While in the Premier League it is perhaps Newcastle United who fill this position across Europe various other teams are filling the unwanted description as under-achievers so far this campaign. Teams from Holland, Portugal, France, Germany and Italy are certainly not reaching any lofty predictions from the start of the season or based on previous campaigns.
So could Premier League teams capitalise on these teams misfortunes by attempting to get some of their better players to jump ship. While the teams themselves may not be playing well each have talented individuals among the mire who would be welcomed by a host of Premier League clubs.
Here are five teams from across Europe that Premier League sides could scavenge on this January?
AZ Alkmaar - 12th in Eredivisie
The Dutch side have been European regulars in recent seasons and finished last season in the top four. League champions in 2009 they now find themselves struggling in a mid-table position this term. Adam Maher is a talented young midfielder who has been linked with Chelsea, Manchester City, Spurs and Newcastle in the past few months while former Hull City loanee Jozy Altidore has been in superb form since arriving in Holland in 2011.
Genoa - 17th in Serie A
Recently the side has been overachieving in Serie A but last year they finished just one spot outside the relegation mark. This was considered a blip and when looking at the talent available to manager Luigi De Canio you could see why. He has since been dismissed and new boss Luigi Delneri is not fairing much better as the club remain relegation threatened. The likes of Andreas Granqvist, Juraj Kucka and Ciro Immobile have all been linked with various moves and could be Premier League bound.
Montpellier - 11th in Ligue 1
In other times an 11th place position for Montpellier would be perfectly acceptable but after their astonishing championship triumph last season those days have passed. They lost Olivier Giroud to Arsenal in the summer and the team has suffered. Younes Belhanda is reportedly set for Fenerbahce while captain Mapou Yanga M’Biwa is continually linked with Arsenal, Chelsea, and Milan. Remy Cabella and Henri Bedimo could also improve most teams.
Sporting Lisbon - 12th in Primeira Liga
Possibly the biggest under-achievers in Europe this term are Sporting. It has been coming for some while now as they have struggled to retain their star players and begun to fall behind Lisbon rivals Porto and Benfica. Captain Daniel Carrico has already jumped ship with a move to Reading while striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel is reportedly considering a move. There are highly talented players in this team; the likes of goalkeeper Rui Patricio, winger Diego Capel and young Englishman Eric Dier could attract Premier interest in January.
Wolfsburg - 15th in Bundesliga
While sitting one place above the relegation mark may seem a disaster they are well clear of the bottom three who look to be on their way out in Germany; but for a team with the finance and squad talent of Wolfsburg it is not good enough. Champions in 2009 the side now contain such talents as Fagner, Bas Dost, Diego, Simon Kjaer, and Vaclav Pilar among many others who could look for a move away.
Do you think your team could capitalise on any of these sides under-achievements?
image: © goulao