EPL: Top 10 Stars That Crashed and Burned in the English Premier League
Since the creation of the English Premier League in 1992, there have been a steady influx of foreign players. There has been great debate about whether the level of overseas players was having a detrimental effect on the development of young English talent at all Premier League clubs.
On 26 Dec. 1999, Chelsea became the first team to having a starting 11 consisting completely of foreign players.
And on 14 Feb. 2005, Arsenal posted an entire squad of foreigners for a league match.
Amongst all the overseas players coming to the Premier League, there have been some fantastic successes, but there have also been spectacular failures.
Star players with European and even world class reputations have come to the Premier League and crashed and burned.
Many of these stars were brought by their clubs on big money transfers and expectations soared that they would shine even brighter. However, they became the most amazing flops to ever play in the Premier League.
Here are the top 10 biggest foreign failures in Premier League history.
10. Sean Dundee
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Premier League Team: Liverpool
Date Joined: 1998
Games Played for Team: Three
Goals Scored: None
Sean Dundee was born in South Africa but moved to Germany where he quickly began to gain a reputation as a very promising young striker.
After scoring a very commendable 24 goals in just 34 appearances for German team TSF Ditzingen, he moved to the Bundesliga team of Karlsruher SC where in two seasons, he made 85 appearances and hit the back of the net on 36 occasions.
This brought him to the attention of Liverpool FC, where then joint managers, Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier paid out £2 million for the promising German star.
Dundee came with the reputation of being as fast as the young Michael Owen, but it quickly became apparent that he was far from this and was not up to the grade in front of goal either.
But such was the low level of his performances, that Dundee only notched up three Premier League appearance and failed to get a single goal.
Weight problems and just not being good enough for the Premiership were Dundee's downfall, and after a solitary season, he returned to Germany.
Roundly voted by fans as probably the worst player to have pulled on a Liverpool shirt, Dundee's star was completely extinguished by his short stay in the English Premier League.
9. Florin Răducioiu
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Nationalit : Romanian
Premier League Team: West Ham
Date Joined: 1996
Games Played for Team: 11
Goals Scored: Two
By the time then manager of West Ham, Harry Redknapp, signed Florin Răducioiu for West Ham from Spainish club Espanyol in 1996, the Romanian was an established international star for his country.
He held his national team's record of scoring all four goals in an international game when he scored all the goals in a 4-0 win for Romania against the Faroe Island
In the 1994 World Cup qualifiers, Răducioiu converted a penalty against Belgium and in their last group game he again put away a penalty, this time against Wales, sending Romania to the top of their qualifying group.
At USA '94, Răducioiu went on to help his country to its most successful world cup campaign ever; advancing to the quarterfinals and he himself scoring four goals in the tournament.
In Euro '96, the Romanian star scored his nation's only goal in the tournament, and Romania exited at the group stages.
However, as an established international star in the prime of his career, much was expected of Răducioiu at West Ham, but he failed completely to deliver.
His early promise never materialized, and he failed to adapt to the fast pace and aggressive nature of English football.
He managed only 11 appearances for the Hammers and scored two goals and most significantly fell out with Redknapp, who accused him of going shopping with his wife rather than being at training before a game against Manchester United; despite the fact that he scored that day!
8. Serhiy Rebrov
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Premier League Team: Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United
Date Joined: 2000-04 and 2004-05
Games Played for Team: 60 and 27
Goals Scored: 10 and one
Serhiy Rebrov formed a deadly partnership with Andriy Shevchenko in the 1990s at Dynamo Kyiv, where he scored an astonishing 93 goals in 189 appearances. Prior to this, he hit 12 goals in 26 appearances for Shakhtar Donetsk.
Rebrov was also becoming noticed on the European stage, where his exploits in the Champions League were grabbing headlines, particularly in the late '90s.
In 1999 Dynamo, reached the semifinals of the Champions League, only to be beaten on aggregate by Bayern Munich.
In the 1999-00 season, Rebrov was the highest scorer in the Champions League competition with 10 goals, when Dynamo got to the Last 16, only to be ousted by Real Madrid.
In June 2000, Rebrov came to the English Premier League when Tottenham Hotspur paid a whooping £11 million (a then club record) for the prolific Ukrainian.
But after the sacking of manager George Graham in early 2001, Rebrov did not impress new manager Glenn Hoddle and saw his chances dwindling. This, along with his less than impressive record and performances in a Spurs shirt, meant his impact on the League was extremely disappointing.
This led to loan spells in Turkey, where again Rebrov could not capture his amazing goalscoring form.
Spurs finally off loaded the Ukrainian to West Ham United, where he could manage only a solitary goal in his 27 appearances for the Hammers.
Rebrov went back to Dynamo 2005 and started scoring again. But Spurs fans will look at him as an expensive flop and a player that came to the club with a sky high reputation but never came close to fulfilling it.
7. Boško Balaban
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Premier League Team: Aston Villa
Date Joined: 2001
Games Played for Team: Nine
Goals Scored: None
Boško Balaban was born in Rijeka in Yugoslavia, he played for his home town club and in 97 appearances scored a solid 31 goals.
As a young rising star, he caught the attention of larger Croatian teams and in 2000 signed for Dynamo Zagreb.
At Zagreb, he continued his scoring exploits and was again the league's highest scorer, netting 38 goals in a total of 55 outings.
In 2001, John Gregory of Aston Villa, signed Balaban for a sizable amount of around £6 million, with wages at a massive £20,000 a week.
But in two-and-a-half years at Villa, the Yugoslavian star managed only nine appearances, seven of these coming as a substitute and failed to score a single goal.
In 2007, the Times ranked Balaban as one of the 50 worst players to have played in the Premier League.
Villa were left with a huge loss on the transfer along with a hefty wage bill at the end of this disappointing saga.
6. Stéphane Guivarc'h
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Premier League Team: Newcastle United
Date Joined: 1998
Games Played for Team: Four
Goals Scored: One
Before signing for Newcastle United, Stéphane Guivarc'h had a phenomenal scoring record, where for teams such as Brest, Guingamp, Auxerre and Rennes, he scored 115 goals in 215 appearances.
Guivarc'h scored on his debut against Liverpool, but this proved to ultimately be a curse, and he only went on to make a further three appearances for the North East club.
In October 2009, the Daily Mail put together a list of the worst strikers to ever play in the Premier League and Guivarc'h had the humiliating position of being at the top of this list.
The departure of Kenny Dalglish and arrival of Ruud Gullit was the main factor in the French marksman never making much of an impact on the Premier League.
But even the arrival of Gullit could not hide the fact that Guivarc'h just did not have what it takes to make it in the Premier League.
Even Toon fans agree that Guivarc'h was the worst signing in their history and once again the Premier League found wanting a European star player when playing in the toughest league in football.
5. Mateja Kežman
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Premier League Team: Chelsea
Date Joined: 2004
Games Played for Team: 25
Goals Scored: Four
As a teenage, Mateja Kežman began to be noticed by European teams as a scoring sensation.
In 1998, at the age of 19, he signed for FK Partizan and went on to score 33 goals in 54 outings for the club. These exploits brought him his first major transfer, and in 2000, Kežman signed for Dutch gaints PSV Eindhoven.
In his first season in the Dutch league, Kežman was its leading scorer, netting 24 times in 33 games.
He formed a formidable partnership with Arjen Robben and together they picked up the nicknames "Batman and Robben," as every time Kežman scored, the "Batman" theme was played.
Over the next three seasons, Kežman scored a further 81 goals, going on to notch up a total of 105 goals in 122 matches, a absolutely amazing scoring achievement.
With Chelsea having sack loads of money to spend, the Serbian became a member of the new look Chelsea as the Londoners entered the football rich list.
But as with a number of stars from the Dutch League, Kežman found the defenses in the English Premier League a lot harder to penetrate. And although he scored against Liverpool in the Carling Cup Final, which Chelsea went on to win, he found it extremely hard going.
All in all, Kežman played in only 25 games for Chelsea and found the net on a meagre four occasions and represents one of the biggest disappointments in Premier League history.
Such was the expectation and hype surrounding his arrival at Stamford Bridge following his record in Holland, but once again the rigors and tough defenses of the English Premier Leagues were a step too far for one of European football's biggest talents.
4. Massimo Taibi
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Premier League Team: Manchester United
Date Joined: 1999
Games Played for Team: Four
Goals Scored: None
It may seem unusual for a goalkeeper to make it into a list of the top 10 stars that have flopped in the English Premier League, but special mention must be given to Massimo Taibi, such was the extent of his fall from grace.
In the season before his move to Old Trafford, Taibi played all the games for his Italian club Piacenza, and there must have been something in those displays that Sir Alex Ferguson was impressed with.
In 1999, Manchester United paid £4.5 million for the Italian stopper, a large fee for a goalkeeper in those days.
Taibi was thrown into the fire and made his debut against Liverpool and made a grave error that lead to Sami Hyypia to score. However, he went on to make a string of save that awarded him the Man of the Match.
However, rather than progressing from there, Taibi's United career spiraled downwards. In his fourth game for the Red Devils, another dramatic error led to a goal for Matthew Le Tissier goal, and a national newspaper labeled him as "The Blind Venetian."
One of the matches in which Taibi kept goal was a 5-0 drubbing of United at Chelsea.
Taibi's stay at Old Trafford, although very short will not be easily forgotten, and he will go down in history as one of the biggest flops in English Premier League history.
3. Juan Sebastian Veron
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Juan Sebastian Veron
Premier League Team: Manchester United and Chelsea
Date Joined: 2001 and 2003
Games Played for Team: 51 and 14
Goals Scored: Seven and one
Juan Sebastian Veron, nicknamed La Brujita (Little Witch), was and is a very talented footballer but was a failure in the English Premier League.
It was Sven Goran Erikkson who brought him onto the European stage by signing him for Sampdoria in 1996.
In 1998, after appearing in the World Cup, Veron moved on to Parma for £15 million where he won the Coppa Italia and the UEFA Cup.
Erikkson re-signed him for Lazio in 1999 for £18 million and made his debut for the Italian team against his future team Manchester United in a 1-0 victory in the European Super Cup. In 2000, it was Veron who drove Lazio to the Italian Championship, the Italian Cup and Italian Super Cup.
In 2001, Manchester United paid a then English football record fee of £28 million for the Argentine to take Veron into the Premier League; a league that he was quoted at the time of the transfer as saying he did not fear.
However, Veron failed to have the same impact on English football, that he did on the Italian game. The faster pace was simply too much for him and he was not awarded the amount of time and space on the ball that he was used to and struggled to adapt.
Sir Alex Ferguson attempted to defend his player and with pressure growing at the beginning of his second season in the Premiership, Veron's performances did improve. But he still did not have the pace himself and more often than not, the game still went on around him too much.
Manchester United were given an escape, when the newly enriched Chelsea took Veron off their hands for a transfer fee of £15 million. This represented a tremendous loss for United and Ferguson, by his actions if not words, was left to admit Veron had failed.
At Chelsea, with much to prove, Veron began well by scoring the winner in a 2-1 away win at Liverpool.
But it was a flash in the pan, and the old deficiencies in his game came back to plague him once more.
Veron was loaned out in 2004 to Inter Milan, having played only 14 games for the Blues.
In 2007, Chelsea finally sold the Argentine back to club where it all start for him, Estudiantes. Veron has gone on to be a success once more, but his spell in the English Premier League will forever be a blot on his copybook.
Veron was one of the most spectacular flops in the Premiership era.
2. Thomas Brolin
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Premier League Team: Leeds United and Crystal Palace
Date Joined: 1995 and 1998
Games Played for Team: 20 and 16
Goals Scored: Four and none
In 1990, when AC Parma were promoted to the top flight of Italian football, they signed the rising Swedish star, Thomas Brolin.
In his first season, he struck up a partnership with Alessandro Melli and scored seven goals, helping Parma to fifth place in the league and qualification into European football for the first time in their history.
In the following season, Brolin played every game and scored four goals and Parma finished sixth in the league. They won their first trophy ever, when they beat Juventus to lift the Coppa Italia and this gave them entry into the European Cup Winners Cup.
The season that followed found Brolin struggling to retain his place in the side with the arrival of Faustino Asprilla, but he did play at Wembley when Parma won the European Cup Winners Cup.
In 1994, Brolin was beginning to not be a permanent fixture in the Parma side that also now featured Gianfranco Zola and later in 1995, Hristo Stoichkov.
At International level, Brolin was making headlines before he was even 21. He scored a brace on his debut against Wales and another two in the next match against Finland.
Brolin led Sweden's attack at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, where although Sweden failed to win a game, Brolin's goal against Brazil went a long way to securing his move to Parma.
In the European Championships in 1992, Brolin was the tournament's joint top scorer with three goals, and it was his goal against England that really brought him onto the Premiership clubs' radar.
At the World Cup in 1994 in the USA, the Swede was a seasoned international and led his country to a surprising thrid place finish at the tournament, bagging three goals himself.
In November 1995, Leeds United paid £4.5 million for Brolin, but it was a move that turned out to be a utter disaster for both player and club.
The Swede never got to grips with the intensity of the Premier League and fought a losing battle with weight issues. Training ground pranks and disputes with manager Howard Wilkinson sought to alienate him from the club, players and fans.
Brolin made only 20 appearances for Leeds and scored a miserly four goals. Such was the disappointment of Wilkinson at the complete lack of form and inability to lose wieght of the Swedish star, that within a year, he was on the transfer list.
Despite being on the market for less the £2 million, there were no takers. Brolin missed training sessions and incurred fines and the club even looked at options to withold his wages. A stand off insued and by the time a loan was arranged to FC Zurich, Brolin had racked up £72,000 in fines!
In mid 1997, the latest loan deal with former club Parma expired and Brolin returned to Leeds. New manager, George Graham, found a returning player so overweight that he was not allowed on the club's preseason tour.
In November 1997, due to a lack of eligable players, Crystal Palace gave Brolin a trail and a season long contract.
The former Swedish star played only 13 times in the Premier League for Palace and failed to find the net. At the end of the season Palace were relegated and Brolin retired from football.
A young star with a highly promising career came to a crashing halt when encountering the Premier League. Brolin's Premier League flop goes down in Premier League history as one of its most spectacular.
1. Andriy Shevchenko
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Premier League Team: Chelsea
Date Joined: 2006
Games Played for Team: 47
Goals Scored: Nine
In the 1990s, Andriy Shevchenko was rattling in the goals for Dynamo Kyiv and was fast becoming the hottest striker in European football.
Amazingly, Shevchenko won the title with Dynamo in every season he played for them; five in total. In those five season he made 117 appearances and scored phenomenal 60 goals.
A big money move to Italian giants AC Milan followed in 1999, for a then record €25 million and became the first foreign player to win the Serie A title in his debut season. He himself scored 24 times in 32 outings. In the following season, Sheva again hit 24 goals.
The prolific Ukrainain continued his goal frenzy in future seasons in Italy and also in the Champions League. In 2003, Sheva became the first Ukrainain to win the Champions League when Milan defeated rivals Juventus on penalties in the final. It was Shevchenko that converted the winning penalty in the shoot out.
In 2004, Shevchenko was awarded the coveted Ballon d'Or becoming European Player of the Year.
The following year saw the Ukrainain continued his goalscoring feats and became the only player in Champions League history to score all four of his team goals, in an away tie!
Milan went all the way to the final that year, but lost to Liverpool on penalties, with Sheva's penalty being famously saved by Jerzy Dudek allowing the Reds to win their fifth European Cup.
Shevchenko ended his seven years at Milan as their club's second highest goal scorer, netting an amazing 173 times in 296 appearances.
In May 2006, newly enriched Chelsea paid Milan a record breaking £31 million for Shevchenko and the Ukrainain came to the English Premier League.
But goals in Premier League proved harder to come by, and he was tightly marked by opposing defenses. Sheva looked like a player carrying the weight of a heft price tag that he looked like he would never quite shake off.
The time that defenses gave him in Europe was not there in the Premiership, defenders were tighter and far more aggressive than he had been used to in the past and Sheva failed to make an impact.
Goals did not flow freely and the great man struggled for form and found himself more often than not warming the subs bench.
Injury did not help his cause and he spent a long spell out of the game and was never the same when he returned. Struggling even more and seeing the Chelsea side progressing without him.
The arrival of new manager Luis Felipe Scolari made matters worse for the Ukrainain, and he was pushed further down the pecking order.
In 2008, Milan took their hero back on loan, but his time in the Premiership had dented his confidence, and he failed to score in 18 appearances for his former club.
In 2009, his old club Dynamo Kyiv came back and took him home. In the spell at Stamford Bridge, Shevchenko made 47 appearences for the Blues and scored only nine goals.
Arguably European football's greatest striker in the Premiership era was humbled by the English Premier League. Shevchenko's time at Chelsea goes down as the most spectacular example of a star player crashing and burning in the English Premier League.