Top five: Premier League worst free transfers

Once deemed to be spectacular transfer scoops, these players all failed to live up to the hype

Adam Renshaw
Published 04/27/2013 10:39 by Adam Renshaw, read by 35,505 people.

There have been plenty of examples of Premiership clubs picking up some sensational free transfer bargains. 

Sol Campbell’s move to Arsenal or Michael Ballack’s move from Bayern Munich to Chelsea certainly stand out. But what about the worst ever free transfers? 

Could a player who cost zero pounds in transfer fees still be considered a waste of money? Let’s find out.

1. Marouane Chamakh (Bordeaux to Arsenal)

Sorry Arsenal fans, but despite any arguments about the goals he scored at the start of his Arsenal career, Marouane Chamakh makes this list for his pure inability to live up to the hype. 

Brought in by Arsene Wenger promising to bring the goals to lift Arsenal back into Premier League title contention, Chamakh has simply never cut it for the Gunners. Two highly disappointing seasons later and the Moroccan finds himself on the fringes whilst on loan at West Ham.

2. Milan Jovanovic (Standard Liege to Liverpool)

Liverpool’s first, but not only, inclusion on this list. Milan Jovanovic arrived from a successful stint in Belgium with high hopes. Could he be the man to finally bring some natural attacking width to offer a new dimension to Liverpool’s attacking play? Absolutely not. Ten appearances and no goals in his solitary season at Anfield makes Jovanovic a major free transfer flop.

3. Winston Bogarde (Barcelona to Chelsea)

Perhaps the most infamous free transfer flop, Winston Bogarde will go down in Chelsea folklore history. Having signed from Barcelona with an impressive pedigree, the common fan could have been forgiven for expecting big things from the experienced Dutch international. After four years that saw just nine miserable appearances in a Chelsea shirt Bogarde did the honourable thing and retired from his £40k a week contract.

4. Andriy Voronin (Bayer Leverkusen to Liverpool)

Liverpool’s second entry on this list, Andriy Voronin’s magnificent hair did little to hide his undeniable lack of ability. On paper the vastly experienced Ukrainian international looked a solid bet having scored a reasonable amount of goals in a variety of leagues. However, having scored just five goals in 27 appearances during an uneventful two season spell means our favourite Ukrainian makes this list.

5. Owen Hargreaves (Manchester United to Manchester City)

Finally, what threatened to be a genius transfer move from Manchester City turned out to be a real damp squib. Before injuries took their toll Owen Hargreaves had forged an outstanding career with Bayern Munich, Manchester United and England. 

However, tendonitis in his knees cut short his Old Trafford stay and he was allowed to leave with their blessing. In a surprise move Roberto Mancini took the midfield battler to the Etihad, but rather than providing bite in the midfielder he produced more of a whimper as he made just one appearance – hardly a justification for his eye-watering salary.

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