Premier League clubs spent record-breaking sums during the 2022/23 season, but not every purchase has proven to be a wise investment.
While some signings have hit the ground running in the colours of their new clubs, others have struggled to make an impact and face uncertain futures as a result.
As the season reaches its conclusion, we’ve looked at every Premier League side’s worst signing of the season.
Every Premier League side’s worst signing of the 2022/23 campaign.
Arsenal – Fabio Vieira
Fabio Vieira has had a challenging first season at Arsenal with the summer arrival having often found himself on the outside looking in. Injured in pre-season, the £34m recruit has since struggled to break into an impressive Arsenal side and has made just three Premier League starts.
There have been flashes of Vieira’s talent and the potential is clear, but how the 22-year-old dislodges the likes of Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli from this team remains to be seen. More will be expected of the Portugal u21 international – who registered 14 league assists for Porto in 2021/22 – next season.
Aston Villa – Jan Bednarek
Steven Gerrard talked up the talent and Premier League experience of Jan Bednarek after completing the loan signing of the centre-back from Southampton last summer.
Bednarek offered little of the ‘presence’ Gerrard had discussed during a miserable time at Villa Park however, one which saw him feature for just 96 minutes in the Premier League across three substitute appearances, before returning to Southampton in January as his loan was cut short.
💬Jan Bednarek on choosing Aston Villa: ”I needed a fresh air from a different place. I decided to go with all the cards I had in my hand during the transfer window. On that day, it looked like the right move for me.”#saintsfc
— Southampton FC Updates (@TheSaintCentre) May 5, 2023
Bournemouth – Ilya Zabarnyi
Bournemouth spent big in January as the Cherries looked to consolidate their top-flight status, including a £24m fee to sign Ilya Zabarnyi from Dynamo Kyiv.
Several top sides had monitored the centre-back, who made his debut for Ukraine aged just 18, but Zabarnyi has been unable to contribute to the Cherries’ campaign to date.
The 20-year-old arrived with an ankle injury and has featured for just 27 minutes across two substitute appearances in the Premier League.
Brentford – Mikkel Damsgaard
Hopes were high for Mikkel Damsgaard after his arrival at Brentford last summer, with the attacking midfielder adding to a strong Danish contingent in Thomas Frank’s squad. Damsgaard had impressed as Denmark reached the semi-finals at Euro 2020 and scored an excellent free-kick in his nation’s defeat to England in the last four.
The 22-year-old has been unable to fill the void left by the departure of Christian Eriksen last summer and has made just seven league starts. He has failed to score or provide an assist for the Bees in the Premier League to date.
Brighton – Billy Gilmour
Billy Gilmour signed for Brighton last summer in the hope of regular first-team football. The Scotland international had impressed during an exciting emergence at Chelsea, but struggled on loan at Norwich last season.
With opportunities not likely at Chelsea, he chose to leave last summer in search of minutes on the south coast. It has not turned out as planned, with Graham Potter departing just weeks after his arrival and Gilmour struggling to dislodge Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo from the Brighton midfield.
Gilmour might want to see how the summer unfolds before making a decision on his future, with both Mac Allister and Caicedo linked with exits. An encouraging performance against Wolves recently offered hope he can revive his fortunes.
Chelsea – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Thomas Tuchel signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang last summer with the German keen on a reunion with a forward who has scored prolifically under his management at Borussia Dortmund. Five days later, Tuchel was sacked at Chelsea and Aubameyang has since endured a miserable campaign under Graham Potter and Frank Lampard.
The Gabon international has scored one goal in five league starts, saw a January exit fail to materialise, and has failed to earn minutes in a team crying out for a centre-forward.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had 9 touches vs Arsenal
4 of those were from kick off… 😬 pic.twitter.com/V29viQP1jS
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 2, 2023
Crystal Palace – Naouirou Ahamada
Crystal Palace fans have seen little of Naouirou Ahamada, who was signed from Stuttgart in a £10.6m deal during the January transfer window and is still waiting his first Premier League start.
He has totalled just 87 minutes of league action across seven substitute appearances.
Everton – Ruben Vinagre
Ruben Vinagre called his move to Everton a ‘dream come true’ after signing on loan for the Toffees last summer, but it’s fair to say the switch hasn’t worked out as planned.
He’s featured for just 24 minutes in the Premier League and hasn’t kicked a ball for the club since August. The former Wolves wing-back hasn’t even made a matchday squad in the Premier League since March 5.
Ruben Vinagre on loan at Everton
No goals or assists.
Sean Dyche’s men sit in 19th pic.twitter.com/OiZb26T3gs
— Sporting160 EN (@Sporting160_EN) May 7, 2023
Fulham – Kevin Mbabu
Mbabu became one of Fulham’s first signings on their return to the Premier League as the Cottagers agreed a £6.4m deal with Wolfsburg. Signed as a replacement for departed loanee Neco Williams, he failed to provide suitable competition to the impressive Kenny Tete at right-back.
After featuring in an embarrassing League Cup defeat to Crawley Town, he was withdrawn at half-time during the club’s 4-1 defeat to Newcastle and made just one further Premier League appearance before being loaned to Swiss side Servette in January.
Leeds – Georgino Rutter
Leeds broke their transfer record to sign Georgino Rutter during the January transfer window, but the forward has struggled to make an impact during the club’s fight against relegation.
Even given Patrick Bamford’s struggles at centre-forward, Rutter has made just one league start and has failed to score in 13 appearances across all competitions. Leeds fans will be forgiven for thinking the £36m fee could have been spent on a more ready-made option, as the club face an uphill task to secure their Premier League status.
Leicester – Wout Faes
Leicester are another side battling to stay in the Premier League this season, with the Foxes in real trouble ahead of the final few games. Brendan Rodgers was given just a fraction of the fee received from Wesley Fofana’s £70m sale to reinvest last summer and splashed £15m on Wout Faes as a replacement.
Faes made a positive impression after an initial difficult debut at Tottenham, as Leicester kept five clean sheets in seven games. However, the Belgium international has since mixed impressive performances with calamitous moments, for a Leicester team who have gone 20 Premier League games without a clean sheet.
Wout Faes has become only the 4th player to score 2 own goals in a single Premier League game:
🥇 Jamie Carragher vs. Man Utd, 1999
🥈 Michael Proctor vs. Charlton Athletic, 2003
🥉 Jonathan Walters vs. Chelsea, 2013
4️⃣ Wout Faes vs. Liverpool, 2022
Nightmare scenario. pic.twitter.com/kJAH9Wrjo2
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 30, 2022
The Foxes’ poor defensive record is the leading reason why next season might just be spent in the second tier.
Liverpool – Arthur Melo
The worst signing of the Premier League season?
Liverpool signed Arthur Melo on loan from Juventus to improve the club’s depleted midfield stocks, but the Brazilian has spent the entire season on the sidelines.
Arthur Melo on his time at Liverpool:
“Since I arrived, [Jurgen] Klopp has treated me really well. It is an honour for me to work with Jurgen. He is one of the best coaches in the world, he has always spoken well of me, he is someone incredible and the treatment has always been… pic.twitter.com/BIInSVW4US
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) May 8, 2023
His only minutes came as a late substitute in a 4-1 defeat at Napoli in the Champions League, with Melo having not made a single Premier League appearance.
Manchester City – Kalvin Phillips
Kalvin Phillips’ move to Manchester City is one that has benefitted none of the parties involved.
City have barely used the midfielder, who has spent almost the entire campaign on the sidelines, while Leeds have got noticeably worse since the midfielder’s exit from Elland Road.
Only having played 103 minutes in the Premier League this season, Kalvin Phillips was so happy to be subbed on in the final minute against West Ham last night 😁💙 pic.twitter.com/r0FaYbAbnQ
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) May 4, 2023
Phillips has made just two starts in all competitions and has totalled 103 minutes in the Premier League. With a Rodri-shaped obstacle in his path to first-team football, it’s difficult to see how he turns things around at the Etihad.
Manchester United – Wout Weghorst
Manchester United’s search for a solution at centre-forward landed at a surprise selection in January, as the Red Devils parted with £2.5m to cut short Wout Weghorst’s loan at Besiktas.
The Netherlands international had scored eight goals in 16 league games for the Turkish side this season, but struggled during a difficult spell in the Premier League at Burnley last term.
Weghorst has featured regularly under Erik ten Hag and has earned praise from his manager for a selfless style in leading the line, but two goals in 27 appearances – none of which have come in the Premier League – is hardly the return expected.
Newcastle – Anthony Gordon
Anthony Gordon departed Everton’s relegation battle to sign for Champions League chasing Newcastle during the January transfer window, but has done little to indicate he was worth the £45m investment from the ambitious Magpies.
He has failed to score or assists in 12 league appearances, of which just three have come from the start. Even given the absence of Miguel Almiron, he has failed to earn inclusion in the side with Jacob Murphy preferred ahead of the big-money arrival.
There’s much room for improvement for Gordon at St James’ Park.
Nottingham Forest – Jesse Lingard
Jesse Lingard’s move to Nottingham Forest was viewed as a coup from the newly-promoted side, with the England midfielder viewed as a marquee arrival in the club’s remarkable recruitment drive.
Lingard signed a one-year deal on big wages, perhaps an insurance policy should Forest’s return to the Premier League be short-lived. As it stands, Steve Cooper’s side have a fighting chance of retaining their top-flight status and have done so with little contribution from Lingard, who has fallen out of favour and has failed to provide a solitary goal or assist.
The 30-year-old looks set to find himself as a free agent again this summer, though the queue of clubs interested might just be a little shorter than 12 months ago.
Southampton – Mislav Orsic
No shortage of candidates, here.
Southampton’s sorry season looks set to end in relegation with the club’s wealth of new arrivals having failed to work out as hoped. Kamaldeen Sulemana and Paul Onuachu have failed to provide the goals hoped after January arrivals for significant fees, but it is Mislav Orsic who has proven the biggest disappointment.
Mislav Orsic has only played six minutes of Premier League football since his January transfer 😕#SaintsFChttps://t.co/FbjQ0eHCTK
— Saints Live (@Saints_FCLive) May 10, 2023
The Croatia international – who scored a Champions League winner against Chelsea earlier in the campaign – signed in an £8m deal from Dinamo Zagreb in January and has had just six minutes of Premier League football in five months.
Tottenham – Richarlison
Richarlison’s move to Tottenham from Everton has been a disaster to date, with the £60m forward having waited 24 league games for his first goal.
The Brazilian has been mocked after having three goals – each of which saw him receive yellow cards after removing his shirt in celebration – disallowed by VAR, while even his first goal for Spurs saw Liverpool march up the other end and score a winner just seconds later.
Antonio and Wilson have finished Richarlison 👀😂pic.twitter.com/SsqQODFwpe
— Fantasy5 (@Fantasy5Jackpot) May 10, 2023
Richarlison, incredibly, scored as many goals at the Qatar World Cup (3) as he has in all competitions for Spurs this season.
West Ham – Gianluca Scamacca
West Ham spent big last summer after successive European qualifications and there was a continental feel to their marquee arrivals as Gianluca Scamacca and Lucas Paqueta arrived for big fees.
While Paqueta has improved after a slow start, Scamacca has failed to win the trust of David Moyes. He has scored eight goals in all competitions, including the Europa Conference League qualifiers, but has not featured in the Premier League since January as a result of fitness and favour issues.
It would come as little surprise to see a Serie A side offer him a route back to Italy next season.
Wolves – Goncalo Guedes
Wolves love a Portuguese signing, but Goncalo Guedes must rank as one of their most disappointing to date.
Signed in a £27m deal from Valencia last summer, the Portugal international made just eight starts and scored once before being sent out on loan to Benfica in the January window. Wolves are expected to make a significant loss on the midfielder when Guedes, as expected, leaves this summer.
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