There may have been many astute and quality purchases made by Serie A clubs over the past season but as sure as there were terrific talents such as Andrea Pirlo and Antonio Nocerino snapped up, there have been a few players signed who haven’t quite had the same impact for their respective clubs.
These are some of the worst signings made in the past season as whether it be through poor performances, high expectations, receiving little playing time or just being bad decisions by various side’s sporting directors, these are the transfers that failed to inspire last season.
After an impressive season previously with Juventus, it looked as though Milan had secured an excellent addition to their weakened midfield with the loan signing of Aquilani from Liverpool. So confident were the Rossoneri that the Italian international would adapt to life at Milanello that they ensured his loan signing had a clause stating that they could purchase the player after a certain number of games.
It is hard to imagine that they will be taking the Reds up on this offer though as he has endured another frustratingly injury-hit campaign with the 23 games he has played in in the league falling short of what both he and the club would have wanted. When he has played, he has not looked like the same energetic midfield menace who is more than capable of producing precision passes that will hurt the best defences. He has by no means been an utter failure but Milan would have expected better from the player especially after the early promise he showed as a youngster at Roma. He will have a chance to impress the club again next month as part of the Azzurri’s European Championships squad.
Like Aquilani, Donati was another player who you would perhaps have expected more from and after coming in last summer from relegated Bari, has been as disappointing as many of the Palermo players in a season to forget. When buying from sides who are already destined for the drop you cannot always expect the highest standards but we have witnessed enough from Donati in the past to know he is a player who is very much capable of excelling at this level.
Yet all too often this season he has found himself posted missing in important games when he has played and while he is not being made a scapegoat as he not been the only player not to play at their best for the Rosanero this campaign, he has not been the signing the club hoped he would be. A fine passer of the ball, it is a side to his game not witnessed enough by the Renzo Barbera faithful this campaign who have become more accustomed to the midfielder displaying a reckless side to his game when the side are not in possession and they will be hoping for better next year.
It is extremely disappointing to see the name of Eljero Elia included on a list such as this with many calcio fans predicting a bright future for the Dutchman after he signed for Juventus on deadline day for €9million. In a Bianconeri side that utilises width perhaps more than any other in the peninsula with players like Mirko Vucinic, Simone Pepe and Stephan Lichtsteiner a constant threat to full backs this season, he should have been a fine addition but instead he already looks set to leave Turin after one miserable season that has been marred with being unable to break into the side and rumours of a bust-up with Antonio Conte.
He started just one game for the champions all season and three further substitute appearances is not enough time for a player to prove himself but Conte sees far more on the training ground and if he has not been performing during the week, then he will not get the nod at the weekend. It is a tough team to break into undoubtedly, but the fact that the Old Lady spent quite a bit of money in bringing him to the club from Hamburg should have been an indicator that he was to feature heavily in their plans. Yet he has simply not adapted whatsoever to life in the peninsula and it would be very surprising were he to remain at Juventus Stadium next season.
This signing was one that while it had to be made, has proved to be fruitless in the end as Catania striker Maxi Lopez was brought in as nothing more than an option to Milan that they didn’t use enough. The fact that this transfer did not work out was no fault of the Argentine who was never going to turn down the opportunity to join the Rossoneri, albeit on loan and he has not given up hope of joining permanently this summer.
It is unlikely that such a transfer will take place with Milan obviously making it clear that Lopez was nothing more than a stopgap signing who could come in and fill the void during Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s suspension and Alexandre Pato’s injury lay-offs. His goals tally in this time was unimpressive on paper with two goals in 11 games in all competitions but it must also be taken into account that he came off the bench nine times during his spell at San Siro. Perhaps it is unfair to include such a signing when his goals as a substitute are considered but it must be remembered that these goals were few and meaningless in the long run and this transfer benefited nobody, least of all Vincenzo Montella’s men who could have finished higher had they kept a hold of the ex-Barcelona man.
Coming from Barcelona’s famed youth system, there is always going to be considerable pressure on a player like Bojan to live up to his high reputation. Unfortunately for the Giallorossi, he too has been one of the disappointing aspects of Luis Enrique’s ultimately ill-fated Roma project as he has failed to find the same freedom against Italian defences that he enjoyed in Spain and has struggled badly because of it. A return of seven goals in Serie A is not enough for a player who Roma spent €12m to bring to the club in what is a very expensive two-year loan deal.
For a player who was often talked about before breaking through as the real future star at Camp Nou and someone who was infinitely more talented than teammate Lionel Messi, you would have expected better than seven strikes in one season. These moments of brilliance were often few and far between because although these goals and his occasional wide play showed that he is unquestionably a gifted player, he simply has not performed on the consistent level required of him and will want to forget about the past year as quickly as possible, as will many Roma fans.
What a fantastic piece of business the signing of Diego Forlan looked to be for Inter last summer when they managed to prise the player from Atletico Madrid after the departure of Samuel Eto’o. Forlan had been angling for a big move away from the Vicente Calderon after four fantastic years there in which he helped them to the Europa League and brought them into the Champions League as well as picking up the award for Player of the Tournament at the 2010 World Cup before winning the Copa America with Uruguay.
His stock couldn’t have been higher and he should have been a star for the Nerrazzuri as he aimed to show that he was capable of scoring goals on any stage in any division. Yet he has been a spectacular failure at San Siro as he has managed a return of just two goals in Serie A and although the constant changing of management (he has played under three this season alone) could not have helped him become accustomed to life at Inter, it has nonetheless been a disastrous move for the player. Following an argument with Claudio Ranieri for refusing to play if he was forced to play wide, his popularity greatly fell and it seems he is not enjoying his football or life in Italy and could look for a quick way out over the coming months.
The January loan signing of Iaquinta for Cesena from Juventus was one that they hoped would help turn the tide for them in their bid to avoid the drop. There was admirable logic to this transfer given that this is a player who won a World Cup, scored a Champions League hat-trick and who the Bianconeri put enough faith in to sign for over €11m in 2007. A goal on his debut had the Dino Manuzzi dreaming and thinking they may have pulled off a fine coup.
That strike in the 3-2 defeat was his first and last goal for the Seahorses as he looked sluggish for the remainder of his spell at Cesena and missed almost two months of his short stay there through injury and no longer being an automatic first choice. By the time he had returned, it was much too late to save the club. It is unclear where the player’s future now lies as he no longer features in the plans of Conte but if he can recover that scoring touch from his Udinese and early Juventus days, then he may still be able to play at this level for a side willing to take a gamble on him. However, his period at Cesena will have done little to entice potential suitors.
Something of a recurring theme this. Juventus offload one of their strikers who no longer features in their first team plans to a team battling near the bottom of the table who hope the player can recover his previous fine form to help push them back up the table. As with Iaquinta, Amauri disappointed massively at the Artemio Franchi although it is fair to say he was never going to be offered the same patience as Iaquinta in Florence due to his Juventus past.
In 13 appearances with the Viola since joining in January, he managed a solitary goal although it is one which effectively decided the title race in favour of his former club as his last minute winner at San Siro against Milan put the Bianconeri in pole position to reclaim the Scudetto. One goal was not good enough though for a player who was brought in to help ease the attacking burden on Stevan Jovetic, whose goals helped keep the club in Serie A next season. Frequently he missed good chances in games (important ones against Genoa and Chievo spring to mind) and he received widespread criticism from Sky Italia for trying to get away with scoring a handball goal against Palermo which was rightly disallowed. The Brazilian-born Italian striker has stated that he does wish to remain in Tuscany next season but he hardly merits a new deal after his showings in the last five months.
You would be forgiven for wondering if this is the same outstanding, confident Kjaer who broke through at Palermo in 2008. As a 19-year-old starting out in Serie A, the Dane was magnificent for the Rosanero and turned in exceptional performances that you would expect of seasoned veterans used to the high standards of the league which interested many of Europe’s top sides. After a spell with Wolfsburg that never worked out, he found himself loaned back to the peninsula with Roma last August and has been one of the playing culprits for the Giallorossi’s nightmare campaign.
For a player who always relied on his footballing intelligence and superb reading of the game during his first spell in Italy, he was never the quickest on the field which makes it all the more baffling why Enrique insisted on playing the player so high up the pitch. He has consistently been tortured by quick attackers and although his positioning may have been somewhat down to the manager you would still expect better of a player who has made quite a few costly mistakes in big games for Roma this season, most notably in their draw with Napoli and their defeats to Milan and Lazio in which he was red carded. For a player who was playing for a contract at the Olimpico and looking to find a way out of Wolfsburg, he has done himself no favours whatsoever.
Roma were not the only side in the capital who didn’t quite manage to get it right in the transfer market because despite making excellent purchases in Federico Marchetti, Miroslav Klose and Senad Lulic last summer, the capture of Djibril Cisse from Panathinaikos. The Biancocelesti are no longer as eager as they were a few years ago to splash out a lot of money to bring a player so bringing the Frenchman to the club for roughly €6m was a reasonably large sum given that the days of spending €13m on the likes of Hernanes seem to be over for the time being at least.
It was expected that Cisse would be the man to fire Lazio towards European football while strike partner Klose would be the elderly player expected to struggle. Yet while the German international went from strength to strength this season, the former Liverpool forward struggled for form and consistency despite surprisingly managing to stay injury free. Looking out-of-sorts for much of his time there (although he did have sporadic moments in which he looked like the player who had lit up Ligue 1 during his Auxerre days) he managed just five goals across 27 appearances in all competitions.
Lazio lost patience with his inconsistency and unhappiness in Rome by January and he was sold after just six months to Queens Park Rangers. Most frustratingly of all though he has become an instant hit in London by hitting six goals in eight games to keep the club in the Premier League showing that he is a fine goalscorer and leaving Lazio wondering where it had all went wrong.
Remember to vote in this year’s Italian Football Fancast Awards. You can do so RIGHT HERE.
Join Forza Italian Football on Twitter and Facebook.
We are always looking for new writers, so if you think you know Calcio, email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was originally posted on the FFC News Desk