With Manchester United set to break the world transfer record for Paul Pogba, we name our five worst-ever big-money Premier League investments.
After a television deal worth £5.163billion, Premier League clubs have more money than ever before. With the influx of money into football, transfer prices are becoming inflated to the point that a once-ludicrous £20million is now seen as relatively modest.
Yet, as the old saying goes, money doesn’t always buy you happiness. Here we take a look at the times when a big money transfer hasn’t paid off.
5th: Robinho – £32.5m
Man City’s capture of Robinho in 2008 is still seen as a landmark moment for the club. Beating off competition from Chelsea for the boy pegged as ‘the new Pele’, Manchester City shelled out £32.5million for the Real Madrid star, becoming the Premier League’s most expensive signing in the process. The Brazilian started brightly, but fell away rapidly, scoring just once in his second season against Scunthorpe, and blaming the league for crushing his style of play.
4th: Andriy Shevchenko – £30m
Shevchenko arrived in England with a glistening reputation in 2006, following a hugely successful spell at AC Milan. His price tag of £30million was a club and British record back then, and the 29-year-old was seen as one of the world’s top strikers. After scoring on his debut against Liverpool, however, the once-hailed striker found his goals few and far between, and the reputation he had built up in Italy crumbled. He scored 22 goals in 77 appearances at a cost of over £1million per goal and was eventually deemed surplus to requirements and sealing a return to Milan.
3rd: Juan Sebastian Veron – £28.1m
Another South American, another British transfer record. In 2001, £28.1million for a midfielder was an astronomical sum of money, and Veron was seen as the key playmaker in a Manchester United team in transition. However, he failed to establish himself in the team and, after averaging less than an assist every seven games, he was sold to Chelsea for £15million, where he fared equally as badly.
2nd: Andy Carroll – £35m
On 31 January 2011, Kenny Dalglish signed two new strikers to lead Liverpool’s strike force. One became a Liverpool legend and left for Barcelona after nearly guiding them to the title. The other was Andy Carroll; he cost Liverpool £35million from Newcastle and is still the second most expensive British footballer in history.
In two years at Anfield, he scored six Premier League goals for the Reds in 44 appearances at a cost of approximately £6million per goal. Injuries plagued his time at Anfield, and he left for West Ham in 2013.
1st: Fernando Torres – £50m
In arguably the Premier League’s most memorable transfer deadline day, Chelsea paid Liverpool £50million to sign Spain striker Torres and make him the sixth most expensive footballer ever. The rest is history – each of his 20 goals for the club cost £2.5million a piece and he became a laughing stock, going from one of the world’s best strikers to becoming the face of transfer flops. His struggle was epitomised at Old Trafford, where he rounded De Gea only to miss the open net.
However, the saving grace for Torres is that with transfer fees continuing to rise, it is likely that in a few years £50million may not look too expensive after all. For now he is king of the flops, but he will face stiff competition over the coming years for that prize.