“A fraud”, “an embarrassment” and even “a criminal” have all been brief descriptions of our dreadful former striker Savio Nsereko, but there is no denying his cult status in Premier League history. But how did he become so infamous in East London? Where does he rank as one of the worst signings in football history? And where is he now?
Born in the African country of Uganda to a German family, the flop began his career in his nation of origin with Bayern’s slightly less famous little brother 1860 Munich.
After a year in the club’s youth system, the journeyman made the move to Serie B in Italy with Brescia. It was in The second division of Italian football that the paceman regrettably caught the attention of our then manager Gianfranco Zola.
Having only scored a mere three goals in just over 20 appearances for Biancoazzurri, we signed the Ugandan for a shocking and remarkable club record fee of around £12 million.
The deal was ridiculed by many members of The Claret & Blue Army who had never heard him, but the Owners and Management were adamant that he would more than live up to his extortionate price tag, they couldn’t have been more wrong.
The former Germany youth international made his Hammers debut in a 2-0 victory over Hull City, just days after he signed in January 2009. Although he impressed initially and was a Man of the Match contender in the 1-0 victory over Manchester City at Upton Park, poor performances at The Reebok Arena, White Hart Lane and Villa Park made him unpopular with Hammers fans.
Being booed by his own fans and many of them questioning if he was actually a Professional Footballer was neither ideal for club or player, and Nsereko was shipped back to Italy with Serie A’s Fiorentina in a deal that included defender Manuel Da Costa coming to East London.
The move was reportedly £8 million less than what we had signed him for and the then 20-year-old had left England as one of the most ridiculous record signings in the history of the Premier League. However, the bizarre nature of his footballing career would not end there.
Remarkably, Savio would never make a competitive appearance for the club and was sent out on as many as six loans to Bologna, former Club 1886 Munchen, Chernomorets Burgas, Juve Stabia, Vaslui, and SpVgg Unterhaching, before being shipped to Viktoria Koln in 2014.
In the midst of his loans, Police were called to The Thai Resort of Pattaya, where Nsereko would be arrested on suspicion of faking his own kidnap and demanding a ransom of around £25,000 from his own family.
In that same year of 2012, our new Vice Chairwoman Karren Brady announced that West Ham United would be launching an investigation into our initial signing of the German, but nothing came of it in the end.
Interestingly, Savio would never let theses or any other controversies mar his lengthy career and after he departed the German Fourth Division, he would enjoy spells in The Kazakhstan Premier League, The Bulgarian First Division and A Lyga in Lithuania up until 2016.
Nowadays, the forward plays his Football with FC Pipinsried back in The Fifth Tier of Germany, after signing in May of this year.
Savio Nsereko, once dubbed “Talent of the Century” will forever go down with the likes of Marco Boogers and Modibo Maiga is one of the worst strikers to wear Claret & Blue.
But his peculiar career, ridiculous price tag and generally woeful performances on the field will forever make him the butt of many Premier League jokes and surely the worst club record player in top flight history.