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6 Expensive Signings Currently Rotting On The Bench

Big European clubs have a large war chest to use for summer and winter transfers (usually). This massive amount of money is used to either fill a void left by a player leaving, add players to complement the current team or to improve squad depth. 

Usually, the expensive signings are meant to move straight into the starting lineup. Sometimes, new signings don’t always settle or play well and can spend some time on the bench. Here are some players with a high transfer market value that're rarely getting game time.

Here are the most expensive players on the bench.

Expensive Players On The Bench


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Club: Manchester United

Market Value: $45,000,000

League appearances: 10 | Starts: Seven

Fred has struggled to gain a place in Manchester United’s starting lineup under both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. In the midfield three, Fred has fallen down the pecking order behind Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera.

In his first few matches with the Red Devils, Fred showed some flashes of what he’s capable of. Since then, his form has slowly gotten worse. After Solskjaer came in, many United fans thought the Brazilian would get more of a chance to express himself, but that hasn’t been the case so far. He’s made 15 appearances in all competitions, scoring one goal.


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Club: Barcelona

Market Value: $45,000,000

League appearances: Six | Starts: One

Malcom looked like a real talent in his Bordeaux days. Skillful and quick with an eye for goal, it’s no wonder Barcelona hijacked Malcom’s transfer to Roma.

His time in Catalonia hasn’t been the best, however, as he’s only made 12 appearances and scored two goals. With the resurgence of Ousmane Dembele, it seems like Malcom will extend his stay on the bench. However, Dembele is now injured and will be out for two weeks, so this could be Malcom’s chance to prove himself to Ernesto Valverde. 

Douglas Costa

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Club: Juventus

Market Value: $51,000,000

League appearances: 16 | Starts: Six

Costa has had a turbulent season. After spitting in a Sassuolo player’s face in September, Costa served a four-match ban. Costa also hasn’t played a full 90-minute match the entire season — the closest was an 89-minute appearance in the SuperCoppa Italiana Final, where he left the pitch after he took a knock.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival may have something to do with the lack of game time, as the superstar has been cycled in the left and center forward positions by Massimiliano Allegri. 

Alexis Sanchez

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Club: Manchester United

Market Value: $51,000,000

League appearances: 11 | Starts: Five 

Alexis Sanchez has been Manchester United’s forgotten man for quite some time now. His signing for United instead of Manchester City seemed like quite the coup, but Sanchez has underwhelmed in his time in Manchester, to say the least.

At times, Sanchez looked like he was trying too hard, dribbling too much and not making the right passes. The good news is that Sanchez just made a 70-minute appearance in United’s 3-1 FA Cup win at Arsenal. He put in a good performance and looks like he’s ready to challenge for a place in the starting lineup again.

Naby Keita

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Club: Liverpool

Market Value: $74,000,000

League ppearances: 16 | Starts: Nine

Naby Keita does have a fair amount of appearances for Liverpool, but the minutes he plays are very inconsistent. Only playing a full 90-minute match twice this season, it seems like Keita’s transition to the Premier League isn’t as seamless as one would hope. Regardless, it seems like Keita will be much more prepared next season.


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Club: Real Madrid 

Market Value: $85,000,000

League appearances: 14 | Starts: Five

Like Keita, Isco has a decent amount of appearances for his club. Something odd about Isco is that he’s arguably one of Real's most creative players and one of the most expensive players on the bench. On a number of occasions, Real Madrid put in poor performances while Isco was on the bench — most of those matches probably would’ve gone better if Isco was in the starting lineup or at least subbed on.

It’s rumored that Isco will leave the Santiago Bernabeu if Santiago Solari remains the manager. Really, Isco’s lack of inclusion lately just doesn’t seem to make sense. Real Madrid sits in third, ten points behind league leaders Barcelona and five points behind crosstown rivals Atletico.

All of these players in the list have more than enough ability to be playing first team football with their respective clubs. For all of them, their exclusions from regular action are circumstantial. Unfortunately, the clubs that signed them have the ability to let them go if things don’t improve. Let’s hope they do. It doesn't look great having expensive players on the bench. 

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