This article forms part of our Total Duds feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how bad a deal the club got.
The Daniel Levy era at Tottenham Hotspur has been dogged by some dreadful decisions in the transfer window. Harry Kane has saved the club on multiple occasions, which is more than can be said for some of Spurs’ most expensive flops like Roberto Soldado and Vincent Janssen.
When you have the talents of a world-class striker like Kane at your disposal, finding a forward who is willing to play second fiddle is a whole lot harder than it first seems.
After Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor failed to fill Kane’s boots, Mauricio Pochettino convinced Daniel Levy to sign Janssen from AZ Alkmaar for £17m on a four-year-deal. Pochettino made up his mind having watched him play during the Netherlands’ draw in Dublin in May 2016.
The England international injured his right ankle in September 2016, which ruled him out for several weeks, and the Argentine urged Janssen to seize the opportunity to stake his claim for a place in the starting lineup.
Pochettino famously claimed the Dutchman “ticked all the boxes we need” and this horrendously backfired in his face as things went downhill almost right from the start.
At the time, Janssen, 22, had scored 27 goals in the Dutch top flight the season beforehand and netted on his international debut against England in March of the same year.
The future looked bright for the Dutch international, whose performances in his debut season in the Eredivisie earned him the Johan Cruyff Trophy, which was awarded to the best young player of the year in the league. He bagged a goal and an assist in a pre-season friendly against Inter Milan and made his Premier League debut in a draw with Everton at Goodison Park in the opening game of the season.
Janssen scored his first goal for Spurs in the 5-0 thrashing of Gillingham in the third round of the EFL Cup, converting from the penalty spot, which was a sign of things to come.
Indeed, he picked up another penalty against Leicester City to mark his first goal in the English top flight, and scored merely two goals from open play by the end of the season, with only one of those efforts occurring in the league.
It soon became clear that the striker was not up to the right standard, as he only managed two goals in 27 appearances in the Premier League for Pochettino’s side during the 2016/17 campaign.
His north London nightmare was mercifully cut short as he spent the following season on loan at Turkish side Fenerbahce.
After such a promising start, Janssen’s slump in form is illustrated by his market value, which dropped from £12.6m when he first moved to White Hart Lane to £10.8m by the time he left the club in 2017.
The Lilywhites last won the League Cup in 2008, which remains the club’s latest piece of silverware to this day, and the closest they have come since was finishing as Champions League runners-up last year. He bears a fair share of the blame, as the fact he failed to reach double figures in two consecutive campaigns in the English top flight hardly helped the cause.
Having spent time with the reserves as Pochettino decided he was no longer part of his plans, Janssen was put out of his misery altogether and left Tottenham to join Mexican side Monterrey for £6.3m, which was a £10.7m loss.
Signing Janssen is perhaps Pochettino’s biggest transfer mistake until now, as he failed to live up to expectations, scoring just six times in 42 games for Spurs in total, and was promptly sold after just three seasons in north London.
Tottenham fans, do you think Janssen is the worst signing in the club’s history? Let us know down below!
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