10 most expensive flops in Premier League history – from Shevchenko to Kepa

The bright lights of the Premier League has seen some of the world’s biggest football stars lured by some of the world’s biggest football fees.

When one of the Premier League’s big boys finds themselves coming up short in the race for the elusive title, the temptation is always there to splash the cash.

Fans dream and draw up endless lists of ‘fantasy football’ signings in the hope that their club will take a punt on a stellar name who could be the ‘next big thing’.

But a hefty price tag doesn’t always deliver quality goods.

While the Premier League has set the stage for some of the greatest footballing talent of the past 30 years, it has also shone the spotlight on its fair share of flops.

Daily Star Sport takes a closer look at the 10 most expensive mistakes in Premier League history who failed to live up to the hype in epic fashion.

Andriy Shevchenko

When Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich purchased Chelsea in 2003, he fancied himself a bit of real-life Fantasy Football.

The Blues owner didn’t mess around in splashing the cash and his personal wish was granted when the club secured the signing of Shevchenko from AC Milan for a British record of £30.8million back in May of 2006.

However, sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.

The 30-year-old Ukrainian arrived well past his peak and looked out of his depth as he mustered a paltry nine Premier League strikes in 48 appearances.

Kepa Arrizabalaga

One of Chelsea’s more recent transfer blunders, the Spanish stopper arrived at Stamford Bridge for an eye-popping £72m from Athletic Bilbao in 2018 making him the world’s most expensive goalkeeper.

Following a series of errors and his outright refusal to be substituted in the 2019 EFL Cup Final, Kepa has found himself warming the bench during most of his time at Chelsea.

The arrival of Edouard Mendy in the summer of 2020 has further compounded Kepa’s misery with the Blues’ new Senegalese stopper earning himself the UEFA Goalkeeper of the Season in 2021.

£72m is a heck of a lot of money on someone to keep the seats warm in the Stamford Bridge dugouts.

Alexis Sanchez

Who is the most expensive flop in Premier League history? Let us know what you think in the comments section

While Sanchez lit up the Premier League for a number of years during his Arsenal days, it’s fair to say the Chilean winger’s time at Manchester United was a very different story.

In one of the Premier League’s more interesting dealings, Sanchez traded places with Henrikh Mkhitaryan at United, where he reportedly earned a mammoth £500,000-per-week, plus bonuses of course.

The buzz from United fans after seeing their new signing tinkering away at a piano in his announcement video soon wore off as their new number seven hit all the wrong notes at Old Trafford.

A meagre three Premier League goals in 32 outings for the Red Devils was a disastrous return for the out-of-sorts Sanchez who has since revealed he wanted out after his very first training session with the club. Ouch.

Angel Di Maria

After playing a pivotal role in Real Madrid’s 10th Champions League crown, United looked to have secured a major coup when Angel Di Maria swapped Madrid for Manchester in August 2014.

Costing £59.7m, the then club-record signing made an electric start to his United career and even scooped the club’s Player of the Month award for September, before it all went so horribly wrong.

The Argentine winger found the net three times in 27 appearances before departing the club for Paris Saint-Germain and slating United at any given opportunity since.

An Angel playing for the Red Devils was never really going to work out.

Juan Sebastian Veron

While we’re on the subject of Chelsea and United’s market misfits, let’s celebrate a man who managed to flop at both.

United shelled out a record £28m on the Argentine midfielder who failed to adapt to the demands of Premier League football.

Rather bafflingly, Veron’s lacklustre displays for the Red Devils caught the eye of Chelsea, who clearly felt they could bring out the best in him after forking out £15m for his services.

They too soon realised Veron and the Premier League were far from a match made in heaven, swiftly shipping the midfield mistake back to Italy.


On the very same day that Manchester City were purchased by the Abu Dhabi United Group, the club sealed what at the time looked like a sensational swoop for Real Madrid’s wing wizard Robinho for a fee of £32.5m.

The Deadline Day deal set tongues wagging as City’s new owners immediately displayed a statement of intent and a taster of the mega-money spending that was to come.

A delightful free kick on debut against Chelsea was one of 14 Premier League strikes in 31 first season outings as he helped City to a, err, 10th placed finish.

City picked up in Robinho’s second year, finishing fifth, although the injury-hit Brazilian failed to find the net in any of his 10 league appearances before departing for AC Milan with his tail between his legs.

Roberto Soldado

One of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ purchased by Tottenham Hotspur following the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, Soldado joined from Valencia for £26m in the summer of 2013.

Tottenham’s new frontman netted a penalty against Crystal Palace on his debut which, in some ways, set the tone for his Spurs career.

The Spaniard endured a torrid time in North London, only finding the net on seven occasions in 52 Premier League outings, four of which were from the spot.

Tottenham were the ones who were left to pay the ultimate penalty with Bobby Soldier frequently firing blanks.


Newcastle splashed out an eyebrow raising – and needless to say, club record – £40m on the former Hoffenheim forward in July 2019.

An enormous fee on one of the Bundesliga’s more underwhelming marksmen looked like a mistake at the time, and it has since proven worse than that.

The Brazilian has managed a mere six Premier League strikes in 78 appearances for the Magpies since arriving on English soil.

Perhaps a change in shirt number from Newcastle’s iconic number nine would unlock Joelinton’s scoring prowess? Well, that was just wishful thinking.

Andy Carroll

After cashing in on Fernando Torres for £50m (more on him shortly), Liverpool nabbed Newcastle’s Andy Carroll for a staggering £35m to partner fellow new arrival Luis Suarez up top.

How different their Liverpool careers would pan out.

While Suarez wrote his name into the Anfield record books for his goalscoring prowess, Carroll will go down in history as one of the Reds’ most costly mistakes.

The injury-hit Geordie only struck six times in 44 Premier League appearances before briskly being shipped out on loan to West Ham.

Fernando Torres

Shall we finish with another Chelsea mistake? Oh, go on then.

Premier League history was made when the Blues stumped up a record £50m for Torres’ service on Deadline Day in January 2011.

However, little did they know the Spaniard’s devastating days in front of goal were long gone.

Torres was a shadow of his former self as he endured a 10-match goal drought before netting his first Chelsea strike – one of only 20 goals in 110 Premier League matches for the baffled Blues.

Who was El Nino trying to kid?

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