9 hugely disappointing club record signings

1. Denilson, Real Betis, £21.5m

On paper, Denilson was a show-stopper. A twinkle-toed maverick that bamboozled defenders and hypnotised a slew of salivating European scouts, first in Le Tournoi – the 1997 test event to France 98 – and later in that Nike advert (you know, the airport one). Sadly his fancy footwork was more Bruno Tonioli than Mars. When he made the unlikely transition from Sao Paolo to mid-ranking Real Betis in 1998, he failed to score in his first 20 games; the club finished 11th and were relegated from La Liga in 2000. By then, Denilson was on loan at Flamengo.

NEXT: Supermarket Sweep? Can I get my money back?

2. Roberto Soldado, Tottenham Hotspur, £26m

He was club record signing for all of five minutes in the summer of 2013 (Erik Lamela took that mantle a few weeks later) as part of Spurs’ Supermarket Sweep-style transfer blitz, the Gareth Bale money presumably burning a hole in their pockets. And judging by his form for Valencia, he was worth every penny: Soldado scored goals at impressive rates in La Liga and was considered a potent lead man for AVB’s revamped attacking force. Sadly, like Ukrainian striker Sergei Rebrov before him, he wilted under the White Hart Lane grumbles of discontent and a style of play that made little of his talents.

NEXT: Having a Torrid time

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3. Fernando Torres, Chelsea, £50m

URGENT: HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN? Late 20s; approximately 6ft 1in tall; hair like Sharon from EastEnders. Last seen in 2011 giving Nemanja Vidic nightmares, making life easy for football managers and being idolised by thousands of adoring fans. His final whereabouts are believed to have been recorded somewhere between the northwest of England and Stamford Bridge, West London, following a regrettable credit card binge to the tune of £50m. A reward (payable in rubles) is on offer for his return.

NEXT: For the price of an F-14 Tomcat

4. Andy Carroll, Liverpool, £35m

Who wouldn’t have blown the price of an F-14 Tomcat on Newcastle’s Andy Carroll in 2011? With his goals, galloping shire horse gait and 1980s Wall Street ponytail, he looked the prize breed. His left peg packed a wallop, and in one match against Manchester United he rattled David de Gea with so many aerial assaults the keeper was riddled with post-traumatic stress disorder. Sadly, once he’d pulled on the Liverpool strip, Carroll resembled a shadow of his former self. By the time he’d gathered enough loyalty points in the Melwood medical room, this once champion stallion was being herded off to the Premiership glue factory. Or Upton Park as it’s also known.

NEXT: "He's a f*cking great player. And you are all f*cking idiots" 

5. Juan Veron, Manchester United, £28.1m

While not quite the most expensive player on the planet in 2001 (Madrid had lavished £48m big ones on Zinedine Zidane), Veron still represented a British milestone. He was £13m more than the transfer record at the time, which was Alan Shearer’s 1996 move to the Toon. Sadly, Veron couldn’t muster the Geordie’s drive or Zidane’s maestro tendencies, and was overrun by the muscle and velocity of English football.

The recently ennobled Sir Alex Ferguson, determined to change Manchester United's successful 4-4-2 into a more continentally-minded 4-5-1, suffered the slings and arrows of the British press as a side in transition finished empty-handed. On the eve of the season-finishing visit of Double-destined Arsenal, he ranted against journalists asking about Veron's perceived failure: "He is a f*cking great player. And you are all f*cking idiots."

A year later, Veron was off to Chelsea for £15m; once he'd calmed down, the red knight admitted that “He found the Premiership a bit difficult.”

NEXT: Roman's faulty gift

6. Andriy Shevchenko, Chelsea, £30.8m

What is it with Chelsea and overpriced signings? Oh yes, they have more money than sense. And so it was that chairman Roman Abramovich lavished The Special One with a “present” in 2006: Ukrainian hotshot Shevchenko - previously one of the most feared strikers in Europe. Except Mourinho’s gift arrived without batteries, a sketchy warranty and seemed faulty from the offset. He was later loaned to AC Milan in 2008 by Chelsea’s subsequent manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari, before returning home to Dinamo Kiev.

NEXT: The unknown record holder

7. Savio Nsereko, West Ham, £9m

If you’re currently thinking “Who?” then let us refresh your memory. Nsereko was West Ham’s club record signing when he arrived from Brescia in 2009. He was a 19-year-old German striker - quick, but short; skilful but soft. Inevitably he struggled to cope with the Premier League, making only 10 appearances and scoring a pathetic zero goals before being shipped off to Fiorentina for next to nothing a year later.

Since leaving the East End, he has played for 10 clubs in Italy, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria and (we're not making this up) Kazakhstan. As of August 2015, since leaving Brescia he has scored one goal.

NEXT: "They made me run!"

8. Robinho, Manchester City, £32m



At first it seemed a cracking deal: a silky Brazilian, spearheading the Manchester City revolution in 2008 with his samba hips, dead-eyed shooting and laser-sighted passes. And for while, Robinho lived up to his superstar billing - he scored 15 goals in his first season, before the work ethic of European football got him down. (You know, the bit that requires some effort.) “There, if you are a forward, the coach sends you on to the pitch just to run,” he blubbed later. “You have to run and that’s it.” He spent his second season on loan at Santos before being flogged to AC Milan for half the purchase price. He was last seen in China. 

NEXT: Benched and exiled as his team went down

9. Konstantinos Mitroglou, Fulham £13m

You’d think that Felix Magath would have felt compelled to play Mitroglou. Despite not being his signing (that was the work of predecessor Rene Meulensteen), the striker was purchased with the intent of saving the club from relegation. He had, after all, scored three hat-tricks at the start of the Greek league campaign for Olympiacos before signing for the Cottagers in January 2014; he’d helped his country to World Cup qualification, too. Instead, the forward started only one match before being loaned back to Olympiacos.

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