Top Ten

The worst value for money players in the Premiership

The stars who have failed to live up to their transfer fees

Andriy Shevchenko

As the folks who ploughed their cash into the Sega Saturn, Minidiscs and HD-DVDs will testify, sometimes smart investments don’t quite work out. With this in mind, Spoiler correspondent Joe Thompson has compiled a list of ten Premier League players who have failed to deliver on the financial commitment their respective clubs made to bring them in…

Andriy Shevchenko
(Chelsea, £31m)
When Chelsea signed ‘Sheva’ in 2006 on a four year deal, it was for a club record fee – but this was a record breaking player. He’d won everything with Milan, bagged the Ballon d’Or and had twice been top scorer in Serie A. Since his move to West London, however, he’s managed 20 goals in 83 appearances, and a season shipped out on loan back to his beloved Milan. Did he rediscover his form there? Did he f**k. He’ll be 33 next month as a once-great career slides away. Abramovich’s ultimate vanity signing has been his worst.

Kolo Toure
(Manchester City, £14m)
While part of the 2003/04 title-winning ‘invincibles’, he could have been in the Best Value top ten. One of Wenger’s best buys for £150,000, he was immense. The past couple of seasons though, Toure and Arsenal have struggled with consistency, with the team’s spine being called into question. Unlike Chelsea with Shevchenko, The Citizens have bought a player who has already lost his form.

Zat Knight
(Bolton, £5m)
You’ve got to feel for Bolton fans. This summer’s transfer frenzy peaked with a double swoop for Sam Ricketts from Hull and Zat Knight from Villa. Last year they bought another centre back, Gary Cahill, from the same club for the same £5m price. He’s been a success, but he’s much younger, and, well, much better than Knight, who’s nearly 30. Makes Toure look better value though.

Joleon Lescott
(Manchester City, £22m)
Lescott’s inflated price tag makes him the third most expensive defender of all time. Ever. Incredible, isn’t it? Even in the context of City’s spending this is ridiculous. Lescott is 27 and with seven caps, is fourth or possibly fifth choice for England. In the future, people will view this deal as the peak of City’s splurge on average players.

Johann Elmander
(Bolton, circa £10m)
Yet another questionable Megson signing at Bolton. The gaffer broke the club transfer record for a striker that had never played in Europe’s big three leagues and had never averaged more than a goal every 3 games. He has 5 in 34 since his arrival at the Reebok. For that money Megson could have had Dave Kitson and Michael Chopra. OK, not a great example, but it shows how badly the money was spent.

Andrea Dossena
(Liverpool, £7m)
The latest in a long line of foreign full backs brought through Anfield’s revolving doors by Rafa Benitez, but by far the most overpriced. The likes of Josemi, Kromkamp and Insua were/are rubbish, but none cost even half the fee for Dossena. After a season of failing to make the team, Dossena already wants out and has been angling for a move back to Italy. During the last campaign he resorted to shaving his head to fit in. It didn’t work.

Owen Hargreaves and Tomas Rosicky
Manchester Utd, £17m, and Arsenal, £7m)
A double entry because they are in here for the same reason – they are never fit enough to play. Rumours persist that Hargreaves has a career ending injury and Rosicky hasn’t played since January 2008. Both are great players, but if you bought a beautiful new(ish) car, for big money after some unsuccessful bartering with some stern Germans in Munich or Dortmund, you wouldn’t be happy if it mysteriously broke down every time you took it out for a spin.

Savio Nsereko
(West Ham, £9m)
The Hammers, supposedly completely broke, splashed out most of the money received for the departing Craig Bellamy, on a 19-year-old from Serie B. The fee of £9m is a club record. Savio is young, and may yet come good, but he’s done nothing to suggest he will. He’s started one game since his arrival and is yet to appear this season. He is young, but a truly bad signing has no sell on value whether they’re 13 or 30. Another example? What about…..

Kevin Prince Boateng
(Tottenham, £5.4m)
Like Nsereko, the Fresh Prince came to England having won rave reviews for Germany’s youth teams, and even won the Bundesliga Young Player of the Year Award in 2006. At Spurs though, he hasn’t been used on the pitch, perhaps serving as evidence of the ineptitude of departed Director of Football Damien Comolli. He’s made just eight starts in two seasons. Priot to being carted out on loan back to Germany last season, he was seen playing Powerleague 5-a-side in Hertfordshire. Seemingly the only game he could get. Spurs want to sell, but there’s currently no takers.

David Bentley
(Tottenham, £16.5m)
When Shevchenko moved to his new club and then mysteriously completely lost his form, people pointed to his age, his lost pace, and that he was in a new, faster league. There are no such excuses for Bentley. After a brilliant season at Blackburn that eased him into the England squad, everyone spoke of him as David Beckham’s natural successor. When Aaron Lennon upped his game though, Bentley was kept out of the team and became a very expensive spare part that they didn’t need. His punchable face and drink driving arrest don’t help his case either.


11 responses so far
  • MS // August 27, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I can completely accept your point about Dossena being a waste of money, but to label Emiliano Insua in the same bracket as Kromkamp and Josemi is absolute garbage.

    The youngster has played his part in a number of our goals this season, was applauded by all for his effort against Stoke and is being touted as Argentina’s left back for the next World Cup.

    Not bad for a player who we bought for next to nothing. To call him “rubbish” is an absolute joke.

  • deadlyBuzz // August 27, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    What of the Gread Michael owen at Newcastle
    17m for what???

  • David Allison // August 27, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Seems strange to include in a list of those who have failed to deliver on the financial commitment any player who has not even kicked a ball yet. Slightly harsh on Toure in that respect, too, as he has only pulled on a city shirt twice in the league – and kept clean sheets in both (something he has been signed to deliver, no?).

    A few others which immediately spring to mind are Veron (£28.1m!!! – a glaring omission), Rebrov and perhaps Kitson.

  • David Allison // August 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I now realise that this list in based on current players… I’m quite the fool.

  • Dave from Newcastle // August 27, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Yeah, Insua is not shit. Maybe one day but right now he’s just learning and showing promise.

  • R // August 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    good article. agree with the vast majority.

  • dokieh // August 27, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Sheva FTW :)

    Spanish La Liga’s blog in English: click here.

  • Aidan // August 28, 2009 at 2:01 am

    Surely you have to put Robbie Keane in there, he came to anfield did nufin for half a season and then got sold back at a massive loss!
    he deserves to be in there more than toure who is a proven world class player who has started consistently at a world class club for many years

  • wllmhll // August 28, 2009 at 3:45 am

    sheva, hands down. 31m for milan and they got him back on loan.

  • Nugey // August 28, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Where is Afonso Alves? The £12m gamble for which Boro paid the ultimate price.

    See also Mido at any club he’s ever been to.

  • Delboy Dublin // August 28, 2009 at 9:46 am

    It was all going so well until you made the “Insua is rubbish” remark. A decent young full back, taken from the youth set up and thrown in at the deep end, he’s done far better than anyone expected.

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