The likes of Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Fraser Forster and Ander Herrera have revelled since coming to the Premier League in their debut seasons, but the same cannot be said for all new signings.
For every Graziano Pelle, we have Valeri Bojinov, and next season’s Nemanja Vidic could well turn out to be Vlad Chiriches. So many have come to the Premier League with massive reputations only to be upstaged by the surprise bargain.
Reasons for their demise can be attributed to adapting to not only the league, but the English lifestyle too, whilst some just flop altogether.
Having published our Top 10 Transfers last week, here is out list of the 10 worst, and believe us – this list could have gone on for much longer!
10. Neil Warnock
Although not a player, Warnock’s series of awful transfer mishaps warranted his own category. First we have exhibit one; Zeki Fryers. Costing up to £3m, the former Spurs and Manchester United full-back looked to have a way back into top flight football. However, Fryers has played just once all season despite having the left-back slot all to himself and the club has now spent £4m wisely on Pape Souare. Next we have the Glenn Murray saga, with Warnock denying the striker a place in his team. Off Murray went to Reading to score in the Championship, and upon his return he began to fire Palace to safety under Alan Pardew. We imagine that Warnock’s incoming pair of Kevin Doyle and Andy Johnson would have done the same…
9. Enner Valencia
At £12m, Valencia was predicted to be the real deal following an impressive World Cup with Ecuador. His lightning pace and knack for scoring would allow him to become a threat even if he initially struggled with English football. However, Valencia has not been a constant threat and instead made the £3m Diafra Sakho look like the bargain of the year! Just four league goals this season means it is another big-money striker to be struck by the West Ham curse.
8. Emmanuel Riviere
You can get a lot more for £6m these days, even in the Premier League, and you would expect more had you shelled out that much for Emmanuel Riviere. Although Alan Pardew has plucked a few gems from French football, Riviere goes into the ‘other’ category, and has been a passenger on Tyneside for much of the season. Just a single goal and assist apiece from 22 games renders this man almost useless, and it is no surprise that WhoScored ranks him as Newcastle’s worst performer of the season (minus Jak Alnwick and Adam Armstrong, both with under 500 mins of action). Decent backflip game however…
7. Abel Hernandez
Injury has affected Hernandez somewhat this season, but his goals return remains paltry for the Humbersiders. In fact we cannot remember a single goal that stands out, instead just Hernandez’s glaring miss in what now appears to be a crucial home defeat to Leicester in December. A return of just four forced Steve Bruce to bring in Dame N’Doye, who has hit the ground running whereas the other striking contingent remains static. Nickica Jelavic, Yannick Sagbo and Hernandez comprise a strikeforce that does not deserve to grace the Premier League.
6. Eliaquim Mangala
You would expect a Rolls Royce of a defender for £32m. Instead City got Eliaquim Mangala, a man who looks as though he is defending with stabilizers. Granted, there’s promise in Mangala, though the youngster needs to learn a lot if he is to become a player with the sort of quality City can depend upon. Whilst not a complete write off, plenty more is expected of the Frenchman in the coming 12 months.
Probably for his own good, Brazilian Sandro missed the relegation-confirming match versus Manchester City last weekend due to visa issues. It summed up a catastrophic season for the midfielder, a man who dominated the pitch with his fearsome play for Spurs. Another wretched Harry Redknapp purchase, £10m for an injury-prone overhyped Brazilian midfielder may just stop people from calling the ex-manager a ‘wheeler-dealer’.
4. Lazar Markovic
What has Markovic given Liverpool this season? Apart from one less seat on the subs bench to fill, Markovic has proven to be a massive flop, even helping to eliminate the Reds from Europe by being a constant nuisance for Brendan Rodgers. Suspended for two games after a spat with Benfica last season, Markovic was looked upon to help Liverpool fight back against Basel after coming on. He was dismissed less than 10 minutes later. With just two goals all season and only the one assist, next season will be a real test of the Serb’s determination and resolve to become a Kop mainstay.
3. Angel Di Maria
Expectations were obviously going to be sky-high for Di Maria following his £60m move from Real Madrid, and having been a key player at the Bernabeu, the same was expected at Old Trafford. However, the Argentinian clearly seems unsettled at the club and has not been able to maintain a regular starting position. Goals have also been tough to come by, and the man who only a year ago helped fire his country to a World Cup Final, now looks to be on the decline. Louis van Gaal simply has to revive a player once fine enough to be classed as one of the top 10 players on the planet.
2. Mario Balotelli
If Liverpool wanted the ideal replacement for Luis Suarez, then Mario Balotelli was 50% identical to the departed Uruguayan. Brendan Rodgers wanted goals from his new forward but instead only purchased a level of controversy rivalling that of Suarez. Mediocre performances and a perceived lack of effort, combined with several poor transfer purchases mean that Liverpool’s predicted 5th place finish is a minor miracle!
1. Radamel Falcao
Once one of the world’s most revered strikers, now the comedic face of United’s bizarre transfer policy. Brought in on astronomical wages and after a career-threatening knee injury, Louis van Gaal had to force him into a side not yet comfortable together. Combined with his lack of match sharpness, United’s early season failings did not give the Colombian time to adjust, and has instead been a highly costly flop. Whilst his dismal season is not all entirely his fault, his reputation as one of the world’s elite has plummeted dramatically in just months at Old Trafford.
Notable mentions: Adam Lallana, Tom Ince, Javi Manquillo, Jack Rodwell, Andrej Kramaric, Marvin Sordell, Jordon Mutch (QPR) and Danny Welbeck