Fulham paid only £2m for Kieran Richardson on deadline day but the midfielder's poor performances over the course of the season underlined the club's failures in the transfer market. Although freebie duo Hugo Rodallega and Mladen Petric found the net only eight times in the Premier League, Richardson stood out as a particularly disappointing signing with Martin Jol questioning the 28-year-old's contribution in March: "He's lacking the spark and a little bit of fitness. Alex Kacaniklic is only 20 and Richardson should be better than him. But he hasn't been. I want him to do well and be better than what I've got." The criticism may have been a blow to Richardson but Jol knows he will also need to do better if Fulham are to avoid another difficult season.
Similar to Richardson at Fulham, Diarra seemed a relatively good piece of business for West Ham when he joined for £2m in August. A France international with more than 40 caps, Diarra was expected to bring quality and experience to the Hammers' midfield as they prepared for life back in the top flight. However, after making just a handful of appearances before Christmas the 31-year-old let Sam Allardyce have both barrels when he revealed his frustrations. "After a few weeks, I realised that there were a lot of lies," said Diarra. "I came to play, not to take an early retirement. I am positively at breaking point. Since my arrival at West Ham, I never spoke with the manager. Every day is 'Hello, goodbye'. There is no dialogue, no explanation." It's no surprise that he was quickly farmed out on loan back to Ligue 1.
It was too obvious to include Scott Sinclair in this list considering almost everyone predicted the winger would play little part in City's season after his £8m move from Swansea. However, a great deal more was expected of Javi Garcia following the Spain international's deadline-day transfer from Benfica. For £16m, City must have expected more bang for their buck but rarely did Garcia justify his price tag during an underwhelming first year in England. Perhaps Manuel Pellegrini (if he's ever confirmed as City's new boss) will squeeze a bigger contribution out of Garcia next season, but at the moment the 26-year-old still has plenty to prove.
After beating Arsenal to the loan signing of Nuri Sahin last summer, Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers were expecting big things from the midfielder. The Reds reportedly paid £2m to secure Sahin - as well as taking on the 24-year-old's wages - but his spell on Merseyside was as disappointing as it was short-lived. The Real Madrid loanee struggled to adapt to the Premier League and looked out of his depth when Arsenal cruised to a 2-0 win at Anfield in September. Sahin was hastily sent back to Spain before re-joining Borussia Dortmund, but there was a sting in the tail for Rodgers. "I did not fail at Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers wanted me to play as a number 10. But I do not play behind the strikers," said Sahin in March. "I talked to him and asked him why he was playing me there. It is not my real position. The coach could not answer me. Thank God I have left Brendan Rodgers."
Although Danny Graham has only been at Sunderland for five months it's no surprise to read rumours that the club are already trying to recoup their £5m outlay. Graham failed to find the net in any of his 13 appearances for the Black Cats since signing in January and his abject displays left Paolo di Canio scratching his head shortly after his appointment. "When I arrived, in my opinion, Danny wasn't really fit enough in terms of playing in the Premier League," said Di Canio. "He had a long face during my first two or three training sessions and I thought 'Can he play football?'" Di Canio tried to lift Graham's confidence by backing the striker to fire Sunderland to safety but it now seems a possible transfer to Middlesbrough would suit all parties.
Fabio Borini and Joe Allen
If you're handed £25m to spend in your first job at a big club it's important not to blow it all on two players with only one full season each at the top level. Brendan Rodgers may have known Fabio Borini and Joe Allen from his time at Swansea, but neither player proved they were worth such heavy investment in their debut campaign at Anfield. Borini may have been unfortunate with injuries but Liverpool will be expecting much more from the forward when he is available next season, while Allen faces a fight to win back his place from Jordan Henderson.
"He's been a massive revelation and it's great credit to Swansea and his upbringing that he has come in here and been arguably our best player," said Rodgers when discussing Allen in October. "And it's great for Liverpool supporters because they were probably not sure of the £15m fee - but they have been surprised. Joe's just got an in-built brain for football and life."
Despite the manager's claims, the jury is still out.
Sam Allardyce can count himself rather fortunate that Davids Gold and Sullivan are willing to hand him a sizeable transfer budget this summer after West Ham found dreadful value in Matt Jarvis and Modibo Maiga last year. Maiga was perhaps worth a punt at £5m following an impressive spell at Sochaux but spending £10.75m to sign Jarvis from relegated Wolves always seemed ridiculous. The past 12 months have seen the winger slip further out of the England picture as he failed to provide a single assist in 32 appearances and, for such a hefty fee, you'd expect a damn sight more.
Esteban Granero and Stephane Mbia
After arguably the worst summer transfer window of any club in Premier League history, it's perhaps quite an achievement that Esteban Granero and Stephane Mbia stood out as particularly poor purchases for QPR. The duo arrived for a combined fee of around £14m but failed to justify their price tags and expensive wages as the Rs dropped into the Championship in embarrassing fashion. Granero finished on the winning side only twice in 27 matches, but Mbia deserves extra credit for confessing that he confused the club with Glasgow Rangers when he first signed, admitting that Mark Hughes didn't know if he was any good, and then tweeting Joey Barton asking to swap clubs so he could re-join Marseille.
Johnson typifies Sunderland's failure to find value in the transfer market in recent years after joining the Black Cats for £10.5m last summer. It was widely thought that Roberto Mancini held Johnson back at Man City but the winger's displays in 2012/13 proved once and for all that he alone was responsible for his lack of playing time at the Etihad. A late burst of form under Paolo di Canio failed to hide Johnson's poor contribution over the course of the season as Sunderland battled relegation. The club's supporters will be hoping for much more consistency from the winger and his teammates next season.
Harry Redknapp may believe QPR can still recoup their £12m outlay on Samba but it's unlikely many clubs will be willing to match the defender's enormous £100,000-a-week wages at Loftus Road. The Rs paid £1.56million (in wages and transfer fee) for each point they gained since signing Samba in January and such a risky gamble on survival always looked foolish. If he stays, QPR will hope Samba leads them back into the top flight at the first attempt, and lord knows they need to win promotion after the financial catastrophe of last season.
This article first appeared on Football365