World Football Transfers: 5 Worst Buys of All Time

Stefan GouyetAnalyst IMay 31, 2011

World Football Transfers: 5 Worst Buys of All Time

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    Over the last decade, big teams have spent outrageous sums of money for players. Clubs like Manchester City, Barcelona, Chelsea and Real Madrid have all had their share of unintelligent purchases. Many of these big teams are owned by billionaires who can spend money non-stop. Unfortunately for many of these players, their transfer deals are very costly and the player can never fully justify his price tag.

    Here's a list of five players who never lived up to their transfer fee:

Zlatan Ibrahimovich

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    From: Inter Milan 

    To: Barcelona

    Date: July 26, 2009

    Cost: $65 million and player exchange

    While Zlatan Ibrahimovich was in the United States playing the World Football Challenge, Barcelona President Joan Laporta and Inter Milan President Massimo Moratti were discussing the Swedish striker's future.

    After three superb seasons in Italy, in which Ibrahimovich scored 57 goals in 88 appearances, Barcelona made one of the most bizarre deals of all time. Barcelona not only paid $65 million but also sent their best striker Eto'o to Italy. Ibrahimovich was considered one of the best strikers in the world at that time and Barcelona were expecting this deal to even further elevate the team's status.

    The deal didn't go as plan. Ibra started remarkably with the Catalans and was named in the 2009 UEFA Team of The Year. Unfortunately, his relationship with Pep Guardiola, as well as his goal tally, soon declined. In August 2010, after just one year with Barcelona, Ibrahimovich was loaned to AC Milan. The arrival of David Villa and the emergence of Pedro meant that the Swedish striker wouldn't have much playing time. Ibrahimovich had a solid season at the San Siro and the loan deal may turn into a permanent deal this coming summer.  


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    From: Real Madrid
    To: Manchester City

    Date: September 1, 2008

    Cost: $53.5 million

    At the end of summer 2008, much of the transfer talk was dedicated to Robinho. After three good years at Real Madrid, Robinho felt that his playing time would be reduced with new signings coming to the Santiago Bernabeu. Manchester City, who had recently been purchased by their wealthy owners, bought the Brazilian on deadline day. 

    Just 13 minutes into Robinho's season, he scored against Chelsea with a great free kick. He continued to show his worth and ended his first season as the EPl fourth top scorer with 14 goals. But his second season was much worse. An injury kept him out for over three months.

    With Manchester City continuing their huge transfers, Robinho fell down the pecking order. In January 2010, he joined his former club Santos on a six-month loan deal. After this, he completed an $18 million move to AC Milan, linking up with Pato and Ibrahimovich.  

Andriy Shevchenko

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    From: AC Milan

    To: Chelsea

    Date: May 28, 2006

    Cost: $51 million

    From 1999 to 2006, Andriy Shevchenko scored 127 goals in 208 games. No wonder Roman Abramovich wanted him. But Jose Mourinho didn't want to Ukrainian and the Portuguese Coach was fired not long after the $51 Million transfer was made. This was Chelsea's highest transfer fee (at that time) and the Blues hoped that their new signing would score copious amounts of goals.

    In his two seasons at Chelsea, Shevchenko scored a lowly 22 goals (in 76 appearances). Apart from a good run of form at the end of 2007, Shevchenko was hugely disappointing with the Blues and never came close to living up to his transfer fee.  

Juan Sebastian Veron

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    From: Lazio

    To: Manchester United

    Date: July 12, 2001

    Cost: $46 million

    Veron was signed by Manchester United in 2001 after the Argentinian had emerged as one of the best defensive midfielders in Italy. At $46 million, this was the most expensive English transfer of all time. 

    People wondered how well Veron would do in the EPL, as he would have to adapt to the change in speed. Those who said he would have problems were correct. His first season was very poor, but he improved in his second season. When an injury ruled him out for the end of the season, he fell down the pecking order. In 2003, Chelsea bought Veron for $25 million. 


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    From: AC Milan

    To: Real Madrid

    Date: June 8, 2009

    Cost: $90 million

    Kaka signed for AC Milan in 2003 from Sao Paulo. In six years at the San Siro, he scored 95 goals and assisted 48 in 270 appearances. He was AC Milan's star playmaker and played a significant role in the club's Champions League successes. His move to Real Madrid in summer 2009 should have been publicized much more, but it was overshadowed by Ronaldo's transfer just a few weeks later.

    Unlike Ronaldo, Kaka never settled in Madrid. This was certainly not the Brazilian star's fault. Injuries have kept him out for the majority of the last two seasons. He has recently returned from injury and, since January 2011, has played 20 games (12 starts).

    During these games, Kaka showed that he is still an outstanding player. However, it seems that Mourinho and Real Madrid have lost patience in the midfielder, leading to the recent purchases of Nuri Sahin and Hamit Altintop (from Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich respectively). The end may be coming for Kaka and Real Madrid would certainly not be paid anywhere near the $90 million they dispensed just two years ago.   

Fernando Torres?

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    From: Liverpool

    To: Chelsea

    Date: January 31, 2011

    Cost: $82 million

    This transfer cannot yet have a spot on this list as the purchase was made less than six months ago. But it will be quite difficult for Torres to justify his transfer fee. However, Ronaldo was able to justify a $131 million cost with his performances on Real Madrid, so why can't Torres? On paper, Torres and Drogba could be such an amazing partnership. But since January, the two strikers haven't been able to work well together. Torres has shown glimpses of his old self on Chelsea, but one goal in 18 appearances isn't a good statistic for a forward. Torres must prove that Roman Abramovich didn't make the wrong decision in buying the Spanish striker. Otherwise, Torres will certainly be on this list.