The January transfer window is a strange beast. Where the pre-season sales carry an air of optimism, the January edition trades almost exclusively in desperation. Relegation fodder pinning all of their hopes on rolly-polly Championship strikers; title chasers frantically patching up injuries with overseas journeymen; Peter Odemwingie, driving just over the speed limit down the M1, refreshing his Twitter app every 5 seconds.
And naturally, mistakes are made. Big money balls-ups that stain a manager's reputation forever. And here, ladies and gentlemen, are the worst of the lot...
Liverpool to Chelsea, £50 million
The man, the myth, the mistake. Chelsea broke the British transfer record with their £50 million capture of the prolific Liverpool striker. Perhaps overwhelmed by the pressure of such a big money deal, Torres duly lost all footballing ability and spent 4 years spanking sitters into row Z and looking tragically lost.
Newcastle to Liverpool, £35 million
And what did Liverpool do with that 50 million squid? Well, they splashed most of it on long-limbed Tyneside local lad Andy Carroll. He was consistent, but for all the wrong reasons. Perma-pony tailed and perma-crocked, he didn’t start a game until March and only made stuttering appearances thereafter.
Fiorentina to Chelsea, £23.3 million
Look, we’ll level with you: we’ve never watched a Serie A game. And we probably share that in common with the Chelsea hierarchy, who decided to splash £23.3 million on Fiorentina winger Cuadrado. He played 4 underwhelming games in the league, before being shipped back to Italy on loan.
Panathainakos to Portsmouth, £900,000
When you type Kostas Chalkias into YouTube, you’re immediately greeted by a video entitled ‘THE WORST GOALKEEPER EVER KOSTAS CHALKIAS’. Harsh, but ultimately fair. Nicknamed Mr Bean by Portsmouth fans, the Greek goalie had a nightmare debut against local rivals Southampton and went on to ship 13 goals in 5 games.
Eric Djemba Djemba
Nantes to Manchester United, £3.5 million
Labelled as ‘the new Roy Keane’, Djemba x 2 will forever go down as one of Alex Ferguson’s worst ever signings. An aggressive midfielder who aimed almost exclusively for knee joints in the tackle, he didn’t last long at Old Trafford. He’s since played for 9 different clubs in ten years – disappointing for a man who made his United debut alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.
Anzhi Makhachkala to Queens Park Rangers, £12.5 million
For Blackburn, Samba was a terrifying lump of pure defensive steel. But after returning from a big money move in Russia, the Congo international looked off the pace, devoid of power and past his prime. It didn’t help that he was getting paid a stonking £100,000. QPR were relegated that season.
Heerenveen to Middlesborough, £12.5 million
Despite an impressive goal-scoring record Herenveen, Alves never really looked like a world-beater. He had a perfectly spherical, Pitbull-esque head and, in the tradition of all good Brazilian strikers, always looked a little too porky. Middlesborough shattered their transfer record to bring him in, but he was a massive disappointment.
Rangers to Newcastle, £8 million
Everybody loves a comedy double-act – and that’s presumably why Newcastle decided to spend £8 million pairing Titus “baffling decision” Bramble with Rangers defender Jean-Aliin Boumsong. B & B proved to be one of the worst Premier league partnerships ever.