Six of the worst Premier League signings

Date published: Thursday 31st March 2016 1:21

Juan Sebastian Veron: Cost United £28.1m

Emmanuel Eboue has got to be one of the worst ever Premier League signings; we run through six more of the worst.

Eboue is set to leave Sunderland without playing a first-team game after the defender was handed a one-year ban by FIFA.

The 32-year-old Ivorian will be unable to play for 12 months unless he settles a pay dispute with a former agent, and the Black Cats responded by giving notice of their intention to terminate Eboue’s short-term deal at the Stadium of Light.

The former Arsenal full-back joined Sunderland as a free agent on March 9 until the end of the season, but has not featured once for Sam Allardyce’s relegation-battling side.

Here, are six of the Premier League’s other worst signings.


Holland international defender Bogarde spent four seasons at Chelsea as one of the club’s highest earners, but managed only two Premier League starts. The Champions League winner is reputed to have earned £10million for his 12 appearances for the Blues, but flatly denied claims he commuted daily from Amsterdam to train with the youth team during his final campaign.


Signed at great expense – £8.5million – by Newcastle from Rangers in January 2005, Boumsong endured a calamitous spell on Tyneside. Amid a grilling over his expensively-acquired stopper’s lack of form, then Magpies boss Graeme Souness predicted the France international would be one of the best defenders at the 2006 World Cup finals after seeing him taken apart by League Two Cheltenham’s Kayode Odejayi in an FA Cup fourth-round tie. He did go to Germany, but never kicked a ball and was sold at a sizeable loss on his return.


The capture of Argentina superstar Veron was hailed as a coup when Sir Alex Ferguson managed to lure him to Manchester United in a £28.1million switch from Lazio in July 2001. However, his struggles to acclimatise to English football left the Scot fiercely defending his big-money signing, at one point famously telling journalists, ”Youse are all … idiots”. Veron was sold to Chelsea for a cut-price £15million after two years at Old Trafford.


Sunderland turned to Holland during the summer of 2013 and thought they had got a bargain when they landed United States frontman Altidore from AZ Alkmaar for £6.5million. Within 18 months, he was on his way back across the Atlantic in a swap deal for Toronto’s Jermain Defoe having managed just one goal in 42 league appearances.


Perhaps the classic. Dia ”enjoyed” a mercifully brief career at Southampton, for whom he signed after then manager Souness received a phone call from a man purporting to be Liberian superstar George Weah offering him the opportunity to snap up his ”cousin” who, he alleged, was a Senegal international and Paris St Germain striker. Whoever made the call, it was not Weah and virtually everything he said was fabricated, as was painfully confirmed when Dia was introduced as a substitute and then withdrawn after a comical cameo against Leeds in November 1996.


Osvaldo’s ill-fated stay at Southampton came to a close last July when the Saints terminated the Italy international’s contract with two years remaining. Much had been expected of the striker after joining from Roma in August 2013 in a club-record deal that could have been worth up to £14.6million. However, Osvaldo was shipped out on loan to Juventus, Inter Milan and Boca Juniors after head-butting Southampton skipper Jose Fonte, and his truncated stay at St Mary’s was ultimately estimated to have cost the club around £25million, or in excess of £8million a goal, having netted just three times in 14 Premier League appearances.

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