The transfer window in football is a fascinating time in the game. Players switch clubs, sometimes even rivals, all of which adds more spice to the game.
Several clubs flex their muscles in the transfer market to showcase their wealth while some spend cash lavishly to chase success during the season. Records are broken rather frequently in terms of money when it comes to the transfer window.
While some players prove to be huge hits, others fade away into darkness. There are also those who come for big money but fail to live up to their reputation. On that note, let’s take a look at the five worst football transfers of all time.
5. Harry Maguire (Leicester City to Manchester United : €87 million)
In 2019, Manchester United shelled out a record sum of money to sign Harry Maguire. Signed for €87m, he became the most expensive defender in the game after joining Old Trafford from Leicester City.
He did well in his early days under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and was promoted to team captain soon after. However, things have gone downhill since then for the English defender.
Blatant errors, some repeated frequently, have put him in the bad books of most Manchester United fans. His overall gameplay has come under immense scrutiny, with Maguire now a troll favorite for football fans.
His signing fee has only added to the pressure, resulting in Maguire being rated as a very poor transfer. His confidence has been hit, leading him to commit even more errors on the pitch with his basic gameplay.
4. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid to FC Barcelona : €120 million)
Griezmann rose to prominence at Atletico Madrid under the coaching of Diego Simeone. The Frenchman came close to winning the Ballon d’Or and lost the Champions League final twice against Real Madrid. He did guide France to World Cup glory in 2018 and it raised his stock even further.
It led to the Frenchman being signed by Barcelona in 2019 for a sum of €120m. A lot was expected from the winger, who was tasked with partnering Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi upfront for the Catalan club.
However, the player had to spend large chunks of his time on the pitch off the ball – something he was not used to at Atletico Madrid. Griezmann was the heartbeat in attack at Atletico but had to surrender that role to Messi once he joined Barca.
It did not help that he was also played out of position on several occasions. He was eventually dropped to the bench in favor of youngster Ansu Fati. Griezmann’s torrid journey at the club came to a pause last season when he was loaned back to Atletico Madrid.
A signing that was supposed to carry forward the beacon of Barca has now found himself loaned out by the Blaugrana.
3. Eden Hazard (Chelsea to Real Madrid : €100 million)
Real Madrid wanted to replace Cristiano Ronaldo by signing Eden Hazard. They paid Chelsea a handsome fee of €100m in 2019 upfront along with bonuses to transfer the Belgian to Santiago Bernabeu.
He was in red hot form when the winger made the switch from London to Madrid. It was also a dream transfer for the Belgian captain and the stage seemed set for Real Madrid’s new no. 7 to script his own legacy for Los Blancos.
However, the transfer has completely imploded for both Madrid and Hazard. The player has been plagued with injuries and fitness issues. It affected his performance and confidence on the pitch.
The Hazard who once felt confident enough to dance past rigorous Premier League defenses, appeared as a shadow of himself, making tame backward passes to his teammates.
It has been three years since he signed for Los Blancos but Hazard is yet to play an El Clasico – it shows the lack of impact he has made at the club. With Vinicius Jr. now having made the spot his own on the left flank, it appears unlikely that a 31-year-old Hazard will be able to roll back the years in European football.
2. Phillipe Coutinho (Liverpool to FC Barcelona : €120 million)
The Brazilian playmaker was an unstoppable player in the Premier League. He was the chief troublemaker for oppositions during his days with Liverpool.
He left for Barca while at the top of his game for a fee of €120m in 2018. At Nou Camp, Coutinho was expected to take over the mantle from the legendary Andres Iniesta. However, he failed to adjust to the Spanish league.
Moreover, being constantly played out of position on the left flank, Coutinho lost his confidence and form in front of goal. His magic was missing and it eventually faded.
The player was subsequently loaned out to clubs like Bayern Munich and Aston Villa before securing a permanent transfer to the Villans this summer. for a reported fee of €20m.
1. Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan to Chelsea : €115 million)
This was supposed to be Romelu Lukaku’s homecoming. After failing to prove his worth first time around at the club, long-term Chelsea fan Lukaku was expected to redeem his position at the club.
Signed at the peak of his powers from Inter Milan for a club-record transfer fee of €115m, Lukaku was supposed to be the final missing piece in Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea jigsaw.
He made a fast start to life at Stamford Bridge but an injury started a terrible spiral for the Belgian forward at the club. He did himself no favors by going on air a few months later and openly admitting his desire to return to Inter Milan.
Lukaku further irked Chelsea emotions by saying that he initially preferred to stay back at Inter that summer or even seek a transfer to other big clubs like Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The Belgian forward ended up making 44 appearances for the club, scoring 15 goals in total. He has been loaned back to Inter Milan after just one season with the Blues.