While the Premier League sides have been spending huge amounts of money in recent seasons to strengthen their squads, they weren't always this rich and had to settle for low-budget transfers many years ago. Most of the Premier League teams had a very tight budget before 2010 and had to make the most of it to bring talented players to help them mount challenges in the Premiership.
While some transfers have worked out splendidly for Premier League sides in the past years, there are some which have failed and ended up making the sides lose their money on ineffective signings. There have been some iconic transfers in the history of every Premier League club, with some of these amazing signings helping the top sides attain a lot of success over the years. These terrific signings ended up performing much better than the clubs expected them to, but there have also been underwhelming transfers in every PL side's past. These awful transfers not only hurt their performances, it earned them a bad reputation among the fans as well.
Every Premier League team has had its share of terrific and terrible transfers since the league was rebranded in 1992; we look at every PL team's best and worst transfers since then.
40 Arsenal - Best: Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry was the man who inspired some stunning soccer at Arsenal and after arriving from Juventus, he helped light the Premier League on fire. The striker scored 174 goals in 254 PL appearances for the Gunners and overall scored more than 200 goals for them! He won the golden boot four times in the PL as well as the league title twice and it was because of his dazzling ability up front which made many consider Henry as the Gunners best ever signing.
39 Arsenal - Worst: Sebastian Squillaci
Sebastian Squillaci was signed to bring in some defensive strength to a wobbly Arsenal team, but his awful performances soon turned the excitement upside down. Squillaci only made around 30+ appearances for the Gunners, but his consistent mistakes and error-prone nature worsened Arsenal's defensive record. The Gunners often conceded cheap goals because of Squillaci's poor sense of position and defensive lapses. Squillaci had an absolute nightmare in his years at Arsenal, with his poor performances making him their worst defensive acquisition in a long time!
38 Bournemouth - Best: Marc Pugh
Marc Pugh has given some amazing service to Bournemouth over the years and has remained loyal through their highs and lows over the past few seasons. Pugh has made over 250 appearances for the Cherries and scored almost 45 goals, with his versatility and expertise in midfield often helping them. Pugh has been an extremely hard-working and creative outlet for Bournemouth, coming up with something special time and again. It's his unreal dedication to the Cherries and impressive work-rate which makes him their best signing ever.
37 Bournemouth - Worst: Lewis Grabban
Lewis Grabban had quite the bittersweet career at Bournemouth and despite scoring on occasions for them, he wasn't even close to being as effective as he needed to be. In over 100 appearances for them, Grabban only scored a bit more than 30 goals and was extremely frustrating to watch because of his topsy-turvy nature. Grabban had an even worse experience with Bournemouth in his second stint with them, in which failed to score a single goal for them and ended up being the Cherries worst signing in a long time.
36 Brighton Hove & Albion - Best: Glen Murray
Glen Murray has been Brighton's brightest player for years now and both his stints at the club has been highly successful because of how comfortable he is in playing for them. Murray has scored close to 100 goals in his Brighton career and has made more than 200 appearances for them. Murray has stuck through with Brighton through their highs and lows over the years and is banging in goals even at the age of 34, proving how much of an incredible signing he was for Brighton.
35 Brighton Hove & Albion - Worst: Michael Mahoney-Johnson
Michael Mahoney-Johnson had a very forgettable soccer career and an even worse run at Brighton, who signed him on loan in 1997. Johnson failed to impress in the 3rd tier of England's soccer for Brighton, failing to score or even land a shot on target in four games for them. Johnson was mocked by his own fans because of how comically bad he was in front of goal and having played like a complete amateur in his short stint with Brighton, he was soon labeled as their worst signing ever.
34 Burnley - Best: Marlon Beresford
Marlon Beresford initially seemed a wobbly goalkeeper after being signed from Sheffield Wednesday, but he went onto become a beloved figure among the Burnley fans for years to come. Beresford made more than 350 appearances for the Clarets and kept many clean-sheets at that. Beresford's amazing shot-stopping ability and confidence in goal made him a cult figure among Burnley fans. He laid the path for other brilliant goalkeepers to come and go at Burnley, but the amazing work Beresford did makes him the Clarets most valuable signing ever.
33 Burnley - Worst: Leon Cort
Leon Cort was brought in with many expectations of him being the clinical striker Burnley needed in the Premier League, but he failed emphatically to prove his lack of talent. Cort made around 19 appearances for Burnley and couldn't score a single goal, only assisting one. Cort was poor in front of goal for the Clarets and couldn't score even if it was laid on a plate for him, with his terrible performances making everyone think of him as Burnley's worst ever signing.
32 Cardiff City - Best: Peter Whittingham
Peter Whittingham remained as a cornerstone in the Cardiff City team in his twelve years with the club, in which he dazzled fans with his fantastic ability on the ball. Whittingham showed amazing versatility and could play on either wing or through the middle and he made a commendable 457 appearances for Cardiff. Whittingham also scored 96 goals for Cardiff and created many more for them in his 10+ years with them and left the club as a legend and ended up being their best ever signing.
31 Cardiff City - Worst: Andreas Cornelius
Cardiff City broke their club record to sign striker Andreas Cornelius in 2013, something which would sadly end up blowing in their face really soon. Cornelius was touted as one of the most promising young strikers in Europe, but he just couldn't adapt himself in the Premier League. Amidst all the injuries issues, Cornelius could only make around 8 appearances for Cardiff in what was a disaster of a season which not only ruined his reputation but gave him the unfortunate tag of Cardiff's worst signing ever.
30 Chelsea - Best: Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba was almost a nobody when Chelsea signed him in 2004, but he would go onto become a legend among fans throughout his amazing career for the Blues. Drogba scored 100 Premier League goals for them and was an absolute terrorizing figure to every team he faced off against. Drogba was one of the cornerstones for Chelsea's success in the years he was with the Blues, with his incredible goal-scoring ability making him Chelsea's biggest threat in attack and also their best signing ever.
29 Chelsea - Worst: Andriy Shevchenko
Andriy Shevchenko was once considered among the best strikers in the world, but his terrific goal-scoring reputation sank after he signed on for Chelsea. Shevchenko failed horribly after a high-profile move to Chelsea, in which he only scored 9 goals in 48 appearances for the Blues. Shevchenko seemed to have lost his magical touch and eye for goal after arriving at Chelsea and just couldn't click for them. Shevchenko's poor work at Chelsea made the club lose a lot of money and made him their worst signing ever.
28 Crystal Palace - Best: Attilio Lombardo
Attilio Lombardo was quite the high-profile signing for Crystal Palace in the 90s and after enjoying an illustrious career in Italy, he came to wave his magic in England. While Lombardo had a relatively short stint with Palace, his majestic work on the ball and terrific ability dazzled everyone. Lombardo was at Crystal Palace for just about two years, but the number of memories he created in those years with his fantastic work in the Premier League made him a cult hero among fans who consider him as their best ever acquisition.
27 Crystal Palace - Worst: Ade Akinbiyi
Ade Akinbiyi was definitely one of the worst strikers to ever play in the Premier League and after moving to Crystal Palace, it seemed like his form had dropped to a whole new low. Akinbiyi was torrid for Palace in his solitary season with them and in 24 appearances only scored 3 goals. Akinbiyi proved to be an extremely clueless striker, who just didn't have it in him to bang in many goals and his awful stint at Palace made him their worst ever signing.
26 Everton - Best: Tim Cahill
Despite being a relatively small striker who seemed unfit for the Premier League, Tim Cahill worked wonders at Everton after arriving in 2004. Cahill scored 56 goals in 226 Premier League appearances for the club and was always there for them whenever Everton needed goals. Cahill managed to create an amazing bond with the club during his years and ended up becoming a really influential figure for them, with his stunning dedication and hard-work making Cahil Everton's best signing in a long time.
25 Everton - Worst: Lars Jacobsen
Lars Jacobsen was a promising right-back, who was signed to help improve Everton's defensive strength by David Moyes, but he turned out to be a complete bust for them. Jacobsen only made around 13 appearances for Everton, with his awful, error-prone nature not allowing him to survive in the starting lineup. Jacobsen was just way too much underwhelming for Everton because of his lack of judgment in defense and erroneous nature, with his horrible stint at Everton making him their worst signing ever.
24 Fulham - Best: Clint Dempsey
Fulham surprised many when they signed Clint Dempsey in 2007, something which ended up being extremely profitable for them because of the amount of success Dempsey would bring them. The American midfielder was extremely prolific in front of goal and inspired Fulham's attack on a consistent basis in his 200+ appearances for the club. Dempsey scored 50+ goals despite playing as a midfielder throughout his Fulham career and his incredible devotion to the club makes him their best signing they've ever made.
23 Fulham - Worst: Kostas Mitroglou
Kostas Mitroglou was Fulham's most expensive signing in 2014 when he was signed for over $15 million to help boost Fulham's attacks. But it ends up being their worst business ever, as Mitroglou was plagued with injuries and turned out to be awful whenever he did play for them. Mitroglou only managed to make around three appearances for Fulham and horrible enough in those games to be shipped off by the club soon after and be labeled as the worst signing in their history.
22 Huddersfield Town - Best: Aaron Mooy
Aaron Mooy has been the engine which has driven the Huddersfield Town team forward in the Premier League over the last few years, as he's been an extremely driven individual for them. In only two seasons with the club, Mooy has been proficient for Huddersfield and also scored a few crucial goals for them. Mooy is proving the energy and creativity which has helped Huddersfield compete in the Premier League so far, with his terrific performances making him their best signing ever.
21 Huddersfield Town - Worst: Dean Gorre
Dean Gorre is not really a likened figure amongst many Huddersfield Town fans because of his disappointing tenure with the club many years ago. He was signed from AFC Ajax to ensure smooth control in Huddersfield's midfield but was extremely underwhelming in his tenure with them. He made around 62 appearances for them and only scored six goals at that, but Gorre's error-prone nature and aggressiveness got him in the bad books of the fans and ended up making him their worst ever signing.
20 Leicester City - Best: Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy has become the face of Leicester City's brand over the past few years, as he inspired Leicester to a lot of success over the years. Vardy was crucial to their stunning Premier League success and won the Premier League player of the season in 2015 as well. He's scored more than 80 goals in 200+ appearances for Leicester and has been the driving force for them. Vardy has been the main reason for Leicester's rise in popularity over the years and become undoubtedly their best signing ever.
19 Leicester City - Worst: Junior Lewis
Junior Lewis was signed to energize Leicester City's midfield in 2001 when the Foxes were lacking in quality midfielders in the middle of the park. But Lewis only worsened their midfield situation as he was extremely underwhelming during his tenure with Leicester, in which he was error-prone and a frustrating figure to watch. Lewis caused more problems to his own side than he did to Leicester's opponents, with his awful work ruining his reputation among fans and making him their most ineffective signing ever.
18 Liverpool - Best: Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah seemed like a decent signing for Liverpool at first, but once he started to go on a roll in the Premier League, he's attained legend-like status at Anfield. Salah scored more than 40 goals in his debut season for Liverpool and also helped them make it to the finals of the Champions League. In just over one season at Liverpool, Salah has already won the Premier League golden boot and has taken them to unprecedented heights which definitely make him Liverpool's best signing ever.
17 Liverpool - Worst: Paul Konchesky
Paul Konchesky was brought in to improve Liverpool's defensive state, but he went onto creating further problems with his forgettable stint at the club. Konchesky gave some really poor performances for the Reds in his only season with them and was extremely error-prone in many games. Konchesky was definitely the weakest link in Liverpool's defense during his short stint at the club and was so inefficient that his own fans started mocking him. Konchesky ended up being a horrible flop at Liverpool and their worst signing ever.
16 Manchester City - Best: Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero has been at the pin-point of Manchester City's success over the years and ever since his arrival, the big accolades have followed suit at City. Aguero has been an incredible striker for City, with his dangerous movement and goal-scoring ability continuing to terrorize defenses to this days. Aguero has scored more than 200 goals for the club and has attained legendary status because of his incredible work for them, and his signature is the best decision City has made in the Premier League era.
15 Manchester City - Worst: Jo
Jo was set to be Manchester City's star in their new era under their rich owners and with his success in his home country of Brazil, many thought he'd be a hit at City. But Jo was never really able to adapt to soccer in England and ended up struggling to impose himself at City. Jo only scored a handful of goals in 20+ appearances for the club and was extremely underwhelming in most matches, with his inability to live up to his potential making him City' worst ever acquisition.
14 Manchester United - Best: Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo was a relatively unknown figure before moving to Manchester United, but it was after moving to the Red Devils that his career boomed. Ronaldo was an amazing player for United and scored 118 goals in 292 appearances for the Red Devils. In his years, Ronaldo was an amazing influence at United and helped them win numerous league titles and a Champions League crown as well. Ronaldo won his first Balon d'Or at United and turned into a living legend, who is widely considered as United's best ever signing.
13 Manchester United - Worst: Eric Djemba-Djemba
Eric Djemba-Djemba was brought in by Manchester United to be the replacement for captain Roy Keane and a figure unknown to everyone, he failed to live up to expectations at United. Djemba-Djemba was too aggressive for his own good and failed to gain control in midfield, where he often gave away the ball and was very poor at. Djemba-Djemba would only be able to make a little more than 20 appearances for the Red Devils, with his poor outings making him their most ineffective transfer.
12 Newcastle United - Best: Alan Shearer
Alan Shearer is often recognized as one of the best strikers from England ever, so it was a real coup for Newcastle United when they signed him up from Blackburn Rovers in 1996. Newcastle found their longing hero in Shearer, who saved the team from peril time and again, as he went onto score 148 goals in the Premier League for the club. Shearer quickly attained legendary status for his sensational work at Newcastle United and will always remain as the best ever signing for Newcastle.
11 Newcastle United - Worst: Michael Owen
Michael Owen was a huge signing for Newcastle United in 2005 and being a Balon d'Or winner, getting someone like him was massive for Newcastle's chances in the Premier League. But they signed Owen at a point of his career when he was ragged with injuries and his decline was quite apparent. Owen only scored around 20+ goals for Newcastle in 70+ appearances, and despite the club putting in a lot on the stake for him, Owen failed badly and ended up being Newcastle's worst signing ever.
10 Southampton - Best: Rickie Lambert
Rickie Lambert turned out to be a great signing for Southampton and was a major attacking force for them, and soon became a fan-favorite because of his devotion towards the Saints. Lambert scored more than 100 goals in his Southampton career and even played a big part in helping them make their way back to the Premier League. Lambert was an extremely consistent player who really loved playing for Southampton, with his years of amazing performances making him the Saints' most proficient signing ever.
9 Southampton - Worst: Ali Dia
Ali Dia was a peculiar signing for Southampton in the mid-90s because of how much of an unknown figure he was. Dia turned out to be an embarrassing striker for Southampton and only made a single appearance for the Saints. Dia was so poor at times, that many fans found it difficult to believe how Southampton had been tricked into signing him at all. After that poor debut for the Saints, Dia was quickly shipped off and holds the crown for being Southampton's worst ever signing.
8 Tottenham Hotspur - Best: Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale is playing great for Real Madrid now, but he introduced himself to the soccer world with his terrific work in Tottenham Hotspur. Bale evolved by bounds for Spurs and scored 42 goals in 142 PL appearances for them. It was because of Bale's majestic work in the field that Tottenham Hotspur started to gain mainstream attention, with his memorable work in the Champions League especially helping them. The Welshman was a delight to watch at Spurs and has to be their best ever signing because of his immaculate contribution for them.
7 Tottenham Hotspur - Worst: Helder Postiga
Helder Postiga was quite the successful figure in Portuguese Soccer, which made Tottenham Hotspur sign the striker to boost their attacking prowess. Postiga might've scored many goals for FC Porto, but his game really fell off after he joined Spurs. The Portuguese striker had an absolute nightmare playing in the Premier League and failed horribly for Spurs. Postiga only scored a single goal in around 19 Premier League appearances for Spurs, as he seemingly lost his goal-scoring shoes after arriving at London and soon became Spurs' worst ever signing.
6 Watford - Best: Troy Deeney
Troy Deeney has been an excellent leader for Watford over the years and has always inspired them to get positive results to please the fans. Ever since arriving at the club in 2010, Deeney has shown an amazing passion in his game and scored over 100 goals in his long career with them. Deeney has been someone to wear his heart on his sleeve for Watford and has given his everything every time he's stepped onto the pitch for them, with Deeney's dedication alone making him Watford's most prolific signing ever.
5 Watford - Worst: Nathan Ellington
Nathan Ellington was quite the high-profile signing for Watford back in 2007 when they paid a then club-record fee to attain the services of the striker. Ellington was known to be a potent goal-scorer but failed to prove that at Watford. He was an extremely underwhelming striker for Watford, who was terribly inefficient in front of goal. Ellington scored only five goals in over 50 appearances for Watford and was surprisingly poor in front of goal, something which itself makes him their worst ever acquisition.
4 West Ham United - Best: Paulo Di Canio
Paulo Di Canio was often regarded as soccer's most controversial man, but the way he put in majestic performances for West Ham helped him attain legendary status. Di Canio joined West Ham 1999 and went onto have an illustrious career with the Hammers. Di Canio was an absolute marvel at work for the Hammers, dazzling fans and critics alike with his incredible finesse. He scored close to 50 spectacular goals for West Ham, with his sensational work for them making him West Ham's best signing of all time.
3 West Ham United - Worst: Marco Boogers
Marco Boogers was a surprise signing for West Ham United in the mid-90s when he was brought in to boost the Hammers' attack but ended up worsening their situation. Boogers had a controversial debut when he made a bad tackle on Manchester United's Gary Neville, something which perplexed and shocked everyone. Boogers only made a handful of appearances for West Ham, failing to succeed because of his recurring injuries and poor performances, which made everyone brand him as West Ham's worst ever transfer.
2 Wolverhampton Wanderers - Best: Steve Bull
Steve Bull is regarded as one of the greatest Wolverhampton Wanderers players of all time because of his widely celebrated career with the club. Bull was at Wolves for almost 14 years and made over 400 appearances for them, going onto score 250 goals for the club. Bull is widely regarded as one of the most clinical strikers in Wolves history, as he had the ability to win matches on his own for the Wanderers and has to be their best ever acquisition.
1 Wolverhampton Wanderers - Worst: Robert Taylor
Robert Taylor's impressive goal-scoring record in England made Wolves sign him up from Manchester City in 2000, as they needed a clinical striker to score many goals for them. But, Taylor failed in adapting to Wolves' system and only managed to score 3 times in 12 appearances for the club. Taylor would then suffer an injury which effectively ended his career at the club and ruined his reputation as well. Taylor flopped for the Wolves and is still widely considered as their worst signing ever as a result.