Worst Premier League signings in history: club by club part two

Posted by - February 24, 2011 - Lists, Premier League

Finishng off our feature on dross

And so to the second half. I did say I had been harsh on Chris Basham, but I think that everyone that is named and shamed today deserves all of OTP’s wrath.

Again, let us know your thoughts, because let’s face it, it is the sort of list that invites some lovely old criticism of yours truly.

Manchester City – Roque Santa Cruz – £17.5million – £17.5million
I know that even transfer fees close to the £20million mark could be regarded as drops in the ocean by Manchester City’s owners, but that doesn’t mean that they deserve to be above criticism. This sort of money for Roque Santa Cruz is silly money even if you have all the money in the (Middle East) world.

Before his loan move to Blackburn, Santa Cruz scored just four goals for City. That’s over £5.8million for each league goal.

Manchester United – Zoran Tosic – £16.3million – £12.8million
It would have been reasonably easy to give Owen Hargreaves the award in this category, but Owen has possibly had enough bad news in the last couple of years without OTP adding to it. That and the fact that Tosic was almost a joke. At a time when Fergie’s decision to sign Bebe looks questionable, this signing takes the biscuit.

Tosic joined in January 2009, but did not start a single Premier League game for the club. What does make the signing slightly more acceptable is that United reportedly managed to gain £6million from CSKA Moscow for the Serb.

Newcastle United – Albert Luque – £9.6million – £17.5million
No club has wasted money on talent that has failed to deliver more than Newcastle: Owen, Martins, Peacock, Pistone, Boumsong, Dyer, Viana, Marcelino, Guivarch, Cort, Andersson. Believe me I could go on.

But Luque. Six league starts at almost three million a pop in CTPP standards. One league goal for an attacker costing that much money makes Luque not just Newcastle’s worst ever, but one of the worst in Premier League history.

Stoke City – Dave Kitson – £5.5million – £4.3million
Aside from a significant outlay on Kenwyne Jones, Stoke’s signings have generally been successful. Whilst Tuncay did not get many starts, Stoke did manage to make profit on him when he was sold.

Dave Kitson, however, offered even less. Signed on the back of a decent season for Reading in the Premier League, Kitson immediately returned to being reminiscent of a Championship player, playing more like David Barry Kitson than Dave. Scored two league goals for Stoke, and has been loaned out on three separate occasions.

Kitson sums it up as thus: “I hold my hands up – it was my fault. I made the decision to go to Stoke, I didn’t have to, no-one forced me to go, and it was a bad decision.”

Sunderland – Emerson Thome – £4.5million – £8.0million
One of the classic things about making such a list is that you can remember old Premier League players, and then scan across and say “He can’t possibly have cost that much?” Step forward Emerson Thome.

Thome played in only 38% of the league games for which he was available at Sunderland, and a percentage of this was because the Mackems did not want to instigate a follow-up fee owed to Chelsea if Thome played fifty games. That Sunderland were so willing to drop Thome for financial reasons probably epitomises his performances. An average player with a relatively crazy fee.

Tottenham – Helder Postiga – £6.25million – £12.6million
Wherever Sergei Rebrov is these days (apart from assisting Arshavin in those shit-awful Meerkat adverts) he owes Postiga at least a couple of vodkas for his lack of appearance in this list.

Whereas Rebrov just didn’t score enough goals, Postiga scored just one. He had gained a reputation under Mourinho at Porto, who probably did well to offload him. Postiga started just nine Premier League games, and somehow Spurs managed to get money for him. It is one of the shockers of the last decade that Postiga has 38 international caps and 14 goals for Portugal, and is still doing so this decade.

West Brom – Leon Barnett – £2.5million – £2.8 million
West Brom are a difficult one, actually. Earnshaw was expensive, but top scored. Ellington was expensive and failed, but somehow the Baggies made money on him. We therefore have dropped down the list to find Leon Barnett.

Cost Albion £2.5million, but only made forty league starts in four years. He made three different loan moves before he was eventually allowed to leave permanently for Norwich in January. Essentially, should never have been a Premier League player, although that’s not Barnett’s fault!

West Ham – Savio Nsereko – £9.0million – £7.0million
Just the worst signing of the last three years. Full stop. A signing that was so kneejerk that his departure was brushed under the rug somehow. You should remember the following facts: West Ham United played £7million (CTPP) for each start that Savio made in the Premier League. He has never even played for the German under 21 team. His contract was last year cancelled by a German second division side.

The worst ever?

Wigan Athletic – Marlon King – £5.0million – £5.6million
Five hundred million pennies is a lot of money to spend on a player that had only ever cut the mustard in the lower leagues, and was a panic buy by Steve Bruce. King only scored one goal for Wigan, and that was a penalty. Suffered a horrible cruciate injury, but had already served jail time when he arrived at Wigan, and his time there ended when he returned to Her Majesty’s special hotel.

Wolverhampton Wanderers – Silas – £1.0million – £2.0million
We have saved the cheapest player on this list until last, but he was truly dreadful.

I will let writer of a Wolves blog Thomas Baugh create the image:
“One million pounds was wasted on Silas, perhaps the most cowardly footballer ever to turn out in the domestic game. He started just two matches, flinched, ducked and dived every time the ball came near him and then vanished, never to be seen at Molineuz again.”

Quite. Now plays for AEL Limassol.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=728057417 Sam Volpe

    Just want to make the point that Kieron Dyer was very very good for Newcastle, England call-ups among other things. Otherwise spot on though.

  • http://twitter.com/murdoness Murdo MacSween

    How can you get so many things here wrong? Savio hasn’t been released. Tosic didn’t cost that much, if he did most of that would have been performance related and would not have cost much at all. Man U probably made a slight profit on him even!

    You slag off Mark Lawrensen every week so should try and be a little accurate yourselves!

  • Dean

    From what I understood of the Tosic deal, it was about 15 upfront for him AND Ljajic, with another 13 following in fees when Ljajic joined.

    Now considering Ljajic never even played yet money was spent on him, that would make HIM the worst signing they made?

  • Dean

    From what I understood of the Tosic deal, it was about 15 upfront for him AND Ljajic, with another 13 following in fees when Ljajic joined.

    Now considering Ljajic never even played yet money was spent on him, that would make HIM the worst signing they made?

  • Mark Thomas

    Tosic cost United £9m and was sold to CSKA for £8m (£6m + £2m in possible add-ons), it was £16.3m including Ljajic (Ljajic £7.3m) but as he was denied a work permit United never went through with the signing and pulled out of the deal a year later.

    I am certain about these fees as I study United’s finances for a living. Although I am not attached to the club.

  • Mark Thomas

    Tosic cost United £9m and was sold to CSKA for £8m (£6m + £2m in possible add-ons), it was £16.3m including Ljajic (Ljajic £7.3m) but as he was denied a work permit United never went through with the signing and pulled out of the deal a year later.

    I am certain about these fees as I study United’s finances for a living. Although I am not attached to the club.

  • alanyx@hotmail.com

    Dunno what you’re on about Murdo, Savio is definitely gone from West Ham as he was SOLD to Fiorentina.
    All we know is that someone Zola trusted a bit too much talked the kid up and suddenly there he was. But the price was ridiculous for unproven talent.
    I’m sure Marco Boogers is relieved not to be on this list :-)

  • alanyx@hotmail.com

    Dunno what you’re on about Murdo, Savio is definitely gone from West Ham as he was SOLD to Fiorentina.
    All we know is that someone Zola trusted a bit too much talked the kid up and suddenly there he was. But the price was ridiculous for unproven talent.
    I’m sure Marco Boogers is relieved not to be on this list :-)

  • Jimbo

    Juan Sebastian Veron. Easily United’s worst ever signing. £28.1 million he cost. Actually, now that I think about it, Massimo Taibi was probably worse, although he only cost £4.4million. Fergie has made some really awful signings.

  • Jimbo

    That said though, good lists (yesterday + today).

  • Si

    £17.5million for Luque? That is so wildly off the mark it is unreal. The reported fee was between £9m-£10m, which was still a rip-off but nowhere near Roque Santa Cruz standards.

    In the time of Google, quite how you ballsed that up is quite staggering.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=728057417 Sam Volpe

    Pay attention to the feature? The £17.5m value is the equivalent cost in nowadays terms.

  • Mick Jagger

    Odd to pick Tosic for United, firstly because your fee is COMPLETELY wrong, secondly he wasn’t that bad for us but was never given a chance because he publicly told Serbian news that Ronaldo would be leaving and that pissed of Fergie, and thirdly because there are far worse signings made by United.

    People always mention Veron when actually in Europe for United he was exceptional, the problem was we already had a midfield 4 of Giggs, Keane, Scholes and Beckham and there isn’t really much you can do to improve on perfection.

  • Dean

    Not saying you don’t but that is the go to excuse in any rebuttal, so forgive if I won’t believe (cue: I don’t care if you don’t….retort)

    Yeah they pulled the plug on the deal when the WP fell through but the kid had still signed pre-contract. United Definately payed some amount of money for Ljajic up front which they never got back, add to this the cost of incentives football clubs offer to young kids these days (houses, jobs for parents etc.) and the fact they were flying the kids over semi-regularly for training sessions, means he probably cost United at least around the 5 million mark. Not much for that team or any on this list, but a lot for a kid that never even went to the club.

    On a side not Liverpool’s worst signing wasn’t Aquilani. The majority of fans liked/like him and would love to see him come back from loan, and if he doesn’t there’s a £16m agreed fee in place. The subject was raised again and again and the same answer always comes out – Sean Dundee was Liverpool’s worst signing, by a country mile!

  • http://twitter.com/murdoness Murdo MacSween

    Yes, but in the article it says he was released from a 2nd div German side. That’s not true. He’s still contracted to Fiorentina. His loan was only cancelled from the German side as he failed to show up! Just bad information!

  • Daniel Storey

    His contract was cancelled, his loan contract. Just because it is on loan doesnt mean that there isnt a contract

  • Jimbo

    True about about Veron in Europe, but only in his 2nd season. Also true about United’s midfield at the time. But this still doesn’t mean he wasn’t a disaster for the price that was paid for him.