Editor’s note: After the popularity of the last article about top 10 Premier League flops, blogger Matt Lane has added ten more footballers to the list.
The following is a list of players who’ve either failed to live up to their name or price-tag or failed to adapt to the English game. And then there are the ones that were just plain rubbish.
1. Winston Bogarde – The ultimate football mercenary Dutchman Bogarde was quite content to sit out the remaining three years of his lucrative Chelsea contract on the reserve team bench after Claudio Ranieri deemed him surplus to requirements. He was reportedly earning £40,000 a week for doing absolutely nothing. Good work if you can get it.
2. Juan Sebastian Veron – The skilful Argentine playmaker ruined his good reputation at Old Trafford, turning in a series of desperately average performances. For the money he cost, his signing was an unmitigated disaster with him only turning up in European games. After a few years United became desperate to offload him and Chelsea, with the riches of Abramovich now on board, inexplicably decided to offer him an escape route. He scored on his debut, but his form soon fell away and he quickly sought a return to his homeland. An expensive flop not once, but twice.
3. Sergei Rebrov – Supposedly as good as his Ukraine and former Dynamo Kiev strike partner Andriy Shevchenko, Rebrov enjoyed a similarly fruitless spell in England. Signed by George Graham for £11 million in 2000, which was at the time Spurs’ record signing, Rebrov managed only 15 goals in 75 appearances and never fully endeared himself to the White Hart Lane faithful.
4. Ade Akinbiyi – Struggled to live with the tag of Leicester’s record signing, but Akinbiyi was at least a trier, and everybody loves a trier. He provoked either sympathy or derision and became the king of the miss in his two seasons at Leicester, cruelly nicknamed ‘Ade Akin-bad-buyi’. At one point he went on a terrible goal drought of 15 games, finally scoring — after a few more trademark misses — against Sunderland. His relief was immense and an excuse to show off his muscular frame. If only he’d spent more time on his finishing than in the gym.
5. Seth Johnson – Promising youngster at Derby who Leeds, during their big-spending days, forked out £7 million for. Never fulfilled his potential because of horrendous injury problems, but wasn’t particularly impressive when he did play. Legend also has it that when signing for Leeds, Johnson and his agent went into the boardroom intending to ask for around £20,000 a week in wages, only to be offered way more than that by Leeds chairman Peter Risdale. Eventually, Risdale upped it to £35 grand a week and Johnson bit his hand off. Whether it’s true or not, it’s still a great story.
6. Kleberson – Bought on the strength of his performances in the 2002 World Cup, Kleberson is up there with Taibi and Djemba-Djemba as an occasion when Fergie got it very wrong. Dogged by injuries, the Brazilian put on a red shirt only twenty times in two years and scored two goals, not much of a return for the £6m plus outlay.
7. Albert Luque – Another from the roll call of Newcastle flops down the years. Luque cost £9.5 million from Deportivo La Coruna in 2005 and ended with a dismal tally of one goal in 21 appearances. Injury prone and just very, very poor, he’s done nothing since leaving Tyneside, most recently suffering the indignity of being released by Malaga.
8. Marcelino – Arrived with plaudits ringing in his ears from his time at Mallorca, plus a handful of Spanish caps, Marcelino turned out to be absolutely awful, someone who looked like he’d never been on a football pitch before. Almost always injured, he appeared only twenty times in all competitions for Newcastle, really taking the biscuit when he spent about three months out with a broken finger. Tart springs to mind.
9. Roque Junior – Despite playing for AC Milan and notching up nearly 50 caps for Brazil (he was part of the squad that won the 2002 World Cup), Roque’s short loan spell at Leeds was nothing short of disastrous. Under the stewardship of Peter Reid, he got sent off on his debut against Birmingham City, and the team conceded 24 goals in 7 games whilst Roque was in defence. The only good thing he did was score two goals against Man United in a Worthington Cup game, but even then they still lost 3-2. He’s now fondly remembered as one of Leeds’ biggest ever flops.
10. Igor Stepanovs – The Latvian tops the inglorious list of dodgy Arsenal centre-backs of the Premier League era. He starred in 17 league games over four years, which says it all really. Other notable mentions in the dodgy Arsenal centre-back category go to Pascal Cygan, Philippe Senderos and current squad player Sebastien Squillaci.