From Boumsong to Balaban: Ten Silly Transfers

Bradley King@bradleykingCorrespondent IJune 12, 2008

As clubs begin to survey the continent and beyond for new talent, let us consider some of the worst transfer deals that the country has ever seen.

Premiership managers take note.

Or maybe not as the case may be.

10. Massimo Taibi, by Manchester United for £4.5 million

Tipped as the successor to the great Dane Peter Schmeichel in goal by Sir Alex Ferguson, Taibi arrived in Manchester as a virtual unknown to the British public.

In a seasons time and a few blunders later, "The Blind Venetian" returned to Italy through the backdoor after losing his place to Aussie Mark Bosnich.


9. DJ Campbell, by Leicester, £2.1 million

Oh dear, oh dear. What were a Championship club doing signing a player who had hardly proven himself in any level above League One for this amount of money. He will probably score twenty-five goals next season and get them promoted now. Or not.


8. Hugo Viana, by Newcastle United, £8.5m

This Portuguese winger flew into St. James Park being tipped as a huge prospect for the future. He struggled to adapt to life in England and failed to keep up with the physical demands of the game. Due to this, he was shipped out to Sporting on loan before joining Valencia at a loss of £7 million.


7. Francis Jeffers, by Arsenal, £8m

The "fox in the box" that Mr Wenger was after didn’t quite live up to his billing. Laboured through several years in the treatment room at Highbury during which time his international hopes were destroyed and his pace vanished.

Joined Charlton where he never got going, and is now at Sheffield Wednesday.


6. Tore Andre Flo, by Sunderland, £6.75m

Bought to help save the Black Cats from relegation, fans were understandably pessimistic at the signing of Flo, a player who had done so well at Chelsea years earlier but struggled recently north of the border.

Their "panic buy2 fears were correct, as 6 foot 4 inch Flo looked out of shape and out of sorts as Sunderland quickly slid towards the Premiership trapdoor.


5. Kevin Davies, by Blackburn Rovers, £7.5m

Davies gathered many admirers during his time at The Dell, which prompted Blackburn to offer so much for his services. His time at Blackburn was a complete shambles, making only a handful of starts before returning to the south coast in a swap deal for Egil Ostenstad. Exactly.


4. Jean-Alain Boumsong, by Newcastle United, £8m

The big centre half and French international had pace, strength, was strong in the air and had fantastic positional sense. Or so Graeme Souness must have thought after he signed Jean-Alain to form a solid partnership with Titus Shambles Bramble.

In reality, the duo became one of the most hilarious in Premier League history. Bizarrely, Boumsong left the north east for Turin, where he signed for Italian giants Juventus.


3. Chris Sutton, by Chelsea, £10m

After former Premiership champions Rovers were relegated, Chelsea moved quickly to secure the signing of Sutton. An unhappy period followed, and Sutton scored just one goal for the club as he found it hard to adapt to Chelsea’s style of play. Chelsea did though do well to recoup six of the 10 million they paid for him, selling Sutton to Celtic.


2. Bosko Balaban, by Aston Villa, £6m

Having signed from Dinamo Zagreb where he was prolific for several seasons, Balaban never lived up to expectations and was regularly booed by the Villa crowd. In just eight appearances for Villa, the Croatian international failed to score and joined Club Brugge on a free transfer.


1. Corrado Grabbi, by Blackburn Rovers, £6.75m

The Italian striker joined from Ternana where he scored 20 goals in 34 appearances. Grabbi was invisible in most of Blackburn’s games and scored two goals in 30 games, promptly being shipped back to Serie B with Ancona.

Released by AC Bellinzona of the Swiss League recently, he is now a free agent.


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