They Cost £235m But Scored Just 3 Goals… The Underwhelming Summer Signings

Being introduced to the Premier League for the first time remains a tough gig regardless of the price tag.

Look at Christian Pulisic, Joelinton, Nicolas Pepe, Moise Kean, Ismaila Sarr and Che Adams. Signed for a collective £235million in the summer, they’ve so far managed a total of three goals between them for their new clubs, some even struggling to nail down a regular first-team place.

Sometimes, talent is not enough to adapt to the speed and physicality of the English game. Here, Sportsmail looks at the difficulties endured by so many of the big-money signings this season…

£58million from Borussia Dortmund: Seven games, no goals

The American international would have been relieved by a clever late assist for Michy Batshuayi at Southampton last weekend because until then, his time at Stamford Bridge has been a nightmare.

Completely overshadowed by Chelsea’s academy talent Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi, Pulisic has found it difficult to win a place in Frank Lampard’s XI. Pedro and Willian have also had more minutes this season.

Pulisic has started just three Premier League games and says: ‘Of course as a professional, you want to play. But I’m not just going to give up. Never.’

The deal to sign Pulisic was agreed before Lampard took over as manager and Hudson-Odoi’s return from injury is added competition for the 21-year-old to play as a wide midfielder.

£40million from Hoffenheim: Eight games, one goal

Handed the famed Newcastle No 9 shirt after his record move from Hoffenheim, 23-year-old Joelinton has looked ungainly and ineffective in an admittedly struggling Steve Bruce team this season.

It was noticeable that he’d been substituted for the injury-prone Andy Carroll against Manchester United on Sunday when Newcastle’s form picked up and they scored the winner against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team.

Joelinton does have a winner at Tottenham on his CV but it remains his only goal, and he’s drawn blanks in his last five. Carroll has looked more effective.

‘I think big Joe is starting to find out how difficult it is in the Premier League. He’s got to adapt,’ said Bruce, who cited the example of how Brighton’s Adam Webster and Dan Burn physically bossed the Brazilian in a goalless draw at St James’ Park.

£72million from Lille: Ten games, one goal

Arsenal fans were excited to hear that Nicolas Pepe had joined the club in the summer for a record club transfer fee. He came with a big reputation having scored 35 goals in 74 appearances as a winger in Ligue 1 for Lille.

So far, Gunners fans have been disappointed. Pepe, 24, has managed just one goal, against Aston Villa, and a couple of assists. He was singled out for criticism after looking particularly out of sorts in a 1-1 draw at Manchester United, his wayward shooting providing a sharp contrast to an impressive showing from 18-year-old Buakoyo Saka.

Support has come from Pepe’s Ivory Coast team-mate Wilfried Zaha, who himself was linked with a move to Arsenal. ‘It’s a thing where he needs time,’ says Zaha. ‘He has not put this price tag on himself. He’s young and he’s come from another league.’

£25million from Juventus: Nine games, no goals

Signed to great excitement from Juventus on deadline day, the teenage Kean has rarely been trusted with a starting place by Marco Silva and is still looking for his first goal in England. Instead of firing Everton towards the top six, they are currently in the relegation zone.

Kean was regarded as a huge talent in Juve but Italian national team manager Roberto Mancini urged him to move because of the competition in Turin with Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala.

Yet he’s only started twice in the league at Goodison as he acclimatises to life in England. With Silva’s job on the line against West Ham a week on Saturday, it’ll be interesting to see if he uses Kean is his preferred position of centre-forward ahead of Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Richarlison.

So far, he’s played just a total of 268 minutes in the Premier League and provided one assist.

£25million from Rennes: Seven games, one goal

The record signing of 21-year-old Sarr was meant to take Watford to the next level. Instead, they are rock bottom of the Premier League and have already changed managers to try and turn their fortunes around.

Sarr’s only goal from the wing came in the Carabao Cup against Coventry City. Given the Hornets’ struggles, he’s only been given one start in the league. An added difficulty was the lack of a pre-season with his new team-mates because he was at the African Cup of Nations with Senegal.

‘It’s more intense in England and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to come and play here. I must prove myself. It’s a must,’ says the young talent.

£15million from Birmingham: Eight games, no goals

Unlike the other people in this list, Adams has experience of English football – but only outside the top flight with Sheffield United and Birmingham.

So far, the striker has found the step up difficult and not managed to get his first Saints goal despite several near misses. He struck the post against Sheffield United and has since lost his starting place to Danny Ings.

Adams, 23, was playing non-league football five years ago and manager Ralph Hasenhuttl thinks he will eventually come good.

‘I think a break can sometimes help, even if you are always looking to score and it doesn’t work. It’s important he keeps believing in himself.’


Brighton’s £20million midfielder Leandro Trossard hasn’t played since August because of a groin injury. Tottenham’s much-hyped loan signing Giovani Lo Celso has made just three appearances as substitute and suffered a hip injury, Sheffield United’s record signing Oli McBurnie has one goal in 10 games as Blades have gone three games without scoring after a bright start to the season.

They Cost £235m But Scored Just 3 Goals... The Underwhelming Summer Signings
They Cost £235m But Scored Just 3 Goals… The Underwhelming Summer Signings


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