The summer transfer window is now open, and, for the next few months, fans of clubs across Europe will gorge themselves on the latest rumours, hoping that a shiny new star will be pulling on their team’s jersey next season.
However, transfers are a hit and miss affair. Sometimes they do not just work out – the club, the environment, the language may be wrong, or their face may not fit. And, sometimes a player is just not as good as everybody thought they were previously.
Here is the first of a four-part series looking at twelve of the biggest transfer flops of all time.
Fernando Torres – Liverpool to Chelsea
Fernando Torres had been a sensation at Liverpool, who he joined in 2007 for what was then a club record fee. In his first season at Anfield he became the first player since Robbie Fowler a decade earlier to score more than 20 league goals in a season, and he went on to notch up 81 goals for them in 142 appearances.
At the same time, he scored the winner for Spain in the final of the 2008 European Championships, and was an integral part of the side that won the World Cup in South Africa two years later.
When he was bought by Chelsea for a then British record of £50 million in January 2011, it was widely believed that the West London club had just acquired a proven match winner.
Sadly, he proved to be a shadow of the player who had been such a star on Merseyside, as injuries a loss in form and a sudden desertion in confidence all took their toll. He managed just 45 goals in 172 appearances for Chelsea, and became known for a series of terrible misses.
In January 2015 he was sold to AC Milan, who then loaned him again to Atlético.
Andy Carroll – Newcastle to Liverpool
When Torres departed for Chelsea, Liverpool were caught on the hop, and were desperately seeking a replacement. In their haste, they decided to spend most of the money they got from the Torres sale on Andy Carroll, a forward with a completely different style of play to the Spaniard, who had scored almost one in three for Newcastle, but more than half of those goals had been in the Championship.
Carroll though, was dogged by injury during his time at Liverpool, as he has for much of his career since, and spent as much time on the treatment table as he did the pitch. After scoring just six goals in 44 league appearances, he was sold to West Ham for less than half of what Liverpool had paid for him in the first place.
Juan Sebastián Verón – Lazio to Manchester United (and Manchester United to Chelsea)
Midfielder Verón had enjoyed success I Italy with Parma and Lazio, with his ability to function as both an attacking midfielder and playmaker had caught the eye. His form came to the attention of Sir Alex Ferguson who believed that the man known as La Brujita (Little Witch) would be perfect to boost his attacking options.
A fee of £28 million was pad for him, but after a bright start, his performances started to drop off. He lasted just two seasons at Old Trafford, scoring 11 goals in 82 appearances, before he was sold to Chelsea for £15 million in 2003. However, he played just seven games for the West London side, managing just one goal, before he returned to Argentina on loan.
Verón played 73 times for Argentina and is generally regarded as an excellent player – it was just that his style did not fit the Premier League.
Andy is an exiled English football fan living in Cyprus. He loves all sports but football is his abiding passion, and he still has dreams every now and then about scoring the winning goal in a Wembley Cup Final, even though his playing days are long gone. He follows most major leagues, across Europe at least, and has a favoured team in each. When he’s not watching, listening, reading or downloading podcasts about football, he spend his time worrying about his beloved Arsenal.