Transfers have become one of the most exciting aspects of soccer. There’s nothing like a big-money deal to get fans excited for the new season. Equally, spending very little can leave supporters nervous about their chances of competing or surviving in the league. It’s a fine balance.
However, it’s a fact that not all transfers work out well. Some players might be brilliant in another league or for another club. But then their form just goes out the window when they try to adapt to new surroundings and a new system. Today we’re going to look at every Premier League club’s worst transfer deal of the decade.
Some of them will be controversial. But we’ve tried to factor in cost, expectation and the sheer stupidity of the club involved. You could definitely make a strong case for different players in several cases, while some clubs were tougher to choose from than others. Check out the list below.
Arsenal – Kim Kallstrom
Definitely not the most expensive in terms of a transfer fee, Kallstrom arrived at Arsenal on loan in 2014. The Swedish midfielder was a longterm servent to Lyon but was past the peak of his powers when he arrived in the Emirates. You could argue that his signing was a defining moment in Arsenal’s recent history.
They were genuine title contenders, only a point behind Manchester City. After trying and failing to lure Luis Suarez from Liverpool, they turned to Kallstrom to bring them over the line. Needless to say, his signing was a total flop apart from scoring a penalty goal against Wigan in the FA Cup semifinal. This could have been a massive turning point for them.
N’Zogbia looked to be a bargain buy for Villa. He arrived for just under £10 million ($13 million). He had played a vital role in helping to keep Wigan in the Premier League. A technical and skilful forward, the Frenchman had performed brilliantly before arriving at Villa Park. But then it all went downhill.
He only scored five goals for the Villains and never lived up to expectations. Not only did he fail to deliver on the field, but his attitude drove him out of the club. Finally, he left on a free contract. Ironically he was never able to play again as a medical at Nantes revealed a heart condition, forcing him to retire.
It all looked so promising for Ibe. He arrived at Liverpool with a massive reputation from Wycombe Wanderers. In fact, they were happy to sell Raheem Sterling because Ibe was waiting in the wings. However, after a couple of seasons where he had failed to progress, they accepted a significant bid from Bournemouth.
So far, it hasn’t really worked out for the young Englishman. He’s definitely got talent but has been unable to play consistently. Furthermore, he also crashed his Bentley into a cafe. That definitely has helped his popularity amongst the Cherries faithful. Don’t expect him to be there for much longer.
This Iranian winger arrived at Brighton for an undisclosed club-record fee. However, he’s been a shocking flop for them. 34 goals in 85 appearances convinced Chris Hughton to take a chance on the former AZ Alkmaar man. But Jahanbaksh is a reminder why you should never buy a forward from the Eredivise.
Many Brighton fans will have forgotten that he exists because he’s totally out of favour. In short, he’s not in the new manager Graham Potter’s plans and it looks like his stay at the Amex will end soon. Jahanbaksh is definitely a skilled player but he just doesn’t suit the pace of the Premier League.
Exactly why Sean Dyche decided to bring Hart to Burnley, we don’t know. He already had two full England international goalkeepers at the club in Nick Pope and Tom Heaton. Hart played 19 games for the club in his first season. But this also saw Burnley’s renowned defensive powers dip alarmingly.
Finally, Dyche had enough and reinstalled Heaton as his first-choice goalkeeper. The upturn in results was damning in its immediacy. Since then, Hart hasn’t been able to get off the bench. It’s a dramatic fall from grace from the former England first-choice and Premier League winner. A very strange situation.
The Blues have a reputation for signing strikers past their prime. Think about Andriy Shevchenko, Matej Kezman, Fernando Torres and Samuel E’too. But one of the most disappointing in recent memory was Radamel Falcao. We almost went for Tiemoue Bakayogo, but at least that transfer appeared to make sense. This was ludicrous.
Falcao was one of the best strikers in the world before injury curtailed his ability. He spent an awful season on loan with Manchester United before Chelsea decided that they too would take a chance on him. It was a disaster of a season because he only played 12 games and scored a single goal.
We almost went for Christian Benteke but thought it would be cruel to feature him twice on this list. Instead, we’re going to go for Emmanuel Adebayor. Palace has a perennial problem with goals. In short, they just never score enough. They brought the Togolese forward in on a six-month contract but it didn’t work out.
Adebayor said he had to google Palace before joining them. That probably should have been a sign. He made just 12 appearances, scoring a single goal. Can you believe he was earning £100,000 a week? The former Arsenal and Manchester City striker was laughing all the way to the bank.
Klaasen arrived at Goodison Park with a big reputation. The former Ajax captain led his side to the Europa League final. A deep-lying playmaker, it looked like a decent signing for the blue half of Merseyside. However, Everton’s transfer policy is effectively nonexistent.
Then Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson signed for the club. Effectively, Everton had three players competing for the same position. Klaasen never fitted in and failed to make an impression. Finally, he moved to Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga where he has rebuilt his career. Everton has made many gaffes, but this one just didn’t make sense.
This Nigerian international lit up the Russian Premier League with CSKA Moscow before moving to Leicester City. It looked like a very smart bit of business. A regular for his country, Musa was fast, tricky, and dynamic. Fans were very excited to see what their club record transfer could do.
The short answer is not a lot. Musa was a total flop for the Foxes, failing to become a regular starter despite his hefty price-tag. It was incredibly disappointing for fans who expected so much more from him. Eventually, he’d move on to the Saudi Arabian league where he earns millions for not doing much.
It would have been so easy to put Andy Carroll in here. But we opted for Benteke because he cost almost as much as Carroll, with fewer goals. After several good performances against Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers decided to bring the big Belgian to Anfield for £30 million. But he only spent a single season in red, scoring just 10 goals.
When Jurgen Klopp replaced Rodgers, it was clear that Benteke’s time was up. He didn’t fit into the German’s style of play and was a lumbering awkward presence in the line-up. Finally, he moved to Crystal Palace where he’s been for four seasons. It was a bad signing by Liverpool all-around.
Let’s be honest, you forgot that this man existed. He makes John Stones look like Fabio Cannavaro, which considering the Englishman’s poor form is saying something. The Frenchman arrived in 2014 for a then-record transfer fee for a defender. Costing almost $50 million, it was a massive outlay by the Citizens.
But Mangala failed to pay back this show of faith in any way. He proved to be inept and unable to cope with the pace of the Premier League. After spending half a season on loan at Everton, he finally left Chelsea and moved to La Liga with Valencia. It didn’t work out at all for the French international.
Why did United sign Sanchez? First of all, his wages cost them about £450,000 per week. That’s an insane amount of money, and the Chilean hasn’t come even close to justifying it. Remarkably he’s only scored five goals for the Red Devils and is an emblem of the misdirection they have gone in.
Sanchez became a toxic presence in the dressing room and became unpopular with teammates. He’s currently on loan to Inter Milan but is still costing United £300,000 per week. The man is just a financial drain and it looks like it’s just going to keep going. Definitely one of the worst signings of the decade.
Thauvin is not a bad player. But he definitely didn’t perform as Newcastle fans expected. The Frenchman arrived from Ligue 1 with his compatriot Remy Cabella. He didn’t help matters when he infamously rocked up to St. James’s Park wearing a tuxedo. This led to criticism from club legend Alan Shearer.
He made just 13 appearances for the Magpies, scoring a single goal. Then they shipped him back to France, where he has lit up Ligue 1 with Marseille. He was even a member of France’s 2018 World Cup-winning squad. It’s amazing what a change of scenery can do for a player’s confidence.
This Dutch striker arrived at Carrow Road as Norwich’s record signing. He looked the part and had an epic name. It was all there for him to become a massive star in East Anglia. However, there was one massive problem: he couldn’t score goals. Seriously, he only scored one during his time with the club.
Van Wolfswinkel’s time in England was an absolute disaster. He went out on loan a couple of times before returning to the Netherlands. The Dutchman is a reminder that spending money doesn’t always translate to success. Probably the worst signing in Norwich’s entire history.
We’re not going to lie, we had to go digging a bit to find out the Blade’s worst signing from the past ten years. During Nigel Adkins’s ill-fated reign as manager of the club, he brought in a number of unsuitable players. One of the most noteworthy – or least – was Woolford.
United signed Woolford for added width and dynamism. However, he just wasn’t good enough to help them push for promotion and his time at Bramall Lane was short. No doubt fans will shudder when they look back and think about some of the players they were stuck with. It’s a far cry from the lofty heights of the Premier League.
The Argentinian-born Italy international is a natural troublemaker. So, of course, Southampton decided to sign him for big bucks and give him massive wages. The lowest point of Osvaldo’s time at St. Mary’s was when he headbutted club captain Jose Fonte in training. This was the definition of a bad relationship.
Osvaldo scored three goals in 15 appearances for Southampton, but he was expensive and bad for the dressing room. The Saints found it impossible to sell him and had to settle for shipping him out on loan to various clubs. Osvaldo fell out with every manager he played for and ended up retiring at the age of 30. A real disaster.
Signing a striker from the Eredivisie can go one of two ways. Either they’ll be brilliant like Ruud Van Nistlerooy and Robin Van Persie, or they’ll flop like Afonso Alves. Janssen was firmly in the latter camp. He arrived at White Hart Lane for a fee of about £18 million and quickly became a joke figure.
One problem was the form of Harry Kane, who had just broken through at the time. But even when Kane was out injured, Janssen didn’t perform well as his back-up. There’s nothing wrong with being second-choice to a genius, but Janssen wasn’t even good enough for that role. He scored just two in three years at the club.
The Pozzo era has seen Watford sign a lot of cheap foreign players. However, these types of soccer stars always come with a bit of risk. You never know quite how they’re going to settle or how could they actually are. When this transfer policy goes wrong you end up with someone like Success.
You could say that his signing hasn’t been a success. He only scored one goal in his maiden season. Then he spent a season on loan at Malaga where he made a handful of appearances. So far Success hasn’t played in 2019/20. To sum up, he’s about as underwhelming a signing as you can think of.
The Hammers are a graveyard for strikers. Think about Ilan, Enner Valencia, Emmanuel Emenike and David Di Michele. But one of the worst has to be McCarthy. The South African was very effective for Blackburn Rovers but was past his peak when he arrived at Upton Park.
Overweight and unmotivated, it was quickly apparent this wasn’t going to work out. He only made three appearances for the club. Finally, they decided to pay him off to get him off the books. To sum up, he was an expensive and useless signing that made no sense at all.
The Black Country side has produced some brilliant business over the past couple of years. Their transfers are usually shrewd and considered. We’ve seen some excellent buys like Joao Moutinho, Rui Costa ,and Raul Jimenez. But even Wolves have occasionally produced a flop.
Enter Oniangue who must surely be their worst player of the past 10 years. The Congo international only made ten appearances for Wolves in 2016. Then he fell out of favor with management. It was all over for the midfielder, who currently plays in Ligue 2 for Caen.