Dimitar Berbatov looks set to be kicked out of Manchester United in the summer if stories are to be believed and if this happens his spell at Old Trafford will be looked upon as a complete failure. The Bulgarian cost Sir Alex Ferguson £30.75 million on the final day on the 2008 summer transfer window. And, after his impact since then, Tottenham will surely have been laughing all the way to the bank. He is quite clearly an excellent player, and he puts in more work than many people realise, but for that kind of sum his goals and assists return has been poor. Here I take a look at 10 other Premier League flops, who for one reason or another, didn’t quite live up to their massive price tag.
Juan Sebastian Veron (Lazio to Manchester United and Manchester United to Chelsea)
With 70 appearances for Argentina to his name and other achievements such as being selected by Pele in the best 125 players of all time, you would think that Veron would have been a fantastic success in England. But not only did he fail at Manchester United after his £28 million move from Lazio but he had an even worse spell at Chelsea for another substantial fee of £15 million. For money of that magnitude you need to do something pretty special to win over your supporters – something that the playmaker never managed to do on English soil.
Sergei Rebrov (Dynamo Kyiv to Tottenham)
Another player who was unstoppable at his previous clubs and became the highest Ukranian Premier League scorer with his spells at Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk, scoring 123 goals in 261 games. But his £10 million move to Tottenham Hotspur in June 2000 was a disaster and he was soon frozen out once George Graham had left the North London club.
Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan to Chelsea)
Chelsea spent a whopping £38 million on the Ukranian four years ago but it was always rumoured that it was Roman Abramovich’s decision to buy the forward, and not Jose Mourinho – with the transfer said to be the start of the end of the relationship between the Russian and his Portuguese manager. Shevchenko made his name with AC Milan, scoring over 100 times for the Italian giants, but that form never materialised in the Premier League.
Alberto Aquilani (Roma to Liverpool)
The 25-year-old Italian may still have time on his side but it has been an extremely disappointing first season in England for the midfielder. Liverpool were crying out for a replacement for Xabi Alonso and the £17 million Rafa Benitez paid for Aquilani hinted that he was the man to do it. But despite showing some real promise with his technical ability, he has failed to hold down a starting place at Anfield. Much improvement is needed next season for his place on this list to be proven wrong.
Jo (CSKA Moscow to Manchester City)
Another Brazilian striker who failed to reach the standards expected of him after his £15 million switch to Eastlands. It was in the summer of 2008 and just prior to the major investment City were about to receive – making this fee look relatively small in comparison. Jo has played just nine times in Manchester and has had to go out on loan with Everton and Galatasaray for regular playing time.
Afonso Alves (SC Heerenveen to Middlesbrough)
The Brazilian arrived at Middlesbrough amid much excitement at his £13 million move after his phenomenal scoring exploits in Holland. It was a club record fee for the North East side but it turned out to be wasted money as Alves gave a return of just 13 goals in his 18-month stay at the Riverside.
Robbie Keane (Tottenham Hotspur to Liverpool)
Closing in on a century of appearances for the Republic of Ireland, the much-travelled forward made his move to his boyhood club Liverpool after six years with Spurs in 2008, for the massive sum of £20 million. But it all turned sour rather quickly and Keane was back at Spurs within half a season. His career has been stop-start ever since so this must go down as one of the Premier League’s worst transfer moves.
Steve Marlet (Lyon to Fulham)
In the Frenchman’s four years at Fulham the forward played just 54 times for the Cottagers and scored 11 goals, nowhere near enough for the outlay of £11.5 million, especially as he was reportedly on a very sizeable contract. Mohammed Al Fayed was so incensed at having to pay over the odds that in later years he took Jean Tigana, the manager who bought Marlet, to court for such an overpayment.
Adrian Mutu (Parma to Chelsea)
The Romanian striker’s £15 million move from Parma was one of the first Chelsea made in the Roman Abramovich era but it never worked out and the episode became a complete disaster when in 2004 Mutu failed a drugs test for cocaine, resulting in being sacked by the West Londoners and also receiving a seven month ban from football.
Jose Antonio Reyes (Sevilla to Arsenal)
At the age of just 20, Reyes signed for Arsenal for a fee of £10.5 million, which could have risen to £17 million depending on certain criteria. Despite showing a lot of promise the Spaniard never really settled into life in London and his goal ratio of one in five highlighted this. After three years in the Premier League he moved back to Spain, firstly with a loan to Real Madrid and then permanently with their city rivals Atletico.
Any glaring omissions?