Worst Premier League signing of the week: Ulloa to Leicester

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The real buzz of the transfer window is yet to begin so picking a worst signing of the week was not easy but it had to be done  – so step forward Leonardo Ulloa.

The 27-year-old striker has swapped the Amex Stadium for the King Power after leaving Brighton for Leicester in an £8m switch.

Having scored 23 goals in 50 games for the Seagulls Ulloa is expected to go well in the Premier League but his lack of top-flight experience could see him found out.

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet, who managed Ulloa at Brighton, was full of praise for the uncapped Argentine but despite some mild interest neglected to take his former charge with him to the Stadium of Light.

This should have set alarm bells ringing for Nigel Pearson who will be under pressure to help the striker deliver after shelling out such a large sum.

The Foxes gaffer should instead have dipped into the free transfer market, where the likes of Mame Biram Diouf and Bafetimbi Gomis were chomping at the bit to play in the Premier League.

Diouf, thought of as a Manchester United flop on these shores, was a revelation during his time in the Bundesliga, smashing 35 goals in his 71 games for Hannover, while Gomis’ 91 goals for Lyon demonstrate his ability to play in a top league.

Both men have ended up at unfashionable clubs, with Diouf joining Stoke and Gomis opting for Swansea, and Pearson should look at these moves with regret for not throwing his hat into the ring.

Both players are probably commanding higher wages than Ulloa but the £8m saved on a transfer fee would more than have covered this.

Ignoring the free market, however, there are probably a number of players better equipped to handle the Premier League available for similar fees as Ulloa.

Shakthar Donetsk’s Luiz Adrian, for one, is nearing the end of his contract and having scored 23 goals in 37 games last season is in top form.

His Champions League experience means he would be unlikely to be fazed by England’s top flight and the 27-year-old Brazilian could have been a better option.

Likewise, Napoli’s Goran Pandev who has also run out for Lazio and Inter Milan in Serie A.  Almost 100 goals in Italy’s top flight are not to be sniffed at and while older he could have also represented better value than Pearson’s new charge.

This may be Football Manager-type thinking but with Leicester just 21/10 for the drop, unless Ulloa lives up to hype it could be Pearson who get the dreaded ‘e-mail from chairman’ in his inbox.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.