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The Worst Premiership Signings Of The Noughties

For every Ronaldo, there’s a Shevchenko. Sometimes, great reputations come at a great cost yet fail to deliver. Shevchenko is a great player to start with. Feared throughout Europe, his performances for Dynamo Kiev and A.C. Milan saw him become one of the most lethal strikers in the world. Once he arrived at Stamford Bridge, his reputation began to fall apart.

Yet these things happen. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, some players cannot settle. Yet others flourish when they were expected to fail. Now we look at some of the worst signings in the last ten years and ask ourselves, did Juan Sebastian Veron really cost £43 million for English clubs alone!!

Well over the years, especially as the Premiership’s international appeal has grown, we now find ourselves in a situation were probably as case can be made for a large chunk of the best players in the world currently ply their trade in England. From Rooney to Torres, Essien to Mascherano, every team offers us a plethora of international flavour. Now let’s cast our eyes over some of my selections for the worst signings this decade in no particular order.

1. Juan Sebastian Veron £43.6 million

Now Veron’s failure to cope with the Premiership is something I still can’t get to grips with. His international pedigree was assured, he’d pulled the strings for Lazio and Parma during a 5 year spell in Italy, he was a top player. The failure of the Little Witch to adapt to the Premiership still astounds me. Manchester United paid £28.1 million for him, but off loaded him 2 years later to Chelsea, were he continued to under-perform. A return to Italy at Inter Milan never saw him recapture his form and he has now returned to Argentinian football.

2. Andrey Shevchenko £30.8 million

As I’ve mentioned earlier, a striker with one of the most feared reputations in Europe caused Chelsea to change their system and lose their way a little under Jose Mourinho. Rumours abound that the Special One never wanted him at Stamford Bridge but since he joined Chelsea, his career has taken a nose dive. Even a return to A.C. Milan couldn’t recapture his glory days and he has now returned to Kiev. It was like watching a different player when he was at Chelsea, he just couldn’t cope with the game.

3. Sergei Rebrov £11 million

Oddly, Shevchenko’s strike partner failed to adapt to the English game also, but his refusal to accept black players as team mates meant that he was always going to struggle. Perhaps a little more digging in to his personal life would have avoided an £11 million mistake for Tottenham Hotspur in 2000.  Made a return to publicity when Spurs signed Roman Pavlychenko, warning him about the amount of “Non-whites” in the Tottenham area. A thoroughly horrible man, the Premiership is better for his absence.

4. Fernando Morientes £6.5 million

Another striker with a fearsome reputation who looked as if he’d been kidnapped and replaced by a stand in when he joined Liverpool in January 2005. It was especially strange as the season before, he’d had a marvelous campaign in the Champions League with Monaco and a solid reputation forged for Real Madrid and Spain. He just never got going at Anfield and returned to Spain after just 18 months.

5. David Bentley £15 million

Bentley had forged an excellent reputation under Mark Hughes at Blackburn Rovers but his spell at Tottenham has seen him under perform constantly. That goal against Arsenal was expected to be the catalyst but Aaron Lennon’s continued excellent form has seen him become a peripheral player at his beloved Tottenham. It’s simply not worked for him and the problem is no one can work out why.

6. Jean Alain Boumsong £8.2 million

This transfer still makes me laugh, as it was a ludicrous amount of money for a centre half who struggled to cope with Scottish football during his spell at Rangers. Yet, if you want someone to pay over the odds, who better than Graeme Souness to come to your rescue. Never coped while he was at St James’ Park, he was moved on to Juventus and struggled in Serie B before joining Lyon.

7. Albert Luque £9.5 million

Another one of Souness’ signings during his awful spell as Newcastle manager, Luque came highly rated but never saw his career take off at all in the North East. He’d had three excellent seasons at Deportivo but since his two year hell at Newcastle his career has collapsed. Another dreadful Souness signing that never recovered to show his early potential.

8. Bosko Balaban £6 million

Was highly rated when John Gregory signed him for Aston Villa but in his 30 month spell he never started a game or scored a goal. The long running joke amongst Villa fans was that they’d actually signed the wrong player but he was signed as a goal getting striker. On leaving Villa he continued to score goals but will always be remembered for the goalless spell at Villa Park.

9. Steve Marlet £11.5 million

The signing that brought the end to Jean Tigana’s reign as Fulham manager and caused a legal battle with the chairman of Fulham, Marlet was an unmitigated disaster. 11 goals in 4 years says it all and he is currently without a club. Though how he was ever valued at £11.5 million after scoring just 13 goals in 2 seasons at Lyon still mystifies me.

10. Robbie Keane £20 million

Poor old Robbie Keane thought he’d gone to heaven when Spurs grudgingly accepted a hefty bid for the Liverpool supporting Irishman. Yet, unbeknown to Keane, Benitez didn’t want him and he became a pawn in an internal battle between Rick Parry and Rafa Benitez. 6 months later he was on his way back to White Hart Lane for the remainder of the fee that Liverpool owed Spurs, so effectively the Reds paid £8 million for a 6 month loan deal. Has never looked the same player since he returned either.

11. Francis Jeffers £8 million

Arsene Wengers most expensive mistake, Jeffers was supposedly the fox in the box the Gunners needed as the long term replacement for Ian Wright. Yet Jeffers’ attitude had caused him to be gladly sold by Everton and his career has seen him fall down the leagues, failing to score or stay fit for than a month a time. A shining example of wasted potential, he scored on his England debut in 2001 and it was all down hill from there. Is frighteningly still 28, currently injured at Sheffield Wednesday.

So, any thoughts on who you feel was the worst Premiership signing of the last 10 years? Please leave your comments below.

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  1. John

    February 3, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Jean Alain Boumsong pissed it in Scottish Football.

    You clearly never watched him play there. He also did well in Ligue 1 and was a French international. He failed in the EPL but that one statement really makes me question your knowledge of football.

  2. Aaron Rattray

    December 26, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Mario boseli and what about the guy with no pubes christian poulson

  3. BH

    January 2, 2010 at 9:10 am

    hows about Owen Hargreaves to United?
    or Nani
    or Berbatoov
    or …

  4. Pocketinfo

    January 1, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Joleon Lescott – Everton to City – tremendously overpriced and Moyes knew it.
    Per Krodlup – Everton (couldn’t head the ball)
    Owen to Newcastle.

    Aquilani – (I can see into the future)

  5. Peter

    December 31, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Massimo Taibi – Man Utd
    Walter Panidiani – Birmingham
    Bernardo Corradi & Girogios Samaras – Man City
    Djemba Djemba (so good they named him twice!) – Man Utd
    Adrian Mutu, Mateja Kezman, Khalid Boulahrouz – Chelsea
    Helder Postiga – Tottenham?
    Paul Stalteri – Tottenham
    Bramble, Babayaro, Owen – Newcastle
    Might as well say Robinho, Lescott and Bridge to City, nothing but complete shite.

    Also anyone remember Josemi, Salif Diao, El Hadji Diouf and Milan Baros going to Liverpool. That makes me want to be sick thinking of all that shit.

    What about Per fucking Kroldrup as well and who was that african idiot who Chelsea didn’t play for four years but still paid him astroinomical wages because he refused to leave, can;t remember his name.

    Anyway that’s enough shit to last a lifetime never mind a decade.

  6. Bishopville Red

    December 31, 2009 at 1:00 am

    Good list.

    Two I can come up with that haven’t already been mentioned are:

    Richard Wright to Arsenal for £6 M.

    Jonathan Woodgate to anywhere. Can you believe that over £36 million has circulated to get his injury riddled ass on various team’s physio tables?

  7. john

    December 30, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    pascal cygan for arsenal, what an utter and complete disaster

  8. Simon Burke

    December 30, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    Djemba squared at United.
    Michael Own to Newcastle for 16 million –
    Kleberson to United
    Joey Barton to Newcastle
    Seth JOhnson to Leeds.
    James Beattie to Everton

  9. neil

    December 30, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    eh , corrado grabbi anyone??? another souness wonder signing. 2 goals in 2 seasons for 7 mil. disaster. i think souness said of him “he forever impresses me on the training ground”. lol. gotta be right up ther with the worst.

  10. Andrei

    December 30, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    @brn442 Robbie Kean should be on the list just for sheer stupidity of paying 20 million for him … or as Paul pointed out 8 millions for a 6 month loan.

    • brn442

      December 30, 2009 at 3:29 pm

      that I can’t argue with that Andrei – it’s a shame he got in the middle of Benitez’s and Parry’s power trip.

  11. brn442

    December 30, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Keane deal as you rightly said, didn’t work out due to politics (same for Tevez/Mashcerano @ West Ham), shouldn’t be on the list. What about all those Newcastle clunkers incl Owen(what they paid for him), Bramble. Did Jemba Jemba actually play more than 3 matches straight for Manchester? Diouf/Cisse at Liverpool. Batista@ Arsenal

    • Brett

      December 30, 2009 at 9:34 pm

      Julio Baptista was a loan deal, so that doesn’t really count. But, how about Jose Antonio Reyes? He’s someone who never settled to life in London but still somehow managed to get sold to Real Madrid. He never settled there either and has been sold and loaned many times since.

      • Peter

        December 31, 2009 at 10:35 am

        Wasn’t Reyes quite decent at first and then he started thinking he was better then Arsenal and went the way of Aleksandr Hleb. However Wenger made profits out of both players so surely they cannot be considered flops financially like the ones on the list.

        • Laurence

          December 31, 2009 at 11:18 am

          Agreed on Keane Paul but he has had a few flashes of brilliance since leaving Liverpool. Hat-trick?

          @brn442 – Cisse actually had some good goals at Liverpool and the time he was allowed to be his own person was pretty good for him in terms of important play and morale.

          Diouf needs no more said.

          • Paul Bestall

            December 31, 2009 at 11:55 am

            Oh of course, the 4 goals against Burnley was indeed a flash of brilliance, but the lad still looks a little hung over from his time at Liverpool.

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