Top 10 most overpriced players of all time
With fans questioning the transfer fees being paid during this window, Goal looks back at some huge signings that failed to produce the goods
With the summer transfer window heating up as the new season moves into view, the money changing hands continues to amaze.
Transfer fees in excess of £50 million are now common place when it comes to Europe’s elite clubs, while even mid-table Premier League sides are willing to fork out £20m for players.
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It remains to be seen whether these huge outlays will pay off, but history shows that making a big statement in the transfer market does not always pay off.
With that in mind, here are Goal’s 10 most overpriced transfer deals of all time…
10. SOLDADO TO TOTTENHAM | £26M
A clear example of the excessive spending of Premier League clubs as Spurs opted to fork out £26m for Roberto Soldado, whose reputation in Spain could not have been higher.
Arriving in north London with a record of a goal every other game for Valencia, he became a joke figure at White Lane, with his return of just seven goals in 52 appearances a clear illustration of his struggles.
Eventually sold to Villarreal in 2015, he has rediscovered his scoring boots back in his homeland, but he remains perhaps one of the biggest Premier League flops of all-time.
9. KEANE TO LIVERPOOL | £20M
When Liverpool snapped up Robbie Keane for £20m in the summer of 2008, it looked like solid business. A proven Premier League goalscorer and a potential fit for Rafa Benitez’s style, it seemed a match made in heaven.
Six months after his arrival on Merseyside, however, the Republic of Ireland international was being shipped back to Tottenham for just £12m having scored just five Premier League goals in 19 appearances. A real flop.
8. LENTINI TO MILAN | £13M
Though £13m may seem like small change to the world’s biggest club’s nowadays, back in 1992 it was the world-record for a transfer fee as winger Gianluigi Lentini moved from Torino to AC Milan.
After shining in his first year at San Siro, the Italy international was involved in a car accident that left him in a light coma for two days. Upon his return to action he struggled to recreate his best form and was used primarily as a substitute for the Italian giants.
He eventually left for Atalanta in 1996 having scored just 16 goals for Milan – a disappointing if tragic return for the most expensive player on the planet.
7. BENTEKE TO LIVERPOOL | £32.5M
Liverpool involved yet again, this time spending £32.5 million on Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, who on the face of it looked one of the best young Premier League strikers.
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However, with Brendan Rodgers sacked just over a month into the new campaign and Jurgen Klopp installed in his place, the Belgium international soon found himself picking up splinters on the bench.
He did still manage nine Premier League goals, and the Reds were able to recoup almost all of the money they spent when he was sold to Crystal Palace after just one season. But when historians look back on Benteke’s time at Liverpool, it will be with an air of confusion as to why he was there in the first place.
6. ROBINHO TO MANCHESTER CITY | £32.5M
Manchester City feature yet again, but this time with the transfer that kicked off their big-money spending in some style. When City announced on transfer deadline day that they were being bought out by the Abu Dhabi United Group, many expected them to make a late splash in the market, but no one saw the arrival of Robinho coming.
The Brazil winger had been all set to join Chelsea, only for City to swoop in and secure his services for £32.5m. Though a marquee name, in hindsight this was a lot of money for an inconsistent wideman, and so his performances proved.
Injuries and homesickness soon took their toll, and he was eventually loaned out to Santos just 18 months after his arrival having scored just 14 Premier League goals.
5. VERON TO MANCHESTER UNITED | £28.1M
At the start of the new millennium, Juan Sebastian Veron had the world at his feet. A star for both club and country, he became the most expensive player in English football history when he arrived at Manchester United for £28.1m. The honeymoon did not last long.
The Argentine struggled to adapt to the pace of the Premier League, and though he fared better in the Champions League, a series of injuries and poor performances meant he never became a fan favourite.
He left Old Trafford just two years after his arrival for Chelsea in a £15m move, but his struggles continued before his return to Serie A in 2004.
4. BONY TO MANCHESTER CITY | £28M
As has become the pattern in modern football, players who perform well for smaller clubs are snapped up quickly by those at the pinnacle of the game without much thought as to how they will fit in. One clear example of that is Wilfried Bony.
Having shone for Swansea City, Manuel Pelllegrini decided to spend £28 million on the Ivory Coast international in the January of 2015.
The fee would prove to be a record for an African player, but with Sergio Aguero ahead of him in the pecking order, Bony barely got a look in. To date he has netted just six league goals for the Citizens while a loan spell at Stoke City saw his struggles continue as he netted just twice – both in the same game – before being left out for much of the campaign by Mark Hughes.
3. JESE TO PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN | €25M
Despite a series of injuries and a subsequent drop in form, Paris Saint-Germain still seemingly had no problem in paying €25m to Real Madrid for Jese Rodriguez in the summer of 2016.
Once touted as the next big thing at Santiago Bernabeu, PSG boss Unai Emery soon found out why the Blancos had been so keen to sell. Though a period out with appendicitis did not help, the Spain international struggled to make an impact for the then Ligue 1 champions.
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He was eventually sent on loan to Las Palmas after just six months at the club in which time he had made just one start, and he now looks set to be sold before the current window slams shut.
2. MANGALA TO MANCHESTER CITY | £42M
After impressing in a three-year spell at Porto, Manchester City moved quickly to snap up one of Europe’s most highly-rated young defenders. The catch – they had to pay a world-record £42m to get him due to a number of issues with third-party ownership as well as Porto demanding in excess of £30m as a fee.
Despite a decent start to life at the Etihad Stadium, it soon became apparent that Mangala was struggling to adapt to the Premier League, and it was not long before City were eyeing a replacement.
Two years on from his arrival, Mangala was shipped out on loan to Valencia and Pep Guardiola is now looking to recoup as much cash as he can by selling the France international before the end of the current window.
1. CARROLL TO LIVERPOOL | £35M
Liverpool’s transfer business over the past decade has been hit and miss to say the least, but certainly one of their worst signings of recent years comes in the shape of Andy Carroll.
At the age of 22 and with just 14 Premier League goals to his name, the Reds decided to spend £35m on the Newcastle striker as they looked to replace the departing Fernando Torres.
What they got in return for that record sum for a British player was just six league goals in three injury-plagued seasons before he was first loaned and then sold to West Ham.
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