It looks like Schurrle and his three league goals won’t be missed if Chelsea decides to sell him.
7 Robert Huth, Stoke City
Former German international Robert Huth had a pretty good Premier League career going for him when he won a couple of league titles with Chelsea between 2002 and 2006 , and also played for his homeland in the 2006 World Cup. He was also relied upon by Stoke City in the 2012-13 season when he started 35 games for the club after joining it in 2009 from Middlesbrough. Huth was the team captain and main man in Stoke’s defence back then, but he’s rarely used these days.
The 30-year-old has played just one league game as a substitute this season and three more in domestic cup competitions. One of the reasons for this is injury problems, but Huth is usually disregarded by manager Mark Hughes even when he’s healthy. There’s a good chance the big defender will be sent out on loan to a club in the second tier Championship League before too long.
6 Hatem Ben Arfa – Hull City/Newcastle
The unprofessional attitude of this 27-year-old French midfielder magnifies the problem with soccer players in general. He started the season with Hull City on loan after transferring there from Newcastle United and then left Hull after deciding he didn’t want to play there anymore. FIFA wouldn’t allow him to play elsewhere since the organization doesn’t allow anybody to play with more than two clubs in a season.
He was technically still under contract with Hull via Newcastle and now his career is in limbo. Newcastle released him on January 4 and Ben Arfur’s now being paid by French club Nice as he signed with them the very next day. Ben Arfa is one of many soccer players who believes he has the right to play for whoever he chooses regardless of which team he signed a contract with. He played nine games in total with Hull this season without making the score sheet. He last paid on November 29 and in a perfect world he wouldn’t be collecting a paycheque from Nice.
5 Eduardo Vargas, Queens Park Rangers
Eduardo Vargas made a name for himself when he won the Copa Sudamericana with Universidad de Chile and this led to a move to Italian Serie A club Napoli in the 2012 winter transfer window. His move to Europe didn’t work out well though as Napoli sent him out on loan to Valencia and Gremio. But for some reason, Queens Park Rangers' Harry Redknapp thought he’d be an ideal player for the Premier League side and brought him to London on loan last summer. The 25-year-old Chilean international has had enough games to prove himself, but has found the back of the net just once in 17 appearances. This is quite a letdown for a guy who has scored 18 times in 39 internationals for his homeland.
4 Roberto Soldado, Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham reportedly paid a club-record 26 million pounds for Spanish striker Roberto Soldado from La Liga club Valencia in 2013 and the money has more or less been wasted. However, it looks like they’re stuck with him for the time being unless they take a huge financial loss in moving him out of London. The 29-year-old may have been a scoring machine in Spain, but he’s been a flop in the Premier League.
He managed to score four times in his first three games with Spurs and it looked like he might have an excellent future in England. But he’s scored just three more times for Spurs since in 39 league matches. In addition, he’s added a single league goal this season and four of his total seven career Premier League goals have come from the penalty spot.
3 Brown Ideye, West Brom
West Bromwich Albion signed Nigerian forward Brown Ideye for a club-record 10 million pounds before the 2014-15 season kicked off and it’s a move that hasn’t paid off as of yet. Ideye has started just six Premier League games out of 22 and has been used as a substitute in another half dozen. However, he has just one league goal to his name. On the bright side, he’s managed to double his output by scoring once in a pair of League Cup contests. The 26-year-old is another player who was bought at an inflated price and if his current form continues he’ll become nothing more than an expensive Premier League disappointment.
2 Emmanuel Adebayor, Tottenham Hotspur
Things have gotten so bad for Togolese striker Emmanuel Adebayor that Spurs fans are booing him on sight. His popularity and skills have fallen mightily over the years and it appears he won’t last much longer at White Hart Lane. Adebayor has been viewed by many fans as nothing more than a mercenary as he has moved from team to team in search of the highest paycheque.
He’s played for Arsenal and Manchester City and joined Spurs in 2011 on loan before signing permanently the next year. He’s scored 35 goals in 87 career league matches for the club, but the 30-year-old has just two to his name this season. He rarely gets off the bench these days and when he does; his performances leave much to be desired.
1 Mario Balotelli, Liverpool
Italian striker Mario Balotelli has the reputation of being a world class finisher, but he’s also known to be somebody who lacks in discipline. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers brought him to Anfield for 16 million pounds as a replacement for another problem child in Luis Suarez, who left the Reds for Barcelona during the offseason. Balotelli has repaid the Liverpool faithful with a grand total of zero goals in 12 Premier League matches and has two goals for the club in 18 games in all competitions. That one came in a League match earlier on in the season.
Things have gotten so bad for the 24-year-old that Rodgers either leaves him on the bench for most games or doesn’t even dress him at all. This has to be the low point for a player who has 90 goals in 239 career club games. However, Rodgers needs to share the blame for buying him in the first place. Balotelli may soon find himself out of England again, as he's rumored to be headed for another transfer back to Italy.
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