Football

Top 10: Biggest transfer flops

Liverpool look to have accepted defeat in the battle to convince a skeptical public that Andy Carroll was ever worth £35m.

The former Newcastle forward swapped Tyneside for Merseyside for a British record fee in January 2011, and has since failed to live up to the price tag, scoring just six goals in 42 league appearances.

And Carroll now looks poised to complete a loan move to West Ham for an initial fee of £2m, rising to a £17m permanent transfer if the Hammers survive relegation.

The fact that Liverpool have a new manager ensures that some degree of transition and turmoil is to be expected, but still, dumping the fifteenth most expensive player in football history would be some statement by Brendan Rodgers.

If Carroll moves, it would represent one of the biggest losses on one player in Premier League history. And, with that in mind, GMF has decided to look back at some of the other big transfer flops that their managers would rather forget.

 

Liverpool - Robbie Keane / Alberto Aquilani

Over the past five seasons Liverpool do not have a happy record in the transfer market. First, the £20m capture of Spurs star Robbie Keane, who was supposed to become the new Kenny Dalglish, ended terribly as the Reds sent him back to Tottenham for £12m.

Next, silky smooth Italian Alberto Aquilani was bought to replace Xabi Alonso. Unfortunately, the £17m signing battled injury and poor form, barely making it onto the Anfield pitch, before he was shipped out on loan, first to Juventus, then to Milan.

 

Manchester United - Juan Sebastian Veron / Kleberson / Owen Hargreaves

In contrast, Sir Alex Ferguson has a formidable record in the transfer market, but these three midfielders were ones to forget. Kleberson was arguably the worst - the 2002 World Cup winner barely made an impact at Old Trafford after signing for £6.5m.

Owen Hargreaves was merely unfortunate, his ability was there for all to see at the 2006 World Cup, but injuries let him down. Manchester United were forced to swallow their losses, a not unsubstantial £17m fee plus medical costs.

For Veron, the problem was less injuries, and more a complete failure to settle in England. The former-Lazio star remains one of the most expensive transfers of all-time - at £28m - and although the Argentine midfielder was undoubtedly a classy player, he plainly struggled to adjust to the Premier League.

Sold for half the price to Chelsea two years on, Veron barely made an impact at Stamford Bridge either.

 

Chelsea - Andriy Shevchenko

The Ukrainian striker is one of the greatest forwards of the last 15 years. Which makes it hard to comprehend just how bad he was at Chelsea. The 2004 Ballon d'Or winner signed for Jose Mourinho in 2006, but endured a horrible three years.

In 2009, he was returned to sender, joining Milan on loan for a brief stint, before Chelsea cut their losses, releasing Shevchenko at the end of his contract. His truimphant return to Dynamo Kiev has proved a succes, however, and Sheva enjoyed a brief renassiance at the recent Euro 2012 tournament on home soil.

 

Arsenal - Francis Jeffers / Jose Antonio Reyes

An £8m signing from Everton, the 21-year-old Jeffers was poised to become England's next great centre forward. Arsene Wenger obviously had faith, making Jeffers one of his priciest signings at that stage in his career, but the so-called "fox-in-the-box" was anything but.

Dogged by injury, Jeffers was swiftly sidelined as Thierry Henry and Sylvain Wiltord took up the mantle. Loan spells at Everton, Rangers, and Ipswich Town followed, and the 31-year-old striker now trains with Tranmere Rovers after being released by Australian A-League side Newcastle Jets.

Jose Antonio Reyes was signed for an initial £10.5m, rising to £17m depending on appearances and performances. One of his first acts as an Arsenal player was to score an own goal, and although the move wasn't a complete disaster, Reyes plainly did not live up to expectations.

A loan move to Real Madrid followed, before Arsenal recovered £8m when they sold him on to Atletico Madrid.

 

Manchester City - Robinho

On the final-day of the 2008 summer transfer window, Manchester City's new Abu Dhabi owners announced their arrival with the capture of Brazil and Real Madrid star Robinho for £32.5m.

His first season began brightly, but his second was a disaster, and Robinho quickly angled for a move back to his homeland.

While Robinho's talent remains largely unfulfilled, Manchester City have since been rather more successful in the transfer market, signing Carlos Tevez, David Silva and Sergio Aguero in recent seasons.

There's still a few misfires in there, Roque Santa Cruz, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Jo to name a few.

 

Tottenham Hotspur - Sergiy Rebrov

The Ukrainian striker was one half of the most feared Eastern European strike-force of the mid-90s. Rebrov and Shevchenko were the golden boys of Dynamo Kiev, and while Shevchenko went onto to great things at Milan, Rebrov endured a miserable time away from his Ukrainian homeland.

Signed for £11m by George Graham, Rebrov was famously profligate, at one stage managing just one goal in 30 appearances. Tottenham cut their losses, sending Rebrov on loan to Turkey before West Ham took a punt.

And the Hammers will be hopeful that Andy Carroll turns out to be a better gamble should they land the striker, as Rebrov failed to settle in east London either. One goal in 27 league appearances followed before Rebrov scarpered back to Kiev.

Which player stands out as the biggest transfer flop of the lot? Join the debate by leaving a comment in the box below…

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