Leeds, Newcastle, West Ham and Manchester United feature in this round-up of dreadful temporary additions.
West Ham are the latest club to find that loan signings do not always work out. Gokhan Tore and Simone Zaza have flattered to deceive for the Hammers so far, with some reports even suggesting that they could be sent back to their parent clubs early.
Slaven Bilic is far from the only manager to sign a dud on loan, however. Below is a list of five of the worst temporary signings that have been made in the Premier League.
Roque Junior (AC Milan – Leeds, 2003/04)
When Leeds fans heard that a World Cup winning centre half was on his way from Milan to bolster their leaky defence under Peter Reid, they must have been delighted. Roque Junior had played in the previous season’s Champions League final for the Italian giants, but looked like a fish out of water as soon as he arrived at Elland Road.
His debut set the tone as United went down 4-0 at Leicester, but his home bow against Birmingham just five days later plumbed new depths. He was sent off after conceding a penalty in the closing stages, and the Whites went down to a 2-0 defeat which left Leeds supporters wondering how this man had won a World Cup medal just over a year previously.
Overall, Leeds conceded 24 goals in the seven Premier League games that the Brazilian played in. Not even a brace against arch-enemies Manchester United in the League Cup was enough to win the fans round, and he bowed out in fitting style as Leeds were thumped 6-1 at Portsmouth in what turned out to be his final game for the club.
Ignacio Gonzalez (Valencia – Newcastle, 2008/09)
Newcastle have form when it comes to dreadful loanees; Luuk de Jong couldn’t hit a barn door during his ill-fated spell in 2014, while many on Tyneside still wonder whether Facundo Ferreyra – signed from Shakhtar ahead of the 2014/15 season – actually existed.
Topping the lot, however, is Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Gonzalez, brought in from Valencia in the summer of 2008. The signing was made against the wishes of manager Kevin Keegan, with then Director of Football Dennis Wise reported to have signed the player on the basis of watching him on YouTube, as was reported by the Shields Gazette during Keegan’s constructive dismissal case.
Frustrated by goings on at the club, Keegan quit St James’ Park just four days after Gonzalez signed. The Urugayan then played just twice for the Magpies – a toxic 2-1 home defeat to Hull and a 3-1 reverse at West Ham – and was never seen again as the Tyneside outfit slipped to relegation at the end of the season.
Grant Holt (Wigan – Aston Villa, 2014)
Quite why Paul Lambert decided that an aging frontman with just two goals to his name in the season thus far was the man to fire Villa to safety is up for debate, but the Scot identified Grant Holt as the answer and brought him to the West Midlands from Wigan in January 2014.
The striker’s powers were on the wane after an excellent spell at Norwich, and he scored just once in 10 games for Villa as they slipped down the table and came close to dropping out of the Premier League. Villa won just twice in matches Holt appeared in, and he was sent back to Wigan at the end of the season.
Holt can’t be blamed for making the move to Villa Park; they remain the biggest club he has played for, and he produced some committed performances. He was never going to have the quality to go down in Villa folklore, however, and his meagre goal return sees the Englishman take his place on this list.
Antonio Nocerino (AC Milan – West Ham, 2014)
West Ham fans expected so much more from the Italian midfielder, who arrived at Upton Park from AC Milan with over 200 Serie A appearances under his belt and a Euro 2012 runners up medal achieved with his country.
What followed was a huge anti-climax for the Hammers faithful, who saw Nocerino fail to impress in his 10 appearances for the club, eight of which came from the bench. The Italian midfielder didn’t find the net during his brief West Ham career, and picked up three yellow cards.
Having been signed alongside compatriot Marco Borriello, the Italian duo became Sam Allardyce’s equivalent of the Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano signings in 2006. The similarities didn’t end there, with both Mascherano and Nocerino losing their places in the team to journeyman English midfielders; whereas the Argentine lost out to Nigel Reo-Coker, Nocerino fell behind Matt Taylor in the pecking order and returned to his parent club at the end of the season.
Radamel Falcao (Monaco – Man Utd, 2014/15, Monaco – Chelsea, 2015/16)
It is easy to forget now what a feared striker Falcao was during his time with Porto and Atletico Madrid. He scored 142 goals in four seasons between 2009 and 2013, but disaster struck shortly after his move to Monaco when he suffered a severe anterior cruciate ligament injury.
The Colombian was on the comeback trail when Manchester United made a dramatic move to sign him on deadline day in 2014. Supporters were thrilled at the prospect of Falcao joining forces with Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, but the striker scored just four times for Louis van Gaal’s side and ended up representing the club’s under-21 side.
Not deterred by a less than prolific season at Old Trafford, Chelsea stepped in to take Falcao on loan ahead of the 2015/16 campaign. He made just one start for the Blues, however, and was not given much of a chance to impress despite the club’s terrible start under Jose Mourinho. One goal, several injuries and a 14-minute final cameo at Swansea later, Falcao was sent back to Monaco at the end of the season.