Christmas might be over but the New Year is here, which means the January transfer window is officially open. Will anyone surpass the biggest transfers of 2019 in this window?
The January transfer window is a funny one. Tread too carefully and you could be kicking yourself when a long season takes its toll on the squad in the spring, or splash out and risk paying an inflated price for a calamitous flop.
We’ve seen the latter happen a few times over the past decade, with the most notable of those making our Worst Ever January Transfers XI.
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1) Costel Pantilimon (Sunderland to Watford, £5m (undisclosed), 2016.
At 6ft 8ins and with two Premier League winner’s medals on his CV, goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon looked a solid purchase for Watford back in 2016.
Back-to-back clean sheets versus Leeds and then Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup built up some confidence for the big Romanian, but his Premier League debut was a disaster.
Pantilimon conceded four of Liverpool’s six goals in a 6-1 defeat to the Reds, made just one more league appearance and was then swiftly shipped out to Deportivo de La Coruna.
He’s now back at Forest but hasn’t featured all season and could be one jumping aboard the January transfer merry-go-round.
2) Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina to Chelsea, £23.3m, 2015)
Chelsea fans will concur, the £23 million handed over for Fiorentina’s winger wasn’t exactly a bargain.
The Colombian starlet struggled for fitness and failed to show any of the twinkle advertised in Serie A.
He managed just 13 league appearances in three seasons and never found the back of the net.
The only saving grace? The Blues managed to recoup £20m by offloading him to Juventus.
3) Roger Johnson (Wolverhampton Wanderers to West Ham, loan, 2014)
Roger Johnson, AKA The Relegator, is not a name that’s fondly remembered with the West Ham faithful.
The defender signed for the Hammers in January of 2014 and put in a couple of calamitous performances, not least being part of a defence that conceded six goals on his debut.
The only positive, West Ham managed to stay up that season.
4) Denis Suarez (Barcelona to Arsenal, loan, 2019)
Denis Suarez was the apple of Unai Emery’s eye when joining Arsenal on loan from Barcelona.
The young Spaniard promised to be an exciting addition to the Gunners’ squad but ultimately failed to breakthrough.
Little expense spared considering it was a loan deal but, nonetheless, an utterly useless signing.
5) Vegard Forren, Molde to Southampton, £4.2m, 2013
The £4.2m Southampton paid for Molde’s rock at the back, Vegard Forren, obviously isn’t a bank-shuddering fee, but it’s expensive for a player that never made it onto the pitch.
In six months at St Mary’s, Forren did fire in a goal for the U21s but failed to record a first-team appearance. Flop.
6) Chris Samba (Anzhi Makhachkala to QPR £12.5m, 2013)
Wheeler dealer boss Harry Redknapp was a pretty shrewd operator in January, but he might even admit that signing big Chris Samba for £12.5m at QPR was a shocker.
Samba was also being paid £100,000 a week to shore up the Rs defensive frailties, which obviously ended badly as Redknapp resigned, the club were relegated and Samba re-signed for Anzhi.
7) Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal to Manchester United, swapped for Henrikh Mkhitaryan)
Though no real price was paid for Alexis Sanchez, the £500,000 a week contract has been burning a hole in the United budget for 18 months for no real return.
The Chilean was shipped off to Inter over the summer after an uninspiring start to his career at Old Trafford, though United are still paying £300,000 of the £500,000 a week on his contract.
Alexis Sanchez's Man Utd league career in numbers:
Salary earned: £59,085,000
Cost per goal: £19,695,000
😮 #MUFC pic.twitter.com/89b3oBfmTL
— GrosvenorSport (@GrosvenorSport) August 29, 2019
8) Kim Kallstrom (Spartak Moscow to Arsenal, loan, 2014)
Even if you weren’t an avid fan of the Russian Premier League, Kim Kallstrom was a well-hyped name and plenty was expected when the Swede turned up at Arsenal.
No money was paid but with an important role to be filled in the Gunners’ midfield, Kallstrom sadly managed just 138 minutes on the pitch, with most of his time spent on the physio’s table treating a back injury.
9) Fernando Torres (Liverpool to Chelsea, £50m, 2011)
Having torn apart Premier League defences for four years at Liverpool, £50m – a new British record – for Fernando Torres seemed at least partly justifiable.
However, after a 900-minute drought and only one goal from 14 starts in his opening season for Chelsea, he had a lot to answer for.
Torres did contribute a few important goals in a blue shirt, but he looked half the player that he was when wearing red and certainly not worth the £50 mil paid.
Happy 35th birthday to Fernando Torres
World Cup 🏆
European Championships 🏆🏆
Champions League 🏆
Europa League 🏆🏆
FA Cup 🏆
Not a bad trophy cabinet!#LFC #CFC pic.twitter.com/ajenjvmJym
— GrosvenorSport (@GrosvenorSport) March 20, 2019
10) Mo Salah (Basel to Chelsea, £11m, 2014)
Forget the Golden Boot-winning version of Mo Salah and think back to five years ago when the Egyptian first stepped foot in the Premier League.
He showed glimpses of promise during his two seasons in west London, but ultimately found himself out of favour and a series of loan spells in Italy followed.
Don’t look back in anger Chelsea fans, but clearly this was a missed opportunity… that cost £11 million.
11) Andy Carroll (Newcastle to Liverpool, £35m, 2011)
As Torres arrived at Stamford Bridge, Liverpool were left with £50 million burning a hole in their pocket and most of that was used to bring in Andy Carrol.
Tyneside’s talisman was big enough to fill Torres’ void but he certainly wasn’t as prolific.
The big Geordie managed just 14 goals in 58 appearances – a meagre return for the money spent.
Andy Carroll’s #EPL record since leaving Newcastle in 2011:
⚽ 48 goals
📅 183 games
⌚ 11,879 mins
Steve Bruce has declared the forward fit to play for his boyhood club, nine years on from his final season. ⚫️⚪️
Just wait on the roar from the Gallowgate End…
— GrosvenorSport (@GrosvenorSport) September 20, 2019
A few of these names have also been involved in some shock FA Cup exits. Did any of them make our list of biggest 3rd round shocks?
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