The Premier League has grown to be the world's most followed soccer league in the world since the turn of the century. Yes, La Liga enjoyed an amazing surge thanks to being home to the world's two best players in Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, but generally, the Premier League has seen the most growth in popularity.
The Premier League has come on leaps and bounds since 2000. It’s seen a number of surprises, such as Leicester winning the title, a lot of great players from around the world, and the emergence of a new superpower in Man City.
A lot of people remember the great players to have played for their clubs in the Premier League. But there have also been a load of flop transfers. Transfers are a constant source of discussion among fans of the beautiful game, particularly in the summer months and in the winter. Every club is looking for a big splash that will help reach the next level, but there are some that come in and simply don't mesh well. Why they fail with a certain club could have to do with chemistry with other players, a lack of familiarity in a new country, or a team simply misevaluating a player. Whatever the case, these transfers definitely didn't work out.
I’m sure the teams and the players themselves would want to forget this period. We’re digging it up again. Here is every Premier League team’s most disappointing transfer since 2000.
20 ARSENAL - NICKLAS BENDTNER
Remember this guy? A lot of Arsenal fans will remember him for being one of their worst ever strikers. The Danish striker had one of the biggest egos going around but didn’t have the skills to back it up. A lot of Arsenal fans just found him infuriating. Nicklas though, rated himself incredibly highly.
He thought he was one of the best strikers in the world. No, really, he actually said that.
He’s actually got a decent goal-scoring record for his international side. He’s recently found some form with Norwegian side, Rosenborg BK. But for some reason it just didn’t work out for Nicklas in the Premier League.
19 BOURNEMOUTH – ASMIR BEGOVIC
There’s no doubting Asmir Begovic’s prowess as a goalkeeper. We got to know of this great keeper when he was number one choice for Stoke. That seems a distant memory now. With Stoke he quickly became regarded as being one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League. He then signed for Chelsea but remained second choice keeper for the duration of his time there. That changed at Bournemouth. But a lot of people feel he’s past his best. He’s made some costly errors, his reactions aren’t quite the same. Asmir Begovic certainly isn’t the same keeper he was a few seasons ago.
18 BRIGHTON – ANTHONY KNOCKAERT
26-Year-old Anthony Knockaert may look like a half decent player on paper. He’s played for his international side, France, and has a decent record as a winger. But Brighton fans just haven’t warmed to him. He actually did pretty well in the Championship. But the Premier League is a big step up.
He hasn’t been able to replicate the successes of his breakthrough season for Brighton.
He’s also melodramatic, a terrific play actor. But he’s not winning any awards from the Brighton fans. They hate to see their players engage in such conduct. It’s disappointing that Anthony hasn’t realized his full potential as of yet in the Premier League.
17 BURNLEY – ERIC DJEMBA-DJEMBA
Eric Djemba-Djemba had a decent start to his career with France. This led to plenty of interest from the Premier League. Man United signed him. But he failed to make any sort of an impact for the red devils. He was then shepherded about quite a bit. During this period, he had a spell at Burnley. He was sent off early into his spell. The situation didn’t improve. It led to him being jeered by the crowds. This spell was one of the biggest transfer flops in the history of the Premier League. Many fans reflected the paper’s sentiments.
16 CARDIFF – GUYLAIN NDUMBU NSUNGU
Guylain has now become a famous name. That’s certainly not because of anything Congolese footballer, Guylain Ndsumbu Nsungu has done. He’s spent the majority of his playing career in the lower leagues of English football. Arguably the biggest club he’s played for, is Cardiff. But as a striker, Guylain failed to find the net, even once. In fact, he hasn’t scored many goals throughout his entire career. Cardiff fans have actually rated Guylain as being their worst ever player. Those who can recall seeing him in action during those 11 appearances would find it hard to disagree. He’s not remembered at the club with any level of fondness.
15 CHELSEA – ANDRIY SHEVCHENKO
If a player fails to make an impact at one of the big clubs, it’s not long before they turn into laughing stocks. Ukrainian, Andriy Shevchenko, played for Chelsea for three years. During this time, he only scored nine goals. As a striker, that’s pretty embarrassing.
No one could blame Chelsea for signing him. He had pedigree, had done mightily well with Dynamo Kyiv and then AC Milan.
But it just didn’t happen for him at Chelsea. The pace of the game in the Premier League was just too fast for him. He couldn’t adapt. Fans and everyone at Chelsea initially backed him. But they soon ran out of patience.
14 CRYSTAL PALACE – SHOLA AMEOBI
It’s pretty easy to judge a striker. When you play upfront, you’re judged on the number of goals you score. It doesn’t matter how you get them. As long as you put them in the back of the net, that’s all that matters. But Shola Ameobi didn’t do much of that. He was used as a target man by the various clubs he played for during the course of his career. Newcastle used him well. When he left Newcastle after 14 years, one of the clubs he signed for was Crystal Palace. His old boss, now manager of Crystal Palace, brought him in. He only made four appearances and failed to score.
13 EVERTON – STEVE SIMONSEN
Life as a goalkeeper is tough. Most squads for match days only have two goalkeepers. If you’re the understudy to the main man, you’re going to be spending most of your playing days warming the bench. That’s essentially what Steve Simonsen did. In six years at Everton, he only made 30 appearances. Initially he struggled to get a game at all. Then, for a brief period, he became a regular in the first team. But he fell out of favor with new manager David Moyes and was essentially kicked to the curb. In his last two seasons with Everton, he only made three league starts.
12 FULHAM – HAMEUR BOUAZZA
Hameur Bouazza has made a ton of appearances for various different teams around the world. He’s spent most of his playing career in the English leagues. One of the most high-profile clubs he’s played for, is Fulham.
He joined them in the summer of 2007.
He hit the ground running at the start of the new season. He actually put in some decent performances. But then things quickly fizzled out. His time on the pitch was limited to substitute appearances. He was bought for £3m on a four-year deal. After just a year, he was loaned out and was never to return to the club. He was eventually sold.
11 HUDDERSFIELD – JASON DAVIDSON
Jason Davidson is a 27-year-old international defender from Australia. For a 27-year-old, Jason has already played for a lot of clubs. In a way, you’ve got to feel for Jason. He keeps getting moved from club to club and rarely gets any playing time. He’s currently playing in Australia for his 10th club. Back in 2015, he joined Huddersfield. He initially signed on a three-year contract. But he only made 27 appearances for the club and was eventually loaned out and sold. Jason has actually put in some decent performances at club level. He just needs to be settled, needs more time on the pitch.
10 LEICESTER – MATTHEW UPSON
Centre back Matthew Upson is arguably more famous now that he’s retired than he ever was as a player. He had some decent spells with teams in the Premier League. But nowadays he’s known for his punditry. Matthew was getting on a bit when he signed for Leicester City. It was in 2014 and the Foxes had just been promoted to the Premier League. Many thought they’d look to bolster their squad with a load of new additions. Matthew Upson wasn’t the player people had in mind. Sure, he had pedigree in the Premier League. But he was past it at that point. He spent the first half of the season injured. In the second half he only made five appearances.
9 LIVERPOOL – ALBERTO AQUILANI
Sometimes you’ve really got to feel for players. It’s evident that they’re trying to succeed at their new club, but for whatever reason, it just doesn’t work out. Fans appreciate the effort, but eventually, even they begin to get on the player’s back. That’s what happened with Alberto Aquilani.
He joined Liverpool in 2009 for £17m, but he only played 18 times for the club.
When Roy Hodgson took over the reins at Liverpool, Aquilani was shut out. He went to Juventus and then AC Milan on loan, before eventually being sold to Fiorentina where he went on to enjoy a decent three-year spell. The fast paced and physical nature of the Premier League just didn’t suit him.
8 MAN CITY – WILFRIED BONY
Striker, Wilfred Bony, had a pretty decent start to his career. His goal-scoring record with his first few teams put him on the world stage as one of the best strikers going around. There was a lot of interest for Bony. He was eventually bought by Swansea where he continued his impressive performances in the Premier League. Man City saw what this striker was all about and had to acquire his services. He signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with Man City in 2015 worth £25m.
But due to the embarrassment of riches Man City had at their disposal, Bony couldn’t get a regular starting place. When Pep Guardiola became manager, Bony fell out of favor completely and was allowed to leave.
7 MAN UNITED – JUAN SEBASTIAN VERON
Former midfielder, Argentinian Juan Sebastian Veron, is deemed to be one of the greatest players of all time. A lot of these accolades are due to his exploits in the Italian Serie A. He enjoyed a number of stellar spells in Italy during the course of his career. The pace of the game in Italy suited his football. The Premier League certainly didn’t.
Moving to England and playing for Man United proved to be a baptism by fire for Veron.
At the time, his £24.3m transfer made him the most expensive transfer in Premier League football. By the end of his spell at Old Trafford, it was considered to be among the worst transfers in Premier League history.
6 NEWCASTLE – TITUS BRAMBLE
Centre back, Titus Bramble, is best known for his spell at Newcastle United. He was with the club for five years, from 2002-2007. He was acquired by Newcastle for £6m. When he joined, he said he wanted to be indispensable for the club and manager. It didn’t quite go according to plan. Their manager at the time, Sir Bobby Robson, soon dispensed of him. A year into his contract, Titus was already being ridiculed as being the worst player, not just at Newcastle, but in the Premier League. He also had to contend with a number of injury woes whilst at Newcastle. All in all, it was a forgettable time for both player and club.
5 SOUTHAMPTON – NEIL MCCANN
Neil McCann last played football in 2011. Since then he’s done a bit of media work and most recently, he’s gone into management. During his career he joined Southampton. He was doing well for Rangers, but due to the club’s financial issues, they were forced to sell him. They didn’t want him to go and he didn’t want to go. But he ended up going to Southampton for £1.5m. His performances were lackluster and he had a ton of injures. It’s actually pretty amazing that he lasted at the club as long as he did. But 40 appearances in a three-year spell says it all.
4 TOTTENHAM – KAZUYUKI TODA
Kazuyuki Toda was pretty much unheard of when he came to England. He’d spent eight years at Shimizu S-Pulse and had put in some decent performances, but he couldn’t replicate his form in the Premier League. He wasn’t really given a chance to either.
It was a puzzling move all-round when he joined Tottenham in 2003.
He only made four appearances and wasn’t exactly suited to the Premier League. It was immediately evident that he wouldn’t last. Fans have rated him as being their worst ever signing. Many also believed he was signed solely to boost Tottenham’s fan following in Asia.
3 WATFORD – PENARANDA
Venezuela striker, Penaranda, signed for Watford in 2016. He signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with the club. Evidently, he was in their plans. But it was a puzzling move because he didn’t get any playing time. Watford bought him, then proceeded to ship him out on loan to anybody and everybody. Part of the reason was because Watford were waiting for him to qualify for a work permit, so he could play in England. But why they bought him in the first place caused a lot of head scratching. He was young, hadn’t proven himself. He was a striker who wasn’t used to finding the back of the net.
2 WEST HAM – TITI CAMARA
Titi Camara won’t remember his spell in the Premier League with fondness. A lot of West Ham fans will remember him though, but not for the right reasons. The striker started off his career in France before coming to England and joining Liverpool.
He became something of a cult hero at Anfield, but he wasn’t getting the playing time he wanted. That’s why he decided to move to West Ham in 2000.
He was signed for £1.5m. Speaking about his transfer, Titi said: "I've come to West Ham to play, play, play – and score, score, score” He played 14 times for West Ham and failed to find the net.
1 WOLVES – MARCUS BENT
Marcus Bent has spent his entire career playing in the English leagues. He’s moved around quite a lot, has never settled. As a striker, you’re easy to judge. It’s all about the number of goals you score. Marcus had two decent spells in front of goal, at Sheffield United and at Ipswich Town. But by the time he came to Wolves, he was way past his best. He made five appearances for the club and failed to score. It was a forgettable time for Wolves and for Marcus. Understandably he was soon sent on his way and sent out to join another club.