How the top six’s missed transfer targets have fared: Fekir, Rugani & more

Quick Reads

Despite the unbridled riches of the Premier League, the competition’s big boys don’t always get their way in the transfer market.

For a myriad of reasons, the top clubs in The Biggest League In The World™ often missed out on their preferred targets – as we saw in the summer.

We’ve taken a look back at the players the top six clubs missed out on in the summer to see how they’ve gone on to fare this season.


With Sven Mislintat – remember him? – in charge of recruitment, Arsenal conducted their business swiftly and somewhat under the radar, identifying the likes of Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno and Matteo Guendouzi and signing them early.

They were, however, heavily linked with a move for PSG youngster Yacine Adli, with both The Guardian and Goal reporting the teenager was set to complete a move to north London.

The midfielder stayed put in the French capital but failed to earn a chance in the senior side and was sold to Bordeaux on the final day of the January transfer window in a deal reportedly worth €5.5million and a 40% sell-on clause.

Even after leaving PSG, Adli is still waiting for his first senior appearance of the campaign.


Maurizio Sarri was linked with a host of his former Napoli players after taking charge of Chelsea but signed only Jorginho after it was revealed a clause on his exit insisted he could only sign just player from his previous club.

Daniele Rugani was another name heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, having previously worked with Sarri at Empoli. Rugani’s agent, Davide Torchia, later told RMC Sport Radio Chelsea made “a very strong push” to sign the centre-back.

But the 24-year-old has failed to establish himself in Juventus’ starting XI this term, appearing just 11 times in all competitions with Leonardo Bonucci and Georgio Chiellini ahead of him in the pecking order.


The main transfer saga of Liverpool’s summer concerned Nabil Fekir, who appeared close to joining the Reds only for the deal to break down after the attacking midfielder’s medical.

The transfer collapsed in early June, and Fekir went on to win the World Cup with France in Russia before returning back to club duty with Lyon.

Lyon currently sit third in Ligue 1, with Fekir contributing 11 goals and five assists in all competitions, helping the side to notable victories against PSG and Manchester City along the way.

It might be narrow-minded of us, but whenever 25-year-old produces yet another moment of magic for Lyon, we can’t help but wish he was doing it in the Premier League.

READ: Nabil Fekir scored another worldy and we’re still gutted he’s not here

Manchester City

Trying to improve the record-breaking City side of last season was no easy feat, with Riyad Mahrez the only real addition to the first team.

One area Pep Guardiola was mindful of improving, however, was central midfield, and Jorginho was lined up to provide competition for the ageing Fernandinho as the pivot of City’s midfield.

Sky Sports even published a story stating ‘Manchester City to sign £46.5m Jorginho from Napoli this week’ in June, only for the Italy international to join Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea in controversial circumstances.

The 27-year-old has become something of a scapegoat at Stamford Bridge in recent weeks, with fans and pundits unimpressed by the player’s lack of athleticism in comparison to the all-action performances of N’Golo Kante in that time.

It’s difficult to say whether Jorginho would have fared any better at City, but Guardiola’s side did have something of a wobble in December, with Fernandinho absent from the side.

Manchester United

What can only be described as a shitshow of a transfer window saw Jose Mourinho – remember him? – fail to be sufficiently backed to land his preferred transfer targets.

A centre-back was his obvious wish, and Toby Alderweireld was widely said to be among his main options. Tottenham were reportedly willing to negotiate a deal for the Belgian, but a move failed to materialise and Alderweireld has continued to perform impressively for Spurs.

Another area of interest was on the wing, with Ivan Perisic often linked with a move to Old Trafford during Mourinho’s tenure.

The Croatia international has stayed put at Inter, who are third in Serie A, but was linked with a January move to Arsenal.


Spurs famously failed to sign a single player in the summer, seemingly spending the entirety of the window chasing Jack Grealish before deciding the Aston Villa midfielder wasn’t worth such a significant outlay.

Grealish has gone on to have a season to forget at Villa Park, with Steve Bruce sacked after a poor start to the campaign and results hardly improving under Dean Smith.

The 23-year-old made 21 Championship appearances before the turn of the year, scoring twice and assisting a further four, but has not played since early December due to a bone stress injury in his shin.

Since losing the exciting attacking midfielder, Villa have won just two of 12 Championship fixtures, although he may be fit to return to action soon.

More from Planet Football

Nabil Fekir scored another worldy and we’re still gutted he’s not here

Can you name every club to ever appear in the Premier League?

The incredible stats which show how valuable Llorente has been to Spurs

Calculating the difficulty of the Premier League top six’s remaining fixtures