10 football transfer flops
We take a look at some of the worst signings by clubs across the UK
Money isn’t the answer to everything, and as the old football saying goes – you can’t buy success. Well, plenty have shown in the past that’s not strictly true, but what it can buy you is an over-hyped terrible football player.
As we get into the thick of the summer transfer window, Coral remind fans of the pitfalls. Don’t get overexcited about a Brazilian coming to Scotland, he may just live up to his name – as Celtic fans will tell you, and if money really is no object for the Chelsea board, buy a time machine, go back and rip up the Torres deal.
We’ll give you a taste of things to come and start with our favourite, in fact, this guy is everyone’s favourite transfer flop story. Senegalese footballer – if you can call him that – Ali Dia, somehow, managed to convince himself and, more importantly Graeme Souness, that he could cut it as a professional player. Just to add a bit of weight to his story, he told the Scotsman he was the cousin of World Player of the Year George Weah. He wasn’t. Dia played just one match for Southampton, coming on as a sub, before being taken back off again, never to return.
Billed as a bit of a wonderkid in his early days, and taken on trial at Manchester United, the majority of Adu’s career has been one long disappointment. We’re not sure if he was just a good story teller, or if he really was ever considered the next Pele, but it never happened for Adu, and United didn’t follow up their early interest. Turned pro at 14, but ended up spending most of his career chasing shadows.
The Middlesbrough born defender, unlike the two before him, was a bit of quality, but how he won a contract at Real Madrid we’ll never know. Went to the La Liga giants in 2004 for a big chunk of change – his time couldn’t have gone any worse. Ravaged by injury, it took him long enough to make his debut, but marked it by scoring an own goal and being sent off.
Celtic fans were rubbing their hands with glee when news broke that they had signed a Brazilian defender for £5m. One small problem, his name didn’t sound too promising, so they changed that to Rafael, but it didn’t make much difference – he was rotten. Arriving at Celtic Park during the John Barnes era, he really did live up to his name. A real favourite of the Rangers fans though.
What could go wrong with signing Torres? Chelsea splashed the cash on the Spaniard, taking him from rivals Liverpool, but it blew up in their face – big time. £50m spent on a man who was scoring for fun at the time, it all fell apart at the bridge. Torres scored just seven goals in his first two seasons at Chelsea, in the end they struggled to get rid of him.
He was always going to struggle to live up to the £35m Liverpool paid for him, a record fee for an English player at the time. The striker had no end of injuries when at Anfield, and didn’t help himself by finding enough trouble off the field of play either. A young man with a big reputation and bags of money to burn, it was a recipe for disaster. In the end, the club paid almost a million pound a game for Carroll’s services.
Rangers boss Dick Advocaat brought some serious talent to Glasgow during his time in charge of the club, and acquired highly rated Romanian defender Daniel Prodan from Atletico Madrid for £2.5m. Yes, the Gers once got their staff from the likes of Atletico, and not Accrington. Prodan spent his whole Rangers career in the medical room.
For once, not the fault of the player. Bogart came to Chelsea with a seriously impressive CV, but was never given a chance, with a change of manager and new way of thinking keeping him out the line-up. The Londoners wanted rid, and made no secret of it, but Bogart refused to be disrespected, so sat on his £40,000-a-week contract.
Any young football fan wondering just how Leeds ended up in a world of financial trouble should look at transfers like Seth Johnson. As the story goes, he sent his agent into the manager’s office to ask for £25,000-a-week, and walked out with £40,000-a-week. It wasn’t value for money either, he was dire, and didn’t play many more than 50 games for the club in four years. Bosses celebrated when he finally left.
Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t get too many wrong – but this was a stinker. The gaffer later admitted Bebe was the only player he ever signed without going to watch first. Whoever did the scouting report should’ve been sacked.