Presenting the absolute best of the absolute worst, Goal.com UK selects the biggest flops of the campaign based on impact, adjustment, price and contribution to their new sides
Richards, 22, impressed after forcing his way back into Roberto Mancini’s line-up before picking up a hamstring injury in March.
The Premier League has arguably been more exciting off the pitch than on it this season, with shock takeovers, swift managerial sackings, and some truly surprising transfers – and even better, there's been some utterly appalling signings.
From Aston Villa to Wigan, fans up and down the English top flight have seen players trot out in their club's colours only to see them turn out brown all over. Be they Bosman wastes of space or multimillion walking embarrassments, near enough every set of supporters can point to one purchase that they're ashamed to see in the squad.
And here's a run down of the absolute worst of them. The ones whose shirts won't be shifting in the club shop this summer, and the ones who have left eager fans red-faced by having their name and number splashed on their backs.
We judged the 10 worst transfers for 2010-11 based on:
The player's overall contribution (this being the most important factor)
How the player fitted into his new line-up
How quickly the player adapted to his new surroundings, and vice-versa
The transfer fee paid, if any, and any other financial details known. (Transfer fees unconfirmed by either club or otherwise unknown are given as approximations and are marked in italics.)
Before running down our best of the worst, here's a select few duds who just about managed to avoid this less than sacred list: Laurent Koscielny, Robert Pires, Jean Makoun, Pablo Barrera, Eidur Gudjohnsen (twice!), Winston Reid, Mauro Boselli, Jelle van Damme, James Milner, Milan Jovanovic and Marcos Angleri. That lot were bad, but they're just a bit better than the charlatans that follow.
10. Marouane CHAMAKH
Goals Scored: 11
Arsenal Bordeaux - Bosman
The Bosman signing from Bordeaux was supposed to be the fabled solution to the Gunners' striking woes – a tall totem happy to take the hits that Robin van Persie can't or won't handle with just enough quality to keep out Nicklas Bendtner.
He started well enough, but a total lack of heart has landed his team-mates in trouble since Christmas, typifying Arsenal's descent into farcical failure.
Has plenty to prove if he is to keep his place at the club next year.
9. Mario BALOTELLI
Goals Scored: 10
Manchester City Inter - £23m (€26m)
Quite why Roberto Mancini was so hell bent on signing a man with so many personal demons, at such a phenomenal cost, remains a mystery.
Clearly a man of many talents, but the young Italian has been a walking joke on and off the pitch, scarcely showing his abilities and frequently displaying signs of petulance and staggering immaturity.
AC Milan seem poised to pounce, but they'd be mad to pay even half what City did last summer.
8. Stephen IRELAND
Goals Scored: 0
Aston Villa Manchester City - N/A (involved in swap deal for James Milner)
Many saw this makeweight as one of the signings of the summer before he even kicked a ball for his new club, and they have all been proved wrong.
Martin O'Neill's shock exit and the disastrous reign of Gerard Houllier have contributed to his woes, but, like Balotelli, his talent is matched only by his mind-boggling arrogance and stupidity, and the Irishman is now struggling to make a name for himself in the mad house that is Newcastle United.
7. Joe COLE
Goals Scored: 2
Liverpool Chelsea - Bosman
Another freebie for whom there were so many high hopes, not least from his own team-mates.
Captain Steven Gerrard said that the chunky attacker was on a par with Lionel Messi – in height, maybe, but in durability, innate skill, turn of pace and mental ability the Englishman is nowhere near.
A whopping £90,000 a week contract negates the negligible initial outlay, and he will be lucky to even get a whiff of the Anfield bench next year.
6. Sebastien SQUILLACI
Goals Scored: 2
Arsenal Sevilla - £5m (€5.7m)(estimated)
A rock solid centre-back is what Gunners have been crying out for for years, but the Frenchman is nowhere near good enough to be the cure to Arsene Wenger's defensive ills, as evidenced by wobbly display after wobbly display.
Flying against the manager's policy to buy young, the 30-year-old penned a long-term deal at the Emirates, but if this is him at his best, how bad will he be by the time his contract runs out in 2013?
5. Paul KONCHESKY
Goals Scored: 0
Liverpool Fulham - £3.5m (€4m)
A monumentally bad signing by any yardstick. The two-time capped 29-year-old was handed a handsome four-year deal by a then penniless Liverpool, who traded two prospects and several millions pounds to snap up a man that was in the final year of his contract.
A victim of association by unpopular manager Roy Hodgson, but the left-back did himself no favours with some spectacularly abysmal displays. Now proving no great shakes on loan at Nottingham Forest.
4. Christian POULSEN
Goals Scored: 0
Liverpool Juventus - £4.5m (€5.1m)
An indictment on both the manager that signed him and the club's then owners, the Danish international was another curious mover in last summer's window. With no other clubs interested, Hodgson saw fit to instruct his masters to splash precious funds on the 31-year-old after shipping Alberto Aquilani out on loan and awaiting Javier Mascherano's inevitable exit.
Not his fault that he cost a fortune when the club should have been more frugal, but a rotten purchase who can't get into the side ahead of Jay Spearing.
3. Fernando TORRES
Goals Scored: 0
Chelsea Liverpool - £50m(€57m)
You only need to look at the numbers on the left to know why he's made it this high up the list. The Spaniard is clearly part of wider plan of action for the Stamford Bridge outfit but he has proven unbelievably bad beyond anyone's expectations since January, shifting the entire balance of the team out of whack and showing no signs of his undoubted talents thus far.
It will take a skilled motivator and a shed load of money on a supporting cast to get the clearly depressed striker back to his best next season.
2. Edin DZEKO
Goals Scored: 4
Manchester City Wolfsburg - £27m (€30m)
A target of many of Europe's biggest clubs in the 12 months before he eventually made his exit from the Bundesliga, the Bosnian has so far failed live up to any of the hype, and his signing by City seems like a desperate move from the club and a meek acceptance of the limitations of his own abilities by the player.
Still to score in the Premier League and yet to make a starting place his own, the 24-year-old has more to prove than any of the other big January signings.
Goals Scored: 2
Manchester United Vitoria de Guimaraes - £7m (€8m)
From nobody to somebody in the time it took for the Old Trafford outfit to announce his signature, and the club will probably be wishing that he was still a no-name forward plying his trade in the Portuguese backwaters. Has been disastrous in his few outings, even struggling against non-league Crawley Town.
That Sir Alex Ferguson saw fit to spend such a monstrous amount on a player he had never even seen play, and that nobody checked why, should be a matter of deep shame for all involved in this fishy transfer.
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if based on statistics how could anyone beat torres?
ya lor torres 1st one
at least dzeko scored goals (but not in epl)
bebe - fishy transfer lol. Were there politics involved?