By: Michael Black
- Dayot Upamecano (Center Back – RB Leipzig) and Marcel Sabitzer (Center Midfielder – RB Leipzig) sign with Bayern Munich.
So why is this a bad transfer? Bayern nabs one of the best young center backs in Europe as well as an experienced midfield player from rivals RB Leipzig for a reasonable $63.25m. In a vacuum, and without an understanding of Bundesliga history, these seem like sensible and respectable signings from the defending champs.
The reason we have classified the signings as bad is because Bayern’s business model can basically be summed up as such: “Using our excessive wealth and stature to continuously buy all of the best players from all of the best teams in the Bundesliga, so that there is no real threat of any team ever beating us.”
Has this strategy translated to domestic success for Bayern? Take a look at the chart below:
Leipzig was a great story in the 2020-2021 Bundesliga season: the club finished second in the league, qualified for the Champions League, and made a statement that they were ready to challenge the 9-time defending champions this year.
Instead, history repeats itself, the rich get richer, and we will surely be crowning Bayern Munich for a 10th successive campaign this May.
- Jack Grealish – Midfielder from Aston Villa signs with Manchester City
Manchester City lands top young English talent, Jack Grealish for a whopping fee of $139m. Grealish becomes the most expensive English player in football history and joins the already-loaded attack of the English champions and European runners-up.
So why have we categorized this deal as bad?
To start, that is an incredible amount of money. Now, it is true that the pockets of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan have no real bottom, but $139m is still $139m at the end of the day.
Secondly, we have to wonder if Jack Grealish is even that good. Look below and compare Jack Grealish’s production (Goals + Assists) and his new salary of £15.6m with other high paid stars in the EPL:
On the left we see Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus, two players who spend a lot of time on Manchester City’s own bench, who produced almost the same number of goals + assists as Grealish, for a fraction of the cost. Instead of breaking transfer fees, City could have looked to their own underutilized players, who themselves are considered among the world’s best players, and continued to improve from within.
Up top we see Harry Kane; this is the final straw for what makes this a poor signing. Manchester City’s priority was never to sign Jack Grealish. I know that, you know that, and both Harry Kane and Jack Grealish themselves know that. City’s offseason priority was always the striker from Tottenham.
Instead, City whiffed on their top signing and settled on paying a player with less than half of Kane’s goals + assists, double Kane’s salary.
- Willian (Midfielder – Arsenal) signs with Brazil’s Sport Club Corinthians Paulista
While we claimed the last two transfers were bad for team reasons, (too much money, lack of competitive balance, overpaying for a player, etc.), this one is more about the player themself.
Willian, who has been a top Premier League attacker since 2013-14, signed with Brazilian side Corinthians on a free contract after just one season with Arsenal. After spending seven with Chelsea, and even donning their iconic #10 shirt for the 2019-20 campaign, the winger’s Premier League career has come to an abrupt halt after just one season with the Gunners.
Look below to see Willian’s steep and sudden fall from grace since the 2019-2020 season with Chelsea:
It was an unexpected and surprising move from Willian. At only 33 years of age, it is hard to imagine there was no other Premier League or top-European club who could have used his services.
In the span of a year, Willian went from 20 goals + assists in the EPL to a free transfer in Brazil. Life comes at you fast in the highest levels of European football.
- Sergio Aguero (striker – Manchester City) signs with Barcelona on a free transfer
One of the most prolific players in the history of the English Premier League, Sergio Aguero departed for Spain after 10 historically successful seasons with Manchester City. The Argentinian national scored 184 league goals and added 48 assists, while helping City win 5 league titles and reach new heights in European football.
Of course, what Aguero will long be remembered for is scoring maybe the most dramatic goal in the history of English top-flight football.
The break-up made sense for both parties. As shown below, Aguero’s production has dipped rather dramatically over the past two seasons and as City continues to spend record fees on younger talents, it made less and less sense for them to keep the 33-year-old striker around for much longer.
So then, why is this bad?
It’s bad for Aguero because he went to FC Barcelona specifically to play with his compatriot and friend, Lionel Messi, and then Messi abruptly departed to play in Paris! Now, Aguero is stuck on an uncharacteristically weak Barcelona side, with no real European aspirations, and his best mate isn’t even there to play with him.
Hopefully this isn’t the end for one of the great strikers of our generation.