Ranked! The 50 worst players in Premier League history
35. Yaya Sanogo
In January 2018, Yaya Sanogo scored his first top-flight league goal. Unfortunately for Arsenal, it did not come for them, nor even within four years of signing for them as a promisingly muscular young striker who looked set to hit the big time at Auxerre. Instead, he became a kind of walking punchline, unable to control or pass the ball, let alone direct it towards the goal.
His promise turned bumbling ineptitude was late-Wenger era Arsenal in a nutshell, and neither a loan spell in the cultured surrounds of Ajax nor the rough and tumble of Selhurst Park could prompt a return to that heady early trajectory. The fact he took 15 games to hit his first goal for Toulouse suggests that Wenger's only transfer market mistake involving Sanogo was buying him in the first place.
34. Erik Meijer
Football fans can occasionally be a forgiving lot, and for many players limited ability need not mean limited popularity. Never has this been truer than in the case of Erik “He’s big, he’s red, he’s off his f*****g head” Meijer, signed by an upwardly mobile Liverpool in 1999 to add some brawn to a frontline that comprised Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler.
Meijer certainly provided brawn. The Dutchman also provided an unquenchable thirst to chase lost causes, and the uncanny habit of bellowing at his team-mates for reasons good, bad and unclear. “Mad Erik” became a cult hero on the Kop, never scored a league goal in his Liverpool career and departed after a year, replaced by the infinitely more prolific Emile Heskey.
33. Konstantinos Chalkias
For a goalkeeper, it’s not a great look when your performances have your manager dipping into his pocket to sign Sander Westerveld in a bid to instate some level-headedness to the position. Unfortunately for Chalkias, that’s exactly what happened during his brief stint at Portsmouth in the mid-noughties, signed presumably in the hope that he might bring his lucky charm from Greece’s underdog triumph at Euro 2004 – albeit as backup keeper – to the south coast.
It didn’t quite work out that way: five appearances, four defeats and 11 goals conceded saw him lose his place to Jamie Ashdown. “Champion goalkeeper? Champion of the kebab shop, maybe," recalled Harry Redknapp with typical hilarity.
32. Andy van der Meyde
Twice a Double winner with Ajax and a winger who'd played alongside the likes of Juan Sebastian Veron, Edgar Davids and Christian Vieri at Inter; many an Everton fan thought they'd landed a superstar when the Dutch winger signed in 2005.
Instead, injury troubles hobbled Van der Meyde from the off. During his lengthy absences, addiction, mental health struggles and turmoil in his family life formed a perfect storm of discontent. A visibly out of shape Van der Meyde only ever made 20 appearances for Everton across four seasons.
31. Lukas Jutkiewicz
Jutkiewitz only played four Premier League minutes during a two-year stint at Everton, but that they bore zero goals was a sneak preview of what was to come. Half a decade later, the beefy striker reappeared in England top flight, this time with Sean Dyche's Burnley, a side whose rough and ready blueprint would surely play to the English forward’s strengths.
Quite what those strengths were never became truly clear. Over a 25-game season, ball was never once introduced to net. He now plies his trade in the Championship, where at the time of writing his one goal in 22 outings has done little to prevent Birmingham City spiralling the plughole.