8. Mohamed Elyounoussi (Southampton, £16m)
Perhaps, in Elyounoussi’s defence, the circumstances make him seem a worse signing than he actually is. The Norwegian winger’s return of no goals and no assists would always be disappointing and, should Southampton be relegated, his barren year would rank as a reason.
But the most damning part is that he came in to replace Dusan Tadic, who has scored 29 goals for Ajax and ejected Real Madrid from the Champions League with an astonishing display at the Bernabeu.
7. Jack Wilshere (West Ham, free)
Players of Wilshere’s calibre, Manuel Pellegrini said in December, could have cost West Ham £100 million. But a free transfer still feels like money wasted, especially on a lucrative three-year contract.
If Wilshere’s injuries have been both sad and predictable, perhaps the greater problem was what happened when he was fit. West Ham lost all four games he started, and he and Mark Noble looked incompatible as a duo. Declan Rice came into the team when Wilshere dropped out, camouflaging how bad a signing he was and engineering a recovery.
6. Fred (Manchester United, £52m)
It should be said that Fred was terrific when Manchester United won in Paris, and perhaps that night will transform his Old Trafford career. It needs to: only Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and Angel Di Maria have ever cost United more.
But the Brazilian was behind Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira in the queue for places. Two different managers, Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, had overlooked him – and in a damning appraisal, the Portuguese claimed United weren’t strong enough defensively to play him. Perhaps, at least, there’s some hope.
5. Maxime Le Marchand (Fulham, £30m with Jean Michael Seri)
With the honourable exception of Calum Chambers, virtually all of Fulham’s defensive signings could be on this list. Individually and collectively, they have been disastrous.
If singling one out is harsh, the numbers illustrate how damaging Le Marchand’s effect has been, either at left-back or centre-back. First off, the Frenchman played in the embarrassing FA Cup defeat to League Two Oldham. Fulham concede 1.84 league goals per game when Le Marchand doesn’t start; and if that’s bad enough, they let in an average of 2.55 when he does.