Liverpool, QPR . . . Five of the biggest transfer flops this season

It has been a quiet January transfer window so far, with the now heavily worn cliche that this is a ‘bad time’ for clubs to do business apparently firmly ingrained in chairmen’s minds.

But perhaps there is good reason for this as spending money doesn’t always equate to success – just look at Manchester United if you are in any doubt. Plenty of Premier League clubs threw money at problems last season only to find the returns on their investment to be not quite what they expected.

So here we give you the FIVE biggest transfer flops of this Premier League season thus far:

Mario Balotelli

Liverpool v Chelsea - Barclays Premier League

How do you solve a problem like Balotelli?

Prandelli, Mourinho and Mancini failed with him but Brendan Rodgers apparently still thought he could get the best out of the striker. Though Mario’s talent is undoubted, he has scored just twice all season for Liverpool, and a recent lack of playing times suggests Rodgers will be looking to solve this issue by selling him.

The Reds would be fortunate to get anything above £10m for the maverick whom they paid £16 million for just this summer. Initial performances suggested some promise, but since them his form has plummeted and the old attitude problems have resurfaced.

Rio Ferdinand


Ferdinand moved from Manchester United to Queens Park Rangers this summer amid much fanfare, with Harry Redknapp delighted to secure the experienced defender. Having started often in his early days of joining, poor performances lead to Ferdinand losing his place in the side and Redknapp ditching plans to play with three at the back.

A three match ban for abuse on twitter hardly helped, and over halfway through the season Ferdinand has still yet to make a significant contribution for the R’s, apart from his vast wages. These have significantly contributed to the R’s financial problems, with his recent performance against Sheffield United in the FA Cup reminiscent of Gary Neville’s for Manchester United against West Brom a few years back.

This was the game that convinced the latter to retire, and currently that appears to be the most dignified option left for Ferdinand. The defender deserves to be remembered for his superb achievements and career at Manchester United, not this stint at Rangers. More focus on his football rather than tweeting, media work and his #5 brand might have helped.

Dejan Lovren


Signed for Liverpool for £20m from Southampton as an ideal replacement for Jamie Carragher, Lovren has failed to match the high expectations created by Liverpool’s history, tradition and success last season.

Frequent errors leading to goals have led to Lovren losing his starting place and Liverpool still looking for a solution to their defensive problems.

Brown Ideye

Brown Ideye

This particular transfer flop has been so rarely discussed that many Premier League fans may still not know who he is.

Ideye was West Brom’s record signing for £10 million but he has made no impact on the Premier League, scoring just once in 11 appearances thus far. The Baggies are now likely to look the flog the flop in January, probably to a European side, to prevent him occupying a space on their wage bill much longer.

Having possessed a great goal record at Dynamo Kiev, the Baggies would now be lucky to get half of their transfer fee back.

Hatem Ben Arfa

Hatem Ben Arfa

Ben Arfa is reminiscent of Balotelli – so much talent but clearly issues concerning everything else.

The Frenchman had appeared to have found a home at Newcastle a few years back before things took a turn for the worse. A loan move to Hull resulted Steve Bruce criticising Ben Arfa for the same issues that plagued him on Tyneside, concluding with a move for the player back to Ligue 1.

Capable of outstanding individual skill, Ben Arfa must show an improved attitude and his role in a team if he is to ever return to the Premier League.

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