With the news that Southampton’s record signing Dani Osvaldo is set to depart for Inter Milan, and Manchester United misfit Marouane Fellaini could join Napoli, these aren’t good times to be a big-money Premier League player.
But who are the division’s biggest transfer failures? And which players provided the least value for money?
Here we chart all 20 teams and pick out a player they’d wished they’d never signed…
Arsenal – Francis Jeffers
Not so much a ‘Fox in the Box’ as one lying in a crumpled heap on the side of the road, Scouse forward Jeffers moved to the Gunners for £8m in 2001. He scored four Premier League goals for the club in the three years that followed.
Aston Villa – Bosko Balaban
Villa paid £5.8m for Croatian forward Balaban in 2001. He would make just nine appearances – seven as substitute – in the two-and-a-half years that followed, before being released in December 2003 in order to put Villa fans out of their misery.
Burnley – Frederic Nimani
Blink and you’d have missed former France Under-21 international Nimani’s Burnley career. He arrived on loan from Monaco the last time the Clarets were in the Premier League in January 2010, with a £4m buy back clause inserted in his contract. Two substitute appearances later that option was never taken up, Nimani disappeared and these days he’s a free agent.
Chelsea – Andriy Shevchenko
There have been a vast array of big-money moves at Chelsea in recent years, but none disappointed quite as much as Andriy Shevchenko’s £30.8m arrival in 2006. Once prolific at AC Milan, the Ukrainian scored just nine goals in two years at the club, and he just pips Fernando Torres to what was a hotly-contested crown.
Crystal Palace – Florian Marange
French left-back Florian Marange arrived amidst a whole host of new Crystal Palace signings last summer, only for boss Ian Holloway to quickly realise that he’d brought in too many players. Marange was described as “too slow” by his manager, was left out of the 25-man Premier League squad and only ever played one competitive match before returning to France in January.
Everton – Per Kroldrup
After Everton qualified for the Champions League in 2005, David Moyes was on the lookout for a player who’d improve his defence; instead he got Per Kroldrup from Udinese. The £5m Danish international only ever played once in the Premier League, a match which not coincidentally ended in a 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa. He left Goodison Park after six months, with some claiming that Moyes had mistakenly signed the wrong player.
Hull – Jimmy Bullard
Jimmy Bullard’s stock was high in January 2009. He was on the verge of the England squad having impressed for Fulham, and he moved to new Premier League force Hull City for £5m to earn £45,000 a week. However, a knee injury on his debut ruled him out for the rest of the season, and so began a depressing couple of years which featured injuries, upset fans and a club suspension before he left in 2011.
Leicester – Ade Akinbiyi
Later christened “Ade Akin-bad buy”, forward Akinbiyi cost Leicester City £5.5m in the summer of 2000, when he moved to the Filbert Street club to replace Emile Heskey. His subsequent struggles in front of goal became a national obsession at one point, with a succession of missed chances in a match against Heskey’s Liverpool leading to widespread ridicule. He left for Crystal Palace after a troubled year-and-a-half.
Liverpool – Andy Carroll
Say it slowly. Thirty five million pounds. Liverpool were flush from the £50m sale of Fernando Torres to Chelsea in January 2011, but they wasted a large chunk of their cash on Newcastle United’s Carroll, who struggled with fitness and form issues at Anfield. He did have his odd high points, but a return of 11 goals in 58 games was nowhere near good enough, and he left for West Ham in 2012 on a loan deal which was eventually made permanent.
Manchester City – Jo
Before Manchester City spending £18m on a player became commonplace, there was Jo. The Brazilian forward arrived from CSKA Moscow in the summer of 2008, scored one league goal for the club, left for two underwhelming loan spells at Everton and one at Galatasaray and then departed in 2011. Remarkably, he then popped up at the World Cup this year.
Manchester United – Marouane Fellaini
A clause in his contract meant that Manchester United could have bought Marouane Fellaini for around £22m last summer, but David Moyes dithered and ended up paying £27.5m for his former Everton man on transfer deadline day. Things haven’t gone well. Twenty-one appearances and no goals later, Moyes has gone, United and looking to rebuild under Louis van Gaal and Fellaini is left looking at the exit door.
Newcastle – Albert Luque
Once the next big thing to come out of Spain, Albert Luque promise disappeared during a short but not so sweet spell at Newcastle, who signed him for £9.5m in 2005. At a club where the title of worst signing is hotly contested, the Spaniard’s one goal in two years earns him the prize – although admittedly that goal was against Sunderland.
QPR – Jose Bosingwa and Park Ji-Sung
QPR’s reckless 2012 transfer policy delivered these two players whose best days were certainly behind them. Bosingwa and Park had won the Champions League during their spells at Chelsea and Manchester United respectively, but they’d given up on trying by the time they moved to QPR, and the Champions League was soon to become the Championship.
Southampton – Dani Osvaldo
The watching world were impressed when Mauricio Pochettino brought Dani Osvaldo to Southampton last summer, but then they saw him play. The Italian international managed three goals in 13 appearances, but also contributed to just as many dressing room bust-ups, and he was shipped off to Juventus on loan for the rest of the season, whilst he now appears set to join Inter Milan.
Stoke – Dave Kitson
It’s no secret that Dave Kitson’s then club record £5.5m move from Reading to Stoke in July 2008 didn’t quite go to plan. After failing to score in his first 18 games he returned to Reading on loan, before going back to Stoke and managing a paltry three goals in his next 18 Premier League matches, and then leaving after a row with manager Tony Pulis.
Sunderland – Tore Andre Flo
Always well-regarded as a squad player at Chelsea, Norway’s Flo also scored goals at Rangers before a huge £6.75m move to Sunderland in 2002. He scored just four league goals, completed 11 league games and was released on a free transfer 18 expensive months later.
Swansea – Itay Shechter
Israeli ‘forward’ Shechter scored just one goal in 18 appearances for the Swans, with his strike in a 3-2 win over Wigan his first goal in 856 minutes for the club. He left after his loan spell ended at the tail end of the 2012/13 season, and Swans fans were happy to see him go.
Tottenham – David Bentley
There is some very strong competition here! Sergei Rebrov, Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela have all been beaten to the post by Bentley though, with the now retired former golden boy of English football still surely counting his blessings about the fact he cost Spurs £15m in July 2008. He played 42 league games for the club, scoring three goals including one against Arsenal. He didn’t do much else.
West Brom – Borja Valero
Spaniard Valero has since proven himself to be a good player for Villarreal and Fiorentina, but he was an unmitigated disaster for West Bromwich Albion after joining for £4.7m in 2008. He made his debut in a 3-1 loss to Hartlepool United, and things got worse from there. Valero played 36 times for Albion, failed to score and then left on loan following relegation.
West Ham – Savio Nsereko
It would be too harsh to include Andy Carroll again, so instead we’ve gone for the strange case of Savio Nsereko. The Uganda-born German youth international moved to the Hammers for an eye-watering £9m in January 2009, taking Craig Bellamy’s No. 10 shirt and looking to live up to a reputation as a wonderkid. He started just one game, failed to score in 10 appearances and left to go back to Fiorentina five months later. After several loans and a couple of incidents of going into hiding, he’s now without a club aged just 25.
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