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The English Premier League usually tops the spending on deals, with most of its clubs spending huge sums to strengthen their ranks, but it also tops the list of the worst deals in Europe, with many deals that were useless for the teams that concluded them.

The extravagance of English teams is nothing new. In the 2023 summer transfer window, Premier League clubs spent a staggering £2.36 billion ($2.96 billion) on player purchases in just over two months.

The Football Statistics Network (Squaka) identified the worst English Premier League deals according to four main criteria: the value of the deal, expectations, number of participations with success on the field, and longevity with the club.

  • 1. Senegalese Ali Dia (free deal)

He is classified as the worst football deal in the world, not just in England, and he signed for Southampton fraudulently in 1996 when the team’s coach, Graeme Souness, thought he was a good player.

Dia succeeded in convincing the English club that he is the cousin of the Liberian star and current president of the country, George Weah, through a phone call to the club in which a man claimed that he was Weah, who was the best player in the world at the time.

The club recommended signing Diaa, claiming that he had played with him at Paris Saint-Germain in France, and that he had scored two goals for the Senegal national team the previous week, and that he had also played in the German second division.

None of this was true.

The unassuming 31-year-old was a university student who played semi-professional football at best, in what the press at the time considered the biggest lie in Premier League history.

The club expelled Diaa 14 days after signing the contract after he played in one match as a substitute against Leeds United, and after 32 minutes he was replaced after his poor performance appeared.

Ali Zia is classified as the worst football deal in the world (social networking sites)

  • 2. Argentine Ricky Alvarez (10 million pounds sterling)

The Argentine player joined on loan from Inter Milan in 2014, and was then signed permanently for more than 10 million euros.

But Sunderland refused to pay, claiming that pre-existing problems with the player's left knee, then suffering a new injury to his right knee, should invalidate the deal.

The midfielder ended up joining Sampdoria on a free, but Sunderland were forced to pay his transfer fee for literally nothing.

The amount even doubled due to the fines imposed on the club, according to the British newspaper Daily Mail.

  • 3. Belgian Romelu Lukaku (97.5 million pounds sterling)

Despite impressing for Manchester United, Lukaku returned to Chelsea in 2021 for a club record fee.

The club had just won the Champions League, and the hope was that they could support the team to win the Premier League title in the 2021-2022 season.

His first few matches were very promising, and the club looked like a new contender to shake the throne of Manchester City.

But the lack of time with the team in pre-season meant he struggled with fitness and communicating with teammates, according to The Athletic.

They have conceded 8 league goals for that record sum.

Lukaku scored only 8 goals for Chelsea in the English Premier League (Reuters)

  • 4. Englishman Danny Drinkwater (35 million pounds sterling)

In August 2017, Chelsea signed Drinkwater, who was close to moving to the English national team, but he disappointed the Blues fans and scored only one goal during the 23 matches he played with the team over 5 full seasons, before his contract expired and he left in the summer of 2022. But the player went out during that era for several periods on loan to other clubs.

The player did not last long after that, as he announced his retirement the following year without anyone noticing it.

Drinkwater (left) in 2018 in a Chelsea shirt (Getty)

  • 5. Chilean Alexis Sanchez (35 million pounds sterling + Henrikh Mkhitaryan)

Manchester United believed that it had won from Arsenal to complete this deal in 2014, and included the best player in the “Gunners” for a lot of money, in addition to its player, Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

The Guardian reports that United were paying Sanchez £391,000 per week, an annual signing bonus of £1.1m, and £75,000 for every match he played.

So, if you do the math, that works out to £3.3m just for playing for the club, not to mention the weekly wage package or huge signing bonus.

But after all this extravagance, Sanchez appeared at a modest level, as he was content with scoring only 5 goals during 45 matches with the Red Devils, leaving without regret.

Source: websites