Jumaat, 27 April 2012

The worst signings of the season

ESPNsoccernet's selection of the worst signings of the season

10. Charlie Adam (Liverpool, £7.5 million)

Charlie Adam
Charlie Adam has failed to live up to expectations at Anfield
When assessing Charlie Adam's season, it is worth remembering Liverpool did not need to sign a central midfield passer. Adam was recruited in a summer in which they sold Raul Meireles and loaned out Alberto Aquilani. Nine months later, the Scot still seems best suited to Blackpool, to having a team built around him, rather than Liverpool, where he has struggled to dovetail with greater talents. The set-pieces Sir Alex Ferguson once described as being worth £10 million have been a grave disappointment while the playmaker has struggled to dictate games. Though many of Liverpool's poorer results have occurred in his absence, it is hard to claim they have actually missed Adam.

9. Charles N'Zogbia (Aston Villa, £10 million)

While Stewart Downing may be mocked elsewhere, the Villa Park faithful could be forgiven for feeling nostalgic for the days he manned the flanks. His successor, Charles N'Zogbia, was brought in as a replacement for both Downing and Ashley Young and was Villa's marquee summer signing. A return of two goals and three assists all season is one sign he has failed; another is that he has been on a bench otherwise populated by untried rookies while Villa have had injury problems. The mercurial Frenchman has proved both unsuccessful in and unhappy with manager Alex McLeish's defensive brand of football.

8. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool, £16 million)

Normally, being a near ever-present is a sign a footballer has excelled. Yet no Liverpool player has made more appearances this season than Jordan Henderson and he is no nearer to justifying an inflated fee that could rise still further to £20 million. Of course, Henderson's price tag is not his fault but, despite occasional glimpses of talent, such a costly signing ought to deliver more. It hardly helps that he has been played just off a sole striker and on the right wing, neither his best position.

7. Myles Anderson (Blackburn, free)

Not just a poor signing, but also a perplexing one as far as supporters were concerned. Steve Kean likened him to Chris Smalling when signing a player who made a solitary appearance for Aberdeen. Since then, Anderson has not played at all for Blackburn. Neither, for that matter, has full-back Bruno Ribeiro, described as a Brazilian Denis Irwin when recruited. Neither even got on the bench when Rovers had five defenders out injured, so why sign them?

6. Stefan Savic (Manchester City, £6 million)

If one game summed up Stefan Savic's season, it was surely the Carling Cup semi-final second leg at Anfield when he was hauled off at half-time. The conclusion, then and all too often, appeared to be that the Montenegrin is a liability, that whatever talent he possesses, he is too callow and error-prone to be risked. He has not featured in the league since playing in the 1-0 loss to Swansea which, coincidentally or not, might have been City's worst performance of the season and has appeared in a disproportionate number of their domestic defeats.

5. Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea, £18 million)

It can be easy to criticise the super-rich for spending money without really thinking things through, but sometimes it is fair enough. Consider the case of Romelu Lukaku, who cost more than Swansea paid for their entire squad and has played a mere 83 minutes' Premier League football this season. With a team happiest playing one out-and-out striker and in a squad that also includes Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres, Daniel Sturridge and Salomon Kalou - plus, for half a season, Nicolas Anelka - it was always hard to see where Lukaku would figure. As it is, the giant has been virtually invisible. Include Thibaut Courtois and Kevin de Bruyne, both out on loan, and Chelsea have spent more than £30 million on Belgians who have not played. They may prove astute long-term investments, but in the short term, they have had a negligible impact.

4. Shaun Wright-Phillips (QPR, £2.5 million)

Shaun Wright-Phillips
Shaun Wright-Phillips has endured a dismal first season with QPR
There is a temptation to choose Djibril Cisse, whose five QPR appearances have brought two red cards, but at least the temperamental Frenchman has contributed on the rare occasions he has managed to stay on the pitch. Shaun Wright-Phillips, on the other hand, has achieved virtually nothing, whether on the right, the left or playing just off the attack. While Jamie Mackie's recovery from a badly-broken leg has been one of the more heartening stories of the season, it has had an added benefit for Rangers: it has enabled them to leave Wright-Phillips on the bench.

3. Stewart Downing (Liverpool, £20 million)

It beggars belief that, after 32 games, a £20 million winger still has not scored or created a goal in the Premier League this season. Perhaps, in some ways, Stewart Downing epitomises Liverpool: by the law of averages, something surely should have gone in, even if it was the product of a mishit. Yet the damning statistics are not the only indications Downing has failed. He appears to lack both the mentality to play for Liverpool and the pace to get beyond defenders. Liverpool supporters who want to depress themselves might ponder how such a huge sum could have been better spent.

2. Scott Dann (Blackburn, £7.7 million)

Go back to last summer and Scott Dann seemed a man in demand. Liverpool and Arsenal were allegedly interested, so it seemed a coup when Blackburn signed him at the end of the transfer window. Now it looks another of the mistakes that could cost Rovers their Premier League status. Secure in a well-drilled and rigorously-screened Birmingham back four last season, Dann has been exposed and embarrassed at Ewood Park. Examine the many goals that Blackburn have conceded and all too often he is culpable. The ruptured testicle he suffered in December may have seemed the most painful part of his season, but arguably his defending has caused more anguish.

1. Roger Johnson (Wolves, £7 million)

Wolves' relegation to the Championship is largely attributable to two disastrous decisions: firstly, sacking Mick McCarthy and ending up with Terry Connor as his replacement and, secondly, the former manager's move to make Roger Johnson his biggest buy and new captain. So reliable alongside Scott Dann at Birmingham, they sit side by side again in this list. But while Dann has been dreadful, Johnson has been worse. He has turned up drunk for training, almost come to blows on the field with team-mate Wayne Hennessey and, rather than improving the defence, has not even merited a place in it.

source: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story/_/id/1054403/hubbard:-the-premier-league%27s-worst-signings-of-the-season?cc=4716

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