The Premier League is the richest and most watched football competition in the world, attracting millions of spectators each week as 20 teams battle it out for the top prize in English domestic football.
Owing to its popularity, the EPL is also one of the most wagered on sporting events on the planet. Coupled with the rise of new technology, each week pundits and ex pros fire out tips and dedicated punters are encouraged to place bets from their fingertips, whilst betting operators strive to develop the ultimate football betting experience.
In fact, over recent years, as smartphone penetration has really gripped the nation, there has been a plethora of new betting apps for iPhone and betting apps Android, all designed to make it easier than ever before to place that weekend double or accumulator.
Over its illustrious history the EPL has also attracted some real superstars to English shores. From Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel to Thierry Henry and Eden Hazard, these players have lit up the Premier League and contributed to it becoming the incredible spectacle that it is today.
However, the league has also been graced by some hilariously bad and inadequate players, some of whom cost huge amounts of money.
Here are five of the best (or worst):
5. Eric Djemba-Djemba (Manchester United)
Whilst Sir Alex Ferguson secured some incredible bargains during his time, he also endured some absolute shockers throughout the years.
Take the Cameroon international Eric Djemba-Djemba, for example, who was earmarked as the ‘next Roy Keane’ when he signed for £4.5 million in 2003.
He departed just 18 months later to Aston Villa in a cut-price deal, however, after falling short of the standards at Old Trafford and struggling to command any sort of presence in the midfield.
4. Bebe (Manchester United)
Next up is another of Ferguson’s transfer aberrations, in the form of the mysterious wide-man Bebe.
This relative unknown was signed from the Portuguese third tier after a recommendation by former United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz, whilst he set Manchester United back an incredible £7 million.
Bebe looked woefully out of his depth at Old Trafford, however, whilst his vaunted pace and power failed to materialise in the EPL. His stay lasted for four long years and included a number of disappointing loan spells, before he finally left for Turkey with barely a whisper.
3. Marco Boogers (West Ham)
There isn’t really much to say about former West Ham striker Marco Boogers, who made just four appearances for the Hammers between 1995 and 1998 and remains one of Harry Redknapp’s strangest ever signings.
His one claim to fame remains his horror tackle on Manchester United right-back Gary Neville in 1995, which earned him a red card and a deserved four-game ban.
The challenge was so bad that he was rumoured to have been hired simply to injure a United player, but regardless he remains one of the poorest and most bizarre signings of all-time.
2. Massimo Taibi (Manchester United)
Next up is another United player in the form of goalkeeper Masimo Taibi, who was signed as a potential replacement for Peter Schmeichel back in 1999.
Whilst a string of fine saves earned him the man-of-the-match award against Liverpool on his debut, he quickly came crashing down to earth as an unbelievable howler gave Matt Le Tissier a long-range goal during a 3-3 at Old Trafford.
He only played four more times and never once looked convincing, whilst his nadir came during a 5-0 thrashing at Chelsea in the autumn.
1.Ali Dia (Southampton)
The infamous Ali Dia is an obvious inclusion at number one, not least because he was scarcely a professional footballer at all.
Having claimed a number of clubs claiming to be the cousin of former PSG and AC Milan legend George Weah, Ali finally encouraged Southampton manager Graeme Souness to bit and give him his big break.
Injuries led to him making his debut as a substitute during an EPL game against Leeds, but after 53 minutes of aimless running, poor control and inept positioning he was himself withdrawn from the field.
He was never to be seen again in the EPL, although he was subsequently spotted playing semi-professional footy in Gateshead some years later!