9. Pablo Barrientos, from FC Moscow to Catania (undisclosed)
Perhaps more than being an actual ‘flop’ Pablo Barrientos’ arrival at the Sicilian club can be characterized as curious at absolute best. After spending two seasons in Russia with FC Moscow the Argentine born Barrientos was loaned back to his club of origin San Lorenzo. It was there that Barrientos found some of his best form and began impressing clubs back in Europe. Catania took a shot on the attacking midfielder and purchased him outright. But, as of round 36 of the Serie A season, Barrientos is yet to make his debut for the Sicilians. Surely a club sitting near the bottom of the league though assured of safety can’t look at playing the 25 year old as too big a risk, could they? Curious indeed.
8. Bernardo Corradi, from Reggina to Udinese (free)
When 33 year old Bernardo Corradi joined Udinese in the summer of 2009 from relegated Reggina on a free transfer, Pasquale Marino surely had to believe he was adding a bit of attacking insurance to his already solid squad. Corradi spent a fairly successful season in 2008/2009 at Reggina netting 10 goals from 30 games played. The tall, strong center forward’s abilities were seen as a potentially nice compliment to the likes of Antonio Di Natale, Antonio Floro Flores and Simone Pepe. Questions arose however about Corradi early on this campaign as fitness problems saw him experience little playing time. Few could forget the two miserable seasons the Italian spent at Manchester City, before joining Reggina, where he could manage only three goals in two years. This season at Udinese has appeared more like the two Corradi spent at the Eastlands club as he has managed only 12 appearances (mostly as a substitute) and has seen him fail to score a single goal. Perhaps the only consolation for Udinese regarding the Corradi deal, was that it was at least free.
7. Oguchi Onyewu, from Standard Liege to Milan (free)
When Oguchi Onyewu signed a three year contract with AC Milan on July 7, 2009 U.S. soccer history was made as Onyewu became the first American international to sign for a club as big as Milan. Milan’s manager Leonardo called Onyewu ‘pure athletic talent’ and said that the American defender did not come to Milan just to ‘sit on the bench’ Unfortunately that is a ll the player has done since his arrival having failed to play a single game for Milan this term. Onyewu has been injured, to be fair, for most of the season and is only now starting to regain his fitness. However, one wonders just how much of an impact he will make over the remaining two y ears of his contract, or if he will be there to see them out at all.
6. Fabio Cannavaro, from Real Madrid to Juventus (free)
The fact that Fabio Cannavaro’s transfer to Juventus from Real Madrid in the summer was a free transfer has proven to be no consolation for either the club or the Italian national team Captain. Cannavaro was installed as Giorgio Chiellini’s partner in central defense, replacing Nicola Legrottaglie who held the same position last season. The translation? Juventus, this campaign, have conceded more goals and lost more games than the club has for over 40 years. The season long stubbornness of Cannavaro’s constant selection in the starting lineup has no doubt stunted the development of Chiellini and is threatening, with two games remaining in the season, to contribute to what could be the club’s worst defensive record in history. Cannavaro retiring or moving on is a must for Juventus for next season.
5. Fabio Quagliarella, from Udinese to Napoli (13 million Euros)
Fabio Quagliarella has long been considered one of Italy’s most exciting up and coming talents. Having enjoyed success at Sampdoria and Udinese before joining Napoli in the summer, Quagliarella came with high expectations. Only nine goals in 32 appearances so far however has been quite a disappointment. In a season that has seen a wide open race for the coveted fourth and final Champions League spot for next season, Napoli have failed to pose a real threat to cracking into the top four and a lot of that is down to Quagliarella’s inconsistent performances. At a little more than a million Euros per goal so far this season, Napoli have surely overpaid for Quagliarella’s services. His inclusion in Marcello Lippi’s provisional squad for a two-day training camp this week ahead of next month’s World Cup is surely to do with the player’s potential and not this season’s performances. If it’s potential that Napoli has paid for however, one would be hard pressed to argue that they have experienced a fair return for their investment. At least so far.
4. Felipe Melo, from Fiorentina to Juventus (25 million Euros)
Despite the fact that the 25 million Euros that Juventus spent to bring the midfielder in during the summer is broken down as 20.5 million in actual cash plus 4.5 million in consideration for Marco Marchionni whom Juventus sent the other way in the deal, the truth is Juventus have gotten very little in return from the Brazilian. A lack of discipline this season (Melo leads Juve in both yellow and red cards) has directly contributed to both Melo’s poor season and his club’s miserable form throughout the campaign. Perhaps the most puzzling thing about Melo’s poor form this season is the fact that while playing for Brazil he looks an entirely different player. He’s almost the national team’s best player at times. There is no doubting Melo’s talent and potential but he has yet to prove he is worth the transfer fee Juve shelled out for his services.
3. Mauro Zarate, from Al-Sadd to Lazio (20.2 million Euros)
The 23 year old Argentinian striker spent 2008/2009 with Lazio on loan. His 13 goals in 36 games played in all competitions prompted the Roman side to sign the player permanently from Qatari League side Al-Sadd, which they did in June. Zarate’s deal with Lazio includes a 60 million Euro buyout clause. Zarate has appeard in 30 games for Lazio so far this season and has scored just three times. Lazio find themselves barely above the relegation zone with two games left to play and Zarate’s horrible season has contributed to the club’s season long woes. Zarate has yet to be capped by the senior Argentine side and this season’s form will likely delay any chances he has in representing his country any time soon.
2. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, from Real Madrid to Milan (24 million Euros)
Following a miserable half season in Spain with Real Madrid, Huntelaar joined Milan in the summe rof 2009 as a player the club hoped would help fill the void left by Kaka’s move in the other direction. Huntelaar has appeared 21 times this season for Milan and has scored just seven times. The Dutchman’s dip in form has seen him fall out of favor with the Dutch national team. Huntelaar has been linked with a move away from the San Siro sinceall the way back in the winter. A third club in two and a half years however would certainly not suit the player’s development. Despite showing enormous potential as a youndtser in Holland his first season in Milan has been a large disappointment.
1. Diego, from Werder Bremen to Juventus (25 million Euros)
It would be totally unfair to blame Juventus’ problems this season completely on Diego and despite the fact that he has shown moments of absolute brilliance this season, Juve’s investment is however, yet to be repaid at all. There is no denying the Brazilian’s ability and many believe that the 25 year old does possess the quality needed to be able to lead Juventus to bigger and better things. Twenty five million Euros however is a lot of money for a player to lead a side that will finish outside of the Champions League places this season and is yet to clinch a spot in next year’s Europa League with two games to play. Diego has returned with just four goals in the 23 games he’s played this season and at times has found it difficult to co-exist on the field with Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero. Diego has pressed a bit at times and a complete turnaround in form, say next season, is certainly a strong possibility. But the five year contract Diego signed back in June definitely makes this deal look like a total flop so far.