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The Top Ten Worst January Signings in the Premier League

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For every Coutinho or Suarez to join the Premier League during the January transfer window, there have been a few players who have not quite hit the same heights. Often clubs will spend large sums of money in order to improve their team. Unfortunately, this does not always have the desired impact and some teams have ended up with costly flops over the years. Here are ten of the worst mid-season signings made by Premier League clubs.

10: Alberto Paloschi

(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

A product of the AC Milan academy, Paloschi spent five years at Chievo Verona before getting his big break in the Premier League. Swansea City had struggled after several good years with one-season wonder Michu, Ivorian hitman Wilfried Bony and even the unfashionable Danny Graham spearheading their attack during a multitude of mid-table finishes. Despite the promise shown by Andre Ayew, and Bafetimbi Gomis chipping in with a few goals, the Swans were still struggling to find a prolific goalscorer to replace Bony. They turned to Paloschi spending £8m on the Italian. He scored just twice in ten Premier League appearances before being sold to Atalanta. His form did not improve and he joined newly-promoted SPAL on loan this season having failed to score for his parent club last year.

9: Juan Cuadrado

The tricky Columbian winger joined Chelsea from Fiorentina in February 2015 for an initial fee of £23.3m. He failed to make an impact but was backed by manager Jose Mourinho who said Cuadrado would be “amazing next season.” Things didn’t quite go to plan as Juventus signed him on an initial loan deal which was later made permanent for around £17m. With just fifteen appearances to his name and no goals in England, Cuadrado will be remembered in England as an expensive flop. Although the same was said about Mohamed Salah who joined Fiorentina on loan as part of the deal to bring Cuadrado to West London. And look how that turned out…

8: Wilfred Bony

He may have been a major hit for Swansea when he first arrived from Vitesse Arnhem in the summer of 2013, however it has been downhill ever since for Wilfried Bony. As a £25m signing for Manchester City in January 2015, big things were expected of the hitman who had struck 35 goals in 70 games for the Swans. Yet, it turned out to be a nightmare all round as he found the back of the net just ten times during a year and a half in Manchester. It got worse as a loan spell at Stoke during the 2016/17 season yielded just two goals and eleven appearances in all competitions. City cut their losses and sold him back to Swansea for £12m, although his fortunes have hardly improved since with only two goals so far this season.

7: Afonso Alves

Premier League signings from the Eredivisie tend to go one of two ways. They generally turn out to be either brilliant signings along the lines of Luis Suarez and Robin van Persie, or major flops such as Vincent Janssen or Afonso Alves. The Brazilian had a brilliant record in Holland scoring 48 goals in as many appearances for Heerenveen. When he arrived on Teeside for just under £13m back in January 2008 big things were expected. He scored a respectable six goals in eleven appearances during his first season in England, although half of those came in Boro’s famous 8-1 thrashing of Manchester City. In his second season however he struck just four times as his side were relegated to the Championship. He moved to Qatar in the summer of 2009 where he played out the remainder of his career.

6: Kostas Mitroglou

The free-scoring Greek couldn’t stop finding the back of the net during the first half of the 2013/14 season. He struck three hat-tricks in the league for Olympiacos and one in the Champions League by the beginning of October and continued to score consistently throughout the next few months. This prompted relegation-threatened Fulham to make him their record signing during the January transfer window.
Injuries restricted him to just three appearances in which he failed to score and the Cottagers ultimately ended up in the Championship. With no desire to play in the second tier, Mitroglou re-joined Olympiacos on loan in the 2014/15 season before heading to Benfica on another temporary deal the following year. He eventually joined the Portuguese giants for around half the £12m he had cost Fulham. The man known as “Mitrogoal” has to be a strong contender for Fulham’s worst ever signing.

5: Jean-Alain Boumsong

The French defender had only been at Glasgow Rangers for a few months when Newcastle United manager Graeme Souness decided to spend £8m to bring him to Tyneside. Boumsong had a nightmare in the North-East and was responsible for his side conceding several goals. He formed one of the Premier League’s worst ever partnerships alongside the man voted 2004’s worst player in the Premier League by readers of The Fiver, Titus Bramble. Newcastle lost more than half their transfer fee when he was sold to Juventus for £3.3m in 2006 following the Italian giants’ relegation to Serie B as part of their punishments for involvement in the infamous Calciopoli match-fixing scandal. Funnily enough, he wasn’t missed by Newcastle fans after his departure.

4: Christopher Samba

After five successful years in the Premier League with Blackburn, Samba left for big-spending Anzhi Makhachkala. Following just one year in Russia which was marred by claims of racial abuse, Samba joined QPR in the middle of the 2012/13 season. Like Anzhi, QPR at the time were highly ambitious and brought several big names to the club including Jose Bosingwa, Esteban Granero and Park Ji-Sung. Also like Anzhi, the QPR experiment ended in disaster and Samba had a big part to play in that. He publicly apologised for two costly blunders in a 3-2 defeat to Fulham and made just ten largely forgettable performances during a season which saw Rangers finish bottom of the league. Remarkably, they recouped the majority of their transfer outlay when the giant Congolese defender was sold back to Anzhi in the summer.

3: Savio Nsereko

Back in 2009 when the forward joined West Ham from Brescia, £9m was a lot of money for a Premier League side to spend. That is what the Hammers paid for the highly-rated former Germany youth international and it turned out to be a disaster. After just one start and a handful of substitute appearances he was sold to Fiorentina for a big loss. He had scored three times in as many years for Brescia, but it was not for over five years that his next strike came during a short spell in Kazakhstan. Still only 28, he last played for a club almost a year ago, that club being Pipinsried, then of the German fifth division. Aside from his disastrous spell in East London, he is best known for a false kidnapping claim in Thailand in which he attempted to extort a ransom from his own family after racking up large debts.

2: Andy Carroll

Liverpool broke their transfer record at the end of January 2011 to bring Andy Carroll to the club for £35m from Newcastle. On the same day they bought a lesser-known striker from Ajax called Luis Suarez. The two strikers ended up taking opposite paths with Suarez becoming one of the world’s best players and Carroll establishing a reputation as one of Liverpool’s greatest flops. Whilst the Englishman has since had relative success at West Ham, he never lived up to expectations and left for just £15m. Liverpool bought Carroll to replace Fernando Torres who joined Chelsea for a then-record £50m on the same day…

1: Fernando Torres

If Carroll was the second-worst January transfer the Premier League has ever seen, then Torres has to go down as the worst. In terms of ability, Torres certainly was not one of the worst players of his time, but considering the enormous price tag and his drop in form from one of the world’s best strikers at Liverpool to bang average at Chelsea, the Spaniard was undoubtably a major flop in West London. He scored just once in his first 18 appearances and failed to improve significantly throughout his 2.5-year spell at Stamford Bridge. An unsuccessful spell at AC Milan followed before he headed back to Atletico Madrid where he initially made his name. Whilst he has improved since returning to his homeland, he has never reached the heights he found during his first spell at the club and his stint at Liverpool. An expensive mistake for Chelsea who only lost his record-signing status in July 2017 when compatriot Alvaro Morata joined the club.

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Football

Is the FA Cup losing it’s magic ?

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Having just seen the conclusion of the 3rd round of this seasons’ FA Cup we can’t help but think that much like the Premier League, trophy is Man City’s to lose, but is the magic of the FA Cup still alive?
The 4th round draw has hardly produced any must watch ties and we’ll probably see the top level teams progress further into the competition as expected, however…
The question remains is the gap decreasing or do the higher level players just care that bit less?
Shrewsbury deserved to beat West Ham, Fleetwood held Leicester, Wigan were pegged back late on by Bournemouth and these are all before Forest blew Arsenal away and Coventry City ended a managerial reign.
With the notable exception of Wengers’ men, we feel it only fair to say that the PL clubs sent out strong sides with a small number of changes that you would deem acceptable based on past seasons and a relatively busy recent schedule.
Dropping out of the big time you’d find an array of other “shocks.” Villa, Brentford and QPR all crashed out at home to lower league opposition whilst Mansfield and Carlisle held Championship opposition in 0-0 stalemates.
Yes, there will be the inevitable increase in performance from lower level players, especially when the TV cameras are in presence but is there more too it?
We genuinely believe the gap is closing between the 4 professional leagues in the English game. We are seeing bang average players be transferred for 10’s of millions and on some occasions it’s nothing more than footballing snobbery. Look at the lads at Bristol City, did many of us know of them? Why have they not been linked with bigger clubs? Are scouts just being sent abroad?
Prime example – 2 of the best performing left backs in the country are Barry Douglas (Wolves) & Andy Robertson (Liverpool) they have both plied their trade for Queens Park and Dundee United but it has taken needless additional years before having their talent recognised, they both transferred in the summer for a combined £11m, 1/3 of the fee for Luke Shaw or 1/5 of that for Benjamin Mendy.
The clubs without the guaranteed revenue streams which are provided to the top table teams are working harder, becoming more technically able and appear to just want it more.
The Prem does provide excitement but it is becoming far too much about the money and not about the football, it’s about not losing and only in the league. For many the FA Cup is nothing more than a distraction and you wouldn’t be surprised if the players were told “it’s all about next week and three points.”
With the top 4 virtually an exclusive club surely many of these managers need to finally realise that their best chance of recognition is a cup run with an “unfashionable club.” It would once again be refreshing to see a winner in the mould of a Wigan Athletic.
What this does mean, is that lower level clubs need to be taken a lot more seriously and the coming rounds treated just like a league game.
With only 4 PL sides guaranteed to progress could we be on for an all non PL final?
MK Dons vs Sheffield United anyone?
The FA Cup will continue to divide opinion amongst the purists, but for now it is still one of Europe’s premier competitions. We just need to hope that it is continued to be taken seriously by the majority and it creates similar magic and stories to those it has in the past.

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Has the January transfer window lost it’s purpose?

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 Like most things in football these days, or at least in the top leagues across the world, everything is done for the purpose of money. The clubs sing to the hymn sheets created by the constant search for financial gain. But, has it become such a way that the January transfer window has become another way to spin money and highlight the World elite to even more sponsors and the such like?

The Background

When the January transfer window was brought to the attention, as a concept, to Europe’s elite football associations it was initially frowned upon by most. That was in 1992/93, eventually in 1999 most of Europe had agreed to a transfer window commencing in mid-December through to the end of January. The Premier League, however, were relying on a final vote to determine whether or not the league and its clubs would be in or out.

Terry Venables. Godfarther of the 1992 Transfer window decision

In that vote 3-4 of the smaller clubs voted against the impending new transfer window in fear of their club collapsing if they couldn’t do business through other months of the year when profits could potentially be higher. The rest of the league voted in favour.
Then, in 2000, with FIFA under enormous pressure from the European Commission to wind up its whole transfer system, due to accusations being made that the system was breaching the Treaty of Rome. FIFA got an almighty kick up the rear and almost immediately came up with a compromise.
The compromise was to include compulsory transfer windows across its leagues, to prevent the issues that the Bosman debacle had created in 1995.

Jean-Marc Bosman – The game changer. Won a ruling in the European high court which banned restrictions on foreign EU players within national leagues and allowed players in the EU to move to another club at the end of a contract without a transfer fee being paid.

It got to 2001 and the Premier league had still not agreed to the proposals put forward by FIFA, however the rest of Europe had and even the European Commission were now on board with FIFA’s plans.
Finally, in 2002/03 the Premier League and its teams succumbed to mounting pressure and accepted the proposals.

As it stands…

You could probably ask all the managers in the Premier league for their opinions on the January window and the old fashioned managers (the likes of Pardew, Moyes & Allardyce) will tell you it causes unnecessary problems and disruption midway through a season.
The new managers, however, have almost been brought up on the reality of the format being here to stay. They almost certainly utilise it better and often, because of that, get more support and backing financially from the board above them at their respective clubs.
Ultimately, the idea of this current window wasn’t really something the Premier League wanted. That was before the enormous amounts of television money were poured into clubs and subsequently meant the Premier League was the biggest financial money churner the world over.

The windows current image

Put simply, it’s no longer about clubs strengthening their squads. Gone is the ideology of clubs selling players to buy players, because they just don’t need to do that anymore. There’s now enough money at each Premier league club to buy a player within their means without worrying about the cost.
The January transfer window is now purely a luxury for the bigger clubs to have another opportunity to flex their muscles and bring in the big names. Some might say that’s a cynical way of looking at it, but there’s no plausible way or reasonable fact to prove it’s any different. Rarely do the clubs below the bottom half of the league go out and buy 2-3 players like they might in the summer, because they don’t have the funds like they would in the summer from things such as TV deals and kit sponsors.
The only benefit this current period in the season has for clubs not in a financial position to buy players, is the option to loan them until the end of the season – usually to try and stave off the threat of relegation – often a temporary measure that will wind up with the club following the same process the following year.

Further afield…

When you look away from the Premier League you start to see that it’s a common theme that other leagues don’t spend much in the January window and instead opt for loan deals;
 
Bundesliga 16/17 season (January): £92,124,000.
Bundesliga 16/17 season (Summer): £498,944,250.
Loan deals – Departures in Jan: 62
Loan deals – Arrivals in Jan: 40
La Liga 16/17 season (January): £25,425,000.
La Liga 16/17 season (Summer): £439,051,500.
Loan deals – Departures in Jan: 59
Loan deals – Arrivals in Jan: 54
Serie A season 16/17 (January): £88,231,007.
Serie A season 16/17 (Summer): £662,917,461.
Loan deals – Departures in Jan: 217
Loan deals – Arrivals in Jan: 184
The best example that the loan option is being exploited because of the constraints of the transfer window, much against its intention, is that of Serie A. Of the 184 arrivals to clubs in Italy in January last season, on a loan basis, 54% of those were players returning to the club they were originally contracted at. Proving once more that so often players leave in January for 12 months and then return to their former clubs. That holds no benefit for the players involved in most cases.
Another case in point and more recently is ‘Barkley-gate’ between Everton and Chelsea. Between August 2017 and January 2018, a fee of £35 million was agreed on 31st August for the injured midfielder who’d been at Everton for 13 years. The player and his agent conspired to turn down that move. Just 4 months on and while he was still injured, a new fee was agreed between the clubs meaning the selling club (Everton in this case) gets £20 million less for the lad in whom they’d invested so much. Evidently, that deal would have been agreed between the clubs and then quietly between the player, his agent and Chelsea with the latter always focused on a deal in January.

To summarise

The January transfer was not something that the elite leagues and football associations all over Europe wanted. The window was formed by FIFA to appease the mounting pressure they were under from the European Commission. Surely it’s finally time to level the playing field by abandoning the January window and hand the Premier League’s struggling clubs and managers a greater degree of stability for a whole season at a time. Ultimately becoming a way to level up the money/no money situation thats obviously apparent every season across Europe.

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Top 10 January Transfer Buys

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January is a busy time for many clubs. At one end of the table, teams battling for their lives are desperately searching for the striker whose goals will keep them up or the defender to plug a leak in their defence. At the other end, clubs look for the one missing link who will reignite their challenge for the title or Champions League football. As a result, prices go up and clubs will pay a premium to get their man. Sometimes they will hit the jackpot and find that crucial individual who makes a positive difference, helps them achieve their goals for the season, and sometimes even goes on to become a club legend. Here are ten of the best January transfers Premier League clubs have made in recent years.

10: Christophe Dugarry

Credit:Action Images / Michael Regan – Livepic

A World Cup winner with France in 1998, Dugarry already had spells at AC Milan and Barcelona on his CV. Unexpectedly, he joined Birmingham City on loan for the rest of the 2002/03 season. Despite the Bordeaux man showing signs of flair and individual brilliance, the Blues found themselves slipping towards the relegation zone. In April the Frenchman turned saviour as he struck five goals in four games to propel the Blues to safety. He signed on a permanent deal in the summer and failed to make the same impact afterwards. However, by that point he had already cemented his name in Birmingham City history.

9: Mikel Arteta

Tipped as the replacement for Real Madrid-bound Thomas Graveson, the Spaniard joined Everton on an initial loan spell from Real Sociedad in January 2005. He proved instrumental as David Moyes’ side eventually secured a top four finish and qualification for the Champions League qualifiers. Despite not making it to the group stages after defeat to Villarreal, Arteta joined for a bargain £2m in the summer. He spent over six years at the club making over 200 appearances and scoring 34 goals before joining Arsenal for £10m in the summer of 2011. During this period he established himself as a fan favourite and always received a warm welcome when he returned to Goodison Park with the Gunners.

8: David Luiz

The gung-ho Brazilian known for his marauding runs from his defence as much as his likeness to Simpsons’ villain Sideshow Bob had several ups and downs during his first spell at Chelsea, but will ultimately go down as a success. He joined in the middle of the 2010/11 season from Benfica and became an instant cult hero. His highlight came in 2012 as he scored in the penalty shootout win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. He also won the FA Cup and Europa League before joining PSG for a world record £50m in 2014, the highest price ever paid for a defender at the time. He returned to West London in 2016 becoming a key player in Chelsea’s 2016/17 Premier League win.

7: Dele Alli

The highly-rated MK Dons midfielder joined Tottenham for £5m in January 2015 before re-joining Karl Robinson’s side on loan for the remainder of the season. He won the Football League’s Young Player of the Season award and instantly made an impact when he joined up with Tottenham. He scored ten goals in his debut season and won the PFA Young Player of the Year award during both Premier League seasons he has completed so far. He also appeared in the PFA Team of the Year in both 2015/16 and 2016/17. During the 2016/17 campaign he scored over 20 goals in all competitions. Now an established England international, Alli has repeatedly been linked with a move to Real Madrid.

6: Patrice Evra

(Photo credit – PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The French left-back joined Manchester United for £5.5m from Monaco in January 2006. He soon established himself as part of the all-conquering back four of Gary Neville, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and himself with Edwin van der Sar in goal behind them. In five full seasons together, United won four Premier League titles (one second place), three League Cups, the Champions League and the Club World Cup. They were also beaten finalists in two Champions Leagues during that period and Evra left as a club legend with 379 appearances to his name by the time he joined Juventus in 2014.

5: Nemanja Matic

Matic left Chelsea for Benfica in 2011 as part of a player-plus-cash deal to bring David Luiz to Stamford Bridge. However, three years later he returned to West London for £21m having established himself as a tough-tackling defensive midfielder in Portugal. Matic was instrumental in Chelsea’s Premier League and League Cup double in 2014/15. He formed a formidable partnership with N’Golo Kante during the 2016/17 league title-winning campaign before re-joining Jose Mourinho at Manchester United much to the dismay of many Chelsea fans.

4: Daniel Sturridge

Sturridge spent the first seven years of his career at Manchester City and Chelsea, although he found himself to be a bit-part player for the majority of his time at both clubs. It was only in January 2013 when he joined Liverpool for £12m that his career really began to take off. Fourteen goals in ten games saw him become an instant hit at Anfield whilst his scintillating form also saw him cement his place in the England squad. It was in the 2013/14 season however that Sturridge truly proved his credentials. A formidable partnership with Luis Suarez saw the England hitman score 21 Premier League goals during Liverpool’s ill-fated title challenge, best remembered for THAT Steven Gerrard slip of course. Unfortunately for Sturridge, injuries have since hampered his progress and he is no longer first choice with manager Jurgen Klopp preferring the so-called “fab four” of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and the recently-departed Philippe Coutinho with Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gini Wijnaldum also competing with Sturridge for game time.

3: Philippe Coutinho

Speaking of Coutinho, the Brazilian midfielder joined Liverpool in January 2013 from Inter Milan for a modest fee of £8.5m. Despite interest from Southampton, Coutinho skipped out the middle man and headed directly to Anfield where he never looked back. Known for his trickery, playmaking abilities and long-range goals Coutinho became one of the Premier League’s best players during his five-year stay. Despite not winning any silverware at Anfield, Coutinho left the club this month to join Barcelona in a £142m deal. This made him the second-most expensive player of all time behind only PSG forward Neymar.

2. Nemanja Vidic

January 2006 was a key month in Manchester United’s golden era as Evra was joined by fellow future-legend Nemanja Vidic. The Serbian hardman formed one of the Premier League’s greatest partnerships with Rio Ferdinand. He made 300 appearances for the club scoring a very respectable 21 goals from defence. He won five league titles, three League Cups, the Champions League and the Club World Cup whilst at United. With four appearances in the PFA Team of the Year and two in the FIFPro World XI there is no doubting that Vidic was a great success. Vidic retired two years ago after a short stint at Inter Milan but will always be remembered for his successes in Manchester.

1. Luis Suarez

Photo credit – (BRITAIN – Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

Surely the best January signing the Premier League has ever seen. Despite ultimately leaving Liverpool with just a League Cup winners’ medal to show for it, the controversial Uruguayan was a major success at Anfield. He joined for £22.8m in January 2011 alongside £35m man Andy Carroll. Whilst Carroll was the more expensive signing and the better-known name at this point, Suarez didn’t take long to change this. He finished sixth in the 2011 Ballon d’Or. Seventeen goals in the 2011/12 season were followed by thirty the following year. He saved the best until last however as he struck thirty-one times during Liverpool’s title near-miss in 2013/14. Despite a four-month ban for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup, the third such incident of its kind, Suarez joined Barcelona for £75m becoming the third-most expensive player of all time. He went on to become a key part of Barca’s iconic MSN duo alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar ahead of the latter’s move to PSG in 2017.

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