Chelsea and Spurs forwards named in five January signings that already look completely pointless

Matt Stead
Chelsea's Noni Madueke

One January signing was barely playing for Crystal Palace but is doomed under Roy Hodgson. Chelsea were so busy at least one transfer had to look pointless.


Naouirou Ahamada (Crystal Palace)
A panicked Steve Parish tried to rationalise the reappointment of Roy Hodgson by referencing the 75-year-old’s “knowledge of the club and players,” which is likely to have played about as well in the camp of Naouirou Ahamada as it has with the wider Crystal Palace fanbase.

Hodgson will dish out playful noogies to Jordan Ayew, reprise his and Joel Ward’s special handshake and catch up with Luka Milivojevic’s gossip upon his return to Selhurst Park, with double training sessions and two banks of four back on the menu.

All of which is not great news for Naouirou Ahamada, the midfielder signed from Stuttgart for £10.6m in January. The 20-year-old was already struggling for opportunities under Patrick Vieira – 85 minutes and no starts in eight Premier League games since joining was probably not Palace’s opening gambit during negotiations – but those substitute cameos are about to feel like a luxury real soon.


Mislav Orsic (Southampton)
The first signing of the Nathan Jones era has been suitably ill-judged and ineffective at Southampton.

Mislav Orsic assisted the World Cup quarter-final equaliser and converted Croatia’s last penalty in the shoot-out win over Brazil, then scored the winner in the third-place play-off with Morocco.

It earned him an £8m winter move from league leaders Dinamo Zagreb, for whom he scored 13 goals and assisted eight in 27 appearances this season.

The 30-year-old played six minutes of the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at St Mary’s on January 21 and has not been seen in the Premier League since. The domestic cups offered some respite but Southampton’s exit from both have left him twiddling thumbs on the sidelines.

“It’s my decision to bring some other players in front of him,” Ruben Selles has explained. Zlatko Dalic, Croatia head coach, won’t be picking him either while “he is not in shape”.


Arnaut Danjuma (Spurs)
Everton are presumably no longer too frustrated at having missed out on Arnaut Danjuma. Having put the pieces into place to take him on loan from Villarreal, the Toffees were powerless as Tottenham hijacked the deal while telling the forward not to Google either Georges-Kevin Nkoudou or Clinton Njie.

Danjuma has been swept up in the Antonio Conte serial winner doom cycle. His 11 Premier League minutes came in a 4-1 defeat to Leicester in February. His nine Champions League minutes came in the 1-0 loss to AC Milan, as Danjuma was among the forward options overlooked in the second leg when Spurs went for broke and substituted Dejan Kulusevski for Davinson Sanchez. The Dutchman did manage one goal in the FA Cup win over Preston but could not prevent an unavoidable exit to Sheffield United during his eight-minute stint in the next round.

Funnily enough, the chances of either party wanting to arrange a more permanent transfer Arnaut.


Matias Vina (Bournemouth)
Bournemouth were thought to have opened talks with Roma over an ambitious move for Nicolo Zaniolo in January, but it was Matias Vina who they temporarily stuffed into their suitcase and lugged back instead. They might as well not have bothered: a quarter of an hour across four Premier League matches does not suggest that option to buy will be explored.

A minor injury only accounts for some of that general absence. Even with the ongoing situation surrounding Jordan Zemura’s expiring and unsigned contract, loanee Vina has not been able to usurp the frozen-out left-back. Lloyd Kelly has instead simply jumped the Uruguayan in the queue upon his return from injury.

Gary O’Neil seems insistent that Vina “will be an important addition” to the squad but it remains to be seen precisely how or when.


Noni Madueke (Chelsea)
Take your pick from the two Chelsea forwards signed in a record-breaking January transfer window despite the club subsequently not being able to make room for either in their Champions League squad.

David Datro Fofana has played three matches to reach a total of 104 minutes, most recently finding himself playing in the U21s as he acclimatises to the English game before Armando Broja returns from injury and Chelsea sign another rather more expensive centre-forward to knock him right down the pecking order.

Noni Madueke has played four matches to reach a total of 182 minutes, most recently finding himself as an unused substitute against Spurs, Leicester and Everton. He is drowning in Europe’s deepest pool of neat, skilful, interchangeable but ultimately blunt wide forwards, into which Christopher Nkunku will be dunked this summer.