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Dublin: 18 °C Tuesday 26 May, 2020

Balotelli, Soldado and 11 more of the worst signings in Premier League history

At £16 million, he has been a pretty costly mistake for Liverpool.

MARIO BALOTELLI’S LATEST spell in England has come to an end after AC Milan announced today that he had passed his medical and would join the club on a season-long deal.

The Italian striker managed just one goal in 16 appearances for Liverpool last season, leading to club legend Jamie Carragher surmising on Monday Night Football that it was a glaring error on the part of everyone at the Anfield club.

At £16 million, he has been a pretty costly mistake for Liverpool. But he is far from the first, or most expensive flop. In no particular order, here are 12 more of the worst Premier League signing ever.

1. Andy Carroll – Newcastle to Liverpool (£35m)

Source: AP/Press Association Images

Andy Carroll is probably the name that springs to mind for most people when they are asked about the worst signings in Premier League season. Mainly due to the ridiculous sum of money Liverpool spent on him.

He was signed for £35m in January 2011, making him the Reds’ most expensive player in history, and he never came close to repaying that fee. His time at the club was marred by injury and frustration.

When Brendan Rodgers arrived, the writing was on the wall and the new manager admitted that Carroll wouldn’t fit into his style of play.

2. Fernando Torres – Liverpool to Chelsea (£50m)

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Chelsea Press Conference - Fernando Torres Unveiling - Cobham Training Ground Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Chelsea paid £50m for Fernando Torres on the same day that Liverpool signed Andy Carroll. Once the most feared striker in the Premier League, if not in the world, it’s difficult to think of another player that declined so quickly.

He never looked the same player after suffering a knee injury in 2010. He scored 45 goals in 172 games for Chelsea, with only 20 of them coming in the league. He did, however, manage to win the Champions League, FA Cup and Europa League during his time at Stamford Bridge.

3. Andriy Shevchenko – Milan to Chelsea (£30m)

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Group A - Chelsea v Werder Bremen - Stamford Bridge Source: EMPICS Sport

There were big things expected of Andriy Shevchenko when the Ukrainian made a £30m move to Chelsea from AC Milan, a transfer that broke the record for the highest fee paid by an English club.

He made his debut in the Community Shield against Liverpool, where he scored their only goal in a 2-1 defeat. But from there, the goals dried up and he found opportunities limited as he competed with Didier Drogba for a place in the starting line-up.

Shevchenko managed 76 games in the end, scoring 22 goals in his 3 year stint with the club.

4. Afonso Alves – Heerenveen to Middlesbrough (£13m)

Soccer - Middlesbrough Press Conference - Riverside Stadium Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

When Middlesbrough announced the signing of Brazilian forward Afonso Alves in 2008, it seemed like they had pulled off a major coup. After all, Alves had scored 45 goals in 39 games for Heerenveen.

But he never came close to matching his goal ratio in Holland, scoring less than one goal in every four games at the Riverside.

5. Alberto Aquilani – Roma to Liverpool (£20m)

Soccer - Alberto Aquilani Signing - Melwood Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

When Xabi Alonso left Liverpool, they decided to replace him with an injured Alberto Aquilani. He joined from Roma in a deal worth about £20m and didn’t make his debut until the end of October.

He never looked comfortable with the physicality of the Premier League and suffered a string of injuries. He was sent out on loan to Juventus and AC Milan, in 2010/11 and 2011/12, before being sold on a permanent deal to Fiorentina.

In the end, he played just 28 games for Liverpool.

 6. Serhiy Rebrov – Dynamo Kyiv to Spurs (£11m)

Source: EMPICS Sport

Having netted 93 goals in 189 games at Dynamo Kyiv, hopes were high when Serhiy Rebrov arrived at Spurs. But he turned out to be one of the, if not the, biggest transfer disasters for Spurs in the Premier League era.

They are rumoured to have lost around £20m on fees and wages in total. After a few loan spells in Turkey, he went to West Ham where he had an equally disappointing spell before returning back to Ukraine.

7. Juan Sebastian Veron – Lazio to Man United (£28m)

Man Utd Veron signing Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Veron’s inclusion on this list is probably up for debate. There is no mistaking that Veron was an extremely talented player and did show his quality in bursts during his time in England.

Apart from some memorable Champions League performances, he was never really able to adapt to the English style of play. He went on to have a good career after he left England but when you look at his price tag, and what United got for it, he can be definitely counted as a significant disappointment.

8. Bebé - Vitória de Guimarães to Manchester United (£7m)

Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

One of the strangest transfers of all-time. In 2010, only five weeks after he signed for Vitória de Guimarães, Manchester United agreed a £7.4m fee with the Portuguese club for the transfer of Bebé. Although, some Portuguese media outlets reported that the fee rose to almost £9m.

Sir Alex Ferguson spent nearly ten million on a player he had never seen play, on the recommendation of former assistant Carlos Queiroz.

9. Robinho – Real Madrid to Man City (£33m)

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Chelsea - City of Manchester Stadium Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

When Sheik Mansour bought Manchester City in 2008, he decided to break the British transfer record and make Robinho their first marque signing. The Brazilian forward signed from Real Madrid for £33m.

His goalscoring stats weren’t all that bad, scoring 16 goals in 48 appearances in total. But his attitude seemed to be a problem and some of the comments he was making off the field, including saying Manchester was “an awful place to live”.

Robert Mancini put an end to his stay after two years at the club.

10. Roque Santa Cruz – Blackburn to Man City (£17.5m)

Soccer - Roque Santa Cruz Unveiling - City of Manchester Stadium Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Roque Santa reached double figures for league goals in one season in his whole career.

That season he scored 19 goals for Blackburn Rovers and it earned him an almost £18m move to Manchester City. Unfortunately, he was never able to re-create that kind of form at City and was soon sent packing back to Ewood Park – where he failed to score a single goal in 10 games.

11. Kostas Mitroglou – Olympiakos to Fulham (£13m)

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - West Bromwich Albion v Fulham - The Hawthorns Source: EMPICS Sport

This always looked like an odd move. Mitroglou left Olympiakos, who he had impressed for in the Champions League during the first half of the season, to join relegation-threatened Fulham in January 2014.

The Cottagers’ fans were very excited by his arrival and there was a genuine feeling that he had the ability to fire them to safety. But they couldn’t have been more wrong.

The big Greek striker never looked fit, scored zero goals and was sent back to Greece after Fulham were relegated.

12. Roberto Soldado – Valencia to Spurs (£29m)

Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Roberto Soldado was a huge flop at Spurs. He arrived in England with a big reputation, after scoring 109 goals in 191 games prior to the move. The then 28-year-old endured a miserable two seasons in London following a £26m move from Valencia.

He scored just seven times in 52 Premier League appearances for Spurs and four of them were penalties. He was finally sent back to Spain earlier this month, joining Villarreal for £10m.

Infuriatingly for Spurs fans, Soldado took just 32 minutes to open this account for Villarreal at the weekend.

13. Mario Balotelli – AC Milan to Liverpool (£16m)

Source: AP/Press Association Images

After selling Luis Suarez to Barcelona last summer, Liverpool signed Mario Balotelli from AC Milan in an attempt to boost their forward options. But the Italian’s inability to adapt to Rodgers’ tactical demands saw him pushed to the fringes of the squad and completely ostracized during this summer’s pre-season.

Balotelli was left behind while the rest of the team travelled to the Far East and Australia. When they returned home, he was forced to train alone until AC Milan eventually agreed terms with Liverpool for a loan deal.

Is there anyone you would add to this list? 

Read: Chelsea ship Cuadrado off to Juventus after just 15 appearances>

Read: Arsene Wenger hits back at Gary Neville jibe>

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About the author:

Donal Lucey

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