As you walk in to a fast food establishment you’re likely to be enticed by the alluring advertised images on the menu. But in fact what you actually get in reality is a limp, flaccid imitation based on over ambitious promises and over-pricing. In many ways the fast food industry reflects the story of many misjudged signings by Premier League clubs since its inception 1992. Only time will tell if mega-signings Fernando Torres and Roy Carroll will be limp losers or gourmet greats. Here are the five worst signings made in the history of the Premier League.
The former Swedish international was a complete and utter flop during his spell with Leeds. As a promising youngster, his superb goal sent England out of Euro 92. At the peak of his powers, Brolin was strong, graceful and technically gifted. But Brolin’s powers ebbed away as quickly as he piled on the pounds as many wondered if he was in fact the long lost twin brother of golfer Jon Daly. However, despite the striker’s demise, Howard Wilkinson saw him as the perfect foil for the club’s top scorer Tony Yeboah, paying Parma £4.5 million for the Swedish striker’s services in 1995. In two years at Elland Road, Brolin made just 19 appearances.
Before his ill-fated spell at Chelsea, Shevchenko had been one of the most feared strikers in European football. Understandably, there was much hype over his £30million arrival at Stamford Bridge in 2006. However the Ukrainian found himself permanently on the bench behind Didier Drogba after consistently failing to find the back of the net. With just 14 goals in 51 appearances, Chelsea loaned Shevchenko back to Milan where he failed to hit the dizzying heights of his first spell with the Italian outfit. He made the move back to his first club Dynamo Kiev for just a fraction of his original transfer.
Juan Sebastian Veron
A player that have could quite easily have appeared twice in this list, but to spare the Argentinian’s blushes, his hapless spells with Manchester United and Chelsea have been placed together. Veron completely failed to adjust to English football after a successful time plying his trade in Italy. In 2001 Manchester United acquired the services of the playmaker for a record fee of £28 million from Italian side Lazio. The midfielder clearly struggled to adapt to the pace of the English game, not being allowed the time and space he was allowed in Serie A. However, this stop don’t Roman Abramovich from splashing out £15million for Veron’s services for Chelsea. The midfielder failed yet again to fulfil his potential and was farmed out on loan to Inter Milan in 2004, where he subsequently returned to form winning a Serie A title and two Italian Cups. Must be the British weather I guess.
Sir Alex Ferguson identified the Italian as the ideal replacement for Peter Schmeichel, the omnipresent tracksuit bottoms should have caused Sir Alex to pause for thought. Manchester United splashed out £4.5million on Venezia journeyman Massimo Taibi. After earning rave reviews in Italy, Taibi’s spell was more like that of a raving madman. Taibi conceded two sloppy goals at Liverpool on his debut and one to Wimbledon the following week. And it didn’t end there. Southampton scored three at Old Trafford including a Matt Le Tissier shot that squeezed through Taibi’s legs, a shot so soft that it barely crossed the line. His agony continued, Chelsea smashed five past him at Stamford Bridge the following week. His Italian job was over a little more than a month after it began. Taibi rotted in the United reserves until Reggina took him on loan and then permanently signed him for £2.5million at the end of the season. Surely United’s worst keeper ever – in a competitive field featuring Mark Bosnich.
Was he George Weah’s cousin? It’s highly unlikely. What is probable though is that Ai Dia was arguably the worst player in the history of the Premier League. Having failed a trial at Rotherham United, Dia was signed by Southampton manager Graeme Souness in 1996. Souness received a phone call purporting to be from former World Player of the Year George. In fact the call was from Dia’s agent, who falsely claimed his client was a Senegalese international and had played for Paris St Germain. Dia played just one game for the Saints, against Leeds United in November 1996. He came on for Matthew Le Tissier who was substituted after 32 minutes but hi performance was spectacularly below Premier League quality. It took Souness a whole 52 minutes to suss he’d been had. Dia was substituted and never played for Southampton again.
Aidan Donovan is a copywriter for Justeat that deal with a number of takeaways across the UK from Chinese Birmingham establishments to Pizza delivery
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