Premier League's 8 Biggest Busts from the January Transfer Period
The January transfer window is an important month in the Premier League.
Signings come and go. Every club has the chance to strengthen in vital areas and push toward a better finish with greater options.
Sometimes it goes wrong.
This season has seen a number of newly acquired individuals perform poorly for their employers. Hulking defenders have made mistakes, midfielders have lacked sharpness and strikers failed to find the target.
Which signings have proven to be the biggest busts from the January transfer period? It's worth noting loan deals are included.
Read on and weep.
Luciano Becchio: Norwich City
Luciano Becchio waited a long time for Premier League football. At 29 years old, the experienced striker doesn't have too long left to make an impression at the highest level.
It would be useful if he made any impression at all. The former Leeds man seems to be taking lessons from the Grant Holt School of Not Scoring. Unfortunately for Becchio, his burly colleague had an excellent debut Premier League season and has proved he can cut it with the best.
Norwich are most likely safe from relegation. As pressure looms on sides such as Aston Villa, Sunderland and Wigan, Chris Hughton's men can play with increased freedom as the season draws to a close.
Will Becchio prove his worth next season? If not, expect the striker to drop down the divisions much quicker than he advanced through them.
Urby Emanuelson: Fulham
Urby Emanuelson's loan move to Fulham seemed quite a coup for Martin Jol's side. The 26-year-old attacking midfielder is an experienced professional who has represented Ajax and Milan at the highest level.
The dynamic Dutchman should have brought a little flare to Craven Cottage. With Alex Kacaniklic moving to Burnley on loan, Emanuelson would get plenty of opportunities to show his Champions League credentials in front of Premier League cameras. Or so we thought.
In reality, he is yet to start a match for the Cottagers. Six substitute appearances and no significant contribution ensures Emanuelson will quickly be forgotten once he returns to Italy.
Christopher Samba: Queens Park Rangers
Many were critical of Harry Redknapp's decision to bring Chris Samba to Loftus Road for £12.5 million (via The Guardian). Throw in a £100,000 per week contract and most were ready to question whether Harry Redknapp had succumbed to the "more money than sense" ethos of QPR.
Even Anzhi Makhachkala director German Tkachenko revealed the London club were "out of their mind" to buy Samba for that price—a glowing recommendation that says it all (via Metro).
Samba wasn't worth this money at his peak. He arrived at QPR out of shape and lacking fitness. Unfortunately for the Premier League strugglers, this has been all too evident.
The majority of Samba's performances have been below par. A handful have been effective, many have been terrible. If Samba Plumbing Company existed, customers would just as likely receive a soiled bathroom floor as they would a pristine throne.
You never know what you'll get with the Congolese defender. He needed to provide an immediate fix and has only pushed QPR towards relegation with a range of personal errors.
Danny Graham: Sunderland
Danny Graham doesn't want to play for Sunderland (via The Daily Mail).
The large majority of Sunderland fans don't want him, either. Graham is yet to score for the Black Cats, but his responsibility has grown massively since Steven Fletcher was ruled out for the season with ankle ligament damage (via The Daily Mail).
As Sunderland battle against the pitfalls of relegation, new boss Paolo Di Canio is likely to start Graham alone or alongside Connor Wickham. Graham supports Newcastle and is in line to face his favourite club in the upcoming Tyne-Wear derby.
Could Graham prove himself with a vital goal against the Toon Army? Will his heart somehow produce another poor display?
The headlines are waiting.
Marouane Chamakh: West Ham United
There really isn't much to say about Marouane Chamakh. The former Bordeaux striker performed poorly at Arsenal and was offloaded to West Ham in a January loan move.
This would provide Chamakh with the chance to remind everyone why he was once highly-regarded in European football. Perhaps, if Arsene Wenger is looking to sell in the summer, the Moroccan could add a couple of zeroes to his transfer fee.
The 29-year-old continues to waste away. He is yet to start a Premier League game for West Ham this season. He is yet to score.
Surely a permanent move away from England's top division is rapidly looming?
Yoan Gouffran: Newcastle United
Another former Bordeaux player has performed averagely since moving to Newcastle. With Demba Ba gone, Papiss Cisse needed one of the January transfer signings to notch up a few goals for Newcastle.
Yoan Gouffran was the most likely individual to do so.
The attacking midfielder has one goal to his name so far. Although injured for a short while, he has still managed nine starts for the struggling club. Gouffran's overall play hasn't been as sharp as Alan Pardew would expect and he definitely hasn't plugged the gap left from the absence of Ba and Hatem Ben Arfa.
Gouffran has the potential to be a Premier League star. Right now, he's underwhelming a St James' crowd that needs something to cheer about.
Tottenham's Lack of Forward Cover
Thank God that Tottenham have Gareth Bale. Thank God that Tottenham have Jan Vertonghen.
Jermain Defoe's poor form and recent injury has left Emmanuel Adebayor as the club's only fit striker. Relying on him for goals or hard work is a surefire way to find yourself in trouble.
While Bale's rescue acts have been characteristic this season, Vertonghen's slew of goals have underlined Spurs' need for extra attacking threat. Andre Villas-Boas has limited options as we head into the final stretch of games and could come up short in the quest for a Champions League place as a result.
We've already seen Spurs' Europa League hopes dashed through a lack of firepower. Could a lack of January activity dismantle European football for another season, too?
The Torres/Ba Conundrum
Demba Ba has made seven Premier League starts since joining Chelsea. He has shared the lone striker role with Fernando Torres, who has accumulated eight starts since Ba arrived.
Two world class forwards fighting for one spot is potentially a good thing. If both forwards were regularly scoring, Rafa Benitez wouldn't have a problem on his hands. Torres has just seven league goals to his name all season, while Ba only has two in Chelsea colours.
This could be down to a lack of momentum for both. With Ba replacing Torres and vice versa, neither forward is able to string a considerable amount of games together. Neither is able to get a run going or gain confidence from a set of decent displays.
Ba's January arrival may have been outlined as a short fix for Chelsea hopes, but all it's done is create a greater problem further down the line.
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All statistics in this article are courtesy of WhoScored.