Most Premier League clubs are beginning to finalise their summer transfer plans. For fans of each side, there is hope that their beloved team has recruited well, be it in order to strengthen any survival chances or to be able to mount a serious title challenge this season. Transfer flops do happen, though, and clubs can stagnate as a result, much like Chelsea found out last season with Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian isn’t alone in failing to succeed after a big-money move.
In fact, when going through Premier League transfer history, there have been some remarkable flops. Some are rushed additions in order to appease some demanding fans, while others are moves motivated by money. There are certainly an array of reasons as to why specific signings don’t quite work out, though. These are the types of signings that increase expectation at specific clubs, perhaps influencing football betting predictions from fans and season expectations from club owners. Some failed signings have ultimately resulted in some managers losing their jobs, too. It’s a risky business, hence why so many modern-day clubs assess every minor detail before finalising a potential transfer. Being thorough certainly helps, although as Chelsea and Romelu Lukaku found out, it doesn’t always result in a match made in heaven.
With the likes of Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez hoping to adapt to Premier League football, let’s assess some of the worst signings in Premier League history who simply failed to succeed in England’s top flight.
Danny Drinkwater – Leicester to Chelsea (£34.1 million)
When Chelsea signed Danny Drinkwater in 2017, the deal made sense as the Blues needed to strengthen in that area and Drinkwater arrived after winning a remarkable Premier League title with Leicester City a year earlier. The former Manchester United trainee failed to make an impression for the Blues, though, recently talking about his nightmare move. Ultimately, Chelsea spent a large sum of money on a player they expected would compete for a first team place. Instead, Drinkwater failed to break into the equation at Chelsea, before going out on-loan to Burnley and Aston Villa.
Steve Marlet – Lyon to Fulham (£15.8 million)
For Fulham to sign Steve Marlet was seen as a bit of a coup. It turned out to be a signing to forget, though, as the Frenchman scored just 11 goals over two seasons at Craven Cottage. The signing even resulted in the Cottagers’ owner refusing to pay sacked manager Jean Tigana his entire salary after accusing Tigana of deliberately overpaying for Marlet to try to pocket part of the fee. Astonishingly, the case was settled in court.
Adrian Mutu – Parma to Chelsea (£17.1 million)
Back in 2003, spending £17.1 million on a player was regarded as a massive investment. For Chelsea, the signing of Adrian Mutu was exactly that, as the Blues looked to kick off the new Roman Abramovich era at the club in style. The Romanian’s move turned out to be a failed one, though, as he failed a drugs test and was subsequently released by manager Jose Mourinho.
Andriy Shevchenko – AC Milan to Chelsea (£39.5 million)
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