The Premier League boasts some of the biggest European clubs who spend huge sums of money on recruiting new players every year. Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal all have very wealthy owners who set aside a huge budget to lure in new talents. Now we are going to discuss the Six biggest flops in the Premier League history.
With all these clubs spending prodigious sums of money, it is no wonder that some of the best footballers play in the Premier League. Although there have been many athletes who achieved enormous success in England, we also have several examples where the players miserably failed to perform well.
Below we have listed some of the biggest flops in the Premier League history.
Juan Sebastian Veron (Manchester United & Chelsea)
Juan Sebastian Veron tried his luck with two clubs in England and he failed with both of them. He boasted a glowing CV before he joined Manchester United in the summer of 2001. The Argentine footballer helped Lazio win several prestigious trophies during his time at Stadio Olimpico, including the Serie A, the Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana, and the UEFA Super Cup.
The Red Devils splashed a then-British record fee of £28.1m to sign Veron from Lazio. However, the promising midfielder struggled to perform well in the English top-flight. He couldn’t cope with the pace and the physicality of the Premier League. Sebastian made 82 appearances across all competitions for the Manchester side, scoring 11 goals and creating 11 assists in the process.
After spending two years at Old Trafford, Veron moved to Chelsea in 2003 in a deal worth £15m. Although his performances improved a little at Stamford Bridge, the Argentine’s stint in London couldn’t still be called a success. He clocked up 14 appearances across all competitions for the Blues, with a goal and two assists to his name.
Jack Rodwell (Sunderland)
Jack Rodwell is regarded as one of the biggest flops in the Premier League history. He showed great promise initially when he rose through the ranks at Everton to earn 85 league appearances for the Toffees.
The English footballer’s performances attracted the attention of Manchester City who splashed £12m to secure his services in 2012. He stayed two years at the Etihad Stadium, racking up 25 appearances across all competitions and scoring two goals.
In the summer of 2014, Sunderland forked out £10m to bring him to the Stadium of Light from City. However, it proved to be a disastrous decision. Rodwell raked in a huge amount in wages but never provided the expected performances to the club. The English footballer was part of the Sunderland team that got relegated to the Championship in 2017.
Rodwell made himself more unpopular by refusing to take a pay-cut when his club were suffering from big financial difficulties. By the time he left the club, Sunderland had suffered back-to-back relegations. The decision to sign him was heavily criticized in the media too.
Alexis Sanchez (Manchester United)
Alexis Sanchez arrived at Manchester United with great fanfare but he soon proved to be one of the biggest flops in the Premier League history. The Chilean earned a big name for himself at Arsenal where he won two FA Cup trophies under Arsene Wenger. He also had the experience of playing for Barcelona where he six major trophies.
The forward clocked up 166 appearances across all competitions for the Gunners, netting 80 goals and creating 45 assists in the process (stats from Transfermarkt). However, when he arrived at Old Trafford in 2018, he failed to replicate his previous form for the Red Devils.
There was an expectation that the Chilean would help United win the Premier League title under Jose Mourinho. However, he only managed to score five goals in 45 total appearances for Manchester United, proving to be a big disappointment for the Old Trafford fans.
Sanchez’s wages were also a big burden on the Manchester club, and so to get rid of his wages, they even allowed him to join Inter Milan permanently in the summer of 2020 on a free transfer.
Andriy Shevchenko (Chelsea)
Many world-renown footballers come to England but they struggle to perform well in the Premier League due to its pace and physicality. Andriy Shevchenko is also an example of one such player who was expected to do well in the English league but failed to perform, and thus he also made it to this list of biggest flops in the Premier League history.
Shevchenko was highly successful for AC Milan where he clocked up 322 appearances across all competitions for the Italian side, scoring 175 goals and creating 45 assists in the process. He also won many prestigious trophies with the San Siro side, including the Serie A, Champions League and Coppa Italia.
Chelsea splashed a prodigious £30.8m to bring him to Stamford Bridge in 2006. However, that proved to be a big mistake as the player failed to replicate his form in London. He scored only 22 goals in 77 appearances across all competitions for the Blues. The Ukrainian footballer stayed for two years at the Bridge and won only one trophy before heading back to Milan on loan in 2008.
Adrian Mutu (Chelsea)
Chelsea had big ambitions after the club was taken over by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich in July 2003. They spent £15.8m that year to sign Adrian Mutu from Parma but Romanian footballer proved to be one of the biggest flops in the history of Premier League for them.
The forward clocked up 38 appearances across all competitions for the Blues, scoring only 10 goals and creating nine assists in the process (stats from Transfermarkt). He also gained great notoriety after he failed a drug test in 2004. Cocaine was found in his system and Chelsea soon parted company with the player.
However, things didn’t end there. The London club filed a lawsuit against the Romanian footballer for breaching his contract. The two parties fought each other in court for several years and Chelsea ultimately won the case, with Mutu then having to pay millions in compensation.
Bebe (Manchester United)
Ask any Manchester United fan about their biggest flops and you are likely to hear the name of Bebe (whose full name is Tiago Manuel Dias Correia).
The Portuguese footballer grew up in a homeless shelter near Lisbon. He started his career with Loures before joining Estrela da Amadora in 2009. Shortly, he left for Vitoria de Guimaraes, where he greatly impressed with his performances in pre-season games.
In August 2010, Manchester United splashed £7.92 million to bring Bebe to Old Trafford. That transfer fee might not look huge in today’s world where we see PSG spending £198m for Neymar and Barcelona parting with £105 for Philippe Coutinho. However, £7.92m was a huge amount at that time.
Sir Alex Ferguson hadn’t seen Bebe play but had okayed the funds for the signing of the player on the recommendation of former assistant Carlos Queiroz. The Portuguese footballer was a big failure at Old Trafford. He spent four years in Manchester but made only seven appearances. He managed to score only two goals, thus making him one of the biggest flops in the Premier League history.
Some other highly expensive transfers which failed massively are Andy Carroll to Liverpool, Robinho to Manchester City and Francis Jeffers to Arsenal, etc.