10. Eric Djemba-Djemba – Man United to Aston Villa, 2005 (£1.5m)
“So good they named him twice,” was Manchester United fans' ambitious appraisal of the Cameroon international.
Djemba-Djemba, however, was so bad that he'll forever be remembered as one of Alex Ferguson's worst signings and demonstrated as much in 20 Premier League appearances over 18 months for the Red Devils. But that didn’t stop Aston Villa from signing him in January 2005.
David O'Leary had hoped that the Cameroonian could improve under his stewardship, but it wasn't to be: Djemba-Djemba struggled to break into the first team and, after just 11 appearances, was shipped off to Burnley on loan before his contract was terminated in summer 2007.
9. Benni McCarthy – Blackburn to West Ham, 2010 (Undisc.)
McCarthy had plundered 52 goals in 140 matches at Blackburn, having previously been prolific as a Champions League winner with Porto – so West Ham thought they were getting a perfectly capable striker in February 2010.
But the Hammers decided to part ways with the South African just 14 months into a two-and-a-half-year contract, paying him £1.5 million just to terminate his contract. Why? A return of 13 games, zero goals and lots of time spent on the touchlines nursing injuries. A disgruntled McCarthy later declared that Karren Brady was “the devil with a set of tits”, after the Hammers' vice-chairman called him a “big fat mistake” in her newspaper column.
8. Andre Santos – Fenerbahce to Arsenal, 2011 (£6.2m)
Brazil have an illustrious history of successful attacking full-backs: see Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Dani Alves, Maicon and Marcelo as cases in point. Arsene Wenger was hoping that Andre Santos could provide similar levels of thrust when he signed the left-sider from Fenerbahce in summer 2011.
He was wrong. Very wrong. Santos struggled mightily in the Premier League and made just 23 league appearances in 18 months, scoring twice (though one of those goals did come in a 5-3 thriller against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge). He came under heavy flak from Arsenal fans, not just for his dismal performances, but in also attempting to swap shirts with former Gunner Robin van Persie at half-time of a game against Manchester United where Santos had played poorly.
Arsenal decided to cut their losses and shipped him out on loan to Brazilian side Gremio, before Santos signed for Flamengo after his contract expired at the end of his loan spell.
7. Paul Konchesky – Fulham to Liverpool, 2010 (£3m)
Overall, the summer of 2010 was a horrible transfer window for Roy Hodgson – and ultimately cost him his job at Anfield. His final capture was former Fulham left-back Konchesky, who joined the likes of Christian Poulson, Danny Wilson and Milan Jovanovic at Anfield.
Instead of taking his career to the next level, however, Konchesky struggled. He made just 18 appearances in four months and was sent out on loan to Championship club Nottingham Forest after Kenny Dalglish arrived, never to play for the club again. Leicester signed him for around £1.5m in summer 2011, with whom he eventually returned to the Premier League.
6. Xisco – Deportivo La Coruna to Newcastle, 2008 (£5.7m)
After being impressed with his performances in La Liga and on international duty with Spain's U21s, Newcastle decided to bring Xisco to Tyneside – despite having six other strikers in their squad, including Michael Owen, Obafemi Martins and Mark Viduka.
As a result, he hardly featured in the 2008/09 season and, after the Magpies were relegated, was loaned out to Racing Santander. After returning the following year, Xisco once again failed to force himself into first-team reckoning, and in January 2010 went back to former club Deportivo on a loan. His Newcastle contract was eventually terminated in January 2013, after only nine appearances and one goal.
5. Afonso Alves – Heerenveen to Middlesbrough, 2008 (£10m)
With Middlesbrough struggling in their 2007/08 relegation battle, the club had a simple solution – turn to Brazil international Afonso Alves, who'd averaged more than a goal per game during his time in the Eredivisie.
On paper, it looked like a good move. On the pitch, however, it turned into a nightmare. Alves struggled to adapt to the rigours of the English game, and while Boro staved off relegation, he scored just four times in 31 league appearances the following season as they failed to survive.
Middlesbrough decided to cut their losses in September 2009 and shipped him out to Qatari side Al-Sadd. He stayed in the Gulf until his retirement in 2013.
4. Radamel Falcao – Monaco to Manchester United, 2014 (£6m)
Manchester United fans were understandably excited after Louis van Gaal managed to add Falcao to an attack that already starred Robin van Persie, Angel Di Maria and Wayne Rooney. Having been so prolific for Porto and Atletico Madrid – and despite only just recovering from a bad knee injury – it was anticipated that the Colombian would thrive playing off his star team-mates to form a fearsome frontline.
As it transpired, however, that was far from the case. Falcao mirrored United's form by struggling throughout the season, and while he did muster four assists, a return of as many goals from 29 appearances was well below expectations.
Predictably, his loan move wasn't turned permanent. Instead he struggled at Chelsea the following season, before eventually rediscovering his old self at Monaco.
3. Chris Samba – Anzhi Makhachkala to QPR, 2013 (£12.5m)
In December 2012, Harry Redknapp had something to get off his chest. Having taken the reins at QPR a month earlier, the ex-Spurs chief was dismayed by the wage bill for a grossly underperforming team at Loftus Road, and called for change. "There are a lot of players at this club who earn far too much money," he said. "You shouldn't be paying massive wages when you've got a stadium that holds 18,000 people."
At the end of the following month he green-lit a deal for QPR to shell out £12.5m for Chris Samba from Anzhi on £100,000-per-week wages.
The Congolese stopper made no difference whatsoever in an appalling side, however, and by April was telling fans to "get over" his hefty wages after a shocking performance against Fulham. One relegation and 10 appearances later, Samba was sold back to Anzhi for £12m.
2. Andy Carroll – Newcastle to Liverpool, 2011 (£35m)
After the ponytailed assassin had impressed with boyhood club Newcastle, Liverpool bought Carroll on deadline day in January 2011 and gave him the No.9 shirt vacated by Fernando Torres. Injury inevitably delayed his debut, and thereafter a mixture of poor form and time in the treatment room blighted his spell at Anfield.
The striker only managed 11 goals in 58 appearances over two-and-a-half seasons, and two games into the 2012/13 season he was shipped out on loan to West Ham. That move that was turned permanent a season later for around half the fee Liverpool paid to Newcastle.
1. Fernando Torres – Liverpool to Chelsea, 2011 (£51.5m)
Torres was already suffering from injury and confidence issues during the latter stages of his once-impressive time at Anfield. But they only got worse following his mega move to Chelsea.
The Spaniard's Blues debut was a 1-0 defeat to the Reds, and he endured a 903-minute goal drought that lasted two months, finally ending it against West Ham – his only goal of that campaign. Worse, Torres continued to struggle in subsequent seasons.
Personally his time in west London was unsuccessful, if not collectively: the striker scored 45 times in 172 appearances but still managed to pick up FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League medals with the Blues, and scored the shocking goal against Barcelona which sent Gary Neville back to puberty.
His fall from grace was compounded when Chelsea struggled to find suitors for him in 2014. Torres eventually joined Milan and then headed back to his first club Atletico Madrid.
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