The Top 10 Most Expensive Premier League Transfers: Grading Their Success

Yoosof FarahSenior Writer IIIMay 22, 2012

The Top 10 Most Expensive Premier League Transfers: Grading Their Success

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    Perhaps not surprisingly, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City dominate the list of the Premier League's most expensive transfers.

    Such clubs are always on the lookout for star names, and while some blockbuster deals turn out to be colossal bargains, others are akin to pumping a sorry load of money down a drain.

    As history has proved, the most expensive transfers are always a case of hit and miss—some players thrive having been valued so much, while others see their price tag as a massive burden.

    And so, here are the grades for the 10 most expensive transfer deals in Premier League history.

Wayne Rooney, Everton to Manchester United

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    Fee: £25.6 million

    Grade: A+

    When Manchester United bought 18-year-old Wayne Rooney from Everton in 2004—the highest fee ever paid for a teenager—most people were skeptical about whether the striker would ever be able to live up to his price tag.

    His debut for the Red Devils helped put the critics at ease, as Rooney smashed in a hat-trick in a UEFA Champions League group game against Fenerbahce, announcing his arrival at Old Trafford and showing the world he's here at the top to stay.

    Eight seasons, eight trophies, 366 games and 181 goals later, the talismanic forward has become a bargain for that fee—well, relative to others on this list that is.

Edin Dzeko, Wolfsburg to Manchester City

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    Fee: £27 million

    Grade: C

    The hottest property in town after smashing in 85 goals from 142 games for Wolfsburg, Manchester City thought it was getting quite the transfer coup when it signed Eden Dzeko.

    However, the Bosnian striker failed to live up to his price tag, with the pressure getting to him as he ended the 2010-11 season—having been signed in January 2011—with just two Premier League goals from 15 games, and a total of six goals from 21 games.

    The following season started better, and Dzeko was crucial to helping City off to a flying start in what would become its maiden Premier League title-winning campaign.

    He scored six goals in three games—including four in a thrashing away to Tottenham Hotspur—and was looking in scintillating form. 

    However, a six game spell without scoring, soon followed by an 11-game streak without finding the net, meant Dzeko again disappeared into the distance, swallowed up by the size of his transfer fee.

    A poor signing overall, it's no surprise the forward is now being linked with a move to Juventus.

Juan Sebastian Veron, Lazio to Manchester United

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    Fee: £28.1 million

    Grade: F

    Juan Sebastian Veron was the most expensive Premier League player of all time when he signed for Manchester United in 2001 from Serie A side Lazio.

    Signed on a five-year contract near the peak of his career as a 26-year-old, Veron successfully went on to become known as the biggest waste of money in English football, thanks to his time at Old Trafford.

    Having failed to do his homework before moving to England, Veron struggled in his first Premier League season as he was frequently tackled and dispossessed of the ball, failing to realize that time and space on the ball were not commodities freely given out in the English top-flight.

    His next season was better—especially in the Champions League—but just when it seemed Veron might get good, he got himself injured for the latter half of his second and last term at United.

    Sir Alex Ferguson fiercely defended his transfer flop, shouting at journalists during a Carrington press conference:

    "On you go. I'm not ****ing talking to you. He's a ****ing great player. You are all ****ing idiots."

    The following season, Sir Alex took a 50 percent loss on Veron when he was sold to Chelsea for £14 million.

Rio Ferdinand, Leeds United to Manchester United

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    Fee: £29.1 million

    Grade: A

    Rio Ferdinand was the most expensive defender in world football when Leeds United signed the centre-back from West Ham United in November 2000 for £18 million.

    A year later, Ferdinand lost that title to Lilian Thuram, who moved to Juventus from Parma for £22 million.

    However, in July 2002, Ferdinand won that honor back when Manchester United paid Leeds, a then British transfer, a record of £29.1 million for his signature.

    Ten seasons and 400 games later, 33-year-old Ferdinand has become full value for that money, forging a centre-back partnership with Nemanja Vidic that was—and still could be when they're reunited on the pitch—considered the best in world football.

    Still the world's most expensive defender today, Ferdinand has been influential in winning 12 trophies with the Red Devils, including five Premier League titles.

    His transfer fee may be a big one, but Ferdinand has most certainly represented value for that money.

Dimitar Berbatov, Tottenham Hotspur to Manchester United

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    Fee: £30.75 million

    Grade: C

    Crazy things can happen on transfer deadline day, and this was one of them.

    Having courted Dimitar Berbatov like a hot girl in a nightclub throughout the 2008 summer transfer window, Manchester United finally made its move at the end of the night, fending off competition from the suddenly wealthy Manchester City, to sign the Bulgarian.

    The transfer was—for a few minutes—the most expensive ever in English football, and the size of it has plagued Berbatov throughout his Old Trafford career.

    Fifty-six goals from 150 games hasn't been the prolific return most fans were hoping for, with his form as inconsistent as Harry Redknapp's tax returns.

    Having failed to make an impact—or be trusted—in the big games, it's no surprise the 31-year-old has conceded his time is over at United.

Andriy Shevchenko, AC Milan to Chelsea

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    Fee: £30.8 million

    Grade: E

    Andriy Shevchenko arrived at Chelsea from AC Milan as one of the world's best, and rightly most expensive, strikers in world football.

    After all, the then 28-year-old had scored a staggering 175 goals from 322 games for the Serie A giants.

    But it wasn't to be for Shevchenko in West London, with his two seasons at the club ending in failure—and 22 goals from 77 matches.

    And when two goals in a cup game against Wycombe Wanderers count as a "turning point" for a player who cost over £30 million, you know he's never going to live up to his price tag.

    A loan to spell back to AC Milan in 2008-09 showed just how far he'd fallen—in 18 league games he failed to score a single goal.

    Burdened the moment he signed for the Blues, you'd have thought Chelsea would've learned about paying way over the odds for hot forwards.

Robinho, Real Madrid to Manchester City

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    Fee: £32.5 million

    Grade: D

    Having been taken over by disgustingly wealthy owners from Abu Dhabi, Manchester City was desperate to prove its worth before the end of the 2008 summer transfer window.

    So, having failed to sign Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham Hotspur, it pulled through a deal for Robinho from Real Madrid, signing the forward on a four-year contract worth £160,000 per week and beating off competition from Chelsea.

    The former Santos star's time in Manchester was characterized by inconsistency, a failure to grasp the physical side of English football, and an inability to score goals away from home.

    The Brazilian did well in his first season at the club, scoring 15 goals from 41 games, but was injured and unhappy in his second season.

    And when people hoped his "turning point" at City would be his goal against Scunthorpe United in the FA Cup, you know he was never going to go onto become a club legend.

    A season and a half after signing for City, Robinho was loaned back to his first club Santos, before moving later that summer to AC Milan for £15 million—representing a more than 50 percent loss to City.

Andy Carroll, Newcastle United to Liverpool

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    Fee: £35 million

    Grade: C

    Andy Carroll has largely been considered one of world football's most expensive transfer flops, and perhaps rightly so given that he's only got four league goals this season in 35 games.

    However, the signs are finally showing that Carroll is adjusting to life at Liverpool, with some great performances towards the end of the season giving at least some value for his massive fee.

    His goal against Everton in the FA Cup semifinal was described by Jamie Carragher as worth £35 million alone, while his overall form in recent games has shown he has potential for next season.

    However, as it stands, he's still only scored two more goals in the Premier League than he has in the Championship, and such a record needs to improve soon.

Sergio Aguero, Atletico Madrid to Manchester City

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    Fee: £38 million

    Grade: A+

    Sergio Aguero—like most people expected—has fully lived up to his whopping price tag this season, scoring 30 goals and making 12 assists from 48 games.

    The striker announced himself to Manchester City fans in style—scoring twice and making an assist on his Premier League debut against Swansea City.

    And since then the Argentina international hasn't looked back, with his goal in the dramatic 3-2 win against Queens Park Rangers that literally won the title for the Citizens, capping off a great season that saw Aguero win the Manchester City Player of the Year award.

    It's more than likely he'll only get better next season, considering he's only 23 and has now fully adjusted to the Premier League—meaning English football's second most expensive player could one day become one of English football's biggest bargains.

Fernando Torres, Liverpool to Chelsea

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    Fee: £50 million

    Grade: D

    Four words instantly spring to mind when thinking of West London's biggest joke, AKA Fernando Torres, the biggest transfer flop ever.

    But in all fairness to the Chelsea striker, he has pulled things around in recent matches slightly, with the Spain international ending this season with 11 goals and 12 assists.

    Mind you, that was from 46 games, and followed on from his first half-season at the club where he scored once and made two assists in 18 matches.

    That's certainly not the form anyone expects from a £50 million striker, and it even makes Emile Heskey look like a bargain for the £3.5 million he cost Aston Villa.

    The 28-year-old is entering the peak of his career, and if he ever wants to be worth even half of his colossal transfer fee, he'll need to start playing in peak form ASAP.

    And who knows, with Didier Drogba leaving, it might just happen.