2nd August 2019. It was that fateful day when the footballing world would learn that logic and sense have ceased to exist. The world we all once knew and loved had officially tipped towards an inflated and hyperbolic realm – where a certain Virgil van Dijk was no longer the most expensive defender.
Yes, you have guessed it – it was the day when Harry Maguire blatantly cheated everyone at Manchester United of a whopping 80 million pounds, throwing every sense (and cents) of normalcy out of Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer’s window.
Ok, so whatever we said might sound a bit of a stretch, but you get it – it’s a bizarre transfer market the clubs are in right now where English players are massively overhyped and transfer fees are no longer an accurate indication of a player’s ability.
Here, we take a look at each of the club’s most overrated players – players whom you probably have once questioned if they are really that good.
AFC Bournemouth: Ryan Fraser
A revelation in the 2018/19 season, the Scottish winger was a key part of Bournemouth’s success -but is now looking increasingly like a one-season wonder. He was a constant threat on the left wing, often drifting in onto his stronger right foot – chalking up 7 goals and 14 assists in the league during that prolific season. Those impressive performances saw Fraser closely linked with a move to Arsenal, but on current form, Mikel Arteta must be relieved that Unai Emery did at least one thing right during his tenure.
Arsenal: Mesut Ozil
Some might still argue that the German belongs in the world-class category, where on his day he is capable of dictating the game with his vision, skills and creativity. But the truth is Ozil has been at best a really average player for a number of years now, and is grossly overrated. Every now and then, he shows up against the smaller teams with a deft touch or physics-defying pass that looks really easy on the eye, but with a salary reported to be 350,000 pounds per week, that’s… daylight robbery.
Aston Villa: Daniel Drinkwater
Although not quite on the same level as Ali Dia - the most famous con artist in football - Drinkwater might actually just be one of the smartest footballers in history. The English midfielder fully maximised the league triumph with Leicester City (to be fair, he did play an integral role), signing for Chelsea for 35 million pounds and making only 12 league appearances in two seasons, earning some 100,000 pounds a week in the process. He is now on loan with Aston Villa, where his shortcomings and lack of match fitness are cruelly exposed. Just for once, we feel a little for Roman Abramovich.
Bright Hove and Albion: Lewis Dunk
A really decent defender, but is the Brighton captain really worth 50 million pounds? He has spent a majority of his career in the Championship, and although he has been proving more than capable of holding his own against the big boys, we cannot help but feel like it is another one of those unhealthy obsessions with average English players.
Burnley: Nick Pope
Gareth Southgate has a tricky situation on his hands as his side hosts the Euro Championships this summer, with concerns over Jordan Pickford as the number one goalkeeper. Nick Pope is thrown into the equation, and we might be a little harsh, but it does seem like a case of choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea. The Burnley goalkeeper has good shot-stopping abilities, but arguably so did Loris Karius…
Chelsea: Kepa Arrizabalaga
Paying 71 million pounds for both a player and manager might sound like a bargain, but unfortunately Chelsea fans soon found out that surprise, surprise, Kepa was actually only just a goalkeeper – and an average one at best. Frank Lampard has dropped the young Spaniard recently over poor form, and although Chelsea fans might be hoping for a similar story as David de Gea - whose early troubles in England were well-documented - it does look pretty bleak for now.
Crystal Palace: Andros Townsend
Often known as the B-tech Wilfried Zaha, Townsend is actually capable of world-class moments. The only problem is that we will not hold our breath for these moments, which occur as often as Zaha going through a match without being fouled. And those quality moments often make Townsend look like a proper player, but we suspect he might just be a little overrated.
Everton: Jordan Pickford
It is only fair that we have the Evertonian shot-stopper in this list after Pope’s inclusion. Pickford has great raw attributes too, with quick reflexes and a good left foot - but he is highly inconsistent and seems to have a mistake in him, a staple trait for England goalkeepers. A little too dramatic at times for our liking too.
Leicester City: Caglar Soyuncu
Ok, this might have been the toughest one to pick, and we are still not sure if he deserves a spot on the list but there aren’t really many other Leicester City candidates. The Turkish defender is actually very, very good, although his excellent early season form seems to be fading away - coinciding with the Foxes recent poor run.
Liverpool: Mo Salah
So much have been mentioned about the Egyptian King. The output in his first two seasons were almost unbelievable, and we cannot help but to think he is a victim of his own success. He is widely regarded as one of the world’s best players ever since, but from a micro point of view, his performances might suggest otherwise. Still a very, very good player, but definitely short of world-class.
Manchester City: John Stones
Widely regarded as one of the finest talents England saw, it is safe to say Stones has not quite hit the heights his talent suggests. He was supposed to transform the way England plays with his ball-playing approach - a rare trait found in English defenders - but fast forward to present day, he is struggling massively with fitness issues and now finds himself behind Nicolas Otamendi and a 34-year-old midfielder Fernandinho in the pecking order.
Manchester United: Harry Maguire
A shoo-in on this list is poor old Maguire, who is definitely feeling the massive weight of the price tag on his shoulders, which we reckon is already pretty worn out no thanks to his equally massive head. He is actually a really good defender – strong, fast and can play the ball out well, but United fans were rightly expecting him to be the perfect solution after eclipsing the world-record fee for a defender. Things have not gone to plan so far - United are still leaking goals, he is not making Victor Lindelof any better, and the most damning fact is perhaps that his performances have suggested that he is not much of an upgrade from Chris Smalling. Ouch.
Newcastle United: Sean Longstaff
The older of the Longstaff brothers, quite how Sean Longstaff was linked to Manchester United in the summer remains a mystery. The 21-year-old was valuated at 50 million pounds by his club, just a little less than what Manchester City paid for Rodri. Longstaff has been poor this season, with some of the Toon Army now surely hoping that the 50 million pound deal had actually gone through. It is still early days for the young midfielder of course, but the weight of expectation is surely holding him back, and one can only hope for a different fate for his brother Matty.
Norwich City: Teemu Pukki
Having established himself as a household name thanks to his incredible goal-scoring streak at the start of the season, the Pukki magic has fizzled out ever since and the Canaries now find themselves rock bottom in the league, despite playing some really decent football. It is obviously not all down to the Finnish striker, but we would think that Norwich City might be in a more comfortable position had Pukki been more a little more clinical.
Sheffield United: Lys Mousset
Mousset has plied his trade in the Premier League since 2016, but you can argue that the forward has not set too many pulses racing. He scored three goals during his stint at Bournemouth, before joining the Blades for 10 million pounds. Not an astronomical fee by any stretch of the imagination, but it was the club-record fee and you would think that there are others whom might have warranted a better shout.
Southampton: James Ward-Prowse
Known for his free-kicks and dead ball deliveries, Ward-Prowse possesses a menacing right foot capable of whipping in balls that David Beckham will look on and nod in approval. At 25, however, the English midfielder has yet made the step up despite his obvious technical abilities, and struggles to contribute in open play as much as he would like.
Tottenham Hotspur: Dele Alli
Arguably the most overrated on this list when it comes to footballing ability, Dele is strangely regarded as one of the best talents England has produced despite not displaying the kind of form he had shown in the budding years of his career. He struggles to stay out of trouble off the pitch, while his on-pitch performances have been pretty dismal at best. Heck, we are not even sure what his best position really is. He is really even that good?
Watford: Will Hughes
We are afraid the blonde-hair midfielder falls under another episode of overhyped English midfielders. Hughes is a really good player – technically really sound and always comfortable on the ball, but as he turns 25 this year, he looks increasingly unlikely to elevate his game to another level that fans have been hoping for. Once linked to Manchester United, he has a goal and an assist to his name this season and is not exactly turning too many heads.
West Ham United: Declan Rice
The only group of people who doesn’t think that Rice might be a little overrated are the Hammers fans, who somehow think that the 21-year-old kid is the best thing that happened to football since the back-pass rule was implemented. The England midfielder is clearly gifted and might well grow to be a world-class player, but the truth is he is really pretty far from that right now. West Ham are struggling at the moment and their fans should just hope he can go on guide them away from relegation, without putting anymore unnecessary pressure on the kid.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Adama Traore
Ok, we know that the big man has improved tremendously since last season, but could all the talk about him linking to bigger clubs be more down to the fact that Traore was that poor in his first season at the Molineux, rather than him being actually that good this campaign? We would think so, but the Spaniard has plenty of time (and pace) on his side, so he might actually be able to prove all his doubters wrong once and for all.
Psst... subscribe to Liverpool Boleh now and stand a chance to win a Euro 20 National Team jersey of your choice!