Football fans are often excited by speculation surrounding the future of world-famous footballers during the summer transfer window.
Big-money transfers make big, big headlines.
Stories concerning Sergio Aguero, Juan Mata, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri have dominated the newspaper’s back pages this summer, and it is likely that they will all blossom into fantastic players for their new employers.
However, not all clubs have the luxury to compete for the signatures of world-class players by throwing around an obscene amount of money. Some clubs are forced to gamble on the players that they sign.
It is ironic that the clubs who need new recruits the most are often not in the position to strengthen their side. Everton, QPR, Swansea and Norwich City have all struggled to add real quality to their squads this season.
Instead, managers for such clubs have been forced to tussle over players with big question marks over their heads.
This short slideshow hopes to draw attention to what I feel have been the five worst transfers of the summer window thus far.
Until the sale of Connor Wickham to Sunderland, the £6 million transfer fee that Ipswich received in 1999 from Newcastle was the record sale in the Suffolk club’s history.
Kieron Dyer arrived in the Premier League as one of its most exciting young players.
The former England international had cemented his place in the starting 11 at Portman Road at the age of 17. He went on to make 190 Premier League appearances for Newcastle, scoring 23 goals in the process.
Despite the early hype surrounding his career and 33 caps earned for England, Kieron Dyer will be remembered for his on-the-pitch fight with teammate Lee Bowyer as well as his persistent chain of injuries.
Since joining West Ham in 2007, Kieron Dyer has made a combined total of 31 Premier League appearances, including his debut match for Queens Park Rangers in the inaugural week of the 2011-12 season.
10 days after his West Ham debut in August 2007, Dyer received a potentially career-threatening injury at the hands of Bristol Rover’s Joe Jacobsen. He spent a subsequent 17 months on the injury table.
Similar ill fortune has struck Neil Warnock’s QPR. Just three minutes into his debut for the club, Dyer walked off with an injured foot.
His talent is obvious. He may have lost some of the pace that graced him 10 years ago, but signs of excellent ball control, special awareness and half-decent passes are evident. He has the potential to be a playmaker at QPR.
The problem is QPR already have a player that fills that role: Adel Taarabt. The 22-year-old Moroccan is easily Rangers' best player and there is nothing that Kieron Dyer can do better than him.
Dyer’s role seems redundant next to Taarabt. The only positive QPR fans can take from his arrival is that he arrived as a free transfer and has only penned a one-year deal.
Given that Kieron Dyer is 32, and injury has plagued him since his 2005- 2006 campaign for Newcastle, it is difficult to see what the former England international can offer QPR.
Perhaps Neil Warnock was hoping for one last hurrah. Instead, he has received a whimper.
West Ham United – Queens Park Rangers
Danny Gabbidon is the second aged-out West Ham cast-off on this list, and, like Kieron Dyer, he has been snapped up by QPR.
For a team with ambitions to become a major Premier League force, the London club seem to have shot themselves in the foot with their transfer policy.
Despite all of their money, Neil Warnock has been given peanuts to splash around in the transfer market.
They came close to selling star player Adel Taarabt, and have signed two injury-prone, aged, Premier League rejects.
If Gabbidon were in the West Ham team now, he would not be in Sam Allardyce’s starting 11.
The Welsh centre-back was a solid Championship defender during the peak stages of his career, but he never successfully made the jump to the Premier League.
He has not been a consistent starter since playing for Cardiff in 2005-06. Although, to be fair, he did collect 32 Premier League appearances for West Ham in the following season
The Wales international is too slow and cumbersome to be a Premier League centre-back. QPR will most likely spend much of the season battling against relegation—goal difference could be pivotal.
Newcastle United to West Ham United
Queens Park Rangers’ transfer policy during this window may be questionable, but, Newcastle United have been all too familiar with the self-destruct button since Mike Ashley purchased the club in 2007.
Alan Pardew may have been able to prevent Joey Barton’s free transfer away from St. James’ Park, but for reasons unknown, he gave consent for his best player to leave the club.
Kevin Nolan was Newcastle’s most valuable player last season, especially since Andy Carroll’s £35 million transfer to Liverpool.
The former Bolton skipper scored 12 goals in 30 games for Newcastle, and ended the season as the club's top scorer.
Perhaps he fancied a reunion with former boss Sam Allardyce, or maybe wages of £50,000 a week secured the deal. One thing’s for sure, the 29-year-old has taken a backward step in his club career.
The signing of Yohan Cabaye may be enough to fill the hole in the centre of the Magpies midfield, but so far the Tyneside club have struggled to find the back of the net.
Kevin Nolan was the player who bridged the gap between midfield and attack by turning defence into offense. He is a physical, seasoned professional who has gone about his business quietly for much of his career. It is his runs through the middle of the pitch and shots from distance that Newcastle fans will miss the most.
When he was on the ball, entertainment followed.
With Demba Ba up front, Newcastle do have a striker who is capable of scoring goals, but at present Pardew’s team are clearly missing their former captain.
Blackpool to Sunderland
David Vaughan is one of several Blackpool players to have avoided the drop, despite the Tangerines' relegation last season.
The Wales international featured 35 times for Ian Holloway’s side last season, scoring two goals in the process.
Although Charlie Adam stole the headlines in the Blackpool midfield, Vaughan’s work rate and physical presence in the heart of midfield made him an equally important player for the Tangerines.
Despite his fine performances for Blackpool last season, he will find it difficult to compete for a starting spot in Steve Bruce’s side.
Sebastian Larsson, Lee Cattermole, Jack Colback and Craig Gardener seem to be Steve Bruce’s preferred midfielders, making it difficult to see how Vaughan could break into the team.
Sunderland to Liverpool
The 21-year-old’s potential cannot be denied.
One day, Jordan Henderson will make a fine Premier League midfielder, but £20 million is too big a fee to pay for someone whose potential is yet to be fulfilled.
All the signs are there that Henderson will develop into a great Liverpool midfielder: He is a hard worker, good on the ball and a strong tackler off of it. His quality is highlighted by the fact he featured 70 times in Sunderland’s first team over the course of two seasons.
Henderson does have some Gerrard-like qualities in his game, which are mostly exhibited by the confidence he exudes when he is on the ball. Although all areas of his game could improve, he is an accomplished passer and competent ball-winner.
In his first two games for Liverpool, he has looked a little out of his depth, and it is difficult to see where he will fit into Dalglish’s plans when Steven Gerrard returns to full fitness.
Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam have both made better starts to their Anfield careers, although, to be fair to Henderson, they have eight and five years more playing experience, respectively.
Jordan Henderson is by all means good enough to play for Liverpool. The problem is an exorbitant price tag has come with his name, which will result in his every move being under the public microscope.
If he fails, it will be difficult for Liverpool to recoup 50 percent of the fee they paid Sunderland, let alone £20 million.
Who do you think is the worst signing of the window?
Have I been too harsh?
Who have I missed out?