Kylian Mbappe has been a World Cup-winning revelation since joining PSG but it’s a £300MILLION mistake at Barcelona as Griezmann, Coutinho and Dembele struggle… after Roy Keane called Joao Felix an ‘imposter’, here’s how other £100m signings fared
- Portugal and Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix was called an ‘imposter’ on Sunday
- ITV pundit Roy Keane was critical of Felix’s cameo at Euro 2020 vs Belgium
- Felix is one of six players signed by their club for more than a £100million fee
- Kylian Mbappe has been a star at PSG but Barcelona have made costly mistakes
- Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here
It didn’t take too much joined up thinking to imagine the distaste Roy Keane would have had sharing a dressing room with a player valued at more than £100million.
The ex-Manchester United hard man has no time for the niceties of the game, the tricks and flicks that flair players are paid so handsomely to deliver.
For those in any doubt he gave a withering assessment of ‘imposter’ Joao Felix after his uninspiring cameo in Portugal’s Euro 2020 exit at the hands of Belgium.
Keane immediately pointed the finger of blame at Felix after he scuffed a late shot wide having been teed up on the edge of the box by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Joao Felix made his first appearance in the European Championships but he struggled
Roy Keane branded Felix an ‘imposter’ after the youngster couldn’t hit the target with his shot
He said on ITV: ‘I get really annoyed when they’re quality players.
‘There’s no excuse to be leaning back and just missing the target, just test the goalkeeper because these are top players there’s no getting around it.
‘Felix when he came on, that guy is an imposter. He comes on and the country needs you, just hit the target, he’s what, £100million?
‘If I was Ronaldo you’d certainly be going for him in the dressing room.’
It was a cheap shot at a player who had come on with Portugal already losing. And there was no such condemnation for captain and leader Ronaldo despite him kicking the captain’s armband as he stormed off.
It just pointed to the near-impossible load that these £100m-plus players must carry on their shoulders.
Every virtuoso is seen as expected for their price while every faux-pas is treated like a criminal offence.
So, in light of Keane’s criticism of Felix, Sportsmail looks at other £100m-plus players to work out if they have been a success or not… look away now Barcelona fans.
Joined PSG in 2017, initially on loan, before signing for £166m
The young French striker is going to be a perennial Ballon d’Or contender and at 22 he is one of the prized assets in world football.
PSG picked him up on loan from Monaco initially in 2017 to avoid breaching Financial Fair Play regulations but there was always a permanent deal to be triggered 12 months later when they sanctioned the £166m signing.
And all his stock did from there was rise. A World Cup winners’ medal with France went round his neck after his year on loan and he’s continued his ascent ever since.
The summer after leaving Monaco he played a key role in France winning the 2018 World Cup
He became the second teenager to score in a World Cup final, joining Pele, and PSG would have been forgiven for thinking they had hit the jackpot, even at that price.
Mbappe scored on his debut to set the tone and soon played a key role in PSG’s trophy haul, a league title, a League Cup and a French Cup.
He took on the mantle of the No 7 shirt in his second season and history continued to write itself. There was one game in October 2018 where Mbappe hit four goals in a single game.
Individual accolades followed also – he won the inaugural Kopa Trophy, awarded to the best U21 player in the world, he won top scorer in Ligue 1 and was crowned Player of the Season in the French top flight in 2018-19.
Two more top scorer titles arrived, along with team honours, and he also helped PSG reach a Champions League final, which they narrowly lost to Bayern Munich.
Right now Mbappe finds himself crucified after missing the decisive penalty for France against Switzerland at Euro 2020 but that is but the smallest of marks against his already distinguished career.
He really is a joy to behold.
VERDICT – HIT
Mbappe has three Ligue 1 top scorer awards since he joined Paris Saint-Germain back in 2017
Joined PSG for £198m in 2017
Given his £198m fee, to some people Neymar will NEVER be able to justify it.
It’s too much for one man, one player. One-hundred-and-ninety-eight-million.
It was a move that completely changed the landscape of the transfer market. What was once viewed as an untouchable release clause was suddenly triggered and he was gone. Barcelona were shellshocked.
And so off he went to Paris, determined to stand aside from the shadow of Lionel Messi as the crown jewel in PSG’s Qatari project.
Ten trophies in France – spare the criticisms – are continuing to pile up and while he has yet to win the Champions League in Paris, calling him a ‘bust’ would be grotesquely unfair.
He took them to a final and is continuing to mature into a leader. Last season’s Champions League run brought a number of breathtaking performances before a horror show away to Man City.
This one will divide opinion but Neymar has impressed in Paris and one trophy missing from his cabinet since leaving Barca should not change that.
VERDICT – HIT
Neymar has dazzled at PSG but to many he will be condemned for not succeeding in Europe
Joined Atletico Madrid for £114m in 2019
Keane was wrong to put Portugal’s exit on youngster Felix. Sure, he skewed a shot wide. But Liverpool’s Diogo Jota wasted two big chances and was equally as culpable.
For all the praise he has won, defeat also fell at the feet of Ronaldo.
It’s also worth remembering that Felix is 21 and already has a LaLiga title to his name. It’s not all bad, Roy.
Ten goals in 40 appearances last season will be expected to be improved but he played an important role in Diego Simeone’s side claiming the title in Spain, coming up with a number of key goals.
He has said he is ‘happy’ at Atletico and is in no position to seek an exit two years on, even if there have been some struggles as he adapted amid a pandemic.
The ex-Benfica starlet had spells coming off the bench in what was a test of his mental strength, something he passed with flying colours by the end of the campaign.
Felix has the opportunity to partner and learn from Luis Suarez and will believe he can go on to assert himself as the main man for club and country in the seasons to follow.
Criticism from Keane was misplaced, Felix was introduced before the hour with his side already trailing. It really is not as bad as the Irishman chose to make it out.
VERDICT – HIT
Joao Felix missed a late chance as Portugal were kicked out of the European Championships
Felix (far right) has been a success, rather than a bust, as he played a key role in winning LaLiga
Joined Barcelona for £107m in 2019
This is one to cause fierce debate among supporters.
He arrived a World Cup winner and Barcelona seemingly had no qualms despite being burned with big money deals previously and so Griezmann was brought in to freshen up an ailing – Lionel Messi aside – attack.
Griezmann scored a brace and added an assist in a rampant 5-2 home debut against Real Betis but the boo-boys were soon out in force.
Quique Setien often kept Griezmann out of the side in humiliating fashion.
There was also the issue of clicking with Messi and given the Argentine’s close bond with Luis Suarez, Griezmann often found himself isolated in training when players would pair up in small-sided teams.
Fifteen goals and four assists in his first season was far from abysmal but it was also below expectations for a player of his value – even if he was deployed out of his favoured central position to fill in a 4-3-3 on the left.
But the sacking of Setien and appointment of Ronald Koeman, plus the exit of Suarez, gave Griezmann a clean slate and the improvement cannot be understated.
Griezmann, often colloquially known as Le Petit Prince, has successfully managed to revive his Barcelona career, winning his first major title in the Copa del Rey.
He finished 2019-20 with 20 goals and 12 assists and will now look to go from strength to strength following the Euros.
VERDICT – JURY’S OUT
Antoine Griezmann has divided opinion at Barcelona but salvaged his club career last season
Joined Barcelona for £140m in 2018
A disaster. There’s no other way to dice it.
The Brazilian was riding a wave at Anfield with Liverpool but had his heart set on Barcelona and that was that.
He arrived at Liverpool for £8.5m but soon elevated, placed in the 2015 PFA Team of the Year and soon he was a man in demand.
Coutinho, who arrived in January 2018, is still working hard to recover from a meniscus injury to his left knee sustained against Eibar.
He is heading up Barcelona’s list of players for sale but there are no offers for the out-of-sorts Brazilian to help the Catalan club pay off a reported €69m (£63m) left of his transfer.
Liverpool sanctioned a deal worth as much as £140m once all the add-ons and clauses were negotiated to prise him away from Merseyside.
Two titles at Barcelona – one in which he arrived mid-season – suggests a period of success but on the contrary Coutinho, who was forced out on loan to Bayern Munich in 2019, has become clutter at the Nou Camp.
Winning the treble in Germany was a bright spot but it spoke volumes Bayern passed up on keeping him long term.
VERDICT – MISS
Philippe Coutinho has been a major disappointment since swapping Liverpool for Barcelona
Joined Barcelona for £124m in 2017
There’s a saying among elite-level coaches that availability is one of a sportsperson’s greatest assets. Simply put, Dembele doesn’t have it.
Big things were expected when he forced his way out of Borussia Dortmund in 2017 for a staggering £124m but Barcelona have had little by way of return on their mammoth investment.
Sure, he lifted back-to-back LaLiga titles and internationally he was part of the France squad, like Mbappe, that won the World Cup in Russia. But walk the streets of Barcelona and conduct a straw poll on Dembele. You may need to duck for cover.
He was part of the Neymar rebuild and yet Dembele, currently ready for surgery on his latest injury over in Finland, is ready to go down in the history of one of Barcelona’s most ruinous deals.
Dembele is out of contract next summer and Barca now face the very real prospect of losing him for nothing. Park the trophies to one side, the recklessness of the entire deal has been part of the financial armageddon they now find themselves in.
VERDICT – MISS
Ousmane Dembele struggles to stay fit and injury at Euro 2020 with France requires surgery
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