Clubs sign new players to boost their squad while players choose new clubs for new challenges and improvements. But these hopes and expectations are not always met as we can see in the following cases. In the worst transfers in football history we find the biggest stars of football like Fernando Torres, Shevchenko or Ibrahimovic, whose signings didn’t turn out as planned.
Everyone is expecting a lot from new signings, the club owners, the manager, the teammates and most importantly the fans. But on some occasions the players are not performing as well as expected at their new clubs even though they were the stars of their previous teams. There can be several reasons for that like not fitting well into the new team, suffering from numerous injuries or just too high expectations. The following footballers all have proved to be great players in one club but couldn’t perform their best after joining a new team.
Worst transfers in football history
7. Ciro Immobile – joining the Bundesliga from Serie A
Italian striker Ciro Immobile is a great player as we can see in his latest performance. Playing for Lazio, he scored last season 36 goals in the Serie A, more than anyone else in Europe. It meant he also won the European Golden Shoe for the first time. But even Immobile was struggling to score goals a few years ago, when he joined German side Borussia Dortmund. The manager of the team, a certain Jurgen Klopp bought him as a replacement for Robert Lewandowski, who joined Bayern Munich in that season. But Immobile couldn’t fit in with his new team and the much more demanding German football. He scored only 3 goals in the Bundesliga in his only season. He left to join Sevilla in the following year.
6. Jonathan Woodgate – signed by Real despite his injuries
Newcastle player Jonathan Woodgate had one of his best performances in the 2004 UEFA Cup semi-final against Olympique de Marseille. The centre-back defended perfectly against Marseille forward Didier Drogba but got injured after the game. He was still signed by Real Madrid where fans had to wait a year for Woodgate’s debut. Which was quite disastrous as he scored an own goal and was sent off for a second offence. What came next wasn’t too much better, as he was suffering again from injuries. Woodgate only played in 9 games before returning to his old club, Middlesborough. Another British player, Gareth Bale has also returned from Real Madrid to his old club, Spurs recently as online sportsbook news in the UK were reporting.
5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Pointless swap with Eto’o in the worst transfers in football history
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the best strikers of all time and he scored 21 goals in FC Barcelona as well. Still, his time at the Catalans was his worst period, after not getting the attention he was used to. Before joining Barca in 2009, he was the top scorer of Serie A with 25 goals and became champion with Inter. So surely the Swedish star expected a special treatment in his new club, but he was in the shadow of Lionel Messi there. He became quite frustrated with his situation and also confronted manager Pep Guardiola. So no one was surprised when he was sent back to Italy after only one season.
4. Andriy Shevchenko – From Ballon d’Or winner to goalless striker
The Ukrainian striker was a fantastic player in AC Milan where he scored 176 goals in his seven seasons. He won the Champions League with the club, the Serie A and also the Italian Cup. In 2004 third from his country he was awarded with the Ballon d’Or. He joined Chelsea in 2006 for almost £31 million which was the biggest amount paid by an English club then. But Shevchenko couldn’t continue his amazing record and was struggling in the Premier League. He scored 14 goals in 51 appearances, much below his standard. In the next season due to injuries he played and scored even less, so he was sold to his former club, Milan on loan in 2008.
3. Angel di Maria – Another failed player in the Premier League
Manchester United broke the British signing record in 2014 with one of the worst transfers in football history. They signed Argentine midfielder Angel di Maria from Real Madrid for almost £60 million. Of course fans and experts all thought the Red Devils made a great business in signing a creative and very skilled player. Who also won La Liga and the Champions League with Real. But it just didn’t work out for him in the Premier League. After a good start he struggled with injury and couldn’t really play in his new role as a forward. The Argentine left United after only one season and joined Paris Saint-Germain where he has been playing in great form since.
2. Fernando Torres – Bad switch between PL clubs
The Spanish striker joined Liverpool from Atletico Madrid for a club record transfer fee in 2007 and spent four great years there. He scored 81 goals in 142 appearances and was voted twice in the Premier League Team of the Year. His performance got the attention of Chelsea who bought him in 2011 for a British record fee of £50 million. But Torres couldn’t live up to the expectations and scored only half of his previous number, 45 goals. His goals included important ones like the winning goal against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final. He was still a disappointing signing for the Blues. Chelsea fans hope their new players will prove their talents this season. Online gambling sites in the UK mention Chelsea in the favorites to become champions behind City and Liverpool.
1. Andy Carroll – A costly attempt to replace Torres
Following the departure of Fernando Torres, Liverpool signed Newcastle forward Andy Carroll to replace the Spanish. It was a shaking decision for most of the experts and fans as Carroll didn’t seem to be such a high profile player. He played well in Newcastle and helped his team back to the Premier League after their relegation. But he became the most expensive British player at the time after Liverpool paid £35 million for him. Well, Carroll was simply not worth this amount, as he struggled to score goals or to be fit to play. After two seasons, the Reds sold him for half of the price they paid to West Ham United. The forward spent six years there before rejoining his old club, Newcastle.