• Marco Boogers, Jozy Altidore, and Ricky van Wolfswinkel are among the worst flops in the Premier League, failing to live up to expectations and delivering poor performances.
  • Harry Maguire, Timo Werner, and Kleberson struggled to make an impact at their respective clubs, with errors and disappointing performances defining their time in the league.
  • Andriy Shevchenko, Adrian Mutu, and Bebe also disappointed, failing to replicate their previous success and leaving their clubs with regrets over their pricey transfers.

As with any league in world football, we have experienced the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. While most professional football is played at a standard beyond the reach of the average person, there have been a number of players over the years who have brought that statement into disrepute. These are the players who perhaps wouldn't look out of place turning out for a national league club, or worse still, a Sunday league side. There have been countless flops that have sported the Premier League badge on their sleeve over the last 31 years, so let's take a look at the worst of them...

All stats included are according to Transfermarkt unless stated otherwise.

Marco Boogers - West Ham United

Harry Redknapp signed the unfortunately named, Marco Boogers from Sparta Rotterdam for £1 million after watching a video of him in action. As scouting goes, that's not necessarily how it's done, and Redknapp was left to wish he'd watched another video instead after Boogers was sent off in his second game for the Hammers.

Following his horrendous debut, the player brought in from Sparta Rotterdam, staged arguably, the biggest disappearing act of them all when he was given permission to return to Holland for the birth of his son, and never came back.

Jozy Altidore - Hull and Sunderland

Jozy Altidore for Sunderland against Chelsea

There is something inherently sympathy-inducing about Jozy Altidore and his time in the Premier League during not just one stint, but two. After tallying a meagre two goals, for Hull in the 2009/10 campaign, the USMNT centre-forward made the switch to AZ Alkmaar in the Eredivisie in 2011, where he found his scoring boots once more, registering 49 goals in just 89 appearances in two seasons.

Out to make amends for his first unsuccessful spell in England’s top flight, Altidore landed himself a move to Sunderland where he’d outdo his dismal previous run with one goal in 61 games. That said, he’ll forever be remembered by Sunderland fans for teeing up Fabio Borini’s winner in the Wear-Tyne derby in 2013.

Ricky van Wolfswinkel - Norwich City

Ricky Van Wolfswinkel in action for Norwich

Ricky Van Wolfswinkel netted on his debut for the Canaries after joining in the summer of 2013 from Vitesse, much to the delight of the Carrow Road faithful. Sadly, that was as good as it got for the striker. The striker really couldn't hit a barn door with a banjo, and as such, was loaned out to St Etienne a year after arriving in England and eventually returned to Vitesse, netting just one more goal for Norwich.

Corrado Grabbio - Blackburn Rovers

Grabbio takes a shot

Say the name 'Corrado Grabbi' at Ewood Park and prepare to be met with scolding looks, and despairing facial expressions. Blackburn were thought to have beaten AC Milan for the Italian in 2001, paying a club record £6.5m fee for his services, so naturally, expectations were high. Unfortunately, for Rovers the Italian forward scored on just two occasions in 30 appearances for the club, hardly justifying the money spent on him.

Harry Maguire - Manchester United

Harry Maguire applauds the Man Utd fans

Having risen through the ranks at Sheffield United, Harry Maguire’s route to the upper echelons of the football pyramid was a result of hard work, dedication, and incremental improvement season on season. After a standout display during England’s 2018 World Cup run, Maguire would land a move to Manchester United for a world record fee for a defender.

Although he was made the club captain, Maguire’s time in Manchester has been one full of forgettable moments, repeated errors, and even asking Greek police officers “do you know who I am?”. Ultimately, the England centre-half’s susceptibility to mistakes has been his primary downfall, and one that brings the £75 million sum paid for him massively into question.

Kostas Mitroglou - Fulham

Kostas Mitroglou for Fulham

In January 2014, Fulham splashed out £14m on Greek forward Mitroglou in the hope that he would keep them in the top flight, with the Cottagers hanging on to their status as a Premier League side for dear life.

Yet, during four unmemorable months at the club, he netted a grand total of zero goals, and following a woeful three appearances, Mitroglou was sold to Benfica for half the price Fulham paid.

Andy van der Meyde - Everton

Andy van der Meyde - Everton

Van der Meyde's struggles off the pitch during his time at Everton contributed to him playing just 24 games over four years with the Toffees. The Dutchman's time on Merseyside was tumultuous to say the least; he had issues with alcohol, his dog was stolen during a burglary, his drink was spiked in a bar and his wife even hired a private detective to follow him. It's safe to say the odds were never in his favour, with Everton consequently allowing Van der Meyde's contract to run out following a series of run-ins with manager David Moyes.

Afonso Alves - Middlesbrough

Alfonso Alves for Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough had to wait two months before Alves scored his first goal for the club after they paid a club record £14m to sign him in January 2008. A hat-trick against Manchester City on the final day of the 2008/09 season suggested the following season would be better, but he scored just four times and Boro would see themselves relegated from the top flight.

Massimo Taibi - Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson realised Taibi wasn't the solution in goal after just four games at Old Trafford. The unconvincing Italian shot-stopper, who cost £4.5m, produced a series of high-profile mistakes that he never quite lived down. He left just six months after arriving in Manchester.

Jo - Manchester City

Jo for Manchester City

Jo was brought in for a club-record fee of £18m in July 2008, just before Sheikh Mansour's takeover that would see the Sky blues become a dominant force domestically and continentally. Despite arriving in the North West with that quintessentially Brazilian reputation for being a man of classy flair, the Brazilian mustered just one league goal, before being loaned to Everton twice over the course of three seasons.

Thomas Brolin - Leeds United

Thomas Brolin for Leeds

Brolin admitted to being overweight when he joined Leeds in 1995 and that contributed to a disappointing spell at the club. The Swede, who cost £4.5m, scored four goals in 26 appearances across two seasons.

At the age of 28, Brolin quit football and became a vacuum cleaner salesman.

Jack Rodwell - Sunderland

Jack Rodwell for Sunderland

Jack Rodwell is to Sunderland fans what Judas was to Jesus; a traitor. The midfielder signed for Manchester City back in 2012 for £12 million, yet following a spell hampered by underperformance and injury the ex-Everton man was quickly shipped on to Sunderland, with the Sky Blues recouping £10 million of the £12 million originally spent.

Rodwell's time on Wearside was just an elongated repeat of his stint at City, with injuries and lack of commitment hampering any chance of progression. Rodwell's time with the Black Cats came to an acrimonious end, with the player refusing to leave while picking up a wage of £70,000 a week, with the Mackems languishing in League One and financially hamstrung.

Timo Werner - Chelsea

Timo Werner in action for Chelsea

Arriving in West London after snubbing Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp’s advances, big things were expected of the £47 million striker from RB Leipzig. Timo Werner had been scoring goals for fun in the Bundesliga, and his raw pace, and clinical propensities in front of goal were identified by then-manager, Frank Lampard as exactly what was needed to remedy the Blues deficiencies up top.

Despite a slow start, the early signs that Werner would eventually come good were all there, however, the goalscoring ability that landed him the move in the first place seemed to elude him, and as such, it seemed to visibly affect the German international’s confidence on the pitch. While not all hope was lost, Lampard’s perseverance didn’t pay dividends, and Werner would subsequently find himself warming the bench at Stamford Bridge.

Unfortunately, Werner’s six-goal return in 35 league appearances was the best it was going to get for the striker, reduced to just four the following season, having been limited to several substitute cameos, and 15 relatively fruitless starts. The summer of 2022 would see the marksman return to RB Leipzig for just under half the amount he was sold for.

Kleberson - Manchester United

Kleberson playing for Man Utd.

Brought in by Sir Alex Ferguson under the impression that Kleberson would be the natural heir to the throne left by Roy Keane, this was perhaps one of Fergie's biggest mishaps during his decorated 27 years with the club. It quickly became apparent that the Brazilian couldn't live up to the hype, and was nowhere near the level of his fiery Irish predecessor. The central midfielder would go on to last just two seasons at Old Trafford.

Andriy Shevchenko - Chelsea

Andriy Shevchenko for Chelsea

Shevchenko wasn't the player Chelsea - indeed, the entire league - thought he would be. The Ukrainian international had been immense during the preceding years at clubs like AC Milan, but his three years at Chelsea following the Blues' £30.8m investment returned just 22 goals in 77 games, a paltry showing for a player famous for his potent ability in front of goal.

Adrian Mutu - Chelsea

Adrian Mutu celebrates a Chelsea goal

According to reports, Chelsea are still owed money from Mutu. That's how badly this move went. The striker tested positive for cocaine and was banned from the sport for seven months. Chelsea decided to tear up his contract and sued Mutu for breach of contract. They won the court case, but are still owed more than £16m of Mutu's £20m transfer fee.

Andy Carroll - Liverpool

Andy Carroll for Liverpool

After lighting up St. James' Park, Andy Carroll was rewarded for his performances with a move to Liverpool. The tall Geordie, with his unmistakable pony tail found the net on just 11 instances for the Reds, a measly return on his £35m transfer fee in 2012. However, the Reds and Kenny Dalglish did get it right with their cheaper acquisition of Luis Suárez on the same day, who cost them just £23 million. The mind boggles.

Bebe - Manchester United

Bebe for Man United

Sir Alex Ferguson signed Bebe for £7.4m in 2010 without ever seeing him play, and it would prove to be a serious mistake. Bebe was one of Man United's worst-ever players. In a game against Wolves, he replaced Owen Hargreaves as an early substitute before being hooked off himself in the second half. Fergie wanted none of the responsibility for signing Bebe, instead blaming his assistant Carlos Queiroz.

Ali Dia - Southampton

The story of Dia playing for Southampton is truly iconic. He managed to fool the Saints into believing he was George Weah's cousin and had previously played for Paris Saint-Germain. What's more, he blagged a short contract with the club and even played 53 minutes for them against Leeds in 1996, making it clear to then-boss Graeme Sounnes that he was more of a conman than he was a footballer. Southampton's players thought Dia had won a competition to train with the Saints, which says it all about his ability.