The word flop is often used in sport to describe a player or team that have performed remarkably poorly. In football, it’s commonly used when assessing a team’s success in the transfer market.
For instance, Google the word with Manchester United as a prefix and you’ll find a raft of lists declaring the likes of Diego Forlan, Massimo Taibi, Kleberson and Bebe as some of the worst buys in the club’s history.
As Louis van Gaal continues to take a cash-splashing approach to rebuilding the Red Devils, it’s intriguing to ponder how many of his signings will go down in similar internet folklore.
Angel Di Maria, a £56m one-season wonder, is an obvious candidate. So too Radamel Falcao, the £5m loanee that scored four goals in 29 games for the club last term. But who else?
In recent transfer gossip columns it has been suggested that the Old Trafford giants will listen to offers for Marcos Rojo this summer. Should he quit the club, as those reports suggest, the Argentine defender may well be described as a “Manchester United flop” in the future.
Bought for £15m (according to Transfermarkt) from Sporting Lisbon in Van Gaal’s first summer as manager, Rojo has never been available regularly enough to shake up United’s pecking order at centre-back.
He arrived to allow his manager the chance to play a back three but, after going winless in the first three league games using that strategy, Van Gaal quickly changed tack.
With a conventional back four in place, Rojo flitted between left-back and the heart of defence as he tried to settle in his new surroundings.
The 26-year-old then played just three games in a three-month span between November and January as the injury proneness that will likely be the hallmark of his United career set in.
Available for only seven of the opening 13 league games to kick-off this season, Rojo had fallen so far down Van Gaal’s defensive ladder that Daley Blind – a converted midfielder – was used alongside Chris Smalling.
Once again injury struck in November, the 42-capped international only recently returning to first-team action. Despite that, it appears his employers are ready to cut ties.
That he’s played 16 of his 19 games this season at left-back, rather than in the centre-back role he was originally bought for, indicates the La Plata native is merely plugging holes in the side until Van Gaal gets his first choice options, like Luke Shaw, back.
It’s unlikely that United will recoup all of the £15m they forked out for the defender. What’s much more certain though is that Rojo’s name appears on a few of those internet flop lists.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.