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The Biggest Flops in Transfer History (part four)

Concluding the series looking at some of teh biggest flops in transfer history, where large sums of money were paid for a player and the move just did not work out.

For part one, click here; part two here; and part three here.

Jonathan Woodgate  Newcastle United to Real Madrid

In 2004, Real Madrid were convinced that England defender Jonathan Woodgate would make an excellent addition to their squad, shelling out £13.4 million for him.

However, they were unaware of, or chose to ignore his history of injuries, and signed him when he was still recovering from the serious knock that saw his last season on Tyneside end early.

Injured at the time of his transfer, he failed to make a single appearance in his first season in Spain. He finally made his debut against Athletic Bilbao in September 2005, but the game could hardly have gone worse for Woodgate. He conceded an own goal, and was later sent off after picking up two yellow cards.

He managed a total of 14 appearances and one goal in his second season with Real, but was then loaned to Middlesbrough, before joining them permanently, the following year.

In July 2007, a poll by Spanish sports paper Marca voted him the worst signing of the 21st century.

Nicolas Anelka – Arsenal to Real Madrid

Nicolas Anelka made a career out of moving between big clubs for inflated transfer fees. And he also earned himself the nickname “Le Sulk” because of his tendency to get upset when things did  not go the way he wanted.

He was signed by Arsenal when he was just 17 and soon found himself in the first-team, helping them winning the double, with Anelka scoring in the FA Cup final. The following season he was top scorer for the club.

However, he began to agitate for a move away, allegedly spurred-on by his brother who acted as his agent.

In the summer of 1999, he joined Real Madrid for a fee of £22, 23 million, but took time to settle with his new club. Later that season he was suspended by club president Lorenzo Sarro for refusing to train, after falling-out with coach Vicente del Bosque.

He helped them win the European Cup that year but, after scoring 7 goals in 31 appearances, Real had enough of him after just one season and he was sol d back to PSG for “22 million.

Meanwhile, Arsenal used the money they had made on the deal to build themselves a new training ground.

Robbie Keane – Tottenham to Liverpool

Irishman Robbie Keane was a prolific scorer throughout his career, having scored 254 goals in 588 appearances for various clubs in England, Italy, Scotland, the USA, and India.

He is also the all-time highest goal scorer for the Republic of Ireland,

But sometimes a move can fail before club and player are just not suited to each other.

That is exactly what happened when Keane left Tottenham for Liverpool in July 2008. At the time Keane made all the right noises, saying that he had been a Liverpool fan all his life and that it was dream come true.

The dream son turned into a nightmare. He failed to settle, never reproduced the  form that persuaded thew Anfield club to buy him in the first place ad scored seven goals in 28 appearances, After just half a season he was sold back to Tottenham,. with Liverpool taking a £7 million net hit in the deal.  

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