Premier League: The worst 50 players ever have been named

  • Rob Swan

A whole host of world-class footballers have lit up the Premier League since 1992.

Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Eden Hazard, Sergio Aguero, Eric Cantona, Didier Drogba, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard… the list goes on and on.

But who are the worst players of the Premier League era?

FourFourTwo have published a list of the 50 worst players in Premier League history, adding that this doesn’t necessarily mean those on the list were entirely useless footballers.

“Maybe it’s a decent player out of his depth, or perhaps a once fine player debilitated by age or injuries,” FourFourTwo add. “For whatever reason, however, the following 50 players didn’t show their best form in the Premier League.”

No doubt you can name a host of rubbish Premier League players from memory – but do they make the top 50? Let’s have a look…

50. Radamel Falcao

Arguably the best No. 9 on the planet at his peak. Sadly, Radamel Falcao was unable to shine during loan spells with Manchester United (£4 million per goal) or Chelsea (£265,000 for every shot).

49. Salif Diao

In fairness, Salif Diao wasn’t completely rubbish for Liverpool. Then again, he wasn’t very good either. The Senegalese midfielder made 61 appearances for the Reds before moving to Stoke City in 2006.

48. Roque Junior

Widely regarded as one of the worst players ever to win the World Cup, Brazilian Roque Junior was sent off on his Leeds debut and was unable to prevent the club from sliding down to the Championship at the end of the 2003-04 season.

47. Nikola Jerkan

Signed by Nottingham Forest after impressing with Croatia at Euro ’96, Nikola Jerkan failed to live up to expectations and was offloaded to Charleroi in 1999.

46. Aleksandar Tonev

Recommended by Stiliyan Petrov, Bulgaria international Aleksandar Tonev struggled at Aston Villa. Now 30, he currently plies his trade with PFC Botev Plovdiv.

45. Sebastien Squillaci

Arsenal fans don’t have particularly fond memories of the French centre-back, who often looked out of his depth in the Premier League. He ended his career with Bastia in 2017.

44. Ahmed Musa

Signed for a club-record £16.6 million fee in July 2016, Ahmed Musa excited Leicester fans by netting two superb goals in a friendly against Barcelona. Sadly, he went on to score just two goals in 21 league games for the Foxes.

43. Agustin Delgado

One goal in 11 appearances over the course of three seasons says it all about this Southampton flop.

42. Jean Makoun

Signed from Lyon for £6.2 million in 2010, Football Manager hero Jean Makoun ended up making just nine Premier League appearances for Aston Villa.

41. Christian Poulsen

The experienced Danish midfielder failed to improve Liverpool following his arrival from Juventus in 2010.

40. Jo

What did Man City get for their £19 million? A single Premier League goal from 21 appearances.

39. Andreas Cornelius

Cardiff broke their club-record transfer fee to sign the £8 million Andreas Cornelius in June 2013. The Dane failed to net a single goal in 11 games for the Welsh side.

38. Richard Kingson

The Ghanian goalkeeper spent time with Birmingham, Wigan and Blackpool in the late 2000s but wasn’t particularly impressive with any of the three English clubs, hence why he’s on this list.

37. Torben Piechnik

One of Graeme Souness’ worst signings as Liverpool manager, Torben Piechnik played 17 times for the Reds before being sold to Danish side AGF Aarhus in 1994.

36. Dean Leacock

Part of the infamous Derby side of 2007-08 that registered just 11 points from 38 games, Dean Leacock has spent the past few years playing for the likes of Welling United, Billericay Town and Lowestoft Town in non-league.

35. Yaya Sanogo

Yaya Sanogo may not have scored a single Premier League goal during his time with Arsenal, but the French striker did bag four in a 5-1 win over Benfica in an Emirates Cup clash.

34. Erik Meijer

Erik Meijer also failed to score a single Premier League goal during his one season with Liverpool before he was replaced at Anfield by Emile Heskey.

33. Konstantinos Chalkias

Bonus points if you actually remember the former Portsmouth goalkeeper who conceded 11 goals in five appearances during his brief spell as a Premier League player.

32. Andy van der Meyde

Andy van der Meyde wasn’t a bad player. He made over 100 appearances for Ajax and also played 17 times for the Netherlands. That said, he *was* pretty bad for Everton during the 2000s.

31. Lukas Jutkiewicz

Lukas Jutkiewicz was unable to score a single Premier League goal during spells with Everton and Burnley.

30. Mario Jardel

Mario Jardel scored a quite ridiculous 168 goals in 170 games for FC Porto. But he was unable to produce the goods several years later at Bolton, where he failed to net a single Premier League goal in seven games.

29. Ade Akinbiyi

Some strikers are quality in the Football League but aren’t quite good enough for the top flight. Ade Akinbiyi was one of them – although he still managed to bag 11 goals in 58 Premier League games for Leicester.

28. Istvan Kozma

The Hungarian, who signed for Liverpool in 1992, wasn’t cut out for the hustle and bustle of the Premier League.

27. Marcelino

Seventeen Premier League appearances over four years with Newcastle means Marcelino, who cost £5.8 million in 1999, unfortunately deserves his place on this list.

26. Leon Cort

Another player who was half-decent in the Championship but pretty awful in the Premier League.

25. Gilberto

An experienced Brazil international, Gilberto joined Tottenham from Hertha BSC in 2008 but only made a handful of appearances for the north London outfit.

24. Corrado Grabbi

Corrado Grabbi cost Blackburn £6.75 million and he scored two goals in 30 league games. File under ‘bad business’.

23. Grzegorz Rasiak

Decent with Derby in the Championship but hopeless with Tottenham in the Premier League.

22. Kostas Mitroglou

The £12.4 million acquisition of Kostas Mitroglou felt like a major coup for Fulham – but, for whatever reason, the Greece international ended up making just three appearances for the English side and failed to score a single goal. Bizarre.

21. Bruno Cheyrou

Labelled the “new Zidane” by Gerard Houllier, Bruno Cheyrou failed to live up to expectations at Liverpool following his 2002 transfer from Lille.

20. Tomas Brolin

Tomas Brolin lit up Serie A with Parma in the early-1990s but, unfortunately for Leeds, looked a completely different player at Elland Road.

19. Ricky van Wolfswinkel

If we were listing the best names in Premier League history, Ricky van Wolfswinkel would be top 10 without a doubt. Sadly he was rubbish in England’s top division, scoring one goal in 25 appearances for Norwich City.

18. Albert Luque

Newcastle splashed £9 million on Albert Luque, who caught the eye thanks to his performances with Deportivo. Little did they know that the Spaniard would go on to score just one goal in 21 games over the following two seasons.

17. Jean-Alain Boumsong

Another Newcastle flop, ‘hapless’ would be the word to describe Jean-Alain Boumsong during his ill-fated spell in the Premier League.

16. Marco Boogers

West Ham boss Harry Redknapp was convinced to sign £1 million Marco Boogers, despite the fact he’d never seen him play. In four appearances, he failed to score a single goal.

15. Antonio Nunez

Antonio Nunez moved from Real Madrid to Liverpool in 2004 as part of the deal which saw Michael Owen move in the opposite direction. The Spaniard failed to score a single Premier League goal – but he did leave Anfield after just one season with a Champions League winners’ medal.

14. Claude Davis

‘Calamity Claude’, as he was nicknamed, was another member of Derby’s shocking 2007-08 side.

13. Sean Dundee

“One player I do regret signing was Sean Dundee,” former Liverpool boss Roy Evans said of the South African. “He was terrible on and off the pitch. He didn’t take any notice of me, did what he wanted and lacked discipline. He certainly shouldn’t have joined Liverpool.”

12. Eric Djemba-Djemba

Signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2003 as a long-term replacement for Roy Keane, it soon became clear that Eric Djemba-Djemba wasn’t good enough for Manchester United. So bad they named him twice.

11. Andrea Silenzi

Serie A was all the rage in the 1990s, so Nottingham Forest fans were understandably excited when Andrea Silenzi joined the club from Torino in 1995. Unfortunately for Forest, he was hopeless in England.

10. Bosko Balaban

Eight games, zero goals. Bosko Balaban, who cost Aston Villa £5.8 million, went on to score goals consistently with Dinamo Zagreb and Club Brugge. Sometimes, transfers just don’t work out.

9. Igors Stepanovs

Igors Stepanovs somehow has a Premier League winners’ medal in his collection thanks to his four-year spell with Arsenal.

8. Winston Bogarde

Famous for earning £40,000-a-week and doing very little for it, Chelsea benchwarmer Winston Bogarde once told reporters: “Why should I throw €15m away when it’s already mine? At the moment I signed it was in fact my money, my contract.”

7. Bebe

One of the most bizarre signings in Manchester United’s history, Ferguson was encouraged to splash £7.4 million on Bebe by his assistant, Carlos Queiroz. The Portuguese winger looked like a competition winner at Old Trafford.

6. Junior Lewis

Some players end up in the Premier League when they’re simply not good enough. Junior Lewis was one of them.

5. Jozy Altidore

Jozy Altidore scored one goal in 28 games during a loan spell with Hull City, but that didn’t deter Sunderland from bringing the American striker to the Stadium of Light in 2013. In 42 Premier League games for the Black Cats, he netted one goal.

4. Milton Nunez

It’s believed that Sunderland may have signed the wrong player when they snapped up Honduran Milton Nunez from PAOK for £1.6 million in 2000. It’s claimed Peter Reid actually wanted to sign Adolfo Valencia, which might explain why Nunez only ended up making one appearance for the Black Cats.

3. Massimo Taibi

Signed by Man Utd for £4.5 million in 1999 as a replacement for the legendary Peter Schmeichel, Massimo Taibi only played four games for the Red Devils before Fergie had seen enough.

2. Savio Nsereko

West Ham spent £9 million on the relatively unknown Savio in January 2009. He played 10 games for the Hammers, failed to score a single goal, and was sold just six months later to Fiorentina for £3 million.

1. Ali Dia

And at number one, it’s the legend himself: Ali Dia. The man who claimed to be George Weah’s cousin was signed by Southampton in 1996 and played 52 minutes against Leeds United – replacing the injured Matt Le Tissier – before being released when it quickly became abundantly clear that he was terrible.

The Senegalese forward went on to sign for non-league Gateshead before ending his bizarre career with Spennymoor United.

The streets will never forget these icons.

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