What a Waste of Money XI: Premier League’s Worst Buys for the Money

What is the Premier League’s Worst XI based on highest transfer fees and worst performances? If you could pick a starting eleven, what would it look like?

In my opinion, here are my picks of the current Premier League footballers who deserve to be in my What A Waste Of Money XI:


David De Gea (£18m) – Manchester United – He’s probably going to raise at least one trophy this year, but the wins seem to happen despite his presence, rather than because of his play.  Goalkeepers need to be the vocal captain of the defense and one must wonder who is listening when De Gea is barking.  The Spaniard is lucky to be playing for a United team that scores at will to cover for their poor defending.


David Luiz (£25m) – Chelsea – Luiz’s days of being “controlled by a 10-year-old in the crowd on a Playstation” may be waning, but he’s still a liability on defense.  The Brazilian is regularly caught out of position and has a knack for giving up penalties.  Certainly Luiz is far from worst defender in the league but the price doesn’t match the return.  Maybe his recent move to the midfield can justify his high price tag.

Ivan Ramis (£4m) – Wigan – While his price tag is low, the value in the purchase is even lower.  A smaller club like Wigan cannot afford such mistakes.  Ivan conceded a penalty on his debut and his team has conceded the second most goals in the league.  Wigan now have a 28 year old defender facing a long recovery from a serious knee injury, and it appears they may have to spend in January for a replacement.

Kolo Toure (£16m) – Manchester City – We all know Kolo is kept around to keep his brother happy.  Yaya’s amazing strength and midfield domination almost justifies £16m for his older brother, but not quite.  Kolo has become a very expensive squad player struggling to get on the pitch.  Off field issues, including a 6 month drug ban, help earn his spot on the list.


Stewart Downing (£20m) – Liverpool – Poor Stewart was cursed from the minute fans saw the price tag and his age. At 27, Downing was doing well at Aston Villa, but it was tough for most fans to justify such a massive fee. The first season at Liverpool could not have been worse for him with zero league goals or assists. King Kenny’s insistence of playing him week after week only seemed to highlight his inability to adapt to the pressures of a bigger club. Downing has finally started to show some form in lesser competitions such as the domestic cups and Europa League, but his league form simply doesn’t justify his price tag.

Esteban Granero (£9m) – QPR – Mark Hughes and QPR thought they could buy their way to Premier League survival.  The price tag doesn’t seem too massive for a midfielder from Real Madrid, but it’s a big bill for small club who ended up with a bust of a player.  Granero’s youthful promise has never materialized into a solid senior career in Spain or so far in England.  QPRs early season form has been woeful and one has to wonder whether Harry Redknapp can get the best out of him.

Gaston Ramirez (£12m) – Southampton – Southampton’s record signing has impressed to date, but rumors are already surfacing regarding a move out of England.  At 22, the young Uruguayan has time on his side, but relegation would surely mean the end of his stay on the south coast and millions wasted for the Saints.  The jury is still deliberating but this could be a costly return ticket to the Championship.

Joe Allen (£15m) – Liverpool – Seems Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers can’t do anything right in the transfer market.  While Joe Allen showed early flashes of brilliance, his form of late has been underwhelming. Reds fans are hoping this dip is temporary and he returns to the level where £15m seemed almost reasonable.  Until this happens anyone has to concede Rodgers paid too much too soon for the young Welsh international.


Fernando Torres (£50m) – Chelsea – Number one on everyone’s list of transfer busts.  A last minute request and massive offer from Chelsea forced his transfer from Liverpool in 2011.  Since the move, Torres has struggled in a very public manner to find the form he displayed on Merseyside.  Torres was forced to suffer through three managers that could not find a place for his skills.  Finally he has been reunited with Rafa Benitez only to be pushed aside with the purchase of Demba Ba.

Andy Carroll (£35m) – West Ham (loan from Liverpool) – Few people seem to remember the world beating form Carroll displayed in the first half of 2011.  The youngster delivered eleven goals early in the season when he was barely old enough to drink (by US laws).  Liverpool had £50m burning a hole in their pocket and desperate need for attacking power.  Unfortunately Newcastle was fully aware of this desperate situation and took £35m for a striker who has scored only 7 league goals since the transfer and suffered through multiple injuries. Carroll hasn’t done any better during his loan spell at West Ham where he has scored once and been sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Mario Balotelli (£24m) – Manchester City –  If entertainment value was the barometer, Super Mario would be worth twice the fee City paid Inter for his services.  However, the charismatic striker has never started more than half of City’s league games in any given season and scored only once this year.  His propensity for violence on the pitch, off the pitch distractions, and near constant flair ups with manager Roberto Mancini are not justified by his increasingly rare flashes of athletic brilliance.

What are your opinions about who should play in the What A Load Of Rubbish XI? Would you like to nominate someone who wasn’t selected? Let us know in the comments section below.

37 thoughts on “What a Waste of Money XI: Premier League’s Worst Buys for the Money”

  1. Joe Allen? You’ve got to be kidding me. Remember Jack Rodwell? Went for about the same price and hasn’t played at all. What about Marko Marin or Scott Sinclair? Oh, that’s right, the author doesn’t actually pay attention to the Premier League…

    1. Agree. Joe is a young player, but I think he’ll come good. 15m for him isn’t the worst buy ever. Would take him over Javi Garcia in a hot second.

  2. Disagree about Kolo Toure. Was purchased before Yaya, so he wasn’t brought in to just keep Yaya happy. Also he was brought into the City squad at a time when they were revamping the team. They had to pay good money for a top class defender. Sure, he hasn’t been the greatest player ever but with the circumstances, not that bad of a buy.

  3. How can you include a player on this list whom according to the author, “has impressed to date”? His reason for being a bust is b/c he wants to leave?

    I can see a reason for Luiz being on this list but he’s a consistent starter who has excelled from midfield. And yet another manager continues to play him. Not a bust.

  4. In my opinion I think that the biggest flop is between Torres and Allen this is because they are both huge price tags and they have been playing rubbish so far, Torres is always rubbish doesn’t matter what he does, and he will never make up that 50million price tag and Allen was a great player in Swansea and he got tempted to Liverpool by money and money and more money, but he made the wrong decision and he should have stayed with Swansea because he played great ther, but despite this Torres is still the biggest flop in the Premier League due to his big price tag and rubbish form

  5. Kagawa? Is anonymous is all games.

    Has impressed to date but finds his way onto this list?

    Article written by a 15 year old?

  6. Diego Arismendi, Andrew Davies, Michael Tonge, Tom Soares, Michael Owen, Tuncay, Ibrahima Sonko, Eidur Gudjohnsson, Seyi Olifinjana, Dave Kitson, Maurice Edu.

    And that’s just 11 from Stoke since we’ve been back in the Premier League!

    God bless BET365 and all the internet gamblers out there. It’s all about the in-play!

    1. Around £22m for that lot.

      For about 12 years of following Stoke our record transfer fee for an outfield player was £500,00 for Kyle Lightborne (that bad he got nicknamed Stillborn). For a keeper it was around £450,000 for Peter Shilton who we signed in the late 70s. At the time that was a world record fee for a goal keeper.

      Plenty of catching up to do is my excuse for such profligacy.

    2. I thought Tuncay was a good signing at the time. It seemed more like Pulis decided he didn’t like him and didn’t want to play him rather than him playing poorly.

      1. So did most Stoke fans and some would probably disagree with his inclusion in my list. I think it was a combination of attitude and Pulis’s style. A bit too much too soon is the best way of describing him, 1 good game for every 5 played. Would still suit Swansea though.

        1. That said Fergie has dropped some clangers over the years.

          Taibi is one that sticks in the mind. Even as a teenager who knew him from watching Serie A on Channel 4 I could have told him he was spunking £6m on a player who’d last 5 games.

      1. he was not good the first year, but he has improved this year but yes, we overpaid and could have used it somewhere else.

  7. Hmmm…

    I don’t think DeGea has been that bad. He’s inconsistent, but he’s also played really well in some matches.

    Joe Allen also doesn’t belong on this list. He’s had several great games, a handful of poor ones, and lots of anonymity. Let’s see how it shakes out over a full season. Plus when you compare his contribution to that of his former Swans teammates, Sigurdsson and Sinclair, you’d have to say Allen has made a more positive impact. The other two barely play.

    And considering Luiz is a regular starter for Chelsea, can he really be considered a waste of money? He has his liabilities, but he also offers plenty of positives.

    1. Joe Hart has had his share of screw ups this season but seems to go unnoticed by the press. While De Gea has been at fault for a couple of goals our poor defending at times is making him look bad so yeah I agree De Gea shouldn’t be the keeper on the above list.

      I’m not a joe Allan fan but I bet I could come up with a couple players who are bigger busts this season than him.

  8. I like these kind of articles, they can’t ever be perfect but the spike lively and, mostly, interesting debate. I’m sure there are people missing but none are coming to mind right now.

    1. Robinho? He Scored 16 goals from the left wing, wasn’t Mancini’s kind of player so booted. You won’t find to many City supporters saying otherwise, well liked and did well mostly.

  9. De Gea is so bad, Real Madrid and Barcelona both want the future Spain number 1. I think too much has been made regarding his errors. Some of those saves would have beaten other goalkeepers. Joe Hart has been deceived by low shots into the corners more than once. That De Gea gets a hand on that effort from Gerrard shows he has good reactions. Could he have turned it around the post instead of teeing up Sturridge? Maybe. But he’s also shown to be an excellent shot stopper as are most foreign goalkeepers.

    No arguments with the strikers. All 3 are prime examples of wasted talent.

    1. Really? Hmmm, 3 years between them Hart in England , De Gea isn’t even in the Spain squad from three keepers. Hart wins awards practically every season golden glove, player of the year etc. Joe Hart cost £400k, De Gea £20m!! Joe Hart has conceded the fewest goals the season, De Gea has conceded more than half the premier league and it ain’t just a dodgy defence! De Gea is a shop lifter, joe Hart is not! Lol. Pretty conclusive to say the least! You wouldn’t be a tad bias would you! LMAO

  10. It’s not a question of how good he is, it’s how much was paid for him. You could have got a proven premier league keeper for $5mill

    1. They’re out there. Swansea paid £1.5 million for Michel Vorm and got Gerhard Tremmel on a free transfer.

      The Gaffer

    2. It’s reasoned arguments like yours that make the internet such a great place.

      I’m a Man Utd fan, I’m happy with De Gea, but they could have got a better keeper for less. There’s a number in the prem that went for free’s and low cost.

  11. The de gea problem is 80% due to willy old Ferguson’s confusion as to who his 1st choice goalie really is.
    An inconsistent back four pairing hasn’t helped also, coupled with d fact that he plays at the most successful club in England where a simple mistake in a game give the press a field day.
    Joe Hart has been having season at City but it seems as if nobody is watching

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