With another transfer window open, big-money deals are being completed left, right and centre.
In the Premier League alone, Manchester rivals United and City have blasted through the £100 million barrier, along with reigning champions Chelsea. AC Milan have embarked on a lavish recruitment drive in Italy in an effort to recapture former glories, while record-breaking deals are being mooted at La Liga title holders Real Madrid and French giants Paris Saint-Germain.
Splashing the cash is, however, no guarantee of success, as a number of sides have shown down the years. Here, Goal takes a look at 10 of the most disastrous spending sprees.
10. Ajax | 2008 | €35m
The reigning Eredivisie champions broke their transfer record to sign Miralem Sulejmani from Heerenveen, while Dario Cvitanich, Oleguer, Evander Sno and Ismail Aissati weren’t cheap either as they wanted to give new coach Marco van Basten the players he needed to lead them to silverware again. Both Sulejmani and Cvitanich flopped, however, and Ajax had to settle for second place in the end.
9. Real Madrid | 2009 | €260m
The Santiago Bernabeu side lured Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso, Kaka, Raul Albiol and Alvaro Negredo to the Spanish capital as they aimed to end Barcelona’s dominance. Ronaldo, Benzema and Alonso all proved to be excellent signings, yet Kaka's hugely unsuccessful spell left the Madrid hierarchy behind feeling they had wasted €65m.
8. Manchester United | 2014 | €196m
The Red Devils were eager to put a troubled spell under David Moyes firmly behind them as they offered new coach Louis van Gaal some serious backing in the transfer market. The Dutchman was, however, to oversee a squad refresh which delivered mixed results, with Ander Herrera the pick of the bunch. Record signing Angel Di Maria flopped badly, as did expensive loan acquisition Radamel Falcao and Luke Shaw – the world’s most expensive teenager at the time.
7. Liverpool | 2014 | €160m
The Premier League outfit brought in several players following the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona - including Mario Balotelli, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Lazar Markovic and Alberto Moreno. Liverpool were, however, to endure struggles domestically and in the Champions League as their fresh faces failed to spark, with it only recently that the likes of Lallana and Lovren have come good.
6. Juventus | 2009 | €55m
Ever since their return to Serie A in 2007, the Turin giants had been unable to really challenge for the Scudetto. Bringing in Brazilian duo Diego and Felipe Melo plus experienced defender Fabio Grosso was meant to turn them into genuine title contenders again. Things turned out differently, though, as all three flopped at Juve and things only got better when Antonio Conte arrived at the club in 2011.
5. Lazio | 2001 | €120m
The Stadio Olimpico club did not hold back on the transfer market as they dreamed of becoming part of the European elite. Gaizka Mendieta, Darko Kovacevic, Stefano Fiore, Giuliano Giannichedda and Jaap Stam were all brought in and Lazio seemed like genuine contenders. The Spanish midfielder flopped in Serie A, though, while Kovacevic was equally unimpressive. Only the Dutch defender lived up to the high expectations and the Romans failed to win any silverware.
4. Chelsea| 2003 | €155m
Having brought in so many players as Roman Abramovich’s riches were put to good use, there were always going to be some success stories. Deals for Claude Makelele, Damien Duff and Joe Cole delivered rich rewards, but their efforts were countered by the forgettable contributions of Juan Sebastian Veron, Adrian Mutu, Hernan Crespo and Alexey Smertin.
3. Tottenham | 2013 | €150m
The Londoners decided to spend big after cashing in on Gareth Bale and brought in players such as Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela, Vlad Chiriches, Paulinho, Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen. Whereas the Dane has been a success at White Hart Lane and the Welshman moved on for a world-record fee, the same cannot be said for the club’s other high-profile signings, who all failed to live up to the high expectations – with many since moved on.
2. QPR | 2012 | €50m
After only narrowly avoiding relegation in 2011-12, the R's spent big on players like Ji-Sung Park, Jose Bosingwa, Julio Cesar, Esteban Granero, Stephane M'Bia, and Loic Remy. They consequently ended up with the biggest wage budget outside of the Premier League’s top seven, but it was to no avail as they finished 20th and were relegated.
1. Anzhi | 2011 | €115m
The Dagestan side secured the services of Roberto Carlos, Samuel Eto’o, M’bark Boussoufa, Jucilei and Mehdi Carcela amid others as they aimed to shake up the Russian top flight following the arrival of billionaire owner Suleyman Kerimov. They eventually failed to join the Russian elite, though, and were forced to sell all their stars when Kerimov cut their budget, leading to relegation in 2014.