9 hugely disappointing club record signings

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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.”

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