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.