Top 10/50/100

9 hugely disappointing club record signings

What a waste of money, says Matt Allen...

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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.


2. Roberto Soldado, Tottenham Hotspur, £26m

Roberto Soldado

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.

3. Fernando Torres, Chelsea, £50m

Fernando Torres

URGENT: HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN? Late 20s; approximately 6ft 1in tall; Sharon from Eastenders hair. 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.