Manchester United and Liverpool have both be criticised for over paying for players, however, what about those clubs that got it totally wrong? Here are 11 of the worst signings from recent Premier League history.
GK: Massimo Taibi, Venezia to Manchester United 1999 £4.5 Million: I thought long and hard about the worst goalkeeper signing Scott Carson, Fabien Bathez, Lukas Fabianski, Chris Kirkland and Craig Gordon all jumped at me, but surely there has never been a worse signing than Massimo Taibi? For price tag against performance he is without number 1. Taibi was just one of a series of keepers that Ferguson purchased before finally settling with Edwin Van der Sarr. He will be forever remembered for the Matthe LeTisser goal and the 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Chelsea, which proved to be his final match for United.
DEF: Jean Alan Boumsong Rangers to Newcastle £8 Million: To be fair Newcastle could probably have provided all 11 players, such is their history of signing terrible players. The pick of their comedy defenders though, has to be Boumsong, his partnership with Titus Bramble was perhaps the greatest slapstick comedy partnership ever witnessed in football. Boumsong eventually left to join Juventus after their relegation Serie B in Italy.
DEF: Per Koldrup, Udinese to Everton £5 Million 2005: Do you remember this signing? The Danish international joined Everton from Italian club Udinese and must have walked straight under a ladder. He injured his knee and then made his one and only appearance for the Toffee’s in a 4-0 spanking by Villa. Koldrup eventually headed back to Italy where he had rather more success, and in fact still plays.
DEF: Winston Bogarde, Barcelona to Chelsea FREE 2000: You may wonder how possibly a player that cost nothing can feature in the worst transfers ever, but this is easily explained. Nine below average performances in four years, coupled with the maths: £40,000 p/w x 52 weeks = £2.8 Million a year x 4 year contract = £8.32 Million + League Cup bonus = A total waste of money. Bogarde became a hate figure as he refused to leave, he trained with the kids and reserves, but was more than happy to sit back and collect the money, when asked about this he said: “I may be one of the worst buys in Premiership history, but I don’t care.”
MID: David Bentley Blackburn Rovers to Tottenham Hotspur £16.5 Million 2009: To play for two rival clubs you need to prove that you are a good player. Paul Ince, Clarence Seedorf, Peter Beardsley and Roberto Baggio have all managed this in their time. Bentley hasn’t. Spurs signed “the new Beckham” and former Arsenal player for a staggering £16.5 Million. Bentley may have scored a wonder goal against the Gunners, but other than that, the most memorable thing Bentley has done is throw a bucket of water over manager, Harry Redknapp. This season, the Spurs boss was so fed up of seeing Bentley, that he even sent him to relegation fodder Birmingham, where he once again took up his favourite position of right wing on the bench after failing to oust Jean Beausejour from the team. Spurs are looking to sell this summer, but it looks very doubtful they will recoup even half of the money spent.
MID: Alberto Aquilani AS Roma to Liverpool £17 Million 2009: At the age of 16 Aquilani was the hottest prospect in Europe and the great hope for Italy. At Roma he was named the “Little Prince” and looked destined to follow in the footsteps of Roma legend Giuseppe Giannini. However, when Rafa Benitez started dismantling a title challenging team, Roma were delighted to sell a player who had a knack of collecting more injuries than starts. After a disastrous season where he spent most of the year in the treatment room, Aquilani, was sent back to Italy for a year long loan and now Liverpool are desperate to get rid of him. 17 appearances for £17 Million is not great value for money. Despite this Anfield disaster, Aquilani remains a regular in the Italy squad.
AM: Bebe, Vitoria de Guimaraes to Manchester United £7.5 Million 2010: When Sir Alex gets it right he really does get it right, but when he gets it wrong he goes spectacular. Massimo Tiabi? Lauren Blanc? William Prunier? Bebe had stiff completion for his place in this side due to Seba Veron, but the fact that Seba was legendary in Italy and then back home in Argentina; it was deemed that the boy no one still knows anything about deserves it. Plucked literally from obscurity, Bebe, could easily walk into Tesco’s and no one would recognise him. He has time on his side, but if we are brutally honest he makes Gabriel Obertan look effective.
AM: Albert Luque: Deportivo La Couruna to Newcastle £9.5 Million 2005: He had scored goals in the Champions League, represented Spain at the Olympics and 2002 World Cup, then he joined Newcastle for a bucket load of money. Luque’s career in the North East was an epic failure, a measly one goal in two years was his return. This left footed former Spanish International, with 18 caps and two goals to his name spectacularly imploded, after his Newcastle nightmare he ended up at Ajax who promptly sacked him after an altercation with Luis Suarez. Luque is now retired at the age of 33.
ST: Steve Marlet. Lyon to Fulham £11.5 Million 2001. Anyone who has ever booted up a game of Football Manager will remember Marlet as a tough, strong and reliable striker. Fulham’s scouts must have spent more time huddled over a computer that year than in the stands watching games. In 2001 he became their record signing and represented a change for the better for Fulham, however, things never went to plan. Marlet was so bad that Fulham Chairman, Mohammed Al-Fayed, threatened to take former manager Jean Tigana to court seeking compensation for overpayment.
ST: Georgios Samaras: Heerenveen to Man City £6 Million 2006: In the pre Sheikh Mansour, Carlos Tevez and David Silva days, Man City used to have to try and scout the best players in the world, then buy them before they became galacticos. Therefore after casting an eye over Holland they spotted what they thought would be a prolific striker. They were wrong. A return of 12 goals in 63 games helped current England Under 21 manager, Stuart Pearce, get sacked.
ST: Andriy Shevchenko AC Milan to Chelsea £30.5 Million 2006: How is it possible that one of the finest strikers Europe has ever produced can be on this list? Sheva was an elegant goal scoring machine throughout his illustrious career, until the day he signed for Chelsea. Within days, pace, strength and his first touch disappeared. He cut all too often a forlorn figure at Stamford Bridge and with a measly nine goals in 47 games; he was shipped back off to AC Milan on loan. Chelsea fans will be hoping that Fernando Torres doesn’t join Sheva on one of these lists in the future.
I am sure every club has had their fair share of bad signings, in compiling this list I have used the rationale of price tag/performances. I have also tried not to delve too far in the past and keep them as recent as possible. Please feel free to add your clubs worst signings below.