Monday 20 November 2017

The 10 worst ever January transfer window signings

Andy Carroll
Andy Carroll
Benni McCarthy
Fernando Torres
Christopher Samba
James Beattie

We examine the flops that have come from transfers during the January transfer window.

Andy Carroll

Newcastle to Liverpool, January 2011

Fee: £35m

With the Fernando Torres money burning a hole in their back pocket Liverpool's bid for Andy Carroll went up and up and up as the clock wound down on the January transfer window. The £35m fee eventually agreed was nearly double the first offer made just hours earlier. Carroll's time at Anfield started badly – he was injured when he arrived and didn't start a game until March 17. Though there was a couple of promising moments (a brace against Manchester City and a FA Cup semi-final winner against Everton the main highlights), the striker was not to Brendan Rodgers' liking and was shipped out to West Ham (initially on loan) in summer of 2012.

 

Michael Ricketts

Bolton to Middlesbrough, January 2003

Fee: £3.5m

Michael Ricketts was very much the Andy Carroll of his day. Tributes from Nat Lofthouse were ringing in his ears when Sven-Goran Eriksson gave Ricketts his England debut in a World Cup warm-up friendly in Amsterdam in 2002. Tottenham and Liverpool were said to be preparing bids to prise the striker away from Bolton Wanderers. His form dipped dramatically after that but the £3.5m move Middlesbrough on deadline day in 2003 was supposed to be a fresh start. Instead he flopped and he was moved on 18 months later. Over the next seven years Ricketts had weight problems (topping 16st at one point) as he moved to Leeds, Stoke, Cardiff, Burnley, Southend, Preston, Oldham, Walsall and Tranmere, where he played his last game in 2009.

 

Benni McCarthy

Blackburn to West Ham United, January 2010

Fee: £2.2m

Benni McCarthy arrived at Upton Park following a four-year spell at Blackburn Rovers where he averaged a goal every 2.6 games. The South Africa striker signed a two-and-a-half year deal worth a reported £40,000 per week. It is fair to say things went downhill from there. Over the next 14 months McCarthy made just 11 appearances for West Ham, failing to score a single goal. He was fined for failing to keep his weight under control and attempts to sent him out on loan failed due to his high wages. Eventually, West Ham paid McCarthy £1.5m to terminate his contract in April 2011. He returned to South Africa to play for Orlando Pirates before retiring in June 2013.

 

Fernando Torres

Liverpool to Chelsea, January 2011

Fee: £50m

When Fernando Torres departed Liverpool to join Abramovich's billions in London he was one of the most feared and potent strikers in world football. El Nino lost his opening game for Chelsea against the Reds and it took over 900 minutes for him to register his first Chelsea goal. Having clearly lost a yard of pace and his customary composure in front of goal, Chelsea have added Champions League and Europa League titles to their trophy cabinet in spite of Torres rather than because of him.

 

Chris Samba

Anzhi Makhachkala to Queens Park Rangers, January 2013

Fee: £12.5m

Chris Samba was the centrepiece of Harry Redknapp's January activity as he attempted to lift QPR out of the relegation mire. In one of the most bizarre transfers of modern times, Redknapp revealed that QPR gave serious consideration to – but ultimately rejected – an offer from Anzhi to buy Samba back in that very same window. Samba was unable to save QPR from the drop and returned to Anzhi seven months later. One month later Suleyman Kerimov, the Russian club's billionaire owner, pulled the plug on funding the club and Samba was on the move again, this time to Dynamo Moscow.

 

Savio

Brescia to West Ham United, January 2009

Fee: £9m

The signing of Germany under-20 international Savio was meant to signal West Ham's intent to establish themselves as a Premier League force after years of fluctuation between the top flight and the Championship. With an Icelandic billionaire owner, Gianluca Zola in charge and director of football Gianluca Nani cherry-picking the best talent in Italy, the future seemed bright for the Hammers and Savio was a statement signing. Though undoubtedly talented, Savio failed to settle and started just one game before being sold to Fiorentina six months later for an undisclosed fee.

 

Jean-Alain Boumsong

Rangers to Newcastle United, January 2005

Fee: £5m

Eyebrows were raised when the highly-sought after French international defender Jean-Alain Boumsong joined Rangers from Auxerre on a free transfer in the summer of 2004. Having impressed in the SPL Boumsong was on the move again just six months later when Graeme Souness paid £5m for his services with the aim of creating an athletic, powerful central defensive partnership with Titus Bramble. Boumsong's initial impressions were promising but his performance levels dipped drastically the following season at the end of which he was sold to the newly-demoted Juventus. Newcastle at least got £3m for sale.

 

Ricardo Rocha

Benfica to Tottenham Hotspur, January 2007

Fee: £3.2m plus gate receipts from friendlies between the clubs

In five years at Benfica Ricardo Rocha had earned a reputation as one of the best defenders in European football so hopes were high when Daniel Levy managed to agree a deal to prise the 29-year-old away from the Portuguese giants. If only. Rocha made nine league appearances in the remainder of the 2006-07 season but that was as good as it got. He played just five times in 2007-08 and didn't feature at all the following season before being released at the end of his contract. He returned to English football in 2010 with Portsmouth.

 

Afonso Alves

Heerenveen to Middlesbrough, January 2008

Fee: £12.7m

With a phenomenal 45 goals on 39 appearances for Heerenveen in the Dutch Eredivisie, Middlesbrough thought they had pulled off quite a coup when Afonso Alves was added to list of Brazilians to pitch up at the Riverside. It didn't quite work out that way as Alves struggled to settle in the North-East. A hat-trick on the final day of the 2007-08 season against Manchester City proved to be a false dawn as Middlesbrough were relegated at the end of the following season at which point Alves hotfooted it to the warmer climes of Qatar where he signed for Al Sadd.

 

James Beattie

Southampton to Everton, January 2005

Fee: £6m

Everton thought they had signed the 'new Alan Shearer' when they paid a club record £6m for the Southampton striker in January 2005. Beattie endured a difficult start to life at Goodison scoring just one league goal for the club in the remainder of the in 2004-05. A red card for headbutting William Gallas limited his involvement in Everton's fourth place finish. The following season was better as he found the net 10 times in the league, but his performances dipped drastically in 2006-07 and he was sold to Sheffield United at the end of the season.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport