Everton has been a staple of England’s top division in football for well over a century now, and much of that is thanks to signing the right players. However, over the years, Everton has made some signing blunders. Here are our picks for the five worst signings in Everton history. Before we begin the list, some of the dishonorable mentions that just missed the cut include Ashley Williams, Sandro Ramirez, Morgan Schneiderline, and Cenk Tosun.
Dutchman Davy Klaassen was brought up with a pair of different youth programs prior to joining Ajax in 204. Seven years later, the midfielder made his debut on the senior squad and became a staple of the club, including being named the captain. In his 126 league appearances, Klaassen had 44 goals and won the top division in the Netherlands three times. Klaassen became a hot commodity and was given a five-year contract with Everton worth £23.6 million.
To say that things went wrong would be an understatement, as the club ended up paying over £3.3 million per each one of his league matches (just seven). There had been a major management change almost as soon as Klaassen arrived, and the new regime butted heads with him constantly. He struggled to adapt to the Premier League and he only lasted for 13 months before heading to Werder Bremen.
Bradford native Fabian Delph was a rising star as a youth player with Leeds United during the early 2000s. He made his professional debut in 2006, and over the next three years would play over 40 matches with Leeds. In 2009 he signed a deal with Aston Villa, becoming a cornerstone of the club with over 110 league matches played. Delph made yet another Premier League stop from 2015 to 2019 with Manchester City, and finally in 2019 made his way to Everton on an £8.5 million deal.
Delph retired in 2022 after his contract came to an end, and that contract ended up being a disappointment. He appeared in just 35 Premier League matches during that time, failing to find the net as a scorer. Everton wasn’t able to win any major trophies throughout his tenure while Delph himself received no individual honors.
Yannick Bolasie has played with a long list of teams throughout his football career, especially as he’s been loaned out several times, including by Everton. The Lyon, France native debuted in 2006 with Hillingdon Borough and spent time with the likes of Floriana, Bristol City, and Plymouth Argyle over the next few years. He found a steady home from 2012 to 2016 with Crystal Palace before Everton spent paid a £25 transfer fee to acquire his services.
Bolasie was almost instantly injured, missing nearly his entire first year. Once he recovered, Bolasie didn’t really fit into the plans of the club and he was loaned out several times including to Sporting CP and Aston Villa. All in all, Bolasie made just 29 Premier League appearances for Everton and scored just twice. When his contract with Everton expired in 2021, Bolasie joined Caykur Rizespor in Turkey.
The only Dane on the list, Per Kroldup came into the professional football ranks with B.93 in 1998. After spending three years with the club, Kroldup made his way to Udinese for another four seasons. Then, Everton felt that they had seen enough to sign him to a large deal, spending £5 million to obtain him on a four-year deal. Before making his first appearance, though, Kroldup suffered an injury that required surgery.
It took six months for Kroldup to finally make his debut, but he played in just one Premier League game for Everton before his tenure came to an end. Only one month after his lone Everton match, he was sent to Fiorentina. Luckily for them, though, Kroldup would last for six years in his new setting before wrapping up his career with Pescara and Olhanense.
The final player on the list is the Senegalese forward Oumar Niasse, who began his career with US Ouakam in his hometown. In 154 appearances, Niasse netted an impressive 102 goals before heading to Akhisar Belediyespor. After a year there, he spent two years with Lokomotiv Moscow until making his way to the Premier League for a £13.5 million transfer fee paid by Everton on a 54-month deal.
Niasse barely saw the pitch during his first year and his spot on the roster was considered to be fringe at best. Instead of having him hang around as a reserve, Niasse was sent to Hull City and Cardiff City on loan, making just 35 league appearances for Everton in his four years with the club.