8 of the Worst Goalkeeper Signings of All Time

Chelsea have a £72m flop on their hands and that’s a really, really bad thing for them. Did you know that there’s only a handful of keepers who have ever been signed for more than £20m? In all of football? So £72m is…………lots. 

He’s going to go down as an all-time flop unless something changes drastically, so let’s have a look back through the archives at other keepers who didn’t live up to the billing. 


Kepa Arrizabalaga to Chelsea

Richarlison,Kepa Arrizabalaga

Alright, I’ll hold my hands up here (unlike Kepa lol), I defended the Kepa signing for about a season and a half. £72m is a vast amount of money, but if you get a decade of a first-choice keeper out of it then it’s a bargain, right? Everyone wins. Plus, relatively inexperienced goalkeepers take time to adapt to English football, and, and…

Scrap it all. Have you ever seen him in person? Not like ‘in the stadium’, actually up close and personal? He’s tiny. He’s Pickford-sized, without even being stocky like the little T-Rex-armed Everton fella is. He’s listed as 6’1, but so’s every 5’11 lad on Tinder. Kepa is only 6’1 in heels. Maybe in studs, standing on hard ground. On his tip-toes. 

He’s got some good qualities as a keeper, but when you do have the shot-stopping deficiencies he very clearly does…the only way to make up for those is physical gifts. He doesn’t have those either. 


Heurelho Gomes to Spurs

Heurelho Gomes,Heurelho Gomes

Gomes’ first season at Spurs saw the club’s goalkeeping coach sacked – with the club in the relegation zone in November – because he kept screwing up. 

He was okay for a bit, between injuries, and then he got sent off against Inter, let bad goals in against Chelsea and Real, and…then Spurs signed a 60-year-old Brad Friedel on a free transfer to supplant him. Don’t think anything more needs to be said. 


Joe Hart to Torino

Joe Hart

How to choose?! Since Gareth Bale broke Joe Hart at Euro 2016, he’s been shunted around clubs for fun, never staying in any one place too long – although he’s made it 18 full months (19 league games) at Burnley now. 

Was the Clarets paying real money for him the worst move? Was it West Ham taking him to displace Adrian (?), him conceding 39 goals in the half-season he played and Adrian conceding 29 in the 19 games of his own once Hart was dropped?

No. It was his first reign of terror in Turin, where the fans initially took to him…then started calling him the ‘Butterfly Catcher’ for the way he would flap wildly at crosses and miss them. Torino conceded the fourth-most goals in the league that season. 


Steve Mandanda to Palace

Middlesbrough v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Steve the Man Panda was done dirty at Crystal Palace. The France international (France international!) had missed four Ligue 1 games across the last eight seasons for Marseille before Crystal Palace swooped in to get a replacement for the ‘shoot below his knees and you’ll score’ stylings of Wayne Hennessey. 

He played nine Premier League games in a row, kept no clean sheets, conceded 17 goals and…never played another Premier League game. All of this after keeping a clean sheet on debut against Blackpool in the League Cup. 

He got binned off at the end of the season, back to Marseille where he immediately became their number one option. No player in Europe’s top five leagues played a higher percentage of their team’s minutes across the 2010s than Mandanda at Marseille. And he was gone for a year!


Claudio Bravo to Man City

Yeah, you remember this. 


Mark Bosnich to Chelsea

Mark Bosnich

Yeah, remember Mark Bosnich? Signed for Chelsea on a free at the start of 2001, didn’t play that season on account of injury and fitness issues. Okay, that’s not great, but…hang on, he was making £45,000 a week for this? In 2001?! Good thing he made up for it later.

Oh. No, he didn’t do that. He played seven games the next season, then got banned and subsequently sacked when he tested positive for cocaine in September 2002. 

Not great. 


Loris Karius to Liverpool

TOPSHOT-FBL-EUR-C1-LIVERPOOL-REAL MADRID

Handsome man. Love Island finalist and post-show influencer career? Bang on. That’s Loris Karius’ career trajectory. 

Problem is that instead of doing any of that, he signed for Liverpool as a professional football goalkeeper – a job he is singularly ill-suited to, on account of him having a giraffe’s brain controlling a human body. 

He conceded 47 goals in 49 Liverpool games. Not awful (although his replacement has conceded 45 in 73…) but it’s all about the Champions League final. Right? Yikes. 


Massimo Taibi to Man Utd

Massimo Taibi

Oh no. The £4.5m signing from Venezia (the Venetian Blind lol) was brought in to compete with Mark Bosnich and Raimond van der Gouw for the spot left vacant by Peter Schmeichel and…played four games. Because he was dreadful. 

He did win the man of the match award on his debut despite setting up a Liverpool goal with a flap at a free kick, but his last three games ended in draws (twice) and a 5-0 defeat to Chelsea. And one of the draws was 3-3 against Southampton. And he let that Matt Le Tissier goal in. 

Bad. 


For more from Chris Deeley, follow him on Twitter at @ThatChris1209!

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