Premier League: 10 Biggest Transfer Busts of the Last 5 Years
As a result of the Premier League becoming the most profitable league in the world, some of its clubs have engaged in financial recklessness.
What I mean by reckless is a club signing a player who will never live up to his transfer fee.
Here are the 10 biggest transfer busts of the last five years, so from 2007-12.
10. Roque Santa Cruz
From Blackburn Rovers to Manchester City for £17.5 million (2009)
I never rated Roque Santa Cruz during his time at Bayern Munich.
It didn't surprise me that he scored goals for Blackburn Rovers because I figured he was a big fish in a small pond type of forward.
What did surprise me was Manchester City shelling out such a hefty transfer fee for a serviceable, but not first rate, let alone world class, forward.
9. Robbie Keane
From Tottenham Hotspur to Liverpool for £20 million (2008)
Robbie Keane's situation at Liverpool was eerily similar to his time at Inter Milan.
Rafa Benítez didn't rate Keane at Anfield as was the case with Marco Tardelli at Inter.
By ostracising Keane, he was bound to fail.
He has never been the same after that move.
8. David Bentley
From Blackburn Rovers to Tottenham Hotspur for £15 million (2008)
David Bentley was excellent in Fantasy Premier League because he was like the mailman—dependable.
Tottenham Hotspur spent £15 million thinking the same thing.
Aside from that sublime lob over Manuel Almunia (surprise surprise), Bentley has failed to produce the goods for Spurs.
From Porto to Manchester United for £20.4 million (2007)
I remember watching Anderson during the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship.
He was pound-for-pound the strongest, the nippiest of the lot, technically solid and just miles better than the boys on the field.
I thought he would instantly succeed at Manchester United, but I was wrong.
I don't like the fact he has been forced to play as a centre midfielder, or even as a holding midfielder, when he should be a combative attacking midfielder.
He won the U-17 World Cup Golden Ball as an attacking midfielder, so why play him in a different position?
For a while, he almost forgot how to score a goal.
Nonetheless, this season, he looked imperious in the centre of midfield—but a knee and hamstring injury has put his season on ice.
6. Afonso Alves
From Heerenveen to Middlesbrough for £12 million (2008)
Tim Vickery's biggest regret was predicting that Rafael Scheidt would be a great signing for Celtic.
My equivalent is predicting that Afonso Alves would be world class for Boro.
Nowadays, I can't watch Heerenveen games without feeling sick.
What gave me tunnel vision on Alves was his seven goals against Heracles Almelo (who are still in the Eredivisie).
I had never seen such an efficient forward like him. He was deadly accurate, his positional awareness was elite and he was ruthless in front of goals.
He would have scored 40-50 goals if he was playing for Ajax, who at the time had Wesley Sneijder, Ryan Babel and Gabri.
I was so sold on Alves that I had him in my fantasy team for months even though it took him eight games to score a goal.
What I failed to see at Heerenveen was the selfless play of his strike partner Lars Nilsson.
Alves was also heavily reliant on Danijel Pranjić and Thomas Prager to pass instead of shoot.
At Boro, Alves had toothless wingers in Stewart Downing and Jérémie Aliadière.
A useless Didier Digard, an unfit Julio Arca and just a mediocre team in general.
It wasn't as if I was seeing things, because Alves' hat trick against Manchester City and a brace against Manchester United proved he could have been a world beater.
5. José Bosingwa
From Porto to Chelsea for £16.2 million (2008)
José Bosingwa started the season in good form and then he reverted back to his old ways.
You'd think professional footballers would have high football IQ, but Bosingwa cannot read the movement of opposing players.
He's one of the worst right-backs I've seen in recent memory.
4. Stewart Downing
From Aston Villa to Liverpool for £20 million (2011)
Stewart Downing is statistically the most inefficient player in the Premier League this season.
He has passed the ball 1,060 times but has yet to register an assist.
After 62 shots, he still hasn't scored in the league.
3. Fernando Torres
From Liverpool to Chelsea for £50 million (2011)
I've softened my stance on Fernando Torres because he has worked so hard to rectify his inability to consistently score goals.
Unfortunately, history will judge him harshly because seven goals in 54 games is terrible.
If you factor in assists, it's 22 goals in 54 games, which is still below-par for a £50 million valued forward.
I have no idea what possessed Roman Abramovich to spend £50 million on Fernando Torres, who was Spain's answer to Stéphane Guivarc'h during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Torres has only completed 24 successful dribbles this season, but has won back possession 30 times.
He has 13 assists compared to two Premier League goals from 45 shots.
What does this mean? The attributes which made him such a deadly forward have deteriorated.
2. Andy Carroll
From Newcastle United to Liverpool for £35 million (2011)
Andy Carroll seemingly has forgotten how to move like a forward and evidently has left his shooting boots at Newcastle United.
Three Premier League goals from 56 shots is dreadful.
If I wanted an agent, I'd pick Derek Llambias because he is cunning. Actually hold that thought, he'd probably steal my money.
Llambias passed on an £30 million deal from Liverpool for Carroll, which made Liverpool fall under the impression that Newcastle valued the striker so highly.
Instead, Llambias managed to extract another £5 million from Liverpool.
To add insult to injury, Mike Ashley demanded that Liverpool pay up front and Newcastle charged £12,000 interest for late payments.
Liverpool swindled Chelsea and Newcastle swindled Liverpool—the winner being Newcastle because Demba Ba cost nothing and Papiss Cissé is worth more than £9 million.
What does Llambias think of Carroll?: "He's worth f___ all."
From Vitória de Guimarães to Manchester United for £7.4 million (2010)
Kamikaze spending is buying a player you've never even heard of let alone watched.
Bébé could have cost nothing, but after he signed a contract with Vitória de Guimarães, somehow he was on the radar of some big clubs.
Jorge Mendes, football's version of Ari Gold, pocketed some easy cash after convincing Manchester United that Bébé had world class potential.
About two years later, Bébé has only played seven games for the Red Devils.
Please read 10 Greatest One-Club Men in World Football History.
Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com.