As the season draws to a close, with Manchester United celebrating the winning of another title, and West Ham mourning a relegation to the Championship, the enquiries start to begin. Where did one club prosper where another failed? Who was a poor signing, and which player represented excellent value. In this article we will observe the five worst signings of the Premier League this season:
Christian Poulsen (Liverpool)
Number five on our list is the much maligned Christian Poulsen who joined Liverpool in the summer transfer window from Italian giants Juventus in a deal totalling £4.5 million. With Alonso having left for Madrid the season before and Mascherano leaving for Barcelona Liverpool started the season with a large hole in central midfield. The hapless Roy Hodgson had been appointed manager of Liverpool shortly after leading Fulham to the Europa League final, and had the task of replacing Alonso and Mascherano.
Step forward Christian Poulsen, the Danish international who was plying his trade in Italy. He failed to adapt to the pace and vigour of the Premier League and looked atrocious in the Liverpool midfield, and has appeared slower than treacle alongside Steven Gerrard. Poulsen has made 12 Premier League appearances for Liverpool the season in uninspiring fashion, and most of these appearances were under Hodgson with the second half of the season seeing Poulsen disappearing into obscurity.
Sebastien Squillaci (Arsenal)
Arsene Wenger has always had a soft spot for rank average French centre backs, with the history books citing the laughable Silvestre, the dreadful Pascal Cygan and the newest addition to the list is Sebastien Squillaci. Squillaci was signed from Spanish club Sevilla late in the Summer transfer window for a reported £6 million, and to say it has been a disappointing season for the Frenchman would be an understatement. Squillaci was highly rated when signed by Wenger, with a view to partnering Thomas Vermaelen at the centre of the Gunners’ defense, however this season hasn’t reflected this faith.
Many of the worst defensive capitulations in the Gunners’ season had Squillaci present, with the second half crumbling against Spurs at the Emirates (3 goals conceded in a 3-2 loss) and the infamous second half capitulation against Newcastle (4 goals conceded in a 4-4 draw) where Squillaci came on at half time. Squillaci looks set to be shipped out in the summer after his catastrophic season.
Paul Konchesky (Liverpool)
Poor old Roy Hodgson, another of his ill fated transfers makes our top five. When Hodgson joined Liverpool in 2010 he attempted to bring one of his most dependable performers from Fulham with him in left-back Paul Konchesky. The deal totalled £3.5 million and was necessary due to Liverpool’s loaning of Insua to Galatasary and the release of perennial sick note Fabio Aurelio. Konchesky made 15 appearances for Liverpool in a disappointing spell, and he has since been shipped out to Nottingham Forest where the team recently lost in the play offs.
Stephen Ireland (Aston Villa)
Where to start with Stephen Ireland? An immensely talented yet bizarre player with a long history of controversy wherever he goes. One such controversy was his infamous series of lies regarding his grandmothers dying in order to not go on international duty for Ireland. He was frozen out of Manchester City following an injury and the club’s ambition with regards the top players worldwide. Due to this Ireland agreed to join Villa in the summer with Milner going in the opposite direction. However, Ireland’s career plummeted yet further, with his debut coming against Newcastle in a humbling 6-0 defeat where Ireland was anonymous. Houllier soon decided that Ireland was a poor investment and sent him on loan to Newcastle where he again has been a major disappointment.
Bébé (Manchester United)
Drum roll please … at number one we have the enigmatic Portugese winger Bébé who was signed to Manchester United for £7.4 million during the summer transfer window. The signing was made under the recommendation of Carlos Queiroz and was meeting with denigration from the media due to the rumours that Ferguson hadn’t seen him play and that the player had represented Portugal in the Homeless World Cup. Bébé has only represented Manchester United 7 times over this season, with 3 starts and 2 goals. 2 goals in 7 appearances doesn’t seem too poor for a new player acclimatising to the Premier League, however the manner of the performances have been dire. Bébé has returned to the reserves, and has shown little over this season to suggest he is worth anything close to resembling his £7.4 million fee.
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