The Premier League continues to be a money making machine with the resources available to English football’s leading clubs the envy of the world over, though despite their ever increasing wealth club’s are still prone to signing mistakes and misfits.
With the 2010’s having drawn to a close we’ve decided to revisit some transfer market howlers from Premier League clubs over the past decade, and there have been some truly poor purchases.
Here are five of the biggest Premier League transfer flops this decade…
Liverpool’s recruitment in recent seasons has been amongst the finest in world football, the club having transformed their fortunes under the guidance of Jurgen Klopp and sporting director Michael Edwards.
The Merseyside club were not quite in such a strong position at the start of the decade, however, and their club-record purchase of giant Geordie forward Andy Carroll from Newcastle still ranks as arguably the worst purchase in the club’s history.
The young striker had impressed following Newcastle’s promotion to the top flight and scored prolifically during the first half of their debut season back in the big time, prompting the Reds to target Carroll as they sought a replacement for the wantaway Fernando Torres.
After several rejected bids Liverpool would finally see a bid of £35m accepted on the final day of the 2011 January transfer window, the move making Carroll the most expensive British footballer of all-time.
It would prove to be a huge mistake.
Carroll would score just six league goals in 44 appearances during his time at Anfield, a succession of injuries hampering his progress and his target man style ill-suited to the club’s style of play.
He would be shipped out on loan to West Ham following the arrival of Brendan Rodgers as manager just 18 months after his record move, eventually spending seven injury-plagued seasons with the London side before returning to Newcastle on a free transfer last summer.
It appears the January transfer window of 2011 was not quite as successful as hoped for Premier League clubs.
Fernando Torres has established himself as one of the finest forwards in world football during a prolific three-and-a-half year spell at Liverpool, scoring 81 goals in just 142 league appearances and striking up a formidable partnership with Kop legend Steven Gerrard.
Liverpool’s failure to land major silverware saw the Spaniard grow disillusioned, however, and Chelsea would come calling with a British transfer-record offer of £50m for his services.
Blues’ owner Roman Abramovich thought he had signed one of the leading strikers in the game upon Torres’ arrival, though it would soon become apparent that he was a shadow of the player who had thrived on Merseyside.
It would take Torres three months and 903 minutes of action to score his first goal for the club, and he struggled to fire on a consistent basis for the entirety of his four year spell on the club’s books.
Team success would come in the form of the Champions League and FA Cup, though Torres’ impact was minimal throughout and the club’s record signing would be peripheral to much of the club’s success.
Gareth Bale’s world-record departure to Real Madrid left Tottenham with a huge chequebook in which to replace the Welshman’s talents, and a summer spree in 2013 would bring mixed success at best.
The club’s marquee signing of the window was Spanish international forward Soldado from Valencia, his prolific form in La Liga having earned him the moniker of ‘Goaldado’, a nickname that would look increasingly ridiculous following his toils in English football.
Spurs’ record signing at the time of his arrival, Soldado would score just six times in the league in his debut season with just two coming from open play, the forward looking off the pace and unable to cope with the demands of the Premier League.
His second season would prove even worse, scoring just once in league action, before he was packed off to Villarreal, the now 34-year-old having failed to ever truly recover from his woes in North London.
Manchester City’s billionaire-backing has catapulted them into the elite of English football over the course of the past decade, and whilst the club have secured superstar signings in the form of the likes of Sergio Aguero and David Silva, their lavish spending has seen its fair share of flops.
Jack Rodwell, Jo and Eliaquim Mangala can all count themselves fortunate to have avoided an unwanted place in this feature, as we’ve opted for the bumbling Bony as the worst of City’s captures.
The Ivorian had scored prolifically during a spell in Dutch football before moving to Swansea City, where his hulking presence and eye for goal saw him score 25 league goals in just 54 appearances for the Welsh side.
That form attracted Man City, who spent an eye-watering £28m to capture the Ivorian in January 2015. Out-of-shape and out-of-sorts, Bony would flop in spectacular fashion, never quite looking up to the standard required and scoring just six league goals over two seasons.
To compound the club’s misery, Bony’s capture came at the expense of allowing fan’s favourite Edin Dzeko to leave, the Bosnian having scored almost 100 club goals since being allowed to leave for Roma.
Bony, by contrast, is without a club following a loan spell in the Qatar Stars League last season.
A rival to the aforementioned Torres for the most spectacular fall from grace in Premier League history, Alexis Sanchez was regarded amongst the top-lights leading lights following a stunning spell at Arsenal, the Chile international forward scoring 80 goals in 166 appearances in all competitions and twice winning the FA Cup.
Manchester United had thought they had secured a huge transfer coup when securing his signing from their North London rivals, capitalising on his contract situation to negotiate a straight swap-deal worth around £35m with unwanted midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The capture of Sanchez saw the club gift the star a record-breaking contract worth £500,000-a-week, though what appeared to be a match made in heaven soon turned into a nightmare in what would come to be regarded as amongst the worst pieces of business in the club’s history.
Sanchez would struggle to make any impact during his time at Old Trafford, scoring just three league goals in 18 months at the club, their marquee signing proving an expensive mistake.
Angel Di Maria’s British transfer-record signing from Real Madrid in 2014 is another contender for this list, though few have flopped as badly or as memorably as Sanchez, who is currently on loan at Serie A side Inter Milan.
Read – Best of the 2010’s: The Premier League clubs that defined the decade
Read Also – Best of the 2010’s: Our Premier League awards for the past decade