Ranked! The 50 worst players in Premier League history
45. Sebastien Squillaci
‘Bad central defenders bought by Arsene Wenger’ might well deserve its own subcategory on this list. Squillaci was another transfer lunge and was recruited in 2010 on the basis of a reasonable reputation forged at Sevilla.
Arsenal must have suspended their belief to convince themselves to make that £4m deal, though, because even the theory of Squillaci wasn’t particularly sound. The Frenchman didn’t possess any great pace, was neither aerially impressive nor equipped with the kind of finesse which would have made him a natural Wenger centre-back.
Inevitably, the experiment lasted just one season before he was condemned to the fringes at the Emirates, then eventually sold to Bastia.
44. Ahmed Musa
Ouch. In the glow of their Premier League-winning season, Leicester broke their transfer record to bring Musa to England for £16.6m from CSKA Moscow. How they landed on the Nigerian forward is harder to explain, though, given that he has always been an unremarkable and patchy player who, most importantly, didn’t have a natural place in their side.
Maybe he was part of a long-term plan that Claudio Ranieri was never given time to implement? Possibly, but at no point during his rotten 18 months at the King Power (33 games, five goals) did his transfer ever look likely to be remotely successful. Quietly, he was loaned back to CSKA in the January 2018 transfer window.
43. Agustin Delgado
An asterisk to this one: the limp, ineffective forward who English vaguely remember was not really Agustin Delgado. This was a damaged player who suffered terribly with injury and, frankly, it’s a wonder he passed a medical when signing in 2001. His fitness issues also led to a fractious relationship with Gordon Strachan (“I've got a yoghurt to finish by today; the expiry date is today. That can be my priority rather than Agustin Delgado,” the then Saints boss once announced).
Overall, the Ecuadorian managed just 11 league appearances in three years - and just one, bundled Premier League goal against Arsenal (which did at least give Southampton a 3-2 victory). Many years later, Southampton have now become famous for shrewd recruitment. This is likely one of the transfers which instructed that improvement.
42. Jean Makoun
Far better in Football Manager than he ever was in real life, Cameroon midfielder Makoun arrived at in 2011 Villa Park on the say so of Gerard Houllier (notice a theme here?) in 2011.
Strange as it is to say, the reaction to his meagre efforts was probably multiplied by his digital reputation. Villa were becoming a terrible mess at the time and, at £6m from Lyon, Makoun was presented as something of coup. After nine Premier League appearances (during which his only contribution of note was receiving a straight red card for a two-footed tackle on Blackpool's DJ Campbell), that was shown to be definitively not the case.
41. Christian Poulsen
Damned for his association with Roy Hodgson’s miserable tenure as Liverpool manager, as much as anything else. It’s worth remembering that many people welcomed this signing when it was made. Danish midfielder Poulsen had had a strange career, flaming out at Schalke before being caught in Monchi’s net at Sevilla, then performing well enough to earn a move to Juventus in 2008.
Yet his transfer to Anfield (for £4.5m in 2010) came after his 30th birthday and time had evidently caught up with him, diminishing his formerly combative style. The game was too quick for him and, once Hodgson had been sacked, Kenny Dalglish wasted little time in marginalising him from the first team.
Wrong time, wrong place.