Many world-class footballers have been bought for huge transfer fees, and while some excelled, others failed miserably.
So, let's look at the ones who failed to live up to their incredible fees. Once touted as world class, these big-money players received a lot of criticism for their performances.
10. Stewart Downing | Aston Villa to Liverpool
Downing was one of the best wingers in the Premier League, and enjoyed spells at Middlesbrough and Aston Villa before making the mistake of his life: joining Liverpool. At Anfield he was a shadow of himself, played poorly for many weeks and was often dropped to the bench for lengthy spells. He ended his first season at Liverpool without a single Premier League goal.
9. Adrian Mutu | Parma to Chelsea
Signed to make Chelsea one of the best teams in Europe, Mutu started decently but then stagnated. His relationship with Jose Mourinho wasn't the best as he barely started any games under him. In his second season with the club, he failed a drugs test as he was immediately sacked by club authorities.
8. Juan Sebastien Veron | Lazio to Manchester United
The Argentine was one of the best players in the Serie A, eventually making a big-money move to English giants Manchester United. It isn't a coincidence that Veron's signing started one of the worst periods in United's history under Ferguson. He couldn't adapt to the Premier League and his performances weren't good enough for his fee.
7. Jonathan Woodgate | Newcastle United to Real Madrid
Considered the gem of the Leeds United academy, Woodgate started his career well, becoming one of the best defenders in Europe when at Newcastle. Los Blancos eventually signed him and this is where his career went downhill. Woodgate suffered multiple injuries, leaving him out of action for his first season at Madrid, and he had an awful debut: scoring an own goal before being sent off.
6. Denilson | Sao Paulo to Real Betis
A world-record signing in 1998, Denilson was destined to take Europe by storm with his big-money move to Spain. He horribly underachieved as Betis were relegated and Denilson couldn't inspire the team to safety due to poor performances.
5. Kaka | AC Milan to Real Madrid
A winner of the Ballon d'Or with AC Milan, Kaka signed for Real Madrid with a lot of hype as being one of the many Galacticos signed that summer. He was arguably the worst when it came to repaying his fee with performances as he fell down the pecking order very quickly at Madrid. The arrival of Mourinho didn't change much for the Brazilian as he remains no more than a squad player for Real Madrid despite his massive transfer fee.
4. Gaizka Mendieta | Valencia to Lazio
Bought to replace Pavel Nedved, Mendieta did just the opposite as he failed to perform for the Italian club. Such were his performances that he was loaned after just a season and never returned to the club.
3. Andriy Shevchenko | AC Milan to Chelsea
Arguably one of the best strikers to embrace the game, Shevchenko has made some poor decisions in his footballing career: joining Chelsea being the worst. Brought in to make Chelsea's strike-force world class, the hype around Shevchenko was justified as he had recently won the Ballon d'Or. But at Chelsea he just couldn't find the net, scoring just nine times in two seasons at the London club.
2. Fernando Torres | Liverpool to Chelsea
The biggest transfer buy in the winter transfer window, Torres hasn't delivered at all with Chelsea. Another player who was supposed to bolster Chelsea's attack ended up making it worse as he barely scored for the club and his low confidence levels made him a lonely figure on the pitch. With 14 league goals in two-and-a-half seasons at Chelsea, it's safe to say that Torres was one of the worst buys in history.
1. Andy Carroll | Newcastle United to Liverpool
Considered one of the best young players in England, Carroll was snapped up by Kenny Dalglish to form a 'dream' partnership with Luis Suarez. Well the partnership remained a dream as Carroll never delivered at the club, barely touching the ball when playing for Liverpool.
His link-up play was awful, and he was considered a waste of money and space at Liverpool, eventually being sent out on loan by new manager Brendan Rodgers. With six league goals in two seasons at Anfield, Carroll is certainly the worst transfer flop of all time.
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