Every transfer window, clubs scramble to pick up the best bargains, often leaving fans brimming with excitement over the latest big-money import.
But, seven months after last summer’s window swung shut, which of those deals have proved to be the worst value for money?
As we reach the business end of the season, Sportsmail takes a look at which summer signings have promised so much but offered so little for their respective clubs.
10 – FERNANDO
Porto to Manchester City
One of two Manchester City entries after a summer which saw Manuel Pellegrini’s side go backwards. Fernando is one-paced, doesn’t impose himself on games and is a man out of his depth, particularly in the Champions League. Porto must’ve laughed all the way to the bank when losing Fernando and Mangala.
9 – RICKIE LAMBERT
Southampton to Liverpool
Who knew that a striker who spent most of his career in the lower divisions probably wasn’t going to be cut out for life at Anfield? Well, quite a few actually. But that didn’t stop Brendan Rodgers taking him from Southampton for £4m last summer.
Perhaps at that price it was worth taking a punt on Lambert but the former Bristol Rovers frontman has had no tangible effect on the side and been reduced to becoming a glorified lump up front in the final moments if Liverpool are chasing a game.
8 – ANGEL DI MARIA
Real Madrid to Manchester United
This list is all relative. If you pay £60m for one of the world’s superstars, there is a reasonable expectation that he wins you a few games; but good performances of Di Maria’s can be counted on one hand and he hasn’t been able to get to grips with English football.
Louis van Gaal has quite rightly persisted with the former Real Madrid man, although we have witnessed just why Carlo Ancelotti wasn’t overly fussed about him leaving the Bernabeu.
Former Real Madrid star Angel di Maria (right) seems to have lost his way at Manchester United
7 – GARETH BARRY
Free agent to Everton
The epitome of everything that’s been wrong at Everton during Roberto Martinez’s tricky second season in charge.
On paper an excellent signing – particularly for free – but Barry’s inability to drive forward from midfield has slowed Everton down. They’re not the most patient lot at Goodison Park and he has been no stranger to the fans’ ire.
6 – MARIO BALOTELLI
AC Milan to Liverpool
It just hasn’t worked, has it? Balotelli’s difficulties at Anfield have actually shone quite the light on how well Roberto Mancini did in charge of the tempestuous striker at Manchester City. The £16m fee sounded a snip at the time, but Rodgers hasn’t been able to get anywhere near what’s required.
The Italian is a completely different player to that fearsome forward of Euro 2012. Move him on.
Mario Balotelli has struggled for a first-team place after several poor performances for Liverpool
The Italian striker has scored just four goals for Liverpool since his summer move from AC Milan
5 – MAURO ZARATE
Velez Sarsfield to West Ham United
The prerequisite to any signing is that they’re capable of buying into whatever ethos that club’s manager has. In this case Sam Allardyce makes his players do a bit of running. Zarate doesn’t do running.
He clearly has the ability required to be a success in the division – the Argentine was hugely impressive on his debut away at Crystal Palace – but he doesn’t appear willing to work on his fitness. Just ask QPR, who contemplated sending the forward back to the Hammers after landing him on loan in January.
Mauro Zarate has made just 11 Premier League appearances for West Ham and QPR
4 – RADAMEL FALCAO
Monaco to Manchester United (loan)
Remember the fuss that was made when Manchester United swooped on deadline day for the Colombian? Seems a long time ago now. It is absurd to think that Van Gaal could even contemplate making the loan move permanent at the end of the season.
Just four goals for a man heralded as one of the best finishers in the business has meant Falcao even got a run out for the Under 21 side a few weeks ago. Does not justify the astronomical wages United pay him.
Colombian striker Radamel Falcao has endured a terrible season at Old Trafford, scoring just four goals
Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal (right) looks likely to end Falcao’s loan spell at the end of the season
3 – RIO FERDINAND
Free agent to QPR
Another one for the QPR conveyor belt of wasted money. The club’s transfer policy of bringing in ‘experienced’ professionals on high wages was perhaps unfortunate when they suffered relegation from the Premier League two years ago, but this time it was downright foolish and has left them in serious financial trouble.
Rio Ferdinand hasn’t been able to find his feet during a relegation battle with Queens Park Rangers
2 – ELIAQUIM MANGALA
Porto to Manchester City
Abysmal. To think Manchester City paid £32m for the central defender beggars belief, and heads will undoubtedly role from a recruitment point of view.
Hasn’t been helped by the continuing slide of Vincent Kompany, but Mangala is supposed to be a big imposing brute of an enforcer and there can be no excuses for a rank average first season in the Premier League.
Rolando Aarons beats Mangala for pace before scoring for Newcastle against City in October, 2014
1 – EMMANUEL RIVIERE
Monaco to Newcastle
He didn’t come cheap, costing more than £5m from Monaco, and for what? Poor misses, the inability to shake off markers and a source of constant frustration for supporters who want their team to attack with gumption.
Seventeen Premier League games without a goal means Riviere has the dubious honour of becoming Sportsmail’s worst signing of the 2014-15 season.
A special mention must go to Siem De Jong as well, who can’t fulfill his duties as a professional footballer by virtue of never-ending injuries. But Riviere pips the Dutchman for some downright disgusting displays.
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