10 major Premier League signings who were sold for a huge loss within a year

Angel Di Maria

It’s sometimes better to just admit that you’ve made a mistake and move on. Each of these clubs bought a player who didn’t quite fit in – or was a total dud – and quickly sold them for a loss of millions

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Davy Klaassen, Everton (-£11.6m)

The Dutch playmaker arrived as part of a summer 2017 transfer splurge that left Everton massively overstocked in some areas, and very light in others. Klaassen was one of several men who could play in attacking midfield, but was barely trusted to show what he could do because of competition for places and the sacking of Ronald Koeman.

He featured just three times under Sam Allardyce, completing his transformation from captain of the Ajax team that had reached the Europa League final to an expensive misfit on Merseyside in the space of a few months. Everton were only able to recoup around half of the £24m they paid for Klaassen when selling him to Werder Bremen in July 2018.

Chris Sutton, Chelsea (-£4m)

Even after so many of Blackburn’s big hitters left as they slid back down the table following their 1995 Premier League title win, Sutton stayed put. But his fifth season at Ewood Park ended in relegation and an offer to join Chelsea for £10m in 1999, making him the club’s record signing. Unfortunately, another difficult year followed for the targetman.

Sutton struggled with the burden of being Chelsea’s main man and scored just a single goal in 28 league games. The more manager Gianluca Vialli persisted with him, the more visibly he wilted under the pressure. By the end of the season, Sutton was left out of the squad altogether for the FA Cup final and ended up being sold to Celtic for £6m. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink replaced him to great effect.

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Rolando Bianchi, Manchester City (-£4.8m)

With a few notable exceptions – Gianfranco Zola and Paolo Di Canio chief among them – Italian players haven’t fared too well in the Premier League. Several arrived for big fees and proved to be major disappointments, with Rolando Bianchi on a list that also includes Alberto Aquilani, Emanuele Giaccherini, Corrado Grabbi and Dani Osvaldo.

The striker was gone after a single season at Manchester City. Signed from Torino for £8.8m in July 2007, he played consistently at first under Sven-Goran Eriksson but had only scored four goals in 19 games by January. After criticising the English diet, drinking culture and referees he was granted a move back to Italy, first on loan to Lazio and then permanently to Torino for around £4m.

Andreas Cornelius, Cardiff (-£5m)

After guiding Cardiff to the Premier League in 2012/13, Malky Mackay was given substantial funds to overhaul his squad. The club’s transfer record was broken several times, and Cornelius was one of the players responsible. The tall and powerful targetman had scored at an impressive rate in his native Denmark and was prised away from Copenhagen for £8m.

Cornelius suffered an ankle injury which put him out of action for three months, but Cardiff owner Vincent Tan was far from impressed when he did play. The then-20-year-old striker looked overawed by the challenge and unable to impose himself on games, failing to score in 11 appearances for the Bluebirds. On the final day of the January transfer window, a matter of months after joining, he was sold back to his former club for £3m. 

Angel Di Maria, Manchester United (-£15m)

There was no doubting Di Maria’s quality, but beyond a promising first few appearances for Manchester United, he was unable to impress and struggled with the Premier League. Despite joining from Real Madrid on the back of winning the Champions League and reaching the 2014 World Cup Final with Argentina, he fell well short of the high standards he’d set the previous season.

Signed for £59.7m, the highest fee ever paid by a British club at the time, Di Maria was moved on to PSG after 32 games and just four goals under Louis van Gaal. Manchester United were even prepared to take a £15m hit to make the deal happen. The winger has made a much better impression in France as PSG continue to dominate domestic competitions.