Goal.com Special: 10 Worst Premier League Transfers 2008-09

It's that time of year again, as Goal.com's Sulmaan Ahmad looks back on some of the more forgetful signings of the season...
The Premier League has continued to eclipse its competitors in the transfer market this season, but shrewd acquisitions continue to be few and far between all across the board.

What has distinguished this season from last is that the bottom clubs have generally spent what little money they have quite well, while the big clubs have recruited less than in previous years.

Most foreign imports have settled better than usual, while many of the season's biggest disappointments have been domestic deals and particularly British players.

Any coach, player or chairman will try and put a positive spin on their bad buys, but when they can't even get in the team, fail to live up to their price tag, don't fit into the tactical setup or even end up lasting less than a season, it's time for one and all to hold their hands up.

But they don't - so I'll do it for them.

10) David N'Gog (Paris Saint-Germain to Liverpool - £1.5m)

When most people hear the name David N'Gog, they laugh. Try it now. Why is it so funny? It might be that some of a less cultured tongue pronounce it 'Enn-Gogg' - which admittedly has an amusing sort of sound to it - but the average football fan is far more likely to be baffled by just how the young striker ended up playing for Liverpool despite not being very good at playing football.

He is a young, tall and fast striker and didn't cost a lot. It was 'touch N'Gog' (that's how you say his name) over whether to even include him on the list - we could all yet be proven wrong - but thus far, the Frenchman has only succeeded at looking woefully out of his depth. And it's not as if he had even proven anything at the point Rafa Benitez snapped him up from PSG.

He has essentially become Fernando Torres' deputy at Anfield for several stretches this season, and upon failing to impress, is likely to be shunted down the pecking order this summer.

9) Younes Kaboul (Tottenham Hotspur to Portsmouth - £6m)

And we have a repeat-entry! Down one place from last year is the big man who continues to command fairly big money but doesn't seem to be all that good. He flopped at Tottenham last season and now at Portsmouth, a club so short of cash, he has failed to live up to his £6m billing (though the official fee remains undisclosed).

It seems, though, he may have at least found a home at Fratton Park. Maybe. Pompey don't quite have the money to throw away that Spurs do and thus they will want to get as much value out of their man as is possible.

He can hit a mean shot, and has grabbed a couple of headlines off the back of his big goals, but lest we forget he is a defender. He hasn't quite worked out that part of his game yet.

8) Dave Kitson (Reading to Stoke City - £5.5m)

Dave Kitson was signed by Stoke for a club record transfer fee. He would be the bright spark of Premier League experience in front of goal to keep the Potters in the top flight.

Well, he's here, so suffice to say it didn't work out. The only thing bright about Kitson at Stoke was his hair, and he can't take credit for his genetics.

It's safe enough to say he's just not in the Stoke mould. He's something of a late bloomer, a classy striker and without doubt a good player, but Stoke are another type of team altogether. He didn't blend into his surroundings, to say the least.

He played 18 games and didn't score a single goal - and so he went back on loan to Reading. Even Steve Coppell managed to crack a smile and squeal out a laugh at this sorry state of affairs. Win-win.

7) Andrew Johnson (Everton to Fulham - £10.5m)

Another striker, another club record signing and another one who has some kind of aversion to scoring goals. It goes without saying that if Fulham as a team hadn't been doing so well, then AJ would have found himself much, much higher up the list. Luckily for him, the Cottagers haven't had to score a lot to win.

He has worked hard and never looked completely out of his depth, but he may as well have been Steve Marlet. Bobby Zamora may not have scored a lot either, but he was half the price and has been considerably more valuable an outlet for the team all season. Make no bones about it: Johnson is a flop. He doesn't even have the time-honoured excuse of being a youngster and being able to grow into his talents.

The fact there was such a debacle over completing his signing after the medical scare should have been the sign that the usually shrewd Roy Hodgson needed to call off the deal, but he didn't. It will be interesting to see whether the Hodge is willing to swallow his pride and replace his big-money man this summer. After all, one transfer window of tremendous work from the experienced coach turned Fulham into a decent team - imagine what another could do?

6) Xisco (Deportivo La Coruna to Newcastle United - £5.7m)

It's been quite a season on Tyneside. A power struggle of some description between former recruitment man Tony Jimenez, director of football Dennis Wise and part-time coach, part-time Messiah Kevin Keegan culminated in a comical beginning to this season (and it has since, like any good comedy, only gotten funnier).

Xisco was one of Jimenez's men, brought in for a fairly substantial amount of money and not given much of a fair shake. He's never been the best prospect in the world, or even close for that matter, but to end up fifth choice at the club, even behind Shola Ameobi, means you're doing something, somewhere, incredibly wrong.

5) Jo (CSKA Moscow to Manchester City - £19m)

Something about this move seemed wrong from the beginning. Right player, wrong club. He was never worth the reported £19m anyway, and following his bumpy start that found him in and out of the side, he was loaned out to Everton.

There, he is finding his feet, but David Moyes has already suggested he cannot afford to sign him, which suggests City will either be stuck with a player they don't want or taking a significant loss on him this summer when they sell him on. Big money, bad business - the two go hand-in-hand.

He's still young, but he will never be Drogba. Admittedly, his touch of Brazilian flair means that magic can be produced at any given moment, but for the most part he really is just your average Jo.

4) Deco (Barcelona to Chelsea - £8m)

Many fancied themselves as real experts when Chelsea snapped up Deco from Barcelona. A real bargain. A top-quality flair player. Just what they need. The 'missing piece'.

They must have felt so proud of themselves two or three games into the season, while the Portuguese international was still fresh, fit and enjoying the sunshine. Consistency is another matter altogether.

The days are long gone that Deco can battle from one end of the season to another, and thus he was never, ever going to go the distance in the Premier League. He is what many in England would consider a luxury player. Quite why he snubbed Inter, a team he would have slotted into with far more ease, to join up with 'Big Phlop' Scolari is beyond pretty much everybody.

The funniest thing of all about the signing was Chelsea buying a third egotistical attacking midfielder for one position. Admittedly, Guus Hiddink has found a good place for Ballack alongside Lampard within his current setup, but there was never going to be a place for Deco. Not now, not ever - he should, if he has any sense, get out at the first available opportunity.

3) Marlon: A King-Size Flop

Roy Hodgson is still breathing a never-ending sigh of relief. Not only has he transformed Fulham from relegation battlers to Europa League contenders, but we can't forget that he was moments away from signing Marlon King, only for the big man to fail Fulham's notoriously stringent medical.

He is a powerful striker with one hell of a shot on him, but if you believe what you read, he'd much rather spend his time hitting women and only using his head to butt Dean Windass in a Scarborough casino. Football is an afterthought.

Wigan picked him up from Watford, Hull then loaned him from the Latics and after his disastrous spell there, he went down another rung to a hopeless Middlesbrough side.

Think of him as Stan Collymore without quite so much talent. Who knows where he'll end up next season, that is if he manages to stay out of jail.

2) David Bentley (Blackburn Rovers to Tottenham Hotspur - £15m)

People never really realised how hard it was being David Beckham until they prematurely decided that a man with the same name, same haircut (well, Becks must have had it at some point) and a similar playing style will automatically fill his shoes on the international stage and realised just how catastrophically wrong they were.

David Bentley isn't even as good as an ageing David Beckham is now - what makes anybody think that will ever change? He has indisputable ability, but lacks the world class quality of his predecessor and doesn't seem to be progressing as many expected he would, either.

He signed for his supposed 'dream club', Tottenham, for a substantial initial fee of £15m and unless his goal of the season contender against Arsenal - the club that snubbed him as a youth and of course Spurs' greatest rivals - is worth all that, then he's still an unbridled flop. He has a lot more work to do.

1) Robbie Keane (Tottenham Hotspur to Liverpool - £19m)

Was Robbie Keane really Rick Parry's signing, or was that Rafa Benitez's last-ditch attempt at saving face once he realised his monumental error? When you think bad transfers, you generally tend to think Spurs. They're usually involved. But Liverpool fans will be cursing their luck for being on the wrong end of this one.

This was Rafa's fourth or fifth 'last piece of the puzzle' signing, the dream partner for Fernando Torres, a player of proven Premier League quality joining his dream club ... what went wrong?

Two words: Steven Gerrard. Benitez has finally found a system that puts Gerrard where he belongs - in attacking midfield - which is a system that only accommodates one striker, and that of course is Fernando Torres. It's true, Keane would be a dream partner for 'El Nino', but he can't compete with the club captain. It was never going to work. Stevie was never going to settle for right wing again (and why should he?) while Rafa wouldn't be quite so courageous as to put him in central midfield and risk over-exposing his side.

The only way Keane and Gerrard could have ever co-existed is if the Reds adopted a similar system to England, with the only problem there being that Keane, while good, isn't exactly Wayne Rooney when it comes to an all-round range of abilities, not to mention telepathic understanding with Stevie G.

It just wasn't meant to be, and humiliatingly, the Reds sold Keane back to Spurs in January, making a loss of anywhere between £6-8m. Oh well, there's always next year.

Sulmaan Ahmad, Goal.com