Hull City came into the Premier League limping this season. At the first kickoff the Tigers had 13 uninjured professional players on their roster, and the bench was crowded with recent academy graduates. However, they were back in the Premier League and broke their transfer fee record with the 15.4 million euro purchase of Tottenham midfielder Ryan Mason. Despite the injury crisis, Mason’s signing was still a bit of optimism for Hull City fans.
That optimism was unfounded. Mason is yet to deliver on his fee. The former Tottenham player is a prime example of the danger the inflated transfer marker poses to smaller clubs. Fifteen million euros is nothing to Manchester City (they spent 32 million euros on Wilfried Bony), but for teams like Hull a 15 million euro player has to come in and be effective immediately.
Mason is yet to do it. This season the 25 year old has made 9 starts and 5 substitute appearances for a grand average match rating of 6.22. So why did the Tigers sign him?
The former Spurs man has Premier League and senior team experience, something that was sorely lacking for Hull at the beginning of the season. Mason graduated from the Tottenham academy in 2009 and from 2009-2016 he spent time on loan at Yeovil Town, Doncaster Rovers, Millwall, FC Lorient, and Swindon Town. During that span Mason also managed to make 77 first team appearances for Tottenham. His best season was 2014-2015 where he made more than 29 Premier League appearances and averaged a 6.86 match rating. It seems obvious now that Mason was buoyed by the talent that surrounded him at Spurs.
Mason does not have a long-standing injury history, though he could be feeling the impact of three injuries from last season that caused him to miss a total of 21 games.
Seems like nonsense now, breaking a record transfer fee for a midfielder a year of injuries removed from his best season. However, Hull did just that. They now sit at the bottom of the table with 13 points, and require 27 points from a remaining 54 available to reach the safety of the 40 point mark. It is a tall order to put it mildly.
New manager Marco Silva has a debacle on his hands in Ryan Mason. Is the midfielder capable of recapturing his 2014-2015 form? More than likely he is not. While Mason may have the skills to be successful in the Championship it is clear now that his former Premier League success was due to the level of talent that surrounded him.