Everyone's a flop these days, eh? If you don't do the Bruno Fernandes thing and score 50 penalties in six months, you are – as they say – in the mud.
Of course, that's a big ol' crock of silliness. Not everything worth having comes quickly, famously – and there are a few big name/big money signings from last summer who didn't hit the ground running. Here are your 2020/21 post-hype sleepers.
1. Che Adams
Che Adams didn't have the debut season of dreams. Southampton didn't commit a £15m fee and a five-year deal to the former Birmingham for him to score four goals.but when fellow summer arrival Danny Ings started his goalscoring streak in earnest in October, chances were limited.
You want the cons? Well, Adams didn't score in his first 24 Premier League appearances. He started the first six league games of the season, then only started six of the last 32.
You want the pros? Adams started four of eight post-lockdown, and scored four times. He's only just turned 24, and he's had a season to acclimatise to top-flight football. His xG – not a useless measure over the course of a season – was just a tick over four, so his finishing roughly balanced out over the course of the campaign.
If he can supplant Shane Long as the man partnering Ings up front, Adams has the potential to break out in 2020/21.
Disclaimer: Wesley probably won't be good for a little while. That's not a slight on him though, that's just the nature of dynamic athletes coming back from ACL ruptures.
While the Brazilian might come back and play a good amount, the first season after an ACL is usually sub-standard. The human body just doesn't like it when you destroy your ligaments.
Wesley started his Villa career with four goals in eight games, then fell off a cliff; no goals or assists in 12 straight league games. He scored against Burnley on New Year's Day.and promptly crocked himself in the same game, and didn't play again all season.
While his numbers weren't great, Villa were a mess in general last season. This year, with a campaign of Premier League football under their collective belt and a more settled squad, the link from midfield to attack should function better. That means better chances for the strikers, and that means Wesley.
3. Antoine Griezmann
Two words for this one: Lionel Messi.
Playing with the Argentine has been a nightmare for Griezmann, shunted out to the side (literally) out of his preferred role to accommodate the best player in the world.
It looked as though the future at Camp Nou was bleak for the Frenchman, until Messi threw the club into disarray with his demand to leave. Now, with the role of attacking focal point and that spot drifting behind the striker apparently up for grabs, Griezmann might get the chance to be Griezmann again.
There's not a player on this list with higher upside. At Atleti, he was probably one of the three or four best players in the world. It could happen again.
EDIT: Alright, so Messi's staying this season. Just mentally copy and paste this in 12 months time.
4. Tanguy Ndombele
So here's the good news: Jose Mourinho thinks Tanguy Ndombele can be salvaged. How do we know this? That lockdown-breaching park training session back in April.
Ndombele might be unfit, or lacking 5% in a couple of intangible characteristics, but those couple of blurry photos from the spring tell you everything you need to know. Mourinho is going to do everything he can to mould the former Lyon man into the warrior he wants.
Add to that the fact that he's only 23 and still settling in the UK after just a year, and Ndombele has one of the widest ranges of outcomes in the Premier League this season.
5. Alex Iwobi
It's difficult to tell exactly what Alex Iwobi did wrong in his first season at Everton, but--oh, hang on. His longest run of starting league games in the same position was.three games? He started eight games on the left and nine on the right? And a few through the middle? Right.
It might very well be as simple as that. First season at a new club for the first time in his senior career and absolutely no stability – in terms of the manager(s) or his position.
James Rodriguez should provide a focal point for the Everton attack to revolve around, Carlo Ancelotti should see out the season, and Iwobi will, hopefully, stay in one place for a while.
6. Sebastien Haller
Is Sebastien Haller good? Ermm. Maybe??
It's hard to justify Haller's inclusion as a bounce-back candidate except for a nagging sense that, well, he's.he's good, right?
He's got the frame for Premier League football, he went from scoring nine in 31 in his first Bundesliga season to 15 in 29 in his second, and.it's still hard to get around the fact that he scored four times in his last 30 league games of the season. Pencil him in for 'settling in' potential.
7. Joao Felix
There are a lot of arguments for the Joao Felix redemption, but the most obvious one is the most simple: he's 20.
You could point to the fact that he needed a season to get used to the step up in quality between Liga NOS and La Liga, or you could just say: he's 20.
You could argue that he had three injuries and a pandemic disrupt his debut season at Atleti, killing any chance or continuity.or you could just say: he's 20.
Joao Felix. He's 20.
8. Eden Hazard
It's very easy to laugh at Eden Hazard's Real Madrid dream starting with him being bad. Clever, too. But.it was more about bad luck than it was about his big clapping arse.
How bad was the luck? He missed 26 games with injury, with five different injuries – from a hamstring problem to a broken foot. Because those injuries were scattered through the season, he never got a chance to settle into any kind of rhythm with his new teammates. Oh, there was a pandemic too.
Next season? Well, he's really good and Real would love to have a seasoned international in their attack rather than a smattering of raw Brazilian teenagers. He'll be just fine.
For more from Chris Deeley, follow him on Twitter at @ThatChris1209!