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Transfers: Top 10 players that flopped in England

Some of the world's best players have graced the Premier League since its inception in 1992, but there have also been some very expensive flops!

We've selected our top-10 players who have failed in the English top-flight, having been successful before their move and/or lighting up other leagues following their departures.

Special mentions go to Tomas Brolin, Roque Junior, Fernando Morientes and Sebastien Haller, but they were unable to break into our top-10.

1. Diego Forlan

After building a big reputation in South America, Forlan made a big-money move to the Premier League in 2002.

The man from Montevideo moved to Manchester United in a deal worth £6.9million, with the Uruguayan seen as a long-term replacement for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and a foil for Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Forlan took two months to score his first Premier League goal but having never looked comfortable in the Premier League, was on the move in 2004 – after bagging just 10 goals in 63 appearances.

The striker was then a big success in Spain, scoring 54 goals in three years with Villarreal before a stunning four year spell with Atletico Madrid, where he averaged a goal every other game.

2. Marco Materazzi

Having impressed with Perugia in Serie B, Materazzi caught the eye of the Everton scouts and moved to Merseyside in 1998.

Walter Smith had just become Everton manager and hoped that he had found a gem and a typically solid Italian defender.

But Materazzi made just 27 appearances for the Toffees, being sent off three times before returning to Perugia in 1999 and then moving on to Inter Milan in 2001.

During his time at Inter, the centre-back won five Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia trophies, four Italian Super Cups, a Champions League and a World Cup!

3. Andriy Shevchenko

Shevchenko is another world class player who struggled in the Premier League, having won major honours earlier in his career.

A prolific scorer for Dynamo Kiev, the Ukrainian striker earned a move to Italy, joining AC Milan in 1999 and won the Serie

A title and Champions League during his seven-year spell at the San Siro.

At the age of 30, Shevchenko moved to England to join Chelsea, winning the FA Cup and League Cup during the Ukrainian's spell at Stamford Bridge.

However, he had little impact, making just 48 appearances and scoring nine goals for the Blues.

4. Hernan Crespo

Another striker who struggled in the English top-flight, Crespo seemed to be in his prime when he joined Chelsea at the age of 28.

In the early stages of his Stamford Bridge career, he scored a brace in a 5-0 win over Wolves but he struggled for game time and made just 49 appearances in five years with the Blues.

He was part of the squad that won the Premier League in the 2005/06, but was moved on when Jose Mourinho arrived, heading back to Italy to play for both Milan and Inter – winning three Serie A titles with the latter.

5. Memphis Depay

Depay had been under the spotlight since making his senior debut at the age of 17, before playing 90 times for PSV Eindhoven – scoring 39 goals during that time.

When Manchester United paid a reported £25million for the forward, many thought it was a real coup for the Premier League giants. That said, then-boss Louis van Gaal admitted he was forced to sign him earlier than planned due to interest from other clubs.

That may have set alarm bells ringing for some United fans and after two years and having made just 33 appearances, Depay was leaving Old Trafford.

The forward, who turns 28 on 13th February, resurrected his career at Lyon before moving to Barcelona in 2021. Although
it's early days, Barca could be the club to offer him the chance to fulfil his potential.

Related Transfer News

Transfers: Best ever January deadline day moves

Transfers: Free transfers XI - Summer 2022 hitlist

6. Iago Aspas

When Aspas joined Liverpool from Celta Vigo in 2013, he was joining a team with plenty of attacking talent with the likes of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling.

The Spaniard found it challenging to fit in at Anfield and failed to score a Premier League goal for a Reds during two years at the club.

Aspas left for a loan spell at Sevilla before heading back to Celta in 2015 and sometimes a certain club is the right fit for a player. The Spanish international has since played over 200 times for Celta and scored 114 goals.

7. Stephane Guivarc'h

Guivarc'h arrived on Tyneside in the summer of 1998, having just won the World Cup with France – starting the 3-0 final win over Brazil.

The striker's signing was big news for Newcastle, with Kenny Dalglish persuading him to join from Auxerre and Guivarc'h scored on his debut against Liverpool.

But four months later, the Frenchman was sold by then-manager Ruud Gullit, heading to Rangers in a £3.5million deal.

Ultimately, though, Guivarc'h was better suited to Ligue 1 and went back to Auxerre in 1999 before ending his playing career at Guingamp.

8. Roberto Soldado

Having started his career at Real Madrid, Soldado progressed at Getafe before a successful three-year spell at Valencia – scoring 59 goals in 101 games.

Tottenham then broke their transfer record to sign the striker, who moved to White Hart Lane for £26million in the summer of 2013.

Spurs had sold Gareth Bale and Soldado was one of several players to fill the void, but things didn't go according to plan for the Spaniard.

Soldado made 52 appearances and scored just seven goals, with Spurs deciding to cut their losses in 2015 when he joined Villarreal for a reported fee of £10million.

9. Eliaquim Mangala

After three successful seasons with Porto, the French centre-back had made a name for himself in Portugal – winning the Primera Liga title twice.

Manuel Pellegrini decided that Mangala could be the best partner for Vincent Kompany and Manchester City splashed out somewhere between £32m and £42m for his signature.

The centre-back made 57 appearances for the Citizens, having loan spells with Valencia and Everton before joining Los Che on a free transfer. Mangala turns 31 on 13th February and is now playing his football at Saint-Etienne.

10. Juan Sebastian Veron

At the age of 26, Veron moved to the Premier League at his peak, having shined in Italy and with the Argentina national team.

The midfielder was seen as one of the best players in the world when he joined Manchester United from Parma in 2001 for a fee in the region of £28million.

Although he was part of the title-winning squad in 2002/03, Veron struggled to adapt to the pace of the English game and United decided to sell him to Chelsea for around £15million.

The Argentinian made just 15 appearances in four years, being hampered by injuries, and eventually went back to South America before retiring in 2017.

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