Shaqiri beware - Seven Premier League signings that were too good to be true

Xherdan Shaqiri

The £12 million signing of Xherdan Shaqiri sent shockwaves through the Premier League, but will he end up like these big fish in small ponds?

There can be little debate as to what the biggest signing of the summer in the Premier League has been so far, with the arrival of Xherdan Shaqiri at Stoke City sending social media into meltdown.

In the former Bayern Munich and Inter Milan winger, the Potters have certainly recruited a world-class star with the potential to take the team to the next level.

But Stoke are not the first side to be seemingly punching above their weight with a blockbuster signing – here are seven memorable arrivals who DID turn out to be too good to be true.

Mario Jardel – Bolton Wanderers

A bargain signing by Sam Allardyce back in the summer of 2003, the recruitment of the Brazilian striker was seen as a major coup by Trotter fans, given that Jardel had claimed the European Golden Boot as top scorer on the continent in the 2001-02 season.

The numbers certainly justified the excitement – Jardel scored 67 in 62 for previous club Sporting – but upon arrival it became clear that he was a long way from the player that had so impressed in Portugal.

Unfit, overweight and nursing niggling injury problems, he would make just 11 appearances for Bolton, scoring three goals for the Trotters. Left for Italy after less than a season.

Finidi George – Ipswich Town

After finishing fifth in the Premier League during the 2000-01 campaign, George Burley spent big the following summer in a bid to ensure the Tractor Boys maintained their status as top-flight upstarts - with Nigeria World Cup hero Finidi George the headline recruit.

Signed from Real Mallorca for £3.1 million, as reported by the Guardian, the winger started well enough at Portman Road with a goal in a 3-1 win over Derby early in the campaign.

But the Nigerian's form, like that of the Tractors Boys, suffered a major decline and when Ipswich's relegation was confirmed on the final day, the African attacker was on borrowed time. He was eventually released in the summer of 2003.

Robinho – Manchester City

Long before the days when City fans were accustomed to big money signings, Real Madrid forward Robinho arrived at the Etihad following a summer spent flirting with their Premier League rivals Chelsea.

The first big signing of the Abu Dhabi United Group's reign, Robinho started well enough with a goal on his debut against Chelsea of all people and, in truth, the Brazilian enjoyed a solid first season with the Sky Blues, scoring 15 goals in all competitions.

But after returning to the club in the 2009-10 season, it was clear that the Selecao favourite was far from happy at the Etihad and demonstrated as much through his performances on the pitch for City. Loaned to Santos in January never to return to City again.

Afonso Alves – Middlesbrough

Though it's easy to snigger at the idea of Alves featuring on this list, it's important to remember that Boro's £12.5 million signing in the January of 2008 - as reported by the Telegraph - was flavour of the month in Europe, having made headlines with previous club Heerenveen.

In October of the previous year, the Brazilian had hit seven goals in one Eredivisie fixture and averaged exactly a goal a game for the Dutch outfit during a two-season spell, claiming the Eredivisie top scorer crown for the 2006-07 campaign.

But in two seasons with the Teesiders, he managed just 13 goals in 47 games and when Middlesbrough dropped down into the Championship, he moved on to Al-Sadd in Qatar.

Dani Osvaldo – Southampton

The signing of Osvaldo from AS Roma for £12.9 million plus add-ons in the summer of 2013 - as reported by the Daily Echo - was seen as a major signal of intent from the newly-promoted Saints, with the Italy international boasting plenty in the way of pedigree.

Osvaldo had scored 21 in 46 for Espanyol before heading to Rome, where he racked up 28 in 57, but in the first half of his debut campaign with Southampton, the Argentina-born forward found the net just three times in 13 appearances.

With a bad boy reputation garnered during his time in Serie A, things soon turned sour in England with Osvaldo first suspended by the Premier League for a touchline fracas during a game against Newcastle and then by his club after a fight with Jose Fonte in training.

He was loaned to Juventus and after a series of temporary moves elsewhere, his Southampton contract was terminated.

Carlos Tevez & Javier Mascherano – West Ham

Brought to West Ham United in the summer of 2007, then-manager Alan Pardew was delighted to have landed two of South America's brightest young stars – but it would not last.

With Pardew sacked before the end of the season, the Hammers became embroiled in a relegation dogfight, while Mascherano continued to struggle for form.

Tevez fared better, though, scoring the decisive winner for the Iron against future employers Manchester United on the final day. But neither player would remain with the Hammers for long and the entire incident nearly proved costly for the club.

They may have been forced to pay Sheffield United compensation as a direct result of the deal, but it was still a bullet most definitely dodged.

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