If Miram Pjanic is to be believed then Edin Dzeko will follow the sky-blue bricked road all the way to Abu Dhabi…sorry I mean Manchester, to hook up with Roberto and his crew for the princely sum of £34million, which would break the British transfer record. Read more.
Being mega, mega expensive isn’t usually a blessing in British football though, as we look at the five most expensive signings in British football and how badly each of them has done.
1. Robinho (Real Madrid to Man City, £32.5m, 2008)
It really is a case of where do you start with this Brazilian misfit. Even before he signed you kind of got an inkling that Eastlands wasn’t his destination of choice, explaining how happy he was to have joined Chelsea. Ok now that could be forgiven, as could his first season’s form which was patchy-ish – maybe like a thin fog covering over the Northern city – the same fog which he was particularly averse to away from home. Then came the second season and the ball really did drop. The first bomb-shell to reach Camp Tantrum was the sale of his BFFs, number one and two on his MySpace friends list, and listed as siblings on Facebook – Elano, and Jo. Bomb-shell two – replacement Brazilian friends were not sought out. Solution? Loan move to Santos in January, mediocre World Cup, finds himself back at City. Verdict: Flop
2. Andriy Shevchenko (Milan to Chelsea, £30.8m, 2006)
This transfer really does illustrate why the owner doesn’t buy the players, in a massive way. Knowing how Carlo Ancelotti likes his old timers Sheva might have even bagged himself a few games under the Italian, but the time he spent at Stamford Bridge was nothing short of a disaster. He came to London as perhaps the best striker on the continent and left, a mere shadow of his former self. The Ukrainian scored on his debut, and then proceeded to bare all the hallmarks of a journeyman football league forward, and was even tried out at defensive midfield such was the loss of pace experienced. Shevchenko is one of the best strikers of this generation, but he simply couldn’t cut it at the highest level in England. He now plays back at his beloved Dynamo Kiev. Verdict: Flop
3. Dimitar Berbatov (Tottenham to Man Utd, £30.75m, 2008)
Watching the Bulgarian playing football you get the impression that he’d much rather be strolling through the local park walking the dog, with a cigarette in hand, and I’m sure if they allowed smoking on the pitch he’d be the first to adopt it. Where’s it all gone wrong for Berbatov though? Well the truth is it really hasn’t. He’s roundly criticised by his own fans but it’s been continually shown that the system doesn’t work for him. Move him to another club where another striker complements him then he’d return to the form he enjoyed at Spurs. Don’t say it too loudly but Berbatov with new signing Javier Hernandez could be a better partnership than anything Rooney might muster up. Verdict: Flop.
4. Rio Ferdinand (Leeds to Man Utd, £29.1m, 2002)England’s captain holds the distinction of being the only one amongst this group to be a defender, and to be from this country, and is also the best player to emerge from this group of quintuplets. Ferdinand’s move across the Pennines was booed and jeered by Leeds fans, but Peter Ridsdale had seen that they couldn’t afford to keep him. Nonetheless Ferdinand is no angel and, as his missed drugs test showed, Man Utd could have been looking at an expensive mistake. Although Rio has continued to mature as a player, and when both him and Nemanja Vidic are fit they possess arguably the best centre back pairing in England. He may well have been fairly good value at £29.1m, he’s still a muppet though. Verdict: Good buy.
5. Juan-Sebastian Veron (Lazio to Man Utd, £28.1m, 2001)
How does Alex Ferguson have such a knack for signing one good player, then one bad, one good, one bad, and so on. The Argentine was probably one of the latter, but don’t let Alex here you say it. His assessment at the conclusion of the 2001-02, after media criticism, was: “He is a fucking great player, and you’re all fucking idiots.” Veron did prove this in his second season, although injuries eventually took their toll and Fergie bit off Chelsea’s hand, and arm up to the elbow, for the £15million they offered for the midfielder. From there Veron moved on to Inter, and now finds himself back in his homeland. Following his expensive time in England he lies third in the all-time list of total transfer money garnered (£77million) for a player behind Nicolas Anelka (£85million) and Cristiano Ronaldo (£92.35million). Verdict: Flop.
So if Dzeko does move to the Premier League, City fans would be right to be cautious when it comes to expecting goals galore. They’d be more likely to find goals by re-signing Bradley Wright-Phillips and reuniting the bros.