Courtois, Fred and the 15 most disappointing transfers of the season

Higuain/Fred/Lemar split
With clubs preparing to spend money in the transfer market once more, Goal takes a look back at some of the biggest flops from the past season

In an age of inflation and social media expectation, it's become even harder for players to live up to the hype when they join a club in a big-money move.

The 2018/19 season has been no exception with a number of signings across Europe failing to justify their transfer fees for a variety of reasons.

Here are Goal's 15 most disappointing transfers of the season...

  1. Yaya Toure (Free agent to Olympiacos)

    #15 Yaya Toure (Free agent to Olympiacos)

    Two hundred and twenty-two minutes was all Yaya Toure managed on his return to Greece with Olympiacos before his contract was terminated.

    The 36-year-old might not want to retire just yet but his performances under Pedro Martins clearly left plenty to be desired. 

    Having won the double during his first stint with Olympiacos, both fans and Toure himself will likely want to pretend this second spell never happened. 

  2. Gianluigi Buffon (Free agent to PSG)
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    #14 Gianluigi Buffon (Free agent to PSG)

    The Italian legend may have cost PSG nothing to sign him, but his error in the Champions League against Manchester United was beyond costly.

    Signed to help PSG overcome their struggles in Europe, Buffon inexplicably spilled the ball in the second leg against the Red Devils with the scores locked at 1-1 to gift Romelu Lukaku a goal.

    Manchester United would walk away winners that night with PSG and Buffon left to rue a mistake that once again saw them stumble in the Champions League.

    While the former Juventus keeper has been otherwise solid for the Ligue 1 champions, he was signed to see them succeed in Europe.

    A huge shame for PSG and Buffon himself, who is desperate to end his career with a Champions League title. 

  3. Dominic Solanke (Liverpool to Bournemouth - €21 million)

    #13 Dominic Solanke (Liverpool to Bournemouth - €21 million)

    The 21-year-old striker may be seen as a long-term investment by the Cherries, but Dominic Solanke's first season with Bournemouth hasn't encouraged fans he was worth the money.

    Across his 10 league appearances, Solanke failed to score and picked up just one assist.

    While coach Eddie Howe isn't worried, the former Liverpool attacker would have been hoping for far greater opportunities and success after leaving Anfield.


  4. Yerry Mina (Barcelona to Everton - €30 million)
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    #12 Yerry Mina (Barcelona to Everton - €30 million)

    After starring at the World Cup for Colombia, Yerry Mina has struggled to shine for Everton this season. 

    Injuries have played their part with the 24-year-old playing just 12 league games for the Toffees. 

    While he's shown glimpses when on the pitch, his many absences this campaign have ensured he's yet to live up to the significant hype. 

  5. Mariano Diaz (Lyon to Real Madrid - €21.5 million)

    #11 Mariano Diaz (Lyon to Real Madrid - €21.5 million)

    While a La Liga brace earlier in May have made the stats look marginally better for Mariano Diaz's first season back at Real, the reality is he has failed to justify his price tag. 

    With four goals and no assists across 22 appearances, the centre-forward has fallen well short of expectations. 

    Injuries and managerial instability haven't helped him, but Real fans aren't ones for excuses and will be expecting him to hit the ground running next season or begin looking for another club. 

  6. Mattia Caldara (Juventus to AC Milan - €35 million)

    #10 Mattia Caldara (Juventus to AC Milan - €35 million)

    Injuries have crippled Mattia Caldara's first season with AC Milan after the 25-year-old was brought in to fill the big shoes of Leonardo Bonucci.

    Yet to feature for Milan in Serie A, the centre-back has made just three appearances across all competitions.

    Worse still, a recent ACL injury means he's unlikely to return until December - making his first 18 months with the club a serious and costly disappointment.  

  7. Javier Pastore (PSG to AS Roma - €24 million)

    #9 Javier Pastore (PSG to AS Roma - €24 million)

    A recurring calf injury has significantly hampered Javier Pastore's first season with Roma, who were hoping for far more from the attacking midfielder.

    Pastore has played just 708 minutes across all competitions and while he has scored four goals during that period, his absence hasn't been ideal with his side currently sixth in Serie A.

    At 29, Pastore's value is unlikely to increase either with his recent run of injuries making him a costly benchwarmer to date for Roma.


  8. Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus to AC Milan and Chelsea - Loan)

    #8 Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus to AC Milan and Chelsea - Loan)

    After a terrible performance in the final Premier League game of the season against Leicester City, Chelsea fans were heard singing Tammy Abraham's name as Gonzalo Higuain once again failed to convince the Blues he's worth keeping around. 

    Loaned out twice this season from parent club Juventus (at a total cost of €18m), the striker has scored 13 goals across 40 appearances for both AC Milan and Chelsea.

    A return made all the worse considering the glut of chances he has failed to bury, making his future in England far from certain. 

  9. André Zambo Anguissa (Marseille to Fulham - €24 million)

    #7 André Zambo Anguissa (Marseille to Fulham - €24 million)

    Marseille fans were pinching themselves when Fulham broke their transfer record to sign their midfielder Andre Zambo Anguissa.

    The 23-year-old has looked off the pace for much of the season and failed to provide the Cottagers with the necessary stability in the middle.

    He didn't score or assist across all competitions and Fulham will be wondering what to do with him next season in the Championship. 

  10. Malcom (Bordeaux to Barcelona - €41 million)

    #6 Malcom (Bordeaux to Barcelona - €41 million)

    Having only scored his first La Liga goal in April, it's safe to say Malcom has been a slow burner for Barcelona.

    Facing stiff opposition for a spot up front, the 22-year-old has made 21 appearances across all competitions for the Catalans scoring four goals and adding two assists.

    While not the worst return in a debut season, Malcom has failed to convince fans he belongs at the Camp Nou and was worth the significant investment. 

  11. Aleksandr Golovin (CSKA Moscow to Monaco - €30 million)
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    #5 Aleksandr Golovin (CSKA Moscow to Monaco - €30 million)

    Another player that impressed at the World Cup but has struggled at club level after a big-money move. 

    The Russian attacker's output in Ligue 1 simply hasn't been good enough with Golovin picking up two goals and two assists across 28 appearances. 

    While still just 22, Monaco fans won't be inclined to show too much patience with him after what's been a disastrous season for the club. 

  12. Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea to Real Madrid - €35 million)

    #4 Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea to Real Madrid - €35 million)

    After picking up the Golden Glove at the World Cup, Courtois sealed a dream move to Real Madrid over the off-season but his time at the Bernabeu has been more of a nightmare at times. 

    Not helped by a poor defence, the 27-year-old has been guilty of a few shocking errors in goal and kept just eight clean sheets in La Liga this season. 

    While he has done enough to lock down the number one spot moving forward, Real fans will be wanting far more from him moving forward. 

  13. Leandro Paredes (Zenit to PSG - €40 million)

    #3 Leandro Paredes (Zenit to PSG - €40 million)

    According to reports in Russia, Leandro Paredes is already eager to return to Zenit after just over four months in Paris.

    The midfielder has thoroughly underwhelmed across his 14 Ligue appearances with PSG, coincidentally losing three of the 11 games he's started in the league.

    Fans certainly haven't been impressed with what they've seen and it seems Paredes himself is regretting the big-money move.


  14. Thomas Lemar (Monaco to Atletico Madrid - €70 million)
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    #2 Thomas Lemar (Monaco to Atletico Madrid - €70 million)

    "I know they expect a lot more from me and it will come."

    That's the promise from Atletico Madrid's record signing Thomas Lemar, who is determined to deliver in Spain after a poor start.

    Across 30 La Liga games to date he's scored just twice and added three assists as he struggles to adapt to Atletico's demanding system. 

    Lemar also couldn't find the back of the net across seven Champions League appearances either with the Frenchman taking his time to shine.

    At 23, Lemar could certainly still star for Atletico in the future but his first season with the club has been disappointing - especially considering his mammoth transfer fee. 

  15. Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk to Manchester United - €61 million)

    #1 Fred (Shakhtar Donetsk to Manchester United - €61 million)

    Roy Keane accused Fred of cheating during the most recent Manchester derby and Red Devils fans will feel they have been cheated by the high price they paid for the midfielder.

    Aside from one strong performance against PSG, the Brazilian has looked off the pace at Old Trafford and struggled to cement his spot in the side under both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

    "For me, watching Fred all season, he commits into challenges, gets beat and he can't get back and recover. He's not got the legs," Gary Neville said on Sky Sports in April. 

    After five years in Ukraine, the 26-year-old certainly isn't feeling the love in England and has been one part of Manchester United's very disappointing season.