Having looked over 28 years of transfer data for my list of the 100 best Premier League transfers -- 100-51 here and 50-1 here -- it is time to go in the opposite direction. Say goodbye to Thierry Henry and hello to Bebe. It's time for the 50 worst transfers in Premier League history.

2 Related

I tried to keep the rules for determining the worst transfer simple. In short, I wanted to measure the impact a player had on a club versus the impact he would have been expected to have when he signed originally. I paid special attention to anyone whose story or impact off the pitch was particularly notable. And while I considered only a player's performance as a Premier Leaguer in the best transfers piece, in this feature I factored in what he did after relegation if it continued to make the transfer look worse, most notably with anyone whose wages continued to drag down his team.

One more note: All the transfer values in this column are from Transfermarkt. Some of that data might be at odds with what was publicly reported at the time.

Eric Djemba-Djemba (Manchester United) is the patron saint of these sorts of lists, but I really think it's more about his name than anything else. The Cameroonian cost only 4.1 million when he was signed by United in 2003, and as a 22-year-old, he was more of a prospect than a realistic replacement for Roy Keane. If he were named Eric Stevens and arrived from Bradford City, Djemba-Djemba would not get the same sort of attention he has since leaving United.

Several strikers who flamed out in a short time span miss out, including Ricky van Wolfswinkel (Norwich City), Jozy Altidore (Sunderland) and Andreas Cornelius (Cardiff City).

I'm not quite prepared to rule on most of the transfer flops of the 2019-20 campaign given the unique position we find ourselves in because of the coronavirus outbreak, so Tanguy Ndombele (Tottenham) Joelinton (Newcastle) and Moise Kean (Everton) get a pass, at least for now.

- Stream new episodes of ESPN FC weekdays on ESPN+- Stream every episode of 30 for 30: Soccer Stories on ESPN+

Signed from Real Mallorca (Spain) for 6 million, 1999

At a time when English football was still relatively insular and distrustful of foreign players, Marcelino became the caricature of what could go wrong if a team dared look outside the British Isles for talent. The Spain international couldn't stay healthy early in his tenure on Tyneside, and after Ruud Gullit was sacked, Sir Bobby Robson simply didn't trust him.

Having developed a reputation as a "bottler," he spent four years with the club but played just 17 matches, including zero across his final two years in the Premier League. While Marcelino helped Rafa Benitez prepare for his time managing Newcastle and returned to watch his old team play, supporters still asked about the finger injury that cost the defender more than two months on the sideline.

Signed from Chelsea for 3.2 million, 2001

Signed as a 35-year-old to replace Neil Lennon in midfield, Wise immediately presided over Leicester's relegation from the Premier League. He then showed up to training camp the next summer in Finland and punched teammate Callum Davidson in a card game spat, breaking the Scottish player's cheekbone. The punch cost Wise the 3m remaining on his Leicester deal and is likely the best thing he ever did for the club, which soon entered administration.

Signed from Monaco (France) for 5.9 million, 2011

When does the transfer window reopen? Karlsen: Possible coronavirus impact Best ever transfers: 100-51 | 50-1 This summer's top free agents January transfer grades Latest completed major transfers

The South Korea international was one of several signings Arsene Wenger seemed to make in a panic at the end of the 2011 summer transfer window, just days after his club had been ripped to shreds in an 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford.

While the club signed future manager Mikel Arteta and academy boss Per Mertesacker, they also added overmatched left-back Andre Santos and striker Park over the two-day span, with the latter leaving his hotel in the middle of a medical with French side Lille to sign for the Gunners. While Santos had his own issues, Park played a total of eight minutes in the Premier League over two-plus seasons with the club.

Signed from PAOK Salonika (Greece) for 2.4 million, 2000

Also known as Tyson Nunez, the Honduran made just one substitute appearance during his time on Wearside, which is fitting for a player whom Sunderland signed by accident. Sunderland manager Peter Reid was reportedly attempting to sign 6-foot-0 future MetroStars striker Adolfo Valencia to his team, but he mistakenly ended up with 5-foot-4 Nunez instead.

The whole situation ended up in a lawsuit, although Nunez wasn't totally sidelined during his time with the Black Cats. He scored a brace in a 3-2 Honduras road win at RFK Stadium against the U.S., which was the last World Cup qualifier the U.S. lost on home soil for 15 years.

Signed from Crystal Palace for 26 million, 2016

While Everton's recruitment in the Farhad Moshiri era has been inconsistent at best, few would have argued with the signing of the 27-year-old Bolasie from Crystal Palace when it happened. Sadly, the winger tore his ACL months after arriving and hasn't been the same player since.

The Congo international missed nearly a full year and has made just 29 appearances over four seasons at Everton, with the club loaning him to Aston Villa, Anderlecht and Sporting Lisbon. Bolasie, reportedly earning something close to 80,000-per-week, has produced more loans (three) than league goals (two) during his time at Goodison Park.

Signed from Real Madrid (Spain) for 67.5 million, 2014

One of the most significant examples of United's habit of getting the least out of world-class players, Di Maria got off to an impressive-enough start at Old Trafford after being signed for a British transfer record. The Argentine was named club Player of the Month in October but, after missing time with a hamstring injury, never seemed to regain his old form.

His family was understandably unsettled by an attempted robbery in February, while the star winger was scapegoated for Louis van Gaal's uninspiring debut season. He was sold to PSG after one season at a loss of 10.8m, at which point Di Maria returned to his old self.

Signed from Heerenveen (Netherlands) for 15.3 million, 2008

Sometimes, you mine the Eredivisie for its top scorer and come away with Ruud van Nistelrooy. Other times, you end up with Alves, who had scored 44 goals in 39 matches for Heerenveen before joining Middlesbrough in the winter transfer window. He was actually decent in his first half-season with the club, scoring six goals in 651 minutes, but the subsequent year was a disaster.

In 2008-09, Alves scored just four times in 31 appearances for a Boro team that netted just 28 goals all season, the fewest of any Premier League club. Gareth Southgate's team unsurprisingly went down, with Alves taking much of the blame before leaving for Al-Sadd.

Signed from Udinese for 6.1 million, 2005

Few players have had briefer Premier League careers than the Denmark international, who joined high-flying Everton in summer 2005 and immediately suffered a groin injury. When he recovered, manager David Moyes inserted him into the lineup for a Boxing Day fixture against Aston Villa, which Everton lost 4-0.

After one January appearance as a sub in the FA Cup, Everton cut their losses and sold Kroldrup to Fiorentina for 3.6m. The 6-foot-4 defender had a fine career outside of England, but even he admitted he couldn't cope with English football.

Signed from Middlesbrough for 15.2 million, 2018

When Sean Dyche shelled out a club-record 15m to sign Gibson, Burnley thought they were signing an emerging central defender on the fringes of the England team. Over nearly two full seasons, though, Gibson has made a total of one Premier League appearance, scoring in a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Everton. He was last seen training with Middlesbrough and has likely completed his Clarets career.

Signed from Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia) for 16.1 million, 2016

Another recent Everton flop, Niasse has had a tenure with the club that has been downright bizarre. Signed by Roberto Martinez during the winter transfer window, Niasse played only 131 minutes over five matches before being told he had no future with the club by new boss Ronald Koeman.

After outlasting Koeman on Merseyside, Niasse became a bit of a cult hero and scored eight times in 22 appearances. Since then, though, he has played just 77 minutes over two seasons, mixing in a scoreless loan spell at Cardiff. His Everton career will end this summer.

Signed from Ternana (Italy) for 10.2 million, 2001

With the days of Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton gone, you can understand why the recently promoted Rovers made their move to sign the 25-year-old Grabbi, who had finished second in Serie B after scoring 20 goals for lowly Ternana the prior season.

Graeme Souness was hoping to come away with a budding star, but Grabbi failed miserably in England and scored just once in his debut season, losing his place to Andy Cole. Grabbi finished his run in England with two Premier League goals in 950 minutes across three seasons before returning to his home country.

Signed from Liverpool for 52.7 million, 2011

Most of the players on this list have not been up to the standards of the Premier League, but Torres is a different sort of problem. While he was one of the best strikers on the planet during his time at Atletico Madrid and Liverpool, he was surprisingly ordinary after signing for Chelsea.

Torres scored 65 league goals in 7,856 minutes for Liverpool, or about once every 120.8 minutes; after signing for Chelsea, he netted a mere 20 league goals in 6,824 minutes, which was closer to once every 341 minutes. He was 26 upon his arrival, so it wasn't as if Chelsea signed a player who should have been past his peak. It just never seemed to come together in West London for the World Cup winner, who scored just once in his first half-season and never topped eight Premier League goals in his time with the club.

Chelsea eventually let Torres, the most expensive player on this list, leave on a free transfer. His tenure didn't live up to expectations, but fans still have some fond memories of his time with the club, most notably his goal at Barcelona that sealed a place in the 2012 Champions League final.

Signed from Newcastle United for 36.9 million, 2011

The player signed to replace Torres didn't turn out too well, either. There was understandable shock when Liverpool broke their club record for the second time in a matter of hours, but while the 22.8m move for Ajax's Luis Suarez turned out to be a work of genius, Carroll's signing proved to be a misstep.

The 22-year-old had really spent only one half-season as a starting striker for Newcastle in the top flight, scoring 11 goals in 19 games, but injuries and coaching changes marginalized the lanky striker. He scored just six goals in 44 matches for Liverpool before being shipped off to West Ham.

Signed from Lazio (Italy) for 38.3 million, 2001

Dan Thomas is joined by Craig Burley, Shaka Hislop and a host of other guests every day as football plots a path through the coronavirus crisis. Stream on ESPN+ (U.S. only).

In hindsight, it does seem a little curious that Sir Alex Ferguson attempted to break up that famous midfield of Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and David Beckham by making Veron the most expensive transfer in English history at the time. Veron was a more complete player than any of the four, but as Gary Neville said with the benefit of hindsight, he wasn't a like-for-like replacement for either of United's central midfielders.

Ferguson saw Veron as a unique difference-maker and famously defended the player in an expletive-filled rant to the media, but despite winning Player of the Month in his first full month with the club, Veron seemed to wither by the end of his first season and never seemed to find the right role with the club. United cut their losses after two years and sold him to Chelsea for 19.3m.

Signed from Torino (Italy) for an unknown fee, 1995

One of the top scorers in Serie A in 1994 and a one-time Italy international, Silenzi was unfairly positioned as the replacement for Stan Collymore, who had just been sold to Liverpool. Ostracized as the first Italian in Premier League history, Silenzi failed to score in 12 appearances, only three of which were starts. Forest then sent Silenzi back to Italy on a loan from which he never returned.

Signed from Lorient (France) for 18 million, 2016

Signed from Chelsea for 8.6 million, 2016

I'll link these two players because they both went through a similar saga. Sunderland signed Ndong and Djilobodji in summer 2016. Neither impressed as Sunderland finished with just 24 points and were relegated. Ndong was a much better player than Djilobodji, but both of their Stadium of Light careers ended the same way. They each went on loan during Sunderland's infamous follow-up season, when they were relegated for a second consecutive campaign. Both were released after failing to report for training over the summer, a tactic the club likely preferred to get their respective wages off the books.

Signed from Venezia (Italy) on a free transfer, 1999

Other sources have suggested Taibi cost 4.5m, but at any price, his brief run as United goalkeeper was a disaster. Ferguson signed Taibi to compete with Mark Bosnich and Raymond van der Gouw as the Scot tried to replace Peter Schmeichel. The Italian started only four matches for United, allowing 11 goals in the process, most notably that famous gaffe against Southampton's Matt Le Tissier.

That came in Taibi's third appearance, and while the 6-foot-3 keeper blamed his studs, there were no such excuses when Taibi allowed five goals against Chelsea in his fourth and final appearance for United. Ferguson's other keepers allowed only 34 goals across their other 34 games, though, as United comfortably won the league.

Signed from Everton for 13.8 million, 2001

Arguably the first significant transfer misfire of the Wenger era, the 20-year-old Jeffers was famously signed to serve as the "fox in the box" for an Arsenal team that had only the likes of Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp to rely upon for scoring. Jeffers had some injury issues even before signing for the Gunners, but the reality is that he just wasn't a great player. He scored six Premier League goals in three consecutive seasons for Everton as a teenager, then never topped that mark in any season at any level afterward. He scored just four goals in 548 minutes for Arsenal before beginning the itinerant phase of his career.

Signed from Olympiakos (Greece) for 13.7 million, 2014

With Fulham attempting to avoid relegation, the addition of Mitroglou seemed like a coup. The Greece international had scored 30 goals in his prior 36 appearances for Olympiakos, which led the Cottagers to shell out a club-record fee to sign him in January.

But if you don't remember Mitroglou's career at Craven Cottage, well, you aren't alone. Fulham sacked Rene Meulensteen and replaced him with Felix Magath, whose hyper-emphasis on fitness led the German to omit Mitroglou from the team. The striker played just 153 scoreless minutes for relegated Fulham and never appeared for the club again. He went back to Olympiakos on loan and then to Benfica before being sold to the Portuguese club for 6.3m in 2016.

Signed from Sparta (Holland) for 653,000, 1995

Things started bad and didn't get much better for Boogers, who was sent off in his second appearance for the Hammers after an attempt to saw off Gary Neville's leg at the knee. Boogers would make just two more appearances for West Ham and finished his Premier League career with 100 total minutes on the pitch.

When he returned to Netherlands during his four-game suspension for the Neville tackle, a misheard quote from West Ham's press officer led the Sun to publish a headline suggesting Boogers had left the club to live in a Dutch caravan. The story wasn't true, but, after a knee injury, he did return to his homeland to finish his career.

Signed from Valencia (Spain) for 6.3 million, 2010

Six-foot-7 Zigic scored the opener in Birmingham's 2-1 Carling Cup final win over Arsenal, but the rest of his Birmingham tenure was less notable. He scored five goals in his first season as the club were relegated, and while he managed 28 goals over three years in the Championship, Birmingham simply couldn't get rid of the Serbia international.

Zigic was reportedly on 50,000-a-week and had no clause to reduce his wages in the case of relegation. With no takers, he lingered for years. It peaked with what manager Lee Clark called "the worst training session I have ever come across" in 2013.

Signed from Real Madrid (Spain) for 22.5 million, 2005

Here are the top 100 players and managers in men's soccer, as rated by our experts.

You can't fault Newcastle for trying. With Alan Shearer entering his final year at the club, they tried to sign the best possible replacement for their club legend by bringing Owen back to England. Injuries had blunted his impact during a lone season in Madrid, but the pacey English star was still only 25 and had scored 70 goals across his final four seasons with Liverpool.

Everything went wrong for Owen during his first two seasons with the club, when he suffered thigh and foot injuries before tearing his ACL in the opening moments of England's 2006 World Cup game against Sweden. Owen played just 14 games over those first two years on Tyneside and, while the next two were better, he still managed only 19 league goals over 4,073 minutes and a total of 26 over his four years in black and white.

Signed from Bayern Munich (Germany) for 22.5 million, 2007

While Hargreaves had battled injury issues before making his move to England in summer 2007, nobody could have anticipated just how badly the England international would fare in his struggle to stay healthy. Hargreaves won the double in his debut season for United, but his career was basically over at 27.

The Canada-born midfielder would make just five more appearances in the Premier League, four of which came over his final three seasons with United. After one subsequent 14-minute appearance for Manchester City, Hargreaves retired.

Signed from Derby County for 10.4 million, 2001

Another English midfielder whose career was cut short in his 20s by injury, Johnson is most famous for the perhaps-apocryphal story surrounding his signing with Leeds. As it goes, Johnson arrived for his negotiations with Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale hoping to come away with 13,000-per-week. Ridsdale's initial offer was 30,000-per-week, and when Johnson gasped, Ridsdale misconstrued the sentiment and upped his offer to 37,000-per-week. It became the perfect encapsulation of how Leeds' spending spree at the turn of the century went disastrously wrong.

Johnson struggled to stay healthy, and once the club entered administration and were relegated to the Championship, they were stuck in an impossible situation. He had made 59 appearances for the club, but with the 60th set to trigger a 250,000 payment to Derby that Leeds couldn't afford, Johnson sat on the bench for the remainder of the season. He would return to Derby on a free transfer, in part because he was impressed with the club's training facilities. They had been funded by Johnson's sale to Leeds.

Signed from Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine) for 16.2 million, 2000

Rebrov was part of a famous strike partnership with Andrey Shevchenko at Kyiv. While Shevchenko starred at Milan before disappointing at Chelsea, Rebrov went directly into the anonymous English phase of his career.

Spurs were hoping to see the striker who scored 10 times in the Champions League during his final season with Kyiv, but Rebrov managed just 10 Premier League goals over 59 appearances, including one in 30 during his second season. Spurs then loaned him to Fenerbahce for the remainder of his contract.

Signed from Espanyol (Spain) on a free transfer, 2019

The only player signed in the present season on this list, Roberto's career with the Hammers was short but disastrous. Taking over for injured Lukasz Fabianski, calamitous performances saw Roberto allow 14 goals (including an own goal) across his seven starts. West Ham claimed just one point from those matches, and Roberto's struggles led the club to sack manager Manuel Pellegrini and director of football Mario Husillos.

The Hammers had a 31% chance of going down when the Premier League season was stalled and, given they were averaging 1.2 points per match without Roberto, it would be fair to pin a significant amount of blame on him if they do go down. Other players have cost more and failed to live up to much higher expectations, but very few players can inspire total regime change and open up the possibility of relegation in 686 minutes of football.

Signed from Porto (Portugal) for 21.8 million, 2016

Stoke aren't the sort of club who would typically spend this much money on any one player, so there was a lot of pressure on club-record signing Imbula to make an immediate impact after Stoke signed him away from Porto. Charlie Adam compared Imbula to Patrick Vieira when he signed for the club in 2016, and given that Vieira was 40 years old at the time, it was probably fair.

Imbula became the symbol of Stoke's rapid decline and departure from the Premier League, as the midfielder made just 26 appearances over his two years with the club. He was dropped to the U-23 team and loaned out as Stoke were relegated. Imbula then helped Vallecano get relegated from La Liga before being sent home from his loan in Serie A with Lecce after three appearances. Stoke cancelled Imbula's contract by mutual consent with 18 months to go.

Signed from West Bromwich Albion for 12.5 million, 2017

I would argue that once-promising Berahino did more to consign Stoke to the Championship. In 28 matches and 1,214 minutes for Stoke in the Premier League, he failed to score even once. After scoring three goals in the second tier the next season, the club terminated Berahino's contract after he was arrested on charges of driving drunk.

Signed from Porto (Portugal) for 40.5 million, 2014

Mangala looked to be a rising superstar when City spent more than 40m to buy him from Porto, but Mangala was inconsistent under Manuel Pellegrini and frozen out under Pep Guardiola.

The defender started just four more league matches under the former Barcelona manager and was loaned to Valencia and Everton. Mangala was allowed to leave for Valencia on a free transfer this summer and has the third-largest gap between his transfer fee and subsequent sale return of any player in Premier League history.

Signed from Manchester City for 11.3 million, 2014

It's unclear whether the one-time England international simply stalled after his rise at Everton or really wasn't all that good in the first place. Sunderland signed Rodwell after a two-year spell at Man City and gave him a contract worth 70,000-per-week, crucially leaving out a clause that would have reduced his salary if the Black Cats were relegated to the Championship. When Rodwell's indifferent play and struggles with injury helped push Sunderland into the second tier, they were stuck with one of the most expensive players in the division.

That would have been one thing if Rodwell were a key member of the club, but he played just 105 minutes as Sunderland were relegated again. Facing a 43,000-per-week salary in League 1, they were able to convince Rodwell to cancel his contract. He became the symbol of Sunderland's fall down the league as an overpaid, uninterested mistake. You can criticize him for taking the money, I suppose, but Sunderland are the ones who handed him the contract.

Signed from Necaxa (Mexico) for 5.2 million, 2002

It should be telling that Southampton were more surprised when Delgado showed up in 2003 than they would have been if he had stayed home. Then one of the club's biggest signings, Delgado got on Gordon Strachan's bad side after seemingly prioritizing trips back to Ecuador for his national team over playing for the Saints.

He played just 65 minutes and trained five times in his first season after joining Southampton in 2002, only to then play all three matches for Ecuador in the World Cup. Delgado made just two starts and played a mere 303 minutes over his three years in England, scoring once. His time ended with Southampton threatening to block him from signing with another club until his contract expired, seemingly out of frustrated spite.

Read more:
Ranking the 50 worst Premier League transfers of all time - ESPN

Related Post
May 5, 2020 at 7:45 pm by admin
Category: Window Replacement