TT Top Five: Dubious Premier League summer transfers

Date published: Friday 7th October 2016 8:12

Premier League summer transfers: Doubt already?

We may be in the early stages of the 16/17 Premier League season, but there are already a few summer signings that are sending alarm bells ringing.

Michy Batshuayi

Michy Batshuayi: Set to return to France already?

The £33million striker was the first fresh face through the door once Antonio Conte officially took charge of Chelsea in the summer, but a combination of the Italian’s initial tendency to play one striker and Diego Costa’s excellent form has seen Batshuayi limited to just 53 minutes of Premier League football so far.

His lack of playing time has already seen various media outlets cast doubt on the big-money transfer. The striker has already been linked with a return to his former club Marseille on loan, while there has also been a suggestion that he was not one of Conte’s targets over the course of the summer and was in fact signed by senior transfer chiefs instead.

Following the disastrous defeat to Arsenal, Conte finally switched to a three-man defence against Hull which bodes well for the Belgian, even though he was a unused substitute at the KCOM Stadium.

The former Juventus and Italy coach played a 3-4-3 against the Tigers, but does prefer to play with two strikers, three central midfielders and two wing-backs. An eventual change to a 3-5-2 formation, or a Diego Costa suspension, seems to be the only way Batshuayi can be guaranteed a start in the Premier League.

When you once again consider the hefty price tag, you do begin to wonder if the Blues are going to get their value for money.

Rob Holding

Rob Holding: Tipped for long and successful career

Another relatively young player struggling for regular game time is Arsenal’s Rob Holding. More than a few eyebrows were raised when the £3million signing from Bolton Wanderers was seemingly signed to cover for Arsenal’s injury crisis in defence, but the eventual arrival of Shkodran Mustafi could prove problematic – especially when Gabriel and Per Mertesacker make their returns from injury.

After starting in Arsenal’s first three Premier League games, the 21-year-old has since dropped to bench and restricted to EFL Cup and U21 appearances. Although he is learning from the likes of Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny, dropping him down the pecking order so quickly could hinder his development throughout the course of this season and beyond.

Arsene Wenger has had mixed success when trying to develop central defenders; Matthew Upson was forced to leave Arsenal to build his career elsewhere, and high-profile flops such as Philippe Senderos and Johan Djourou were also once regarded as top defensive talents.

It would be a shame for Holding to follow down that same path, but you suspect he will have trouble dislodging either Mustafi or Koscielny any time soon.

There is, of course, no pressure on Holding to be an immediate success, the issue with him will come the longer he struggles for regular competitive action.

Vincent Janssen

Vincent Janssen: Spurs' big money striker signing

There was an air of excitement when Vincent Janssen arrived at White Hart Lane in the summer for £17million. The Dutchman scored 31 times last season for AZ Alkmaar and was crowned the 2016 Johan Cruyff Trophy winner = the Dutch “Talent of the Year” award – for his goalscoring exploits.

Mauricio Pochettino said Janssen “ticked all the boxes” upon his arrival, but there is already suspicion that the Spurs boss may be reaching for the eraser.

Social media is littered with the dreaded Roberto Soldado comparisons, too, and with just one goal against Northampton in the EFL Cup to his name – in a time where Harry Kane’s injury has given him a perfect chance to stake his claim for a starting role – the resemblance to the Spaniard will be difficult to get rid of.

Janssen has also rejected that he needs a mental coach to help him adjust to the Premier League, but just the very suggestion after two months since moving clubs must be disheartening for both striker and fans alike.

Simone Zaza

Simone Zaza: Linked with AC Milan switch

From one struggling striker to another in the form of Simone Zaza. The Italian who is doing nothing to make people forget about his woeful penalty attempt for Italy against Germany at the Euros.

Zaza arrived from Juventus on a season-long loan deal in a bid to help ease West Ham’s injury crisis, but in five appearances so far he looks way below Premier League standard.

The Hammers will be praying he improves soon, as it is believed that it will take just five more games for him to trigger a £17.5million permanent move to the London Stadium.

If the likes of Andy Carroll and Andre Ayew are not back relatively soon, West Ham may have backed themselves into a dark, dark corner.

He did though score in training yesterday and “looked sharp”, much to the delight of West Ham’s official Twitter account. He still though has a long way to go to become the prolific striker that West Ham were searching for all summer.

Donald Love

Donald Love: Limped out of U21 action

Donald Love and Paddy McNair joined forces once again with David Moyes after he was appointed as Sam Allardyce’s successor at Sunderland in a double deal worth £5.5million.

There was a suspicion of panic-buying back in the summer and that has only increased as the Black Cats still search for their first Premier League win of the season.

The former started in Sunderland’s opening fixtures, but has not featured in the Premier League since a substitute appearance against Southampton back in August.

There was not much of a search party for the defender, but he was found on the scoresheet against Hartlepool… in the Checkatrade Trophy.

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