January Transfer Window Review: Ranking The 10 Worst Deals
Wow! More than £150 million was spent during yesterday's incredible finale to the circus parade that is the English January transfer window.
Big arrivals, big departures.
In particular, it was a massive day for two football clubs: Chelsea and Liverpool.
The former welcomed 26 year-old Spanish forward and World Cup winner Fernando Torres, dubbed "El Niño" (at once The Kid and The Hurricane), in his homeland for his youthful face but explosive qualities.
In Liverpool, The Reds bemoaned the loss of such a prolific marksman but welcomed two new exciting faces to their Melwood training complex, Uruguayan Luis Suarez and Englishman Andy Carroll, to form a potentially lethal forward partnership designed to help the club back to the heady days of domestic and European glory.
But were these the right moves for each club and were there any other transfers which polarised the opinions of the footballing world or which merely bemused fans?
I count down what I regard as the 10 worst signings made yesterday and in January overall.
Feel free to comment.
10: Steven Pienaar (Everton To Tottenham, £2.5 Million)
You may think I have gone mad already.
Steven Pienaar, Everton's Player of the Year in 2009 and a bargain at less than £3 million for a 28 year-old who has steadily grown in influence and stature since his arrival at Goodison Park three years ago from German club Borussia Dortmund, chosen as the tenth-worst signing in January?
Certainly, he is a good and versatile player for that money. But when your club has an array of excellent attacking midfielders but a dearth of healthy centre-halves, ball-winners and goalscorers, you start to question your faith in the club's management.
And there were plenty of Spurs fans scratching their heads last night as one target after the other slipped through the fingers Messrs Levy and Redknapp.
9: Adam Hammill (Barnsley To Wolves, Undisclosed)
You're 19th in the Premier League and above West Ham United on goal difference only. You have only scored 24 goals in 23 games.
So what do you decide to do, to strengthen your attacking options just as the pressure mounts and the fixtures pile up again?
You certainly don't spend money on a 23 year-old Barnsley winger who has scored 12 times in nearly two-and-a-half years in the Championship and once played for England U19s!
8: Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04: Blackburn, Loan)
New manager Steve Kean has done a fine job since new Rovers owners, Venky's, sacked Sam Allardyce towards the end of last year and the team is now just seven points behind Spurs and an automatic Europa League position.
Understandably, they want to push on. The new owner at Liverpool, John W Henry felt the same way and backed stand-in manager Kenny Dalglish with a £60 million ($95 million) double raid. The Indian owners of Blackburn decided that it would be an uninspirational journeyman from mid-table German obscurity who could inspire their team to greater heights.
And if not Jones, then maybe a Barcelona reject or some bloke from Latin America with an exotic name.
7: Demba Ba (Hoffenheim: West Ham United, Undisclosed)
40 goals in 103 Bundesliga appearances for a reported fee of approximately £3-5 million ($4.8-8 million) sounds like quite a good deal on face value. Especially for a club which has rooted to the bottom of the Premier League club and faces the possibility of relegation and a huge consequential loss of income at a time when it is bidding to take over an enormous stadium at the heart of London.
But, on closer inspection, Senegalese striker Demba Ba, despite his promise and goalscoring ability, is a big risk for the Hammers.
It remains to be seen not only whether he can adapt to the demands of the league and the challenge of lifting the gloom enveloping Upton Park, but also just whether he can overcome a complicated injury which saw Stoke City pull out of a move after the player failed a club medical.
6: Conor Sammon (Kilmarnock to Wigan, Undisclosed)
Although forwards Shane Long and Kevin Doyle have both successful transitions from Irish football to the top two tiers of English football in recent years, neither has proven a prolific goalscorer for their teams. Both have approximate goals to games ratios of 1:4.5.
How a player such as a Sammon, with no experience of playing football at a particularly high level, can benefit a Latics team woefully short on goals and confidence remains to be seen...and probably never will be.
5: Obafemi Martins (Rubin Kazan: Birmingham City, Loan)
Yes, he is a forward who has played Champions League football this year. Yes, he scored a few wonderful goals for Newcastle United in his previous stint in English footballincluding a left-footed thunderbolt at White Hart Lane.
But there are reasons why the 26 year-old Nigerian forward left Tyneside and a reason why Birmingham City is his third club since that departure less than two years ago.
For all of his talent, which was originally honed at Internazionale, Martins usually flatters to deceive. Strong as an ox, quick as an eagle and acrobatic like a monkey, ''Oba'' simply does not boast a particularly good strike rate and I struggle to see how he is a big enough improvement on the likes of Cameron Jerome and Kevin Phillips to help the Blues stay up this season.
4: Andy Reid (Sunderland to Blackpool, Loan)
Often taunted by home and away fans over his doughty figure and once ridiculed as being one of the worst ever January transfer window buys after a combined £8 million ($12.5 million) move to Tottenham Hotspur failed, Blackpool manager Ian Holloway successfully asked Sunderland if he could pinch the player from Sheffield United, where he was also on loan, for the remainder of the season.
The principal reason behind this move was to cover for a situation whereby star Blackpool player Charlie Adam would engineer a last-minute move to either Liverpool or Manchester United. That move did not prevail and Reid will be consigned to the bench for the most part of the rest of the season.
3: Stephen Ireland (Manchester City To Newcastle United, Loan)
How you do appease your fans as a Chairman, having just sold your best player and top goalscorer? Do you sign an over-paid prima donna who cannot get into the first team of a club five places below you in the league and who once lied about both of his grandparents dying and his girlfriend having a miscarriage in order to avoid having to play for his country?
You do if you're Mike Ashley, the font of all football knowledge and maker of many wise decisions!
With Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton, Danny Guthrie and Cheikh Tiote already impressing in midfield and speedy winger Hatem Ben Arfa recovering from injury, Ireland may have to bide his time just to get some minutes at St. James's Park.
2: Andy Carroll (Newcastle United To Liverpool, £35 Million+)
Tall? Check. Powerful? Check. Goalscorer? Check. Young? Check.
New Liverpool forward Andy Carroll ticks a lot of boxes and is surely England's next No. 9—a player in the mould of fellow Geordie Alan Shearer.
Is he worth £35 million ($55 million)? 11 top-flight goals, a dodgy thigh and thuggish behaviour off the football pitch suggest not. His exceptional performances against Arsenal and Aston Villa in the league, powerful play and age say otherwise.
Although he is still raw and hugely overvalued, he may become an important player for Liverpool towards the end of this year and in subsequent seasons. He may also buckle under the pressure of a hefty price tag or do something he regrets on a night out.
1: Fernando Torres (Liverpool To Chelsea, £50 Million)
An exceptional player. One of the best finishers in the world.
I am not for one second questioning the ability of Fernando Torres, a 26 year-old forward who has 26 goals for the best national team in the world and who can boast a phenomenal tally for former club Liverpool.
What is difficult to understand is whether this was a signing made at the request of Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti or in spite of him, whether Chelsea actually needs Torres, whether Torres is actually fit enough to make a real difference this season, whether he is worth a fee of more than $75 million and wages of nearly $15 million a year.
When you consider that David Villa, his younger and far more prolific compatriot, cost Barcelona significantly less in terms of wages and transfer fees and Darren Bent, who scored six more goals than Torres last year and has the same number of goals this year, moved to Aston Villa for less than half of the fee, you start to wonder just why Chelsea owner Roman Abrahamovic offered Liverpool so much money for the blond Spaniard.