Managing a modern football team is much like running a wildlife park full of amphetamine snorting peacocks.

You’ll spend half your time trying to prevent your polygamous kingpin doing himself a mating related injury, in addition to fiercely protecting the hyper, younger members of the family.

You’ll also expend a fair amount of energy adding to your party – also known as your squad for those who’ve given up on the peacock analogy – in a bid to strengthen the ranks.

But dabbling in the transfer market is fraught with danger.

For every good egg – think Pepe Reina, Henrik Larsson and Kolo Touré – there’s a rotten egg hell-bent on stinking out your dressing room with their wretched goals to games ratio or defending like their feet are made out of Weetabix.

So, as a warning shot to managers around the country desperate to fortify their pathetic squads before the transfer window slams shut, we’ve compiled a list of the five most toe curling football transfers of all time …


Newcastle to Liverpool; £35m, 2011

After Chelsea coughed up £50m for Fernando Torres, Liverpool felt ready to part with £35m of it to land Newcastle United’s longhaired goal grabber, Andy Carroll.  During his spell with the Merseyside club, however, Carroll could barely buy a goal and was promptly packed off to West Ham on loan.

Premier Punt Verdict: Never trust a man with better hair than your missus to fire you to silverware.


Everton to Arsenal; £8m, 2001

Famously described by Arsène Wenger as a “fox in the box”, Francis Jeffers made his debut for Everton at 16 before moving to Arsenal in a deal worth £8m. Dogged by injury throughout his spell at Highbury, Franny made just 22 appearances and scored a measly four goals.

Premier Punt Verdict:  The kid had potential, but £2m a goal is a paltry return on investment.


Barcelona to Chelsea; free transfer, 2000

Signed during Vialli’s reign at Chelsea, Bogarde turned out to be a very expensive mistake. Just weeks after Bogarde put pen to paper on his contract, Vialli was given the boot and the new manager, Claudio Ranieri, told the player to leave – but considering Bogarde was earning £40,000 a week, the big defender was understandably reluctant to give it up, sitting out his contract before retiring a very rich man.

Premier Punt Verdict: Money can’t buy you class, but Bogarde clearly didn’t care.


Atlético Madrid to Rangers; £2.2m, 1998

Despite having a knee like a decaying pineapple, Prodan somehow passed a medical and arrived at Ibrox from Atlético Madrid in a £2.2m deal. Widely regarded as the worst transfer in Rangers’ history, Prodan didn’t play a single competitive game in his two-and-a-half years at the club.

Premier Punt Verdict: Find a club doctor who didn’t win his PhD in an online auction.


San Lorenzo to Dundee United; £200k, 1991

Wander around Dundee shouting Walter Rojas’s name through a megaphone and you’re likely to suffer an unfortunate mishap. Signed by Jim McLean, it’s claimed the Arabs were victims of mistaken identity, with Rojas rumoured to be an Argentinian singer rather than a “flying winger”. Either way, Rojas was promptly punted on a plane back to South America having never played a first team game.

Premier Punt Verdict: Hire a translator who won’t dupe you into signing his cousin “for a laugh”.

Now it’s over to you …

With the English Premier League season set to kick off soon, who do you think will turn out to be the worst signing of the 2014-15 campaign? Let us know by firing us a message at Facebook or Twitter – we’d love to hear your thoughts.


It’s a little known fact that Didier Drogba was once nicknamed Tupac due to his love of bandanas and bling.

At Marseille, Drogba would live up to his hip-hop handle by rapping the French national anthem while Fabien Barthez beatboxed around the dressing room forcing uncomfortable teammates to kiss his bald head.

Years later, in a wretched attempt to revive his gangsta rap moniker with his Chelsea cohorts, Drogba would attend showbiz parties with his Premier League Golden Boot award hanging ostentatiously around his neck.

Poor Didier.

In one final effort to live up to his nom de guerre, Didier’s last game for Chelsea saw him go out all guns blazing, as he scored the winning penalty in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final against Bayern Munich.

Since then, the Ivory Coast striker has had profitable spells in China and Turkey – he reportedly earned a sign-on fee of €4 million plus a basic wage of €4 million per season at Galatasaray – but has recently rejoined Chelsea on a one-year contract.


Enter JoséMourinho.

Persuaded by “The Special One” to forego offers from three Major League Soccer clubs in North America, it seems Drogba simply couldn’t resist the pull of the English Premier League and the chance to bring silverware back to Stamford Bridge.

But aside from scoring goals and having Mourinho whisper sweet nothings in his ear, what else might Didier Drogba get up to if, as Mourinho has hinted, he’s merely used as a squad player this season …?

  1. Take Torres to Hampton Court Maze and do a runner.
  2. Steal Petr Čech’s headgear and pretend he’s a contestant on Gladiators.
  3. Convince Willian to start a Black Eyed Peas tribute group called White Nosed Beans.
  4. Fly Oscar to The Oscars and present him to the Best Actor winner.
  5. Persuade John Terry to become a monk and live a life of abstinence.

While some, none or all of the above may or may not pan out, it’s clear that old José trusts “Tupac” to fire his team to glory this year, claiming that Drogba is “coming with the mentality to make more history”.

It remains to be seen whether The Special One’s decision to bring the 36-year old back to the Bridge will be vindicated – but we’re chomping at the bit for the season to begin so we can find out …


Louis van Gaal stands seething in the canteen of the Aon Training Complex.

Rooney is spelling out his name with Alphabetti Spaghetti; Giggsy is applying a handful of Fixodent before tackling a corn on the cob; Mata forks through his misfiring seafood paella.

But it’s Danny Welbeck and Reece James who’re really making van Gaal fume.

They’re plonked in their specially adapted highchairs, cackling wildly as they chuck chicken nuggets at a framed picture of United legends Roy Keane and Dennis Irwin getting Niall Quinn in a headlock.

Without a word, the canny Dutchman strides over, grabs both by the bib and orders them to spend the rest of their lunch hour on the naughty step guarded by Gary Pallister menacingly wielding a catapult.

If there’s one thing you don’t want to do, it’s wind up van Gaal.


Famously, during his time at Bayern Munich, he made his squad eat in the same space every day AND insisted they sit up straight – but poor Luca Toni obviously missed the memo, as van Gaal abruptly removed the big striker from the dining hall for slouching.

Yep, it’s safe to say the Man United gaffer takes this discipline malarkey seriously.

Glimpses of his flammable personality could be seen during the recent pre-season trip to the US, as he whined about the distances his team had to travel. This was no doubt exacerbated by the constant “are we there yet” screams from Welbeck and James at the back of the plane.

However, despite a penchant for blowing up, his pedigree has never been in doubt.

He’s been dubbed the anti-David Moyes, hell-bent on bringing success back to a club still licking its wounds in the wake of its most successful manager – Sir Alex Ferguson – finally spitting out his chewing gum.

Mehmet Scholl has called van Gaal a “genius” and the “best he’s ever seen” on the training ground – and although difficult spells at Bayern and Barca arguably sullied his reputation, it’s clear he’s hungry to build another footballing dynasty in Manchester.

While the current crop of United players will undoubtedly need to adapt, especially in the canteen, van Gaal’s explosive temperament should provide the media with plenty of ammo in his first season in charge of the world’s richest club.

Welcome aboard, Louis, it’s gonna be one hell of a ride …