10. Marco Materazzi (Everton)
Serie A winner, Champions League winner, World Cup winner, Everton yard-dog. Materazzi signed for Everton from Perugia in 1998 and played just twenty-seven games, managing to get sent off four times.
9. Mario Jardel (Bolton Wanderers)
He came to Bolton Wanderers in 2003 at the age of thirty with an absolutely staggering goal scoring record behind him. For Vasco da Gama, Gremio, Porto, Galatasaray and Sporting Lisbon he scored two-hundred-and-sixty-two goals in two-hundred-and-ninety games. He played seven games for Bolton, looking like he’d never seen a football in his life.
8. Afonso Alves (Middlesbrough)
Having a goal scoring record in the Dutch league that betters those of Van Nistelrooy and Ronaldo meant Alves was expected to light up the Premiership. He didn’t, and also caused massive problems for national newspapers, who couldn’t contemplate that his name wasn’t ALfonso.
7. Massimo Taibi (Manchester United)
The first of three United flops on our list (there could have been plenty more). Signed for only £4.4m, it was the spectacularly hilarious that gets Taibi the number seven slot. Letting in that weak-as-piss shot from Le Tissier and blaming his studs for the gaffe. Then having five put past him as Chelsea beat United 5-0. Four games played then shipped back to Italy.
6. Tomas Brolin (Leeds United)
Having helped Parma win the Coppa Italia and qualify for Europe for the first time in their history, Brolin joined Leeds in 1995 with a good reputation. A number of injuries meant he arrived at Leeds unfit (i.e. a porker). He played just twenty games, scoring four goals before he was loaned out for the next two seasons then finally given the boot.
5. Diego Forlan (Manchester United)
Having come from South America with an exceptional record, no-one could have imagined the hilarity that Forlan would cause over the next two years. It took him eight months and twenty-seven games to score his first goal, and even that was a penalty. Seventeen goals in ninety five games was all Forlan could muster before being sold to Villarreal.
4. Fernando Morientes (Liverpool)
A quality striker who had never been given a real chance at Madrid, always being behind the superstars. Despite that, he scored seventy-two goals for Real, then helped Monaco reach the Champions League final whilst on loan there for the 2003/2004 season. Morientes, being first choice, was expected to finally prove himself a top-class forward at Liverpool. The form that saw him take Monaco to the European final had seemed to have disappeared over the summer. He scored an average of one goal every five games and was sold to Valencia after one season.
3. Robinho (Manchester City)
The Premiership’s most expensive man, £32.5m to be precise. Despite a good start to his City career, the second season was horrendous for him. Missing three months through injury and falling down the pecking order seemed to irk him. Anonymous for most the game, uninterested in tracking back and never going to get involved in a physical battle he ushered a move away from the club in January 2010. He is currently at Santos, where he’s made it clear he wishes to stay and be a big fish in a small pond.
2. Juan Sebastian Veron (Mancheter United)
£28m was paid by United to sign an exciting, classy, technically brilliant midfielder form Lazio in 2001. Sadly they got nothing of the sort. There’s no doubt Veron was a gifted footballer, but he didn’t suit the Premiership at all. Less time and space on the ball and a much more physical game meant Veron never really showed what he was all about. He was flogged to Chelsea in 2003, a year later they wanted rid of him.
1. Andriy Shevchenko (Chelsea)
Not quite as expensive as Robinho to City, but Shevchenko was probably the best out-and-out goalscorer on the planet at the time. Having won everything there was to win at AC Milan, he came to Chelsea for a new challenge (and plenty £££). While some foreign stars have always been questionable for their size or willingness to get stuck in, Shevchenko was as tough and mean as he was potent. Why it never worked for him is anyone’s guess. He scored just nine goals in forty-eight games over three years. Has there ever been such an exceptional player to disappoint the Premiership as much?
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