Seven Biggest Ever Premier League Flops!
Martin Keown may have been exaggerating somewhat when he commented last night that Falcao may have played his last game for Manchester United.
However, it’s becoming more and more apparent that it just hasn’t worked out for the Colombian at Old Trafford and it’s increasingly unlikely that the club will make his loan move permanent in the summer.
He’s not the first foreign star to grace the Premier League and flop, and certainly won’t be the last. Here’s a look at other big-name imports that failed to shine in England’s top flight.
Juan Sebastian Veron, Manchester United & Chelsea
There’s no disputing that the Argentinian was a class act. However, he just didn’t fit into Manchester United’s system, and already almost perfect midfield of Giggs, Scholes, Keane and Beckham, following a £28.1 million move from Lazio in 2001.
Sir Alex Ferguson soon cut his losses and recouped £15 million from Chelsea for the midfielder, who also failed to reproduce his Serie A form at Stamford Bridge.
His initial performances were encouraging but his form, and attitude, soon petered out. After earning a reputation as a trouble-maker at the club he was soon loaned back to Brazil before a move to AC Milan.
At Liverpool he was one of the world’s most feared strikers, but there is a feeling that the Reds sold the Spaniard at the optimum time. He took over 900 minutes to notch his first Chelsea goal and Blues fans never took to their record signing as those at Anfield had.
He scored just 20 league goals in three-and-a-half seasons at Stamford Bridge, and such is his fall from grace that loan club AC Milan were glad to offload him to former side Atletico Madrid in January. However, he’s back amongst the goals in Spain, outlining that sometimes a club just isn’t the right fit.
Diego Forlan, Manchester United
Manchester United fans did warm to Diego Forlan but he’s fondly remembered for some uncharacteristic goals against Liverpool rather than his general form while at Old Trafford.
Sir Alex Ferguson hijacked a move to Middlesborough in January 2002 for the Uruguayan, splashing around £7 million on the Independiente striker.
It famously took Forlan 27 games to register his first goal for United and he notched just nine more in the league before being offloaded to Villareal two years later at a £5 million loss.
He resurrected his career in Spain, becoming one of La Liga’s most prolific forwards and was named top player at the 2010 World Cup – feats which make his unsuccessful spell at United even more bewildering.
Tomas Brolin, Leeds United
The Leeds boss Howard Wilkinson saw Brolin as the ideal creator for striker Tony Yeboah, but the pair clashed repeatedly. It came to a head on April Fool’s Day 1996 when Brolin joked to reporters that he was returning on loan to former club IFK Norrköping. Unfortunately, the media didn’t get the joke and it was reported as fact.
Injuries, and subsequent weight problems, hampered his time in Yorkshire, where he managed just four goals in 20 games. He’d a brief spell at Crystal Palace before returning to Sweden.
The Dutch defender has become a byword for mercenary foreign imports, earning £40,000 a week for three years for doing, well, nothing.
He arrived at Stamford Bridge with great pedigree, winning the Champions League with Ajax and La Liga with Barcelona, but Claudio Ranieri took over soon after his arrival and didn’t fancy him.
He refused to leave, stating quite rightly that no one else would pay him what Chelsea did, making just nine appearances (and millions of pounds) during his four years in London.
You can’t really blame Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich for insisting on the £30.8 million capture of the Ukranian in 2006.
At the time he was one of the world’s most feared strikers, winning numerous club and personal honours during his time at Dynamo Kiev and AC Milan.
However, Chelsea had just won successive titles and the player was clearly not wanted by Jose Mourinho. Injuries had taken their toll on the striker and he had lost a yard of pace that had made him so successful earlier in his career.
After just seven goals in 9 Premier League goals in 48 appearances, he was jettisoned back to Milan on loan before finishing his career at Dynamo.