Big Rom, Ronnie & Ramos – Five headline grabbing summer transfers not going to plan

Last summer proved one of the most memorable transfer windows in memory as a whole host of leading names made marquee moves.

English football saw several records shatter including the first £100m footballer in the Premier League, whilst there was the small matter of two all-time greats making high-profile moves across the continent.

Not all of the headline deals have proven successful so far, however, and we’ve decided to look at five headline grabbing summer transfers not currently going to plan.

Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos’ illustrious career at Real Madrid reached its conclusion last summer, the veteran defender leaving the Bernabeu to join a long list of eye-catching arrivals at Paris Saint-Germain.

Ramos made 671 appearances for Real Madrid and won five league titles and four Champions League trophies among his honours with Los Blancos, with the centre-back’s experience in winning major honours viewed as a valuable asset to PSG’s search for an elusive European triumph.

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The 35-year-old has endured a nightmare first season at the Parc des Princes, however, as injuries have restricted Ramos to just four Ligue 1 appearances during the current campaign.

Ramos had to wait until November to make his debut and has not yet featured in the Champions League for PSG, with Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe the first-choice partnership for Mauricio Pochettino.

He has already been linked with a potential exit with MLS a potential destination for Ramos, who has failed to make the impact hoped upon his arrival from the Spanish capital.

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku became Chelsea’s record signing last summer, arriving from Inter Milan in a deal worth £97.5m after two prolific seasons at the San Siro.

Having signed for Chelsea as a teenager before departing in search of regular first-team football, the move was seen as Lukaku coming full circle after establishing himself as one of Europe’s leading forwards after leaving Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s need for a recognised centre-forward and Lukaku’s proven record seemed an ideal match, but it has instead proven an awkward fit as Thomas Tuchel has failed to get the best from the Belgian.

The 28-year-old was named as Serie A’s Most Valuable Player in 2020/21 after firing Inter Milan to a first league title in more than a decade, forming a brilliant partnership with Lautaro Martinez and impressing with his surging runs.

Lukaku has been tasked with providing a focal point for Chelsea and increased time with his back to goal has led to a drop in his numbers, with the forward having scored just 10 goals in all competitions this season.

The recent win at Crystal Palace saw Lukaku register an all-time Premier League low of just seven touches and there is much work to be done from both sides as he looks to rediscover his finest form.

Speculation continues to surround Lukaku’s happiness with life at Stamford Bridge, but the club’s record-breaking investment will be hard to recoup should the two decide to part ways.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United was greeted with raucous fanfare last summer, with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s impressive start justifying the hype around his Premier League return.

Ronaldo scored twice on debut against Newcastle and starred during the club’s Champions League group stage campaign, scoring six goals in five fixtures – including dramatic late interventions against Villarreal and Atalanta – to secure the Red Devils’ passage to the knockout rounds.

Ronaldo has endured a dip in performances in recent months, however, including a run of just one goal in his past 10 appearances across all competitions.

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The arrival of Ralf Rangnick as interim manager has increased questions regarding Ronaldo’s role, with a 37-year-forward – regardless of his pedigree – unsuited to the high-intensity pressing football the German has long advocated.

Ronaldo appeared uncharacteristically short of confidence following a series of missed chances during United’s goalless draw with Watford last weekend, a worrying sign for a footballer whose career has been built on an innate self-belief.

Ronaldo – who has 15 goals in all competitions but just one since January 1 – frustratingly leads the Premier League charts for offsides this season and will need to find form if the Red Devils are to keep alive their hopes of a top four finish.

Rangnick is short on alternatives at present with Edinson Cavani struggling for fitness and Marcus Rashford out of form.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi was the headline capture from Paris Saint-Germain’s stunning transfer window, the seven-time Ballon d’Or arriving in Paris alongside marquee names including Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Achraf Hakimi.

Messi’s arrival was viewed as the final piece of the jigsaw for PSG and their pursuit of the Champions League, but there have been teething issues finding balance in an all-star forward line containing the Argentine, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

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The 34-year-old has scored just two league goals in 14 starts for PSG, though his form has been improved in the Champions League with five goals in Europe.

However, given Messi has scored 30+ goals in all competitions for 13 consecutive campaigns, a total of just seven goals marks a huge disappointment for his debut season in the French capital.

Messi does lead Ligue 1 for assists (10) alongside teammate Mbappe, but there remains huge questions marks over how PSG accommodate their stars when taking on the truly top teams.

The lack of defensive intensity from Messi, Mbappe and Neymar could prove costly in the Champions League’s latter stages, should the Parisians successfully navigate their last-16 tie with Real Madrid.

Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish became the most expensive footballer in Premier League history when swapping Aston Villa for Manchester City last summer, an exciting signing to add to the attacking arsenal of the champions.

Grealish thrived as one of the most creative footballers in the division at Villa, but has failed to find his form during his opening months at the Etihad.

Having become accustomed to being the leading light at Aston Villa, the transition into a less prominent role has been challenging with Grealish having mustered just two goals and two assists in the Premier League this season.

Pep Guardiola says he has been satisfied with the 26-year-old’s contribution, insisting Grealish’s focus should be on his overall contribution and not statistical numbers of goals and assists.

“Maybe he listened too much to what the people say,” Guardiola said on Grealish’s lack of goals and assists this week.

“It’s wrong but the statistics are better and he plays quite similar to Aston Villa in terms of ball contact.

“He had the chances against Crystal Palace in 20 minutes to score three goals. It didn’t happen but it’s going to happen. We didn’t buy him to score 45 goals.”

Guardiola might have been pleased with the England international, but there is little doubt that the City fanbase expected more from a talent who has shone for club and country in recent seasons.

Read – Player Analysis: Why is Romelu Lukaku Underperforming at Chelsea?

Read Also – Rating every striker signed by Chelsea after Didier Drogba

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