Football

Top Five: Worst record signings

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Veron was a flop at United (©GettyImages)
Veron was a flop at United (©GettyImages).

Spending big doesn’t always equal big rewards – just ask Arsenal and Andrey Arshavin.

The Russian landed in London having just become the Gunners record signing back in 2008, and while his four goals against Liverpool endeared himself to the club’s supporters initially his inconsistencies eventually led to the £15 million man being loaned back to his former club, Zenit St Petersburg.

With Zenit reportedly keen on a permanent deal for Arshavin, the 31-year old is in danger of being branded a genuine flop – but how have other leading Premier League clubs fared when they splashed the cash?

Andy Carroll, Liverpool, £35 million

To say it was shocking to see Liverpool make such a bold move for a striker with just one Premier League season under his belt in 2011 is an understatement – and one with a liking for nightclubs and alcohol to boot.

The Reds should have got an idea of what they were in for when they smashed their record transfer fee when Carroll joined the club with a thigh injury, reportedly picked up after falling off a chair in a nightclub.

Since then the former Newcastle man has struggled to make his presence felt despite his hulking frame, scoring just four league goals last season.

The 23-year-old came good in the last couple games of the season, scoring the winner against Everton in the FA Cup semi-final and also hitting the net in the defeat against Chelsea in the FA Cup final.

Despite his mini-resurgence that earned Carroll an England call up for Euro 2012, the forward has some way to go before he can justify his ginormous fee.

Juan Sebastian Veron, Manchester United, £28.1 million

It turns out that Manchester United’s midfield woes go back even further than the last couple of seasons. Supposed to be the final piece in the conquering jigsaw at Manchester United, Juan Sebastian Veron broke the bank when he joined from Lazio in 2001.

Bereft of time and space to caress the ball as he so pleased, the Argentinian also committed the heinous crime of pushing Paul Scholes out of position which led to his downfall. Having stuck out life at Old Trafford for a couple of frustrating seasons, Chelsea compounded the error by paying £15 million for a player who never found his home in England. He was later listed by the Times as one of the worst 50 signings in Premier League history.

Craig Gordon, £9 million, Sunderland

Sunderland broke the British transfer record for a goalkeeper when they landed Craig Gordon from Hearts in 2007, but before long it would be their hearts broken as the Scot failed to live up to the hype.

Despite his hefty fee, then Black Cats boss Roy Keane opted to leave him out of the side at times while in his first season a serious knee injury kept him out for months.

Throughout his time at Sunderland Gordon constantly found himself battling for a starting spot while further injuries hampered his career. It was confirmed earlier this summer that Gordon had left the club on a free transfer. Still, at least he scooped the award for the best save in Premier League history.

Andriy Shevchenko, Chelsea, £30.8 million

Billed as a Roman Abramovich signing as opposed to a player actually wanted by manager Jose Mourinho, Shevchenko’s then-record move to Chelsea has all the hallmarks of a big money signing that hadn’t been fully thought through.

The Ukrainian came with a huge reputation having established himself as one of the most feared strikers in Europe with AC Milan but arrived at Stamford Bridge perhaps more than a little past his best.

£30 million hardly seems a fair price for 30 league starts and 9 league goals, while Mourinho’s penchant for leaving him on the bench when he wasn’t injured somewhat hampered his chances of success. He eventually left to return to Dynamo Kiev for the princely sum of nothing.

Robinho, Manchester City, £32.5 million

Intermittent flashes of brilliance aside, Manchester City would have been hoping for more when they landed Robinho in 2008, their first flagship signings of their bright new era.

His first season in the Premier League went ok – he bagged 13 goals for his new club – but his second season was a disaster -  ruined by injury, his increasing disinterest, his longing for warmer climes and his ability to spread disharmony in the squad.

Soon after he was loaned back to former club Santos, while he now plies his trade in Italy with AC Milan.

Topics:
Arsenal
Andrey Arshavin
Football
Chelsea
Premier League
Manchester United
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