Premier League's 20 biggest flops named including Man Utd's Kleberson and Chelsea's Shevchenko


Oh how Manchester United would come to regret the signing of Kleberson in 2003.

The Red Devils aren’t alone in the list of Premier League clubs to have seriously messed up in the transfer window.

When Sir Alex Ferguson brought Kleberson in from Atletico Paranaense in 2003, he thought he was getting the next Roy Keane.

Fergie didn’t get it wrong on too many occasions, but he certainly did this time.

Rising transfer fees in the top flight have increased the chances of clubs getting it totally wrong.

Premier League’s biggest flops

With that in mind, the 20 biggest flops in Premier League history were named last year by the Mirror.

1 of 20

Who is this manager who lasted just 84 days?

20. Marco Boogers | West Ham United

Harry Redknapp signed Boogers from Sparta Rotterdam for £1 million after watching a video of him in action.

As scouting goes, that’s not how it’s done.

And Redknapp was left to wish he’d watched another video instead after Boogers was sent off in his second game for the Hammers.

He was then given permission to return to Holland for the birth of his son, and never came back.

19. Ricky van Wolfswinkel | Norwich City

Van Wolfswinkel netted on his debut for the Canaries after joining in the summer of 2013 from Vitesse.

That was as good as it got for the striker.

He was loaned out to St Etienne a year after arriving in England and eventually returned to Vitesse, netting just one more goal for Norwich.


18. Corrado Grabbi | Blackburn Rovers

Say the name ‘Corrado Grabbi’ at Ewood Park and prepare to be met with chills.

Blackburn were thought to have beaten AC Milan for the Italian in 2001, paying a club record £6.5m fee.

But he scored just twice in 30 games.

17. Kostas Mitroglou | Fulham

In January 2014, Fulham splashed out £14m on Greek forward Mitroglou in the hope that he would keep them in the top flight.

But during four months at the club, he netted a grand total of zero goals.

After just three appearances, Mitroglou was sold to Benfica for half the price Fulham paid.


16. Andre Santos | Arsenal

Error-prone Santos lasted just two seasons at Arsenal before joining Gremio on loan, and then signing a permanent deal with Flamengo.

15. Andy van der Meyde | Everton

Van der Meyde’s struggles off the pitch during his time at Everton contribution to him playing just 24 games over four years.

The Dutchman had issues with alcohol, his dog was stolen during a burglary, his drink was spiked in a bar and his wife hired a private detective to follow him.

Everton allowed Van der Meyde’s contract to run out following a series of run-ins with manager David Moyes.

14. Afonso Alves | Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough had to wait two months before Alves scored his first goal for the club after they paid a club record £14m to sign him in January 2008.

A hat-trick against Manchester City on the final day of the 2008/09 season suggested the following season would be better, but he scored just four times and the Boro were relegated.

13. Massimo Taibi | Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson realised Taibi wasn’t the solution in goal after just four games.

The Italian, who cost £4.5m, produced a series of high-profile mistakes. He left just six months after arriving in Manchester.

12. Roberto Soldado | Tottenham Hotspur

Soldado cost Spurs £26m in 2013.

He bagged seven goals in the league and was sold for £10m two years later.


11. Jo | Manchester City

Jo was brought in for a club-record fee of £18m in July 2008, just before Sheikh Mansour’s takeover.

However, the Brazilian mustered just one league goal and he was loaned to Everton twice over the course of three seasons.


10. Thomas Brolin | Leeds United

Brolin admitted to being overweight when he joined Leeds in 1995 and that contributed to a disappointing spell at the club.

The Swede, who cost £4.5m, scored four goals in 26 appearances across two seasons.

At the age of 28, Brolin quit football and became a vacuum cleaner salesman.

9. Jack Rodwell | Sunderland

Man City were never going to break the bank when they paid £12m for Rodwell in 2012.

But for Sunderland to spend £10m on Rodwell two years later… that’s madness.

The midfielder continued to collect his £70,000-per-week wages despite Sunderland’s financial troubles and by the time he left, the Black Cats were in League Two.


8. Kleberson | Manchester United

The next Roy Keane, thought Ferguson.

The Brazilian couldn’t live up to the hype, lasting just two seasons at Old Trafford.

7. Andriy Shevchenko | Chelsea

Shevchenko wasn’t the player Chelsea – indeed, the entire league – thought he would be, their £30.8m investment returning 22 goals in 77 games after arriving in 2006.


6. Eliaquim Mangala | Manchester City

Mangala cost City £42m but it quickly became apparent that he wasn’t good enough to play for a team with such lofty ambitions.

Two months after arriving at the Etihad, Mangala was loaned out to Valencia.

The centre-back was then sent out on loan to Everton before Man City cut ties with him entirely.

5. Adrian Mutu | Chelsea

According to reports, Chelsea are still owed money from Mutu. That’s how badly this move went.

The striker tested positive for cocaine and was banned for seven months.

Chelsea decided to tear up his contract and sued Mutu for breach of contract. They won the court case, but are still owed more than £16m of Mutu’s £20m transfer fee.

4. Michael Owen | Newcastle United

Owen’s injury-plagued spell at Newcastle would signal the beginning of his decline.

At the end of the 2008/09 season, stand-in boss Alan Shearer accused Owen of refusing to play in a crucial game against Aston Villa. The Magpies lost and were relegated to the Championship.

3. Andy Carroll | Liverpool

Carroll netted just 11 goals for Liverpool, a measly return on his £35m transfer fee.

The Reds got it right though with the rest of the Fernando Torres money, signing Luis Suarez.


2. Ali Dia | Southampton

The story of Dia playing for Southampton is truly iconic.

He managed to fool the Saints into believing he was George Weah’s cousin and had previously played for Paris Saint-Germain.

What’s more, he blagged a short contract with the club and even played 53 minutes for them against Leeds in 1996.

Southampton’s players thought Dia had won a competition to train with the Saints, which says it all about his ability.

1. Bebe | Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson signed Bebe for £7.4m in 2010 without ever seeing him play, and it would prove to be a serious mistake.

Bebe was one of Man United’s worst-ever players. In a game against Wolves, he replaced Owen Hargreaves as an early substitute before being hooked himself in the second half.

Fergie wanted none of the responsibility for signing Bebe, instead blaming his assistant Carlos Queiroz.


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