First Eleven – Transfer Flops
Poor old Bébé; the 20 year-old has had a pretty torrid time from the English press since he signed for Manchester United in the most surprising transfer of the summer. A complete unknown before he was plucked away from Vitória de Guimarães by Sir Alex Ferguson in a deal believed to have cost as much as £7.4 million, it is simply a well accepted fact that a number of journalists have already prepared their future articles that will eventually label him as a ‘Premier League flop.’
Of course, it is still early for the lad. He is only 20 and he does have the backing of former Portugal manager Carlos Queiroz, who recommended him to Manchester United so all this initial talk of him being a flop may be slightly premature and even if he is to become a transfer flop, he will have to go some way to bettering… or is it worsening the performances of these 11 men? Either way, this is probably the most disappointing line-up you’re likely to feast your eyes on… The Premier League Flops First XI…
Captain: #7 Andriy Shevchenko
Signed by Chelsea for £30.8 million from A.C. Milan in the summer of 2006, Shevchenko did not enjoy his time in the English football. Not helped by the rumours that he was only signed because he considered Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich amongst his friends, the Ukrainian struggled as Chelsea constantly changed their managers during his three-year spell with the club. Ultimately he simply didn’t suit the system Chelsea utilised nor did he take to the style of Premier League either. One of Europe’s leading stars before he moved, Andriy quietly moved to Dynamo Kiev in 2009 after scoring just nine league goals for the Stamford Bridge club. The biggest financial flop and therefore, he becomes Captain Disappointment.
Goalkeeper: #1 Massimo Taibi
Signed for £4.5 million from Venezia in 1999, Massimo Taibi joined Manchester United at the most opportune time for a goalkeeper. Legendary stopper Peter Schmeichel left the club after winning the Champions League and so the spot as the first choice goalkeeper was up for grabs. Taibi found himself competing with Mark Bosnich and Raymond van der Gouw for the shirt but his performances were easily the most disappointing of the three. In the four games he played, he conceded 10 goals yet even the horrific statistics don’t really offer an explanation of how horrible he was. A massive mistake against Southampton as well as two big errors against Liverpool and Chelsea caused Alex Ferguson to simply send him back to Italy and pretend the whole transfer had never actually occurred.
Following a successful 2004-05 league campaign, David Moyes lead Everton into the Champions League. In preparation for an European assault, he signed Krøldrup from Udinese for £5 million. The Danish international, who it was touted can play across the defence, injured himself before he could play a league match and once he recovered he debuted in Everton’s 4-0 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa. That game was all that Moyes needed to see and Per was soon on his way back to Italy less than a year after moving to England.
Left-back: #3 Winston Bogarde
Signed from Barcelona through the Bosman ruling, Winston Bogarde was handed a 4 year contract worth £40,000 per week just as Gianluca Vialli was replaced by Claudio Ranieri. The fullback was quickly told he didn’t have a future at the club but despite every attempt to sell him, Bogarde simply made unrealistic wage demands on any potential new club. The Dutch international made only nine league appearances for Chelsea and spent the rest of his time bathing in his money probably.
Manchester United paid £28.1 million to prise Verón away from Lazio in 2001. In the two years he was there, he was generally awful as he struggled to adapt to the English style of football. Naturally, that meant when Chelsea were taken over by Roman Abramovich, they forked out £15 million for him so that he could be just as disappointing for them before heading to Argentina so he could resurrect his career.
Centre-half: #5 Jean-Alain Boumsong
In the summer of 2004, Jean-Alain Boumsong was out of contract after leaving Auxerre. Quite why Graeme Souness waited until he had signed a 5 year contract with Rangers before showing any interest remains a mystery, but he shelled out £8 million to sign him in the winter transfer window just six months later. Once signed, it took Boumsong even less time to prove his barely knew how to co-ordinate properly and with Titus Bramble as his defensive partner, Newcastle were always likely to struggle. 18 months after signing, the Frenchman moved to Juventus, who had just been relegated to Serie B.
At the heart of this disappointing defence, Boumsong is joined by another player well-known to Newcastle fans. Signed for £6.7 million from Mallorca, a lot was expected of Marcelino at the heart of the Magpies defence. Unfortunately, things just didn’t work out for the Spaniard and he only played 20 games for the club in all competitions. He was dogged by injuries during his three and a half years at St James’ Park and most famous amongst them has to be the cut finger that stopped him from reappearing after half-time in a league match. Yes, you read that correctly; a cut finger kept him on the sidelines.
Central midfielder: #8 Alberto Aquilani
Signed in the wake of Xabi Alonso’s departure to Real Madrid, Aquilani was always going to be under incredible pressure to fill the Spaniard’s great shoes. Weighed down by a big £18 million price tag and with a massive hole left in the Liverpool midfield, the former Roma man never had a chance to get used to the English game. Struggling with injury and then played out of position when given a chance, the year was not a happy time for Alberto. He played only 18 games last season and almost as soon as Roy Hodgson took charge; he was shipped off to Juventus on loan.
While only signed for £6.25 million, Hélder Postiga’s arrival at Tottenham was done with certain arrogance by the White Hart Lane club. As Glenn Hoddle welcomed Hélder, he did it with a swagger that he had beaten a host of top European clubs to getting the signature of the Portuguese striker. Any disappointment those famous clubs will have felt about missing out was soon dispelled when they saw the form of Postiga in a Spurs shirt. He scored just one league and one cup goal in his season with Spurs and rather than giving him another season to settle in, he was soon on his way back to Porto.
Right winger: #10 Jose Antonio Reyes
Signed during the January transfer window of the 2003-04 season by Arsene Wenger, Jose Antonio Reyes seemed to possess all the tools needed to become an Arsenal legend after switching from Sevilla. Used as a squad player in his first few months, his first full season at Arsenal was supposed to be a break-out period for the tricky winger but it just never happened for him. An inability to adapt to life in England was compounded by his failure to establish himself as a first-team regular and two years after signing in a deal worth up to £17 million, he was sent on loan to Real Madrid.
Left winger: #11 Hugo Viana
In 2002, 19 year-old Hugo Viana appeared to have the footballing world at his feet. He had just been awarded the European Young Footballer of the Year award, finished off a stellar season with Sporting and signed for Newcastle United in a deal worth £9 million… and then it all sort of ended. Viana never had a game that was suited to the Premier League and struggled to impress when featured in the Newcastle first team. He scored four times in two seasons before being loaned back to Sporting in 2004. Like nearly all of the players in this team, there was so much potential for the signing to have been excellent… but it just turned into a waste of money.
Transfer Flops First XI
Agree or disagree with my selections? Think there are even more disappointing transfers knocking around? Let me know below.