5. Radamel Falcao, Monaco to Man United, Chelsea (2014-16)
It was a shame that Falcao joined Man United when he did. The Colombian striker was a force of nature in his pomp at Atletico Madrid, scoring 70 goals in 91 games, but after moving to Monaco he suffered a cruciate ligament injury and tried to rush back for the 2014 World Cup. At Old Trafford, he managed just four goals in 29 games, but his injury-hit move to Chelsea the following season was even less productive: he scored one in 10.
4. Roque Junior, Milan to Leeds (2003-04)
When the news broke that Leeds, struggling after their financial world had caved in, were signing a World Cup winner, optimism abounded. But while Milan defender Roque Junior was a key part of the Brazil side that won the trophy in 2002, he wasn’t exactly Ronaldo, Ronaldinho or Rivaldo. He was sent off in his second game and relegation-bound Leeds lost all five matches he started, conceding a total of 20 goals in the process.
3. Kim Kallstrom, Spartak Moscow to Arsenal (2014)
Arsenal discovered, during his medical, that the 33-year-old had a back injury suffered during a training session on the beach, but signed him anyway, so could not really claim surprise when he was only able to hobble onto the pitch four times. Kallstrom did score a penalty in an FA Cup semifinal shootout against Wigan at Wembley, which he later described as “the greatest 15 minutes of my life,” but was left out of the matchday squad for the final.
2. Ignacio Gonzalez, Valencia to Newcastle (2008)
“The final straw at Newcastle came when the club went behind my back to sign two substandard players as a multimillion-pound favour for a pair of mysterious South American agents,” wrote then-manager Kevin Keegan in his autobiography. One of those was Uruguay international Gonzalez, who played only twice for Newcastle during his loan spell. His arrival was one of the reasons why Keegan resigned a few days after the signing.
1. Ricardo Alvarez, Inter to Sunderland (2014-15)
Alvarez’s star fell after a bright start at Inter, and things didn’t get better in England. A loan clause required Sunderland to buy the winger if they avoided relegation; they did, but argued the deal wasn’t valid because of a knee injury that limited Alvarez to 13 games. The Court of Arbitration for Sport disagreed and made the club pay £9.5m. Because the transfer wasn’t officially completed, though, he was a free agent and signed for Sampdoria, so the money Sunderland paid was for literally nothing!