As we draw near the end of a thrilling season in the Premier League, almost everything is still up for grabs – relegation, UEFA Champions League qualification, and the title itself.
While we wait for those matters to be decided, let’s debate who the worst signings of the season have been. Here are Into The Top Corner looks at the top 20 worst signings of this season. Tell us whether you agree or not in the comments section.
20. Romelu Lukaku – Anderlecht to Chelsea for £18m
Dubbed as the next Drogba, he joined the Blues in the summer for a huge fee. Everyone expected him to get a run in the team under the then new manager Andre Villas-Boas’ policy of giving young players a chance but it never happened. Lukaku was behind the likes of Drogba, Torres and Sturridge in the pecking order and made just six appearances this season – all as a substitute – and is expected to spend the next season out on loan. People would say he is the one for the future but spending that much amount of money and giving him just six appearances from the bench is a waste of money.
19. Raul Meireles – Liverpool to Chelsea for £11m
Decided to follow Fernando Torres and join Chelsea in the following transfer window and I have no clue why he did that. He was having a great time at Liverpool and was performing well for the Reds but since his move to the Stamford Bridge he has been very inconsistent this season. Apart from that one Manchester City game at Stamford Bridge, where he scored the equaliser, his season has been poor compared to his first season in the Premier League.
18. Owen Hargreaves – Manchester United to Manchester City for Free
Everyone was shocked – including me – when Hargo signed for City on deadline day. He used youtube to attract clubs and prove his fitness but that plan was a complete waste and it backfired. England’s player of the 2006 World Cup, was troubled by his injury nightmare again and was able make just a single league appearance this season. According to reports City are ready to release him again at the end of the season.
17. Sylvain Marveaux – Rennes to Newcastle for Free
Marveaux was reported to be very close to signing for Dalglish’s Liverpool at the end of last season but the two parties failed to agree a deal and so the winger joined Newcastle United for nothing in the summer. After recovering from an injury picked up in pre-season, Marveaux was a regular part of Newcastle’s Carling Cup team and made a handful of appearances in the league. He picked a groin injury against Everton which would keep him out for some week and later in November it was confirmed he would require a hip surgery in US, which will make him miss the whole season. The France U-21 international was able to make just six appearances for the Magpies in the Premier League this season.
16. Craig Gardner – Birmingham City to Sunderland for £6m
Gardner was Birmingham star last season and was signed up by Sunderland at the start of the season. Gardener started the season as he had ended the last one with Birmingham, on song. But soon his form dropped and subsequently he was dropped to the bench. Arrival of Martin O’Neill at the club saw a change of fortunes for the former Aston Villa man and an injury crises at Sunderland helped him to regain his place back in the team. There were some rumours in the press of him being homesick but the Black Cats rejected a loan offer from a Midlands club for him in January. Gardner who has scored three goals in 19 appearances this season hasn’t produced the same performances as he did for the Blues last season and will be hoping to get a chance next season.
15. Jordan Henderson – Sunderland to Liverpool for £16m
Many people would say he should be a lot higher in this list but I don’t think so. The 21-year old joined the Reds for a hefty transfer fee in the summer and has made 37 league appearances this season but the England U-21 international has been consistently inconsistent this season. Liverpool fans call him the next Steven Gerrard and he has the talent in him to follow the footsteps and maybe even replace the inspirational skipper but it’s still in the future. This season he has been used by Dalglish in different positions in the midfield and that’s probably the reason why he has shown us just blinks of his talent and not the real talent. Expect him to come good next season.
14. Stefan Savic – Partizan Belgrade to Manchester City for £10m
The 21-year-old joined City in the summer for a fee which could have been more than 80% less had they signed him a season ago. The Montenegro defender was brought in as a backup for Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott but he failed to fill in the boots of Kompany, when the Belgium international was sidelined with injuries or suspended. Savic scored a goal in his 12 league appearances but he struggled to cope up with the pace of the English game and was badly exposed in Liverpool Carling Cup win at the Etihad.
13. David Goodwillie – Dundee United to Blackburn Rovers for £3m
The Scot came to the Premier League with a reputation of scoring goal but when he leaves, he will leave with a bad reputation. Rovers expected him to make the headlines with some goals and he did but for all the wrong reasons. The Scotland international has made just 16 appearances for Blackburn this season and has able to find the back of the net just two times. With all the controversies surrounding him this season, I expect him to be the first player Blackburn getting rid of in the summer.
12. Matthew Upson – West Ham United to Stoke City for Free
The West Ham United skipper joined Stoke City for free in the summer. He stated that his main reason of joining Stoke was Europa League football. Upson who was once linked with the top Premier League sides is now a backup for Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth at Stoke. The former Arsenal defender hasn’t had the best of the season at the Britannia with most his appearances coming in the Europa League or of the bench. The England international who scored in the World Cup 2010 against Germany, will be looking to move and try his trade in some other league perhaps.
11. Joey Barton – Newcastle United to QPR for Free
The one-cap England international had a successful campaign with Newcastle before falling out with owners in the pre-season and then deciding to leave the club for nothing. The busy man on twitter, joined the Rs in August and was handed the captaincy by the then coach Neil Warnock. Barton started the season impressively and scored his first goal for the club against Wolves but soon his formed dipped and has been largely inconsistent since. As expected, he was involved in controversies with Wolves skipper Karl Henry and was also shown a red card in a match against Norwich.
10. Gabriel Obertan – Manchester United to Newcastle United for £3m
The failure of Obertan in the Premier League is one thing that surprises me. The winger has a lot of pace in him to beat any defender in the Premier League and also has the talent to succeed at this level but he has never shown it. When he moved to Newcastle from Manchester United in the summer, everyone expected him to be one of the best buys of the season but he has been very poor for the Magpies also. Started the season in the first team, Obertan was then dropped to the bench because of unimpressive performances and now with the return of Hatem Ben Arfa he just makes the bench. The France U-21 international has made 23 appearances this season, most of them from the bench, but has managed to find the back of the net just once.
9. Scott Dann – Birmingham City to Blackburn Rovers for £7.7m
Dann was a solid player for Birmingham last season and with the Blues relegating a move away from St. Andrews was imminent. Speculation of a move to Arsenal was probably the highest point in his career. But Blackburn came in for him first and what looked a like a great buy at first has eventually led Rovers to a relegation battle. Dann has looked a completely different player that he was last season with Birmingham and maybe a season in the Championship will help him get his career back on track.
8. David N’Gog – Liverpool to Bolton Wanderers for £4m
Was very disappointing during his time with Liverpool and I can’t understand why someone would even pay £4m for him. Looked at as a possible replacement for Kevin Davies, N’Gog has scored just three goals this season in 32 league appearances for the Wanderers. Maybe a season or two in the Championship can help him prove his potential.
7. Shaun Wright-Phillips – Manchester City to QPR for £4m
It’s very sad how his career has declined since the departure of Jose Mourinho from Chelsea. Wright-Phillips who has 36 English caps to his name was told he is not wanted anymore by City at the start of the season and so he joined QPR on deadline in August. He started the season impressive and also won the Man of the Match award for his performance against Newcastle on his debut. But soon his form deserted and that saw him being dropped onto the bench. Wright-Phillips who has a Premier League winners medal to his name has made just 23 appearances for the Rs this season and hasn’t scored a single goal yet.
6. Wilson Palacios – Tottenham Hotspur to Stoke City for £6m
After falling down in the pecking order at White Hart Lane, Palcaios joined Stoke on deadline day along with Peter Crouch. He made his debut as a substitute against Liverpool in the 1-0 win but his start to his Stoke career was restricted by a by a knee injury and tonsillitis. He eventually made his first league start against City in December, but by March 2012 he still hadn’t managed to become a regular in the side playing mostly in cameo roles. His poor fitness levels and a long-standing knee injury restricted him to just 18 league appearances for Potters this season and hopefully with a good pre-season he would be back to his best.
5. Charlie Adam – Blackpool to Liverpool for £8m
He was Blackpool’s performer of the season last term and proved to be a brilliant sale for his former employers. His performance with the Seasiders attracted a huge amount of interest from top teams in the Premier League and Anfield was his destination in the end. The Liverpool faithful were delighted with his arrival and expected a lot of him and probably even fill the boots of Steven Gerrard, as the skipper was injured for the most of the first half of the season with a hamstring injury. But the Scot has failed to stand to the expectations and his inconsistency has been one of the reasons for Liverpool poor season.
4. Roger Johnson – Birmingham to Wolves for £7m
He formed a formidable partnership with Scott Dann at Birmingham last season but this season he is right up there in the flops of the season. He costed Wolves a huge fee of £7m and was named the skipper of the team but he led to relegation. At the same time he was booed on and off the field by the Wolves supporters, maybe the sacking of Mick McCarthy has something to do with that. But the skipper turning up drunk for training and his one field bust-up with his own team-mate Wayne Hennessey is not at all good for the club and its image. In the Championship next season he will be too good for the other teams and will again attract good amount interest from the Premier League sides.
3. Park Chu Young – AS Monaco to Arsenal for £5.8m
The Korean international joined the club with a reputation of scoring goals in the French league but it looks like Arsenal signed him just to sale shirts in South East Asia. The striker who has 25 goals to his name for his country in 59 appearances failed to settle in England and has also been troubled with injuries since his move to London. The former FC Seoul striker has made just a handful of appearances for the Gunners this season with his only goal coming against Bolton in the Carling Cup. The Korean international will be hoping to get some more opportunities next season before he leaves for national service.
2. Charles N’Zogbia – Wigan Athletic to Aston Villa for £10m
N’Zogbia was one of the reasons of Wigan’s survival in the Premier League last year and that’s why Aston Villa paid a huge fee to get him to Villa Park. He was also seen as a replacement to both Stewart Downing and Ashley Young, who left the Villains for Liverpool and Manchester United in the summer, but the French international failed to live up to the expectations of the Villa fans. With just two goals and three assists to his name in 30 appearances this season, N’Zogbia has failed big time under Alex McLeish and maybe a change in manager may well get the best out of him.
1. Stewart Downing – Aston Villa to Liverpool for £20m
No prizes for guessing who our flop of the season is. Yes, it’s Stewart Downing. Liverpool paid a huge amount of £20m to get the England winger from Aston Villa in the summer. Everyone including Dalglish thought Downing could be the perfect player to get best out of Andy Carroll but it didn’t work out. Downing, an England hopeful and will probably always remain one, has made 34 appearances for the Reds in the league this season and has – wait for it – zero goals and zero assists to his name. Yes, Liverpool fans, yes, you can argue that he was the Man of the Match in the Carling Cup final against Cardiff City but you can’t argue to the fact that he has been a complete waste of money and the worst signing of this season.