Soccer Flops – The Most Famous Worst Signings In Recent Soccer History

When it comes to the world of soccer, there are lots of different players that often catch the eye of supporters around the globe for their prowess and ability.

However, there are lots of soccer players that have had spells during their career that they’d want you to forget. 

What makes a flop? A lot of it comes down to the anticipation of the move and the cost of the transfer.

Soccer Flops - Some Of The Worst Signings In Soccer

The higher the fees, the more that’s expected of them.

Follow our guide to find out some of the most famous worst transfers in soccer history.

A lot will have relatively high transfer fees and will ring a bell. We’ll leave a clip to some clips via YouTube showcasing them before and after their move for context. In no order, let’s get into the list!

1) Fernando Torres Liverpool To Chelsea 2011

After leaving sunny Spain for the roars of Premier League crowds, Fernando Torres set Anfield alight with explosive performances. Forming an incredible partnership with Reds’ captain Steven Gerrard, the Spaniard put fear into the eyes of English and European defenses alike with amazing performances in the Premier League and the Champions League.

Eventually, he moved to Premier League rivals Chelsea, for a fee in the region of £50m.

This meant that the expectations were huge and Blues fans expected the striker to hit the ground running. However, this change seemed to get the better of him and he only scored 20 times in his 4-year period in London.

Although this might seem like a lot, he looked like he rued a lot of the chances that he missed.

2) Alexis Sanchez Arsenal To Manchester United 2018

Once again, we look to the Premier League for a huge transfer disappointment.

The Chilean joined Arsenal from Barcelona and hit the ground running, carrying the Arsenal attack with Olivier Giroud and scoring in Europe and domestically.

With Arsene Wenger seemingly having his perfect talisman to bring the best out of his teammates, life couldn’t be better for Sanchez.

However, when Manchester United comes calling, it’s hard for many to turn down.

With his contract running out, Arsenal swapped the forward with Manchester United’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan so they didn’t lose him on a free transfer.

With Sanchez accepting a contract painfully near to £500k a week, he ultimately didn’t produce the goods that many expected of him.

3) Luka Jovic Eintracht Frankfurt To Real Madrid 2019

Impressing with lots of promising performances in Germany, this Bundesliga star quickly became one of Europe’s hottest prospects by scoring 27 goals in the Bundesliga.

However, when Real Madrid sought to add him to their ranks, he lacked the end-product that many Madrid fans were hoping to see being reproduced from the Serbian’s time in Germany.

Going on to make 27 appearances and only scoring twice was never going to go down well.

With a €60m price tag accompanied by his move, there’s no doubt that he will go down as one of the most disappointing moves in Spanish football history.

4) Phillipe Coutinho Liverpool To Barcelona 2018

One of the more disappointing recent transfers, Phillipe Coutinho left high-flying Liverpool for an estimated fee of around €142m when all add-ons are included.

The Brazilian failed to replicate his magic for the Spanish giants, much like when Torres left the Reds for Chelsea.

Having a couple of loan spells away from the Catalan club, Coutinho left Liverpool just before their Champions League and Premier League title wins and will no doubt be regretting his decision to seek pastures new away from Anfield.

5) Eden Hazard Chelsea To Real Madrid 2019

The Belgian magician will always go down as a club legend at Chelsea, helping them to league titles and European glory, however, Real Madrid fans will certainly have a different opinion of the winger.

With a price tag well north of €100m, the Belgium international will be hoping to turn his fortunes around following an injury-ridden spell at the Spanish club. Scoring only 4 goals since he joined Madrid, the fans might be hoping to see him out of the exit door sooner rather than later.

6) Kepa Arrizabalaga Athletic Bilbao To Chelsea 2018

All things considered, Kepa hasn’t been one of the worst signings in the world considering the start to his Chelsea career looked so promising. However, the reason for this is the £72m transfer fee that was involved with the move.

This is the biggest fee for a goalkeeper in soccer history and the Spaniard has found himself playing as 2nd choice to Senegal shot-stopper Edouard Mendy, who has kept Kepa out of the side following some shaky performances from the former Athletic Club man.

7) Kaka AC Milan To Real Madrid 2009

Once again, heading back to Madrid, this Brazilian maestro was considered one of the best in his position for a while.

Tearing up the pitch in Italy, the wizard found himself heading to Spain in one of the most anticipated transfers in recent history.

With many injuries clouding his first few seasons at the Bernabeu, Kaka was replaced by Mesut Özil and was sold back to Milan in 2013 for what was a free transfer. The transfer remains to this day as one of the worst signings in transfer history.

8) Danny Drinkwater Leicester City To Chelsea 2017

Following in our trend of returning to Stamford Bridge, Danny Drinkwater must be one of the most disappointing transfers in immediate Chelsea history. When Leicester City defied the odds and won the Premier League, Chelsea sought out one of their key players in N’golo Kante.

The Frenchman has been a revelation for the Blues and remains at the club at the time of writing.

Danny Drinkwater, Kante’s Leicester midfield partner, joined him at Chelsea in a deal that made lots of sense at the time, however, the Englishman’s Chelsea career never really took off.

Spending £35m on a player who only made 12 appearances in his first Chelsea season almost seems like throwing money away.

9) Jonathan Woodgate Newcastle United To Real Madrid 2004

When a club as rich as Real Madrid makes as many high-profile transfers as they do, you’re bound to have a lot of disappointment coming along with the success stories. Jonathan Woodgate is certainly disappointing.

Joining for a fee in the region of £13.5m at the time, the English defender went on to have some of the unluckiest injury records in soccer history, barely playing for the La Liga titans. The center back also went on to have one of the worst debuts in soccer history.

Scoring an own goal in the first half, Woodgate went on to get sent off midway through the second half and went on to make less than 10 league appearances for the Spanish side before returning to England. Talk about underwhelming!

10) Ousmane Dembele Borussia Dortmund To Barcelona 2017

With one of the highest transfer fees recorded in soccer history, Dembele has Barca fans around the globe expecting massive performances and lots of goals.

However, it wasn’t as simple as that. Coming off the back of a successful spell in Germany, the French winger moved to the Blaugrana and had the expectations of the world on his shoulders as one of the most lucrative signings of all time.

However, like many young players before him, Dembele has seen his career plagued by injuries to the point where he misses large chunks of the campaign, every season.

Although he has shown glimpses of his class, the electric attacker needs to find some sort of consistency to rejuvenate his career.

11) Harry Maguire Leicester City To Manchester United 2019

With eleven players playing on the pitch, we thought we’d include eleven players in our list.

Harry Maguire is yet another player that has fallen under scrutiny after a massive transfer fee has been agreed upon. The English defender had enjoyed the form of his life whilst playing for England at the World Cup, which saw his stock soar through the roof, with Manchester United signing the former Hull center back for £80 million.

Several seasons later and the Englishman has made many mistakes leading to goals, despite being promoted to club captain during his time at Old Trafford.

With such a large price tag being spent on Maguire and so many errors coming from his area of the pitch, many people wonder if he is the biggest flop in soccer history.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! 11 of some of the worst soccer signings in recent history. There are lots of different factors that determine what makes a failed soccer transfer.

A lot of the time, it’s the amount of money involved that makes expectations come crashing down.

Other times it can come down to the reputation of the player not fulfilling fans’ expectations, with poor performances and attitudes causing the downfall of many players around the globe.

However, just because a player is labeled a soccer flop, doesn’t mean that they’re a bad player.

A lot of the time, a new change of scenery can allow a player to start again fresh, with many players finding a new form and a happier time elsewhere.

It just goes to show that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, with many players learning that the hard way.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Soccer Flop?

A soccer flop is when a big-name player moves clubs and fails to perform well. This can be down to how much the player costs the club, injuries occurring or having a poor attitude toward their new club. Usually, this is down to poor performances, proving that the transfer wasn’t worth it.

What Is The Most Expensive Transfer Of All Time?

The all-time most expensive soccer transfer of all time falls to Neymar, following his move from Barcelona in August 2017.

PSG paid €222 million for the Brazilian forward, making him the most lucrative soccer deal in history.

Why Do Soccer Players Move Teams?

Sometimes, professional players will leave teams due to bad relationships within the team environment, which could lead to them not performing well.

Other times, there are personal reasons why players may want to move clubs. Reasons might include better wages, more playing time, or simply because they feel like they can improve somewhere else.