(Image via https://twitter.com/premlgeplayers)
Getting a signing right is always a tough task for a football manager, whatever level they’re at. Over the years, numerous clubs have struck lucky with many deals and have conducted detailed research into various talents before making what turns out to be a successful acquisition. The likes of Thierry Henry leaving Juventus for pastures new at Arsenal is a standout addition, as is Everton’s Seamus Coleman, who cost the Merseyside club a cool £60,000 from minnows Sligo Rovers. Clubs don’t always get it right though, do they?
In fact, over the years, we have seen countless signings flop. No matter what level a club is at, sometimes a player just doesn’t adapt to a certain environment, a change in managers could hinder opportunities, or injuries might blight what could have been a promising career at a particular club. Some signings might alter the Premier League predictions ahead of a new campaign, while others might help you confirm what you already thought. The world of football transfers can throw up numerous surprises, surprises which can backfire even more today given the extortionate amounts of money clubs spend on players.
With a number of signings not going to plan over the years, we thought we’d reminisce and go through some of the worst additions in football history. Don’t worry, Thierry: you’re off the list.
Winston Bogarde – Barcelona to Chelsea
Mention the name Winston Bogarde to most Chelsea fans, and chances are they’ll burst out laughing. Signed from Barcelona on a free transfer in 2000, Bogarde was on a large £40,000-per-week contract at the club. Manager Gianluca Vialli got the sack, then Claudio Ranieri came in and banished Bogarde to the reserves until he eventually ended up departing Stamford Bridge. His experience with the Blues ended up being his last as a player after hanging up his boots soon after.
Steve Marlet – Lyon to Fulham
At the time in 2001, the signing of striker Steve Marlet was big news given the money a relatively small club in Fulham had spent on the Frenchman from Lyon. For £15.8 million, the west London club managed to get 11 goals in 49 starts over his two seasons at the club. Marlet later described his time at Fulham as “hell” which is exactly what most Cottagers fans would say also. Oh, Steve.
Ali Dia – Southampton
(Image via https://twitter.com/Butch_CTK)
We couldn’t leave out Ali Dia, could we? One of the most famous dud signings in history, Southampton fans only saw him play once, which was probably for the best. Unbelievably, Dia joined the Saints after a man rung then manager Graeme Souness pretending to be World Player of the Year George Weah and stating that Dia is his cousin with bags of ability. The truth was, though, that the 31-year-old was a college student who played the odd game of non-league football. What a blunder.
Andriy Shevchenko – AC Milan to Chelsea
Given his humongous fee at the time and the expectations, many had of what was and still is one of the best strikers to have graced the game, Andriy Shevchenko’s time at Chelsea couldn’t have gone any worse. Signed for £39.5 million in 2006, the Ukrainian goalscorer struggled to adapt to life at Stamford Bridge. A mixture of injuries and all-round inconsistency resulted in just nine Premier League goals in 48 appearances for the club.
Special mentions must also go to Danny Drinkwater – Leicester to Chelsea, Dani Osvaldo – Roma to Southampton, Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal to Manchester United, Roberto Soldado – Valencia to Tottenham, and Bebe – Vitoria Guimaraes to Manchester United.