Liverpool are lauded as one of the canniest operators in the transfer market, their business key to them becoming European, world and English champions.
But while envious eyes are cast from Premier League rivals and beyond towards Michael Edwards and his recruitment team, it hasn’t always been the case.
And today marks the 21st anniversary of waving farewell to one of the most infamous signings in the club’s history.
How to define “worst” is subjective. Some players, such as El Hadji Diouf, prove far more trouble than they are worth despite having obvious talent.
Others like Alberto Aquilani simply struggle to live up to the hype and their vast price tag.
However, none have captured the imagination quite like Sean Dundee.
Astonishing, that is, for all the wrong reasons.
There was no little fanfare when Liverpool beat Rangers, Auxerre and Borussia Moenchengladbach to the signature of Dundee – an Everton fan from a young age – from Karlsruhe for £1.8miilion in 1998, the forward having scored 22 times in 42 appearances in the Bundesliga in 1996/97.
Alarm bells, though, should have been ringing at Dundee netting just four times in 32 outings the season before he moved to Anfield. And, at first glance, it was clear the Reds had made a mistake.
Dundee featured in some early pre-season friendlies but his form was so alarming he was already being linked with a move away within weeks of stepping in at Anfield.
His debut came seven minutes from the end of a home League Cup win over Fulham in October 1998. He then played 11 minutes in the UEFA Cup at Valencia the following week, but wasn’t seen again until four minutes against Aston Villa in the Premier League in April.
Dundee then played 23 minutes in a dismal home defeat to Leicester City and 10 minutes in a win at Blackburn Rovers.
And that was it. A total of 55 minutes, no goals, no assists, no starts. With Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler and Karl-Heinz Riedle ahead of him, it was never going to be easy.
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By the end of the campaign, Gerard Houllier was in sole charge and had seen enough of Dundee. And at the start of the next season he was exiled and moved on.
Dundee, speaking to Planet Football earlier this year, knew the finger could be pointed in only one direction.
“It’s easy to blame different people, but I wasn’t fit enough when I went there,” said the forward, who ended his career back in South Africa. “That was my first mistake, I had to catch up a little bit. When I did get fit I got injured and that was it.
“When Roy left my time there was over. Gerard didn’t want me. He didn’t want a lot of other players either. You have to accept that. I knew I had to leave.
“In the time I was injured my biggest mistake was doing a lot of gym work, and that slowed me down. I thought pumping iron was the thing to do, but I should have worked on other things.
“They say first impressions are lasting impressions, and I’d love to go back and change all the mistakes I made.
“I don’t really laugh about it (his time at Liverpool). A lot of people think it was a joke, but I still support them. They have the best supporters, what else can I say?”