11 Worst January Transfer Window Signings In Premier League History
Clubs across the country are desperate to improve their fortunes in the January transfer window by bringing in a bargain or snapping up a world class player whose contract is nearing the end.
Unfortunately, with just a month to get deals done, transfer fees are inflated and panic buying is very, very common. This results in expensive mistakes being made; here are 10 of the very worst signings made in the January transfer window.
11. Afonso Alves – Heerenveen to Boro – 2008 - £12.7m
This transfer wasn’t quite as bad as it is made out to be, but it certainly wasn’t a success and Afonso Alves definitely did not live up to the fantastic reputation he had earned himself.
Middlesbrough fans were rightfully excited to sign a man that had scored 48 goals in 48 games for Heerenveen in Holland and had previously been on fire in Sweden as well. However, that form didn’t quite translate to the Premier League.
Six goals in 11 league games in his first half season was pretty encouraging, but then just seven in his only full campaign which ended in Boro’s relegation was less impressive. He was off to Qatar at the end of that season.
10. Wilfried Zaha – Crystal Palace to Man Utd – 2013 - £10m
Manchester United shelled out £10m for the young prospect Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace in 2013 and it did not work out for either club or player.
He only pulled on the United shirt four times, was loaned out to Cardiff City and then returned to Crystal Palace where he has returned to the kind of form that earned him a move to Old Trafford in the first place.
Clearly a player with a lot of talent, he was not given any kind of chance to show it in Manchester.
9. Michael Ricketts – Bolton to Middlesbrough – 2003 - £3.5m
Often referenced as one of the worst players to pull on an England shirt, Michael Ricketts was the flavour of the month back in 2002. He was banging them in for Bolton and was picked for his country, before moving to Middlesbrough in January 2003.
It is fair to say that he had already peaked as he managed one goal during the rest of the 2002-03 season then three in 30 appearances before being moved on to Leeds.
Boro were a decent side back then, finishing 11th in the Premier League, so playing all those games with such a meagre return was very, very poor from the frontman.
8. Wilfried Bony – Swansea to Man City – 2014 -- £27.5m
Manchester City are in the financial position that allows them to spend nearly £30m on a back-up striker and so they did just that on Swansea’s Wilfried Bony in 2014.
He was never likely to be a massive hit as he had Sergio Aguero in front of him in the pecking order, but Bony didn’t even get close to cutting the mustard at the Etihad.
The Ivorian managed 10 goals in 46 appearances over a season-and-a-half, which wasn’t totally disastrous, but seems pretty meagre for the outlay. At the start of the 2016-17 season he was loaned out to Stoke where he was equally floppy.
7. Benni McCarthy – Blackburn to West Ham – 2010 - £2.2m
The South African had been very good for Blackburn over three-and-a-half seasons at Ewood Park, scoring 52 goals in that time. Performances which prompted West Ham to spend £2.2m on him in January 2010.
Fitness issues and poor performances saw McCarthy make just two league starts for the Hammers and 13 appearances in all competitions in total, scoring ZERO goals.
West Ham ended up paying him £1.5m to terminate his contract and McCarthy labelled Hammers vice-chairman Karren Brady, ‘a devil with a set of tits.’
6. Juan Cuadrado – Fiorentina to Chelsea – 2015 - £23m
It looked like Juan Cuadrado was an excellent signing for Chelsea in January 2015, but just 15 appearances later and the Colombian was gone. Seen as those 15 appearances cost well over £20m and the services of Mohamed Salah, it really was a dreadful bit of business.
The pacey, tricky winger never really got a proper chance at Stamford Bridge, despite having been excellent for Fiorentina previously and then going on to be superb for Juventus ever since.
5. Savio Nsereko – West Ham – 2009 - £9m
West Ham took a punt on a 20-year-old Savio Nsereko in January 2009, splashing out £9m on a man who had not done a great deal for Brescia in Serie A.
Nsereko did even less in the Premier League than he did in Italy, starting once, making nine substitute appearances and not managing a single goal. He was sold to Fiorentina the following summer for a fraction of the price the Hammers paid for him and has barely achieved anything since.
4. Christopher Samba – Anzhi Makhachkala - QPR – 2013 - £12.5m
The giant Congolese centre-back had been very impressive with Blackburn in the Premier League, so Harry Redknapp was more than happy to spend £12.5m on bringing him back to England from Russia in January 2013.
Samba was reportedly on £100k-a-week at Loftus Road, and for that salary he provided 10 appearances for the R’s before they were relegated to the Championship. Big Chris returned to Makhachkala in the summer.
3. Konstantinos Mitroglou – Olympiakos to Fulham – 2014 - £12m
Fulham spent a club record £12m on Greek striker Konstantinos Mitroglou in January 2014, hoping the prolific frontman would fire them to Premier League survival. He had a superb record for Olympiakos and looked a very promising signing.
There were fitness issues and a lot of mystery behind why Mitroglou wasn’t getting on the pitch, but all he managed was three appearances and no goals for the Cottagers before they were relegated.
The Greek went back to Olympiakos and scored a load of goals, then to Benfica where he netted plenty more. His abject failure at Craven Cottage remains quite confusing.
2. Andy Carroll – Newcastle to Liverpool - 2011 - £35m
It was a big gamble by Liverpool when they paid £35m for a man who had really only played half a season of Premier League football. It had been an impressive start to the 2010-11 season for Andy Carroll, but he could not keep up those performances at Anfield.
The big man was gone less than two years later, having scored just 11 goals and the Reds managed to recoup around just £17m of their whopping outlay. An expensive and regrettable mistake from the management on Merseyside.
1. Fernando Torres – Liverpool to Chelsea - 2011 - £50m
What happened to Fernando Torres will never be fully known, but the Spaniard went from one of the world’s finest striker to an absolute donkey, right about the time that Chelsea paid £50m for his services.
It was a worrying start at Stamford Bridge, as from January to May of 2011, Torres managed one goal in 18 games. He ended up returning 45 goals in 172 appearances, which is pretty atrocious given the enormous price tag that was hanging round his neck.