10 worst transfers of the Premier League era

  • Transfers
  • By Barney Whitehall


Manchester City announced the signing of Robinho on the 1st of September 2008 for £32,500,000, the same day Abu Dhabi Group bought out the club. The excitement of the first high profile signing amongst the City fans was clear from the off. He had been linked with Chelsea and City had pipped them to the post with a signing that could spark a revolution, how wrong they could have been.

Although he scored on his debut, against Chelsea, that’s as good as it got for the Brazilian. A season and a half later he had scored 1 goal in 5 months against League Two outfit Scunthorpe United in the FA cup and was shipped back to Santos on loan and finally onto Milan for half the price at which they bought him. He is still at Milan now and has scored 4 goals in 18 months.


Eddie Johnson

Derby and Fulham battled it out for the signature of USA international striker Eddie Johnson in the January transfer window of 2008, a player who had gained a reputation as a young age for his performances at international level. Fulham won and paid $6,000,000 for his services. He was a slow starter and didn’t manage a goal in the entire second half of the season.

He was loaned out to Cardiff, where he managed just two goals in thirty games in the Championship. That was followed by loan spells at Aris in Greece and Preston North End, where again he struggled to find the net, managing five goals in thirty games. He is having relative success back in the USA now but from his time in England and Greece he scored 8 goals in 90 games, a lower goals to game ratio then Emile Heskey.


Massimo Taibi

Drafted in to replace the great Peter Schmiechal, Alex Ferguson spent £4,500,000 to acquire him in 1999. His Man Utd career got off to a stunning start, as United ran out 3-2 winners against Liverpool. He was forced into a string of late saves, including a stand out one-on-one with Wladimer Smicer. What followed two games later would spell the end of the Italians career at Man Utd.

Matt Le Tissier sent a tame shot goal ward and Taibi managed to let the ball squirm under his body and through his legs as he went down to meet it. Man Utd went on to lose the game 1-0 at Old Trafford and a newspaper in Italy calling him ‘The Blind Venetian’.


Francis Jeffers

When Francis Jeffers scored 13 goals in 16 games at England U21 level, a tally only matched by Alan Shearer, he caught the eye of Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman decided to spend £8,000,000 on the player branded ‘the fox in the box’. Unfortunately he was dogged by injury and his competition, the likes of Thierry Henry and Sylvain Wiltord made it extremely difficult for him to get any real game time.

He managed just 4 goals in 22 games at Arsenal and since leaving Arsenal has played in Australia, Scotland and Malta. He is now a free agent having been recently been released by League Two side Accrington Stanley after a disspointing spell.


Andy Carroll

‘King’ Kenny returned to Anfield much to the delight of the Liverpool fans in 2011. He spent £78,500,000 on Steward Downing, Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll. All could stake a claim to make the list but the £36,500,000 spent on Andy Carroll takes the biscuit. He scored 11 goals in 19 premier league games the season before for Newcastle and Kenny would have been hoping for a similar return having shelled out that amount of money.

It took Andy Carroll three months to get his first goal for Liverpool in a home win against Sunderland. He had previously played 95 minutes in the two legged loss to Braga in the Europa League, he played a handful of games for the rest of the 2011 season but managed no more goals. He got off the mark early the following season in late August but after that it was all downhill. He managed a total of 11 goals in 58 games and was sold to West Ham for under half what Liverpool paid. Arise ‘King’ Kenny


Thomas Brolin

England were shell-shocked when an individual performance from Thomas Brolin sent them crashing out of the Euros. It was a goal of the highest quality and came from a man with a huge amount of potential. His career moved onto Parma where his decline began but that didn’t deter George Graham from paying £4,500,000 for him in 1995.

It was instantly clear from his rather large physique that he was not the promising young talent he had been talked up to be. Leeds ended up paying him out of his contract after he made 19 appearances in 2 years, struggling with training regimes and dietary requirements. He now resides as vacuum-cleaner salesmen in Stockholm.


Andrei Silenzi

Silenzi became the first ever Italian import into the Premier League, when he was bought for £1,800,000 by Nottingham Forest, who were managed by Frank Clark. Within weeks it was clear that he was only interested in his astonishing £30,000 a month pay packet and was soon loaned out to Venezia for the remainder of that season.

In total, Silenzi made only 20 official appearances (seven starts) for Forest, scoring only twice: one in the FA Cup against Oxford United and one in the League Cup against Bradford City, and when Frank Bassett, who joined Forest in March 1997, arrived he tore his contract up. He ended up costing Nottingham Forest £3,750,000.


Andrei Shevchenko

Ballon D’or winner in 2004, Uefa Champions League top scorer twice and part of the FIfa 100, Chelsea fans must have been licking their lips at the prospect of sigining one of the best players on the planet. Chelsea splashed out their record transfer fee of £30.800,000 for the Ukrainian in 2006, again like a few in the list he scored on his debut in the Community Shield against Liverpool, he then followed that with his first league goal ten days later and people were beginning to believe Abramovich had pulled a master stroke.

He ended up with 22 goals from 72 games, a return that nowhere near warranted his expensive transfer fee, he had a second spell at Milan where he managed just 2 goals in 26 games and ended up finishing his career in Ukraine at Dynamo Kiev.


Winstone Bogarde

Mario Melchiot convinced Winston Bogarde to join Chelsea in the season of 2001/02, the then manager Gianluca Vialli knew very little about the transfer as it was conducted by the director of football Colin Hutchinson and only weeks after arriving, the new manager Claudio Ranieri wanted him out of the club. This was made exteremely difficult as he was currently earning £40,000 a week at Chelsea, a sum of money that no club could match for a player of Bogarde’s ability.

Chelsea made desperate attempts to force Bogarde out, making him train with the reserves and youth teams, but he was having none of it. Being known to say ‘”This world is about money, so when you are offered those millions you take them. Few people will ever earn so many. I am one of the few fortunate who do. I may be one of the worst buys in the history of the Premiership but I don’t care”. He retired a year after Chelsea released him as he could not find another club. He made 1 full appearance in 4 years.


Ali Dia

Without question the worst buy in the history of the Premier League. Graham Souness received a phone call from who he believed was George Weah recommending him his cousin, Ali Dia. It was in fact not George Weah, it was Ali Dia’s agent. Graham Souness was led to believe he had spells at PSG and in Germany but in fact he had recently been released from Blyth Spartans and had had failed trails with the likes of Port Vale.

Remarkably Ali Dia actually played 40 minutes of a Premier League match and nearly scored in the 2-0 defeat against Leeds. He replaced Matt Le Tissier in that match who later said “He ran around the pitch like Bambi on ice; it was very embarrassing to watch”. He was released and moved to Gateshead where he scored 2 goals in 7 games. He later went on to graduate from Newcastle University in 2001.

Barney Whitehall

Barney is an avid football fan, tired of searching the internet for original football related content. When he’s not writing top 10 lists you can find him on Twitter.

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