Aubameyang, Carroll and Martial - does it pay to go big on deadline day?

By Sports Desk October 05, 2020

Deadline day is upon us once again as teams across Europe clamour to get those final pieces of the jigsaw completed in a race against the clock.

Transfers often go down to the wire as teams take time to assess their squads and this season's business has of course been complicated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Several huge moves have occurred on the last day of the window in the past but just how much does it pay to go big at the last minute?

Looking at the biggest deals to occur on deadline days in the Premier League in the past, and using a sprinkling of Opta data, we take a look.
 

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG TO ARSENAL - £56m

Aubameyang arrived at Arsenal amid much fanfare from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 and has been an unmitigated success. In 89 Premier League appearances, the Gabon striker has scored 55 goals – including notching braces on 12 occasions – equating to a goal every 132 minutes. He also has a big-chance conversion rate of 49 per cent, has provided 13 assists and created 76 chances for his team-mates. The Gunners captain recently penned a new three-year deal and inspired Mikel Arteta's side to FA Cup glory last season.

Verdict: Success


FERNANDO TORRES TO CHELSEA - £50m

Judging Torres' time at Chelsea is a tricky one. On the face of it, he became a Champions League, FA Cup and Europa League winner during three-and-a-half years at Stamford Bridge. But the Spain World Cup winner never really lived up to the huge transfer fee the Blues forked out to Liverpool, where he was so prolific. In total there were just 20 goals in 110 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, a poor return considering the fee.

Verdict: Failure


MESUT OZIL TO ARSENAL - £42m

It is easy to forget given his current situation at Arsenal, where game time is proving very difficult to come by, just how good Ozil has been at times since joining from Real Madrid in September 2013. With 33 goals and 54 assists from 184 Premier League games, Ozil has been a valuable playmaker for the Gunners. He has created 559 opportunities for team-mates, including 65 big chances, and the World Cup winner also has three FA Cup medals to his name. Ozil has been increasingly isolated in the Unai Emery and Arteta eras and there is a sense that he has not quite fully lived up to his billing.

Verdict: 50/50


ANTHONY MARTIAL TO MANCHESTER UNITED - £36m

When the Red Devils signed Martial from Monaco in September 2015 then-boss Louis van Gaal said the fee was "ridiculous" but he was purchased with the next manager of Manchester United in mind. Over the following five years Martial has been as frustrating as he has been brilliant, capable of the extraordinary but also wildly lacking in consistency. Still, there have been 51 goals and 23 assists in 148 top-flight appearances, with a goal every 200 minutes. Martial's big-chance conversion is at 55 per cent, while he has created 160 opportunities for team-mates – 35 of which are big chances. Throw in trophies in the FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League and Martial has been a solid purchase.

Verdict: Success


ANDY CARROLL TO LIVERPOOL - £35m

Signed by Kenny Dalglish on the same day as Luis Suarez arrived from Ajax in January 2011, Carroll never lived up to his hefty price tag and it was instead his fellow new arrival who flourished. The former England striker did win an EFL Cup and reach an FA Cup final during his time on Merseyside but managed a measly six Premier League goals and was shipped off to West Ham on loan in August 2012 – he joined them permanently the following year. He has since returned to boyhood club Newcastle United.

Verdict: Failure


ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN TO LIVERPOOL - £35m

A few eyebrows were raised when Liverpool gambled on signing Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal in August 2017, given he had shown flashes of the prodigious talent that convinced the Gunners to bring him to north London from Southampton as a teenager but lacked consistency. However, Oxlade-Chamberlain has been a solid performer for Jurgen Klopp's side and that despite a serious knee injury that robbed him of a year of his career in April 2018. The England international is now a Premier League and Champions League winner with the Reds, while he has seven goals and eight assists in the top flight despite not being a first-team regular.

Verdict: Success


DANNY DRINKWATER TO CHELSEA - £35m

Drinkwater was a very late signing for the Blues in the same window, arriving at the club's training ground just an hour before the business had to be concluded. On the face of it, the signing made sense – Drinkwater was a Premier League winner in Leicester City's unlikely title triumph and had formed a great partnership with N'Golo Kante, who had joined Chelsea the season before. But with only 12 Premier League appearances, one goal, no assists and just five chances created the move has proven a really woeful one for both parties. Loans at Burnley and Aston Villa proved fruitless for Drinkwater.

Verdict: Failure


Overall verdict:

The truth is that any transfer always comes with its pitfalls and signing players on the last day of a window can sometimes be viewed as panic buying. But there have undoubtedly been success stories in the past and, quite frankly, we all love the drama don't we? Long may it continue…

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