You know that giddy Christmas Eve excitement you felt (still feel) as a nipper? It’s that same sensation you can recapture when your club makes an exciting new signing; admittedly a distorted and blunted version, due to experiencing more years of boring old, stifling life.
Everyone loves a new signing, but sometime signings go wrong…
So, I’ve come up with a list of such cases for my club. I’ve kept it to the Premier League era – in other words my football watching lifetime – as I wanted to include players who stick out in my own personal, subjective memory rather than ones who I’ve never seen and mean nothing to me; it felt more real that way (plus I’m very tired and want to slink off into a darkened corner).
So please feel free to share and add your own subjective suggestions from your time on the terraces.
Some of the criteria for failure: cost (the price to productivity ratio), expectation (or expectation dashed) and ‘who are ya?’ factor, amongst other things.
Nil Satis Nisi Optimum
1. Per Kroldrup:
Start with the obvious. Costing a hefty 5 million from Udinese, things began badly with injury signalling a spell on the sidelines and only got worse. Seemingly ill-equipped to cope with Premier League football, thus making a solitary league appearance (a 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa!), Kroldrup soon headed back to Italy.
2. Andy van der Meyde:
A Dutch winger with promise and potential, having played for both Ajax and Inter Milan, Andy could have been a real asset. However, inconsistency, injury, alleged alcohol issues, club suspensions for ‘breach of discipline’ and a derby dismissal led to him regularly warming the substitute’s bench, then being lucky to make the dizzy heights of the substitutes bench at all, before eventually being released last summer: a wasted talent?
(It must be said that Andy suffered unfortunate personal issues regarding his daughter’s health; some things are more important than football. He also showed glimpses of talent and memorably setup Goslings FA Cup winner… maybe he doesn’t deserve to be on the list… it’s too late, we’ve gone too far, he’s on the list)
3. David Ginola:
Maybe not immediately springing to mind, and by no means a poor player in the context of his career (quite the opposite), but I always felt signing the flamboyant Frenchman was a desperate and hollow move. Although signed on a free, the Ginola that strutted into Goodison was the greying over the hill version, offering very little other than a pin-up name.
4. Li Weifeng:
Li WieWho? Chinese defender Li Weifeng, that’s who. The loan deal seeing Li arrive at Everton in 2002 was largely spawned through off the field commerce, as part of the sponsorship deal with Kejian. On the pitch – where he appeared only twice – Li proved about as useful as (insert your own ‘useful as…’ joke here: I’ll pitch for the no-nonsense but dependable ‘as useful as an inflatable dartboard option’).
5. Alex Nyarko:
With a transfer fee of £4.5 million, and Walter Smith talking up his Vieira-esque credentials, Alex Nyarko firmly failed to deliver. Lethargic performances infamously led to a fan running onto the pitch and offering to swap shirts. The subsequent circus saw Nyarko requesting to be substituted and swiftly being sent out on long-term loans, firstly to Monaco and then PSG, before returning to Everton only to have to pack his bags again due to work permit expiration.
Again, please add your selections…
Nil Satis Nisi Optimum
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