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Source: Goal.com



Following on from the top 10 best Premier League transfers of the season, this article runs through some of the more forgettable acquisitions of the 2007/08 campaign...

Money: the gift and the curse. The Barclays English Premier League has unquestionably benefitted from it, evidenced by several top signings being made this season as Sky television's financial clout continues to elevate the English game.

The candidates for the 'best' list were innumerous, but it was equally troublesome picking just 10 when deciding on the worst transfers of the season, as clubs continue to pay extortionate fees, acquire useless or troublesome players, and occasionally just flat-out baffle us with levels of stupidity previously reserved for American Presidents.

As such, the assessment of this season's spending is suitably light-hearted and not to be taken too seriously, and as always, Goal.com welcomes the opinions of one and all on who should and shouldn't be in the list. Without further ado...

10) Claudio Pizarro, Steve Sidwell and Tal Ben-Haim (Bayern Munich, Reading and Bolton Wanderers to Chelsea)

It's never the best of ideas to include free signings in a list of this nature, but when three utterly abysmal ones are made in unison by the most cash-happy club in the world, questions must be asked.

It is understood that 'The Free Musketeers' were brought in to enhance squad depth, but to treat players in and around their prime so frivolously is laughable. Claudio Pizarro was a top striker in Bavaria with Bayern Munich, but as his performances dropped and the club failed to even make the top three of the Bundesliga, he was one of several casualties. While fellow South American Roque Santa-Cruz has faired so well at Blackburn Rovers after his summer move, Pizarro has followed in team-mate Shevchenko's footsteps: another highly rated forward playing in Europe who has come to Chelsea and only succeeding in embarrassing himself.

Steve Sidwell is average. Honestly, not a lot more need be said. With Roman Abramovich calling for flair football, the only way Sidwell will light up Chelsea performances is by virtue of his ginger hair, and he can't even take credit for that.

Tal Ben-Haim has been the least tragic of the trio. But even he was skinned by Fernando Torres early on in the season and looked off the pace against far less illustrious opposition as well. He failed to play with the same confidence he had at Bolton Wanderers. Before he knew it, fellow new signing Alex was settled, match-fit and had usurped him. On top of that, there was the small matter of arguably the player of the season Ricardo Carvalho along with club captain John Terry to contend with. Even when fellow Israeli Avram Grant took charge of the club, Tal's first team prospects did not change - if anything, they decreased - which has culminated in a hilarious outburst from the stopper aimed at his already under-fire boss, who almost laughed it off when questioned at a press conference, which says it all.

9) Robert Earnshaw (Norwich City to Derby County)

Derby have become so pathetic that after their latest league loss, boss Paul Jewell quite admirably accepted that his side were nowhere near the standard required to compete in this league. What magnificent mind, then, thought to spend a club-record fee of £3.5 million on a striker who had only ever proven anything in the lower leagues?

Even more hilarious is the fact that both Billy Davies - who signed the 27-year-old - and his replacement Paul Jewell have decided against playing the Zambian-born Welshman (yes, apparently Wales has a Zambian population of approximately two: Earnshaw and his mother). Adding to the embarrassment, the Rams went on to spend £3 million on Kenny Miller, the man who has more or less kept Earnie out of the team. The identitiy of the transfer that guru thought to spend what precious little money the midlands club had on a player they didn't need unfortunately remains a secret, but Earnshaw's failure does not.

The Rams have long been resigned to relegation and have been looking toward rebuilding a side fit to contest in the Premier League if and when they return. Accordingly, Earnie may be out this summer as Derby's ugly season draws to a close. Let's face it: if ugliness is the problem, Earnshaw is not the solution.

8) Younes Kaboul (Auxerre to Tottenham Hotspur)

While bitter city rivals were off spending £1 million less buying from the same club what turned out to be one of the signings of the season in Bacary Sagna, Tottenham got Kaboul.

He is young, he has scored goals, he's named after a terror-zone - what's not to love? He can't defend. £7 million for the Moroccan-born French national was beyond excessive, and Spurs will never be a big club if they spend so frivolously - as cruel fate would have it, you can only afford such blunders once you're already on top. With Michael Dawson already making up the full quota of young, physically imposing blithering idiots in the Spurs backline and Jonathan Woodgate joining club captain Ledley King in the damaged goods section, Kaboul is looking to be very much surplus to requirements at the Lane and could well be headed for the exit door as Juande Ramos plans his summer overhaul.

7) Rolando Bianchi (Reggina to Manchester City)

Sven-Goran Eriksson's Manchester City revolution has been admirable. Yes, he has Thaksin Shinawatra's big black sack of quite-possibly-laundered money to back him up, but he has spent fairly well and has a good eye for talent. Bianchi, though, just did not work out.

An emerging Italian striker with a suitably physical presence about him that would have you believe he might be able to cut it against the hard-men otherwise known as Premier League defenders, Sven took a chance with Bianchi. Splashing out a sizeable £8.8 million to land the 25-year-old from Serie A relegation strugglers Reggina, with whom Bianchi had previously enjoyed two successful seasons, the City fans were expectant.

He hated England. He's not the first and certainly will not be the last Italian to come to this country and despise it from top to bottom. He has been spared the embarrassment of a higher place on the list purely because Sven made the smart move of offloading him at the first possible opportunity. He has gone back to Italy on loan to an under-performing Lazio side, with whom he has made a good start. Assuming Sven does well enough to recover a significant amount of the original transfer fee come this summer, it will be business not-so-badly done on part of the Swede.

6) Diomansy Kamara (West Bromwich Albion to Fulham)

Has Lawrie Sanchez cost Fulham their place in the Premier League? The coach did a fantastic job in charge of Northern Ireland and was head-hunted by Mohamed Al-Fayed to take over from Chris Coleman at Craven Cottage. Cookie was constantly forced to sell while in charge of the club, while Sanchez was allowed to reap the benefits of his work by spending over £25 million in one summer. Most of it was spent on trying to re-unite all of Northern Ireland at the Cottage; a disastrous experiment that went horribly wrong. Chris Baird in particular stood out as the white equivalent of Titus Bramble for his consistent ability to make the worst of each and every situation.

However, the biggest money was splashed out on Diomansy Kamara - a man little more proven than Earnshaw, who cost almost twice as much - and he has failed to live up to his price tag. He has not been 'bad' - the team has struggled in general - but besides his spectacular last-minute overhead-kick to equalise against Tottenham, he has struggled to exhibit anything close to £6.5 million's worth of quality. He belongs in the Championship, and due to Fulham's pathetic season, it looks like he will end up being back there very soon.

5) Craig Bellamy (Liverpool to West Ham United)

If your budget can't quite buy consistency, that's one thing, but why anyone would willingly sign Craig 'nine iron' Bellamy given his track-record off the pitch quite frankly beggards belief. He is reported to have earned Liverpool an unbelievable £7.5 million - yes, they made a profit - despite enduring a hit-and-miss time at the top and having always been erratic and inconsistent everywhere else.

This is a player capable of occasional moments of brilliance - even if he is Welsh - but for every one of those there are 10 or 15 wasted chances and, due to injuries and what can kindly be referred to as a lack of quality, Bellamy has failed to pay back even a quarter of his transfer fee during his stay so far at Upton Park.

He is the sole representative from the Hammers' summer signings, of which several were absolutely woeful. Whether this can be put down to the world's most convenient excuse of 'bad luck' or whether the east London outfit are quite simply negligent and have a medical that a chain-smoking sumo wrestler could pass with flying colours isn't quite clear. At the end of the day, Julien Faubert, Kieron Dyer, Scott Parker and others promised a lot - and accumatively, made West Ham one of the top summer spenders - but have ultimately only succeeded in staving off relegation and very little more. Embarrassing.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
4) Florent Malouda (Olympique Lyonnais to Chelsea)

On paper, it made the world of sense. Chelsea offloaded the perma-crocked Arjen Robben to a fairly foolish Real Madrid chaired by the eccentric Ramon Calderon, who had developed a fondness for the part-time Flying Dutchman. They then brought in France international Malouda, who had starred at the 2006 World Cup and become an integral part of the Lyon side that dominated Ligue 1.

Though he is still a quality player in his own right, injuries, poor form and a rumoured distaste for the English appetite and general way of life have seen the 27-year-old widely labeled a flop and ultimately, a player who will most likely require replacing if and when Chelsea choose to undergo yet another overhaul.

3) David Nugent (Preston North End to Portsmouth)

Why Harry, why?! Frivolous doesn't even begin to describe it. No doubt the 22-year-old was extremely prolific with lowly Bury and the Championship's Preston but ultimately, commanding a fee of £6 million when all he was ever seemingly going to do was warm the bench is an astounding decision. Fellow over-priced Pompey recruit John Utaka cost a million more, but at least has made enough appearances to keep him off this list, even if he hasn't exactly shown £7 million quality on the pitch.

The Huyton-born striker's career highlight is being handed his first and only England cap by the staggeringly clueless Steve McClaren, and in that solitary England appearance as a substitute against the mighty Andorra, he achieved the incredible feat of stealing a goal from his new team-mate Jermain Defoe. Bravo.

The agricultural inadequancy of Nugent is best illustrated by the fact that just weeks after signing for the side this summer, Harry Redknapp was willing to offload him to lowly Derby, though the striker's own want to prove himself kept him at Fratton Park in the end.

Well, that worked out magnificently for all concerned, didn't it?

2) Darren Bent (Charlton Athletic to Tottenham Hotspur)

It must be said, it's not all his fault - but ultimately, he should have known better. Perhaps he anticipated that Dimitar Berbatov would be on his way out at White Hart Lane, but ultimately, he has spent most of his time on the bench, this after commanding a transfer fee in excess of £16 million. It's laughable - that goes without saying - though to his credit, he was the highest English scorer in the Premier League last season. Ultimately, it has been a waste of a year for the 24-year-old, and if he has any sense, he will follow Jermain Defoe out of White Hart Lane elsewhere, so he can play regularly and reap the same rewards as Defoe is now.

Having said that, if Berbatov is indeed coaxed away this summer to a European heavyweight, could Bent take his place and go some way toward proving his worth in seasons to come? He has scored eight goals in 14 starts which, all things considered, is not a bad return. Bent's transfer stands as the most humiliating of the summer, but unlike many of the others, it could yet bear fruit in one form or another...

1) Joey Barton (Manchester City to Newcastle United)

What a waste of space. Manchester City will have laughed all the way to the bank when they cashed in £5.8 million for this glorified thug - in fact, I take that back - there's nothing glorious about him. He has made just 20 appearances this season; the only midfielders who have played less are the injury-riddled Damien Duff and an aging Emre. He has scored just one goal - a last-minute penalty against Fulham - and has been lucky to escape suspensions for some of petulant acts on the field. He has also of course been a complete embarrassment off it - as he is so often known to be - and has spent about as much time in custody as he has in training.

From assault, affray, anger management and terrible tackles to a big mouth he simply cannot even begin to back up on the pitch, Barton will be remembered for almost decapitating Sunderland's Dickson Etuhu and smashing in Ousmane Dabo's face until he started to look a little like Robert Earnshaw. As a player, his talent will ultimately be wasted, as was Newcastle's money. They should have known better.

I don't think Florent Malouda should be on that list. He's been in scintillating form at times and has been very unfortunate to be plagued by injuries. Give him some time and I'm sure he will be back to his best. I also feel it's kinda unfair that Darren Bent is mentioned in that list, and as stated above the figure (8 goals in 14 starts) that's actually prolific for someone like him who's a bench-warmer for most part of the season. What are your views on this topic? Has anyone been left out you feel deserves a place on the list? Tell me more about it and be free to air your opinions on this matter.
 

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Nice list. Can't think of anyone who particularly should be added to it right now. That liverpool farmer type striker Voronin perhaps. Or did they sign him last season?

Heh, we posted about Voronin at the same time Yang. But Chops, what a waster for how much they paid.
 

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Freddie Ljungberg. Overpaid injury pron ex-star.To bring on him you should get a transfer fee not pay one.
Voronin, he was a free transfer but hey, have he scored yet?? (i know he got 4-5 goals this season)
Anelka, big money signing but havent been that big, have he?
Afonso Alves...same as Anelka. Darn he had to score his first goal(s) against us.
Hm thats all I can remember now. But there's a few more even if the top 10 list covers most of them.
 

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RichardsReds said:
Nice list. Can't think of anyone who particularly should be added to it right now. That liverpool farmer type striker Voronin perhaps. Or did they sign him last season?

Heh, we posted about Voronin at the same time Yang. But Chops, what a waster for how much they paid.
Voronin was a free transfer.

Michael 'Chops' Chopra has scored two of Sunderland's most important goals this season.

Benjani Mwaruari scored 12 goals for Portsmouth when Sven signed him in January. He has scored only 1 goal for Citeh!!!!!
 

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So, they still over spent on Chops. He has been crap and not played some matches largely.

Benjani has been alright for portsmouth, don't know whats happened to him at city, his heart wasn't in the transfer thats for sure.
 

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yangch0000 said:
i would add veronin of liverpool, samaras of city, chopra of sunderland
samaras signed for city a good while back..

chopra hasn't been fantastic but he's got a couple of important goals that will be worth 50-60million to his club
 

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eoininho said:
samaras signed for city a good while back..

chopra hasn't been fantastic but he's got a couple of important goals that will be worth 50-60million to his club
Exactly. He has scored probably there two most important goals of the season.

Benjani has been a disaster for Citeh, like the rest of their strikers.

And for the last time, VORONIN was FREE TRANSFER!!!!
 

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spellbound said:
Freddie Ljungberg. Overpaid injury pron ex-star.To bring on him you should get a transfer fee not pay one.
Voronin, he was a free transfer but hey, have he scored yet?? (i know he got 4-5 goals this season)
Anelka, big money signing but havent been that big, have he?
Afonso Alves...same as Anelka. Darn he had to score his first goal(s) against us.
Hm thats all I can remember now. But there's a few more even if the top 10 list covers most of them.
Anelka can't be put in that list. He might not have scored much for Chelsea but he his performances have been pretty good for them.

Alfonso Alves was only bought in January- he needs to adapt to the league.
 

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Voronin was a free so he definitely shouldnt be added.
Can;t see why Barton is first barely his fault his team have been awful and he was in a massive court battle all season!
 

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Nemanjaaa said:
Voronin was a free so he definitely shouldnt be added.
Can;t see why Barton is first barely his fault his team have been awful and he was in a massive court battle all season!
Urm, whos fault was it then that he was in court? Certainly wasn't mine, or yours, or Father Christmas fault. No, it is his fault he put the cigar out in his team mates eye.
 

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i was realy dissapointed by Darren Bent..i wished i'd seen him more alongside Berbatov....i don't know what happened...realy hope he regains the form he had at Charlton...
 

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Avram Grant to Chelsea! Boring Chelsea have become even more dull and grey with this dude. Im no Moaninho fan so I dont miss him but at least there was something to get upset about when he was talking about himself in 3rd person.

But when looking at the results this is as good as the other guy ever did. So maybe Moaninho is the most overrated manager PL ever seen??
 
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