Liverpool midfielder among five Premier League summer transfers that already look pointless

Dave Tickner
Liverpool newbie Endo
Wataru Endo in action for Liverpool.

Hardest game in the world, the transfer game. Sometimes even the best looking and most sensible transfers can end up looking pointless. And sometimes a Premier League team signs Neal Maupay in the hope that he might be able to replace a 20-goal striker.


Youri Tielemans (Aston Villa)
It’s been a curious couple of years for the classy Belgium midfielder who’s gone from being a key player in a very good Leicester side, to a key player in a less good Leicester side, to a less key player in a bafflingly bad Leicester side to no kind of player at all really in a good Aston Villa side.

If one were to travel back to 2021 and tell people Tielemans would leave a relegated Leicester for Aston Villa and struggle to get minutes, several things would be questioned. Number one being the idea of you travelling back from 2023. They’d just think you were a crank. And that’s before you used this ungodly power to inexplicably warn people about a Belgian footballer’s career going off the rails a little bit.

He has, against the odds, actually featured in all eight of Villa’s Premier League games this season. But started none of them, contributed almost nothing when he has come on, and his longest involvement in any game was the 5-1 defeat at Newcastle on the opening day, which figures.

He already wants out in January with one eye on his spot at the Euros, according to sources within an apparently leaky inner circle.


Wataru Endo (Liverpool)
We get this one and don’t particularly blame anyone involved, but it does now all look rather pointless.

The background to Endo’s move to Anfield is pretty obvious. Liverpool, as everyone knew, were always going to be in need of a midfield reboot over the next year or so anyway. Then Saudi Arabia came along waving their moral-loosening cash around and suddenly that midfield reboot needed to be completed in a few weeks rather than a few windows.

While Liverpool set about trying to sort their top priority signings, it made sense to complete an easy if top-priced move for a solid and experienced sort who Won’t Let Anyone Down.

But then they managed to get a deal done for Ryan Gravenberch, who is going to be absolutely excellent, and the need for Endo at all instantly faded away. It’s hard to see now how he adds to his solitary Premier League start – Liverpool were still 1-0 down when he was withdrawn at Newcastle – and it’ll take some kind of injury crisis just to be starting Europa games.


Dean Henderson (Crystal Palace)
Not necessarily a pointless move for Palace, who got themselves a tidy back-up goalkeeper, but this cannot be the career path Henderson envisaged when he was biding his time on the Manchester United bench awaiting his chance to stake his claim for the No. 1 spot.

Moving to a club to be back-up goalkeeper needn’t be a pointless move. All clubs need one, and there’s no shame in the role. But with all due respect to all involved, swapping the Manchester United bench for the Crystal Palace bench is not the way you’d really want to go about that when 26 years old and in theory approaching your peak goalkeeping years.

Still, at least United’s new goalkeeper is doing absolutely brilliantly and there would have been absolutely no chance of Henderson usurping him. Were United’s new keeper visibly and conspicuously struggling it might be the sort of thing that would niggle at you while you failed to unseat Sam Johnstone and then twanged a thigh muscle.


Andrey Santos (Nottingham Forest)
Bit of a cheat to have a loan deal here, but in its own way a loan deal where you still can’t get a game is the bleakest and most pointless move of all. Might as well be not playing at Chelsea if you’re only going to be not playing and out of sight, out of mind at Nottingham Forest.

It’s a curious situation given the 19-year-old already has full international caps for Brazil yet at times cannot even make the bench for Forest, despite the fact Forest reportedly have to pay a penalty to Chelsea any time they don’t pick him when he’s fit. That’s really got to smart.

Still, he’ll always have those 90 minutes in a 1-0 Carabao defeat to Burnley. Nobody can take those away, while Chelsea thoughts apparently turn towards instigating a January recall to put an abrupt end to all this pointlessness.


Neal Maupay (Brentford)
We honestly at this point simply don’t know what Premier League teams are expecting when they decide to sign Neal Maupay to score them some goals. He doesn’t score Premier League goals. He got 10 in his first go with Brighton in 2019/20 and it’s been downhill steadily and then dramatically from there.

It’s nice for someone who played their part in Brentford’s rise to be back at the club. But we’re not sure there’s any real point to it. Still without a goal or an assist this season, and across five Premier League appearances for Everton and Brentford has been involved in four defeats and a solitary draw. His team, be it Toffee or Bee, have managed two goals in the five games he’s played in, and 1.3 of his current 1.8 xG total came in Everton’s opening-day defeat to Fulham.

If we’re going to be really harsh about things, he was pointless at Everton and has if anything shown even less at his new club.