From FourFourTwo’s ‘top 50’, Boumsong is ranked as the biggest NUFC flop in 17th, with him closely followed by Luque in 18th and Spanish ‘defender’ Marcelino in 27th.
All three endured disastrous spells on Tyneside – for a variety of reasons. Luque for one, actually arrived from Deportivo to real excitement, after representing Spain and starring in the Champions League a few years previously. The idea of him playing alongside then record signing Michael Owen, had Newcastle fans dreaming of a return to European football. However, after a torn hamstring keeping him out for three months shortly after joining – Luque never got going for Newcastle and looked well of the pace of English football following his £9.5m move. His only real highlight was scoring the last goal in THAT 4-1 win at the Stadium of Light, but nonetheless, his time at Newcastle was a nightmare.
Boumsong was another Graeme Souness signing which was a waste of money, this time to the tune of £8m. Boumsong was available on a free transfer just six months previously and after scouting, the then Auxerre man was deemed not good enough by Sir Bobby Robson. A Bosman transfer to Rangers followed before Souness came calling; Boumsong formed a almost comical pairing at centre half with Titus Bramble, with southern press in particular often calling them the ‘Laurel and Hardy show.’
Marcelino spent more time on the treatment table than on the field after his £5.8m move from Spanish side Mallorca. It was a big outlay for Newcastle at the time but 17 appearances in 4 years meant it turned out to be a colossal waste of money for United – he didn’t even play once during his last two years at the club. He moved to the Spanish second division for a season before retiring, which perhaps another reason why he should be higher than Boumsong and Luque on the list.
Here’s what FourFourTwo had to say about each during their top 50 list:
Boumsong – 17th
Jean-Alain Boumsong – 17th
“Boumsong was an example of a player who couldn’t cope with the Premier League. Signed in 2005 on the basis of an impressive but brief spell at Rangers – and for a significant £8m – a strong initial impression at Newcastle descended into a slew of problems, red cards, costly slips and miscalculations.
“The own goal against Middlesbrough, the forlorn expression after being sent off against Liverpool; these are moments which make an iron-clad comedic legacy for a defender. Juventus would eventually rescue him from England and the Frenchman’s career did recover, but the Premier League was a stage he should never have been on.”
Albert Luque – 18th
“One to chalk up to transitional difficulties, because Luque certainly passed the eye test. Quick, skilful and the embodiment of all sorts of pleasing Iberian cliches, the Spanish international was actually a highly capable player who had scored some stunning goals for Deportivo La Coruna. Watch his bicycle kick if you haven’t seen it.”
“To this day, it’s difficult to know why it went so badly wrong. The fee was large (£9m back in 2005) and Newcastle, still struggling to recapture what had been lost, certainly wasn’t the easiest club to play for. But Luque appeared to lose all his self-belief on the flight over and left little impression at all on the Premier League.”
Marcelino – 27th
“Newcastle certainly had a thing for dodgy centre-backs. To be fair to Marcelino, he had been a big part of Mallorca’s late-90s resurgence before being signed by Ruud Gullit in 1999 (for all of £5.8m) and there was no reason to believe that he would one day end up on a list like this.
“The facts surrounding his time at the club remain unclear. Depending on who you ask, he was either a layabout permacrock who would do anything to avoid actually playing, or a prisoner to his own contract whose career was sabotaged from within the organisation itself.
“Whatever the truth, the 17 calamitous Premier League appearances he did make over four years virtually ended the Spanish international’s career and damaged his reputation permanently.”