Fantasy Flop XI
This year’s January transfer window exploded the myth that deals just aren’t done in the winter. It may be trite to criticise Torres already, however, with such a sum stapled to his forehead and not a minute going by without a commentator referring to it. It must be wondered whether hindsight will grant us the gift of pointing and laughing at Chelsea’s scatter gun spending. Or cry, ‘of course, he just needed a while to bed in, anyone could have told you that!’ With Torres in mind I have trawled the archives of my mind, along with Wikipedia, of course, to present to you, faithful listener cum viewer cum reader cum provayer of sportastic excitement, my Fantasy Flop 11:
#1 Massimo Taibi – Venezia to Man Utd, 4.5m, August ’99.
There were many pretenders to the red nosed one’s gloves after he packed up to sell bacon and Carlsberg, however none will be remembered with quite such distaste by United fans as Taibi. 4 games and 11 conceded is a woeful record for any keeper, however, for a United ‘keeper conceding five against Chelsea, before they were Chelski it’s unforgivable. Taibi found himself quickly back on the gondola to Venice, only stopping to open his legs wide for Matt Le Tissier to ensure he never turned back.
#2 Winston Bogarde – Barcelona to Chelsea, free, August ’00
How can a player who was a free be a flop? When he earns 40k per week and plays 9 times in 4 years. New manager, Claudio Ranieri decided within weeks he wanted rid of the big Dutchman. Of course on that money he was going nowhere, thrown into the reserves to try and force him out the door. The big man said himself ‘This world is about money, so when you are offered those millions you take them. Few people will ever earn so many. I am one of the few fortunate’s who do. I may be one of the worst buys in the history of the Premiership but I don’t care.’ Kudos my big Dutch friend, Kudos to you.
#3 Juan- Sebastian Veron – Lazio to Man Utd, 28.1m, ’01 AND Man Utd to Chelsea 14m ’03
£28.1, because the point one is always important. If you look up ‘culture shock’ in the dictionary there is a picture of Veron looking like The Hood from Thunderbirds. At Lazio he was a God, allowed to revel in the playmaker roll, protected by two defensive midfield bitches simply there to pass to ‘Sebba’ I am not saying Veron was a bad player, he was south American footballer of the year in 2009. Veron was a very round peg in a very square hole. The fact that he has the third highest cumulative transfer fees in history (77m, Anelka with 85m and Ronaldo with 92m) shows that he must have had some quality. You may just understand Man Utd’s mistake, Chelsea taking him on is, however, unforgiveable.
#4 Bosko Balaban – Dinamo Zagreb to Aston Villa, 5.8m, ’01
No, not Prospero’s slave in The Tempest, Balaban… You know, old Bosko as Big Ron would call him, well maybe not but If I told you what Big Ron called im I’d get banned from the internet and that can’t happen as I have to harvest butternut squash on Farmville in 16 hours. Anyway, 2 starts, 7 as sub and 0 goals in 2 ½ years, ‘nuff said.
#5 Steve Marlet – Lyon to Fulham, 11.5m, Aug ’01.
You know the transfer hasn’t been a success when the transfer gets terminated, even more so when before the termination the player spent 2 years on loan, whilst Fulham shelled out for his wages no less. You know that saying the transfer wasn’t a success is the biggest understatement since Barcelona were referred to as a team who ‘like to play a bit’ when the chairman takes the manager to court over the transfer (Muhammad Al Fayed quickly dropped the case against Tigana).
#6 Tomas Brolin – Parma to Leeds, 4.5m, Aug ’95
The only people who spent five and a half million during 1995 were Mel B’s hairdresser and the Leeds board. An example of never buying a player after a world cup, Brolin scored an unforgiveable 2 goals in 4 seasons at Leeds. The Elland Road faithful did not refer to Brolin as ‘Tubby’ in an affectionate way. After leaving Leeds he never scored again and retired at 29, I’ve heard a few years up north can do that to a man.
#7 Andrei Shevchenko – AC Milan to Chelsea, 30m, May ’06
Once upon a time there was a very wealthy man, that man loved sweets so much he brought a sweet shop, he loved those sweets so much that when he was in that sweet shop he ate and ate and ate, left on the shelf was a beautiful lemon bon bon. Don’t eat that said his friend, it’s old and gone off. Bah, said the man, I know best, and when he put that Bon Bon in his mouth, he didn’t find sherbet in the middle, oh no, he found dust, ash and broken dreams. Now substitute Sweets for footballers, the wealthy man for Roman Abramovic and Lemon Bon Bon’s for Andrei Shevchenko and you have a fable for the 21st century. 5 goals in 37 in his first season isn’t the best return either.
#8 Serhiy Rebrov – Dynamo Kiev to Tottenham Hotspur, 11m, aug ’00
It would appear that in the Ukraine all that glitters is not gold. Forming a strike partnership with the aforementioned Sheva which made Shearer and Sheringham look like 2 people who not only did not know each other, but spent their entire life with a GPS strapped to their arm so that they could ensure they were always at the exact opposite point on the world’s surface. Rebrov managed just 10 goals in 4 years.
#9 Denilson – Sao Paulo to Real Betis, 21.5m, Aug ’98
Denilson just goes to prove that a graet team can carry a player. After appearing in a Brazil side fresh from the world cup final, Real Betis sold their Grandma’s teeth to afford the Brazilian. Denilson has stopped in Saudi Arabia and America on his travels, hardly the bastions of world football. All that said, I’ve never seen a player with as many 20s on Football manager.
#10 Alberto Aqualani – Roma to Liverpool, 20m, Aug ’09
An unequivocal failure. Despite a beautifully alliterative name this Italian came to symbolise the end of Benitez’s reign. A flop is not just down to the player, how could the medical staff sanction a deal for a player as crocked as a china shop in pampalona.
#11 Robbie Keane – Tottenham to Liverpool, 20.3m, jul ’03
Keano doesn’t stick around for long, I’m pretty sure it’s a fact he moved 16 times before his 21st birthday. Six months takes the biscuit though. ‘arry ‘I’m not a wheeler-dealer’ Redknapp surely had his best transfer moment when signing him back for 12 million. 8 million pounds in 6 months. If Robbie Keane was a bank he’d have been put into public ownership with those losses.
So there you go 11 players, 11 floppy transfers. Take note Fernando, this could be you… By the way, there is one name I’ve left off which you may take umbridge with. This is because I believe this player was not a flop, but a hero for getting there in the first place. Type Ali Dia into Google and let me know what you think.