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Top 10 Worst January Signings from the Premier League

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Adrian Sousa

Script written by Adrian Sousa

You smell that? It smells like some January panic buys. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be looking at the Top 10 Worst January Signings from the Premier League.


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Script written by Adrian Sousa

Top 10 Worst January Signings from the Premier League

You smell that? It smells like some January panic buys. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be looking at the Top 10 Worst January Signings from the Premier League.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the biggest flops that were brought in to Premier League clubs during the January transfer window. Of course, as the saying goes, the bigger the price, the bigger the flop. Right? That’s what they say? Anyway, those who flopped hard with a high price tag attached to them will rank higher. Sound good? Let’s go!

#10: Afonso Alves
Middlesbrough (2008)

Like many a decent striker, Afonso Alves arrived from the Dutch top flight for £12.5 million, and with the promise of being the next lethal import from that league. Speaking of his arrival, it was all pomp and no product. After Alves had notched 45 goals in just 39 appearances for Heerenveen, his time at the Riverside saw him score just 10 in 42 appearances. Boro were relegated, and Alves departed the club tout de suite, opting to take his talents to the Qatari league where he would wind down his career. You know it’s bad when one of your marquee moments at a club is your unveiling ceremony.

#9: Wilfried Bony
Manchester City (2015)

This Ivorian striker had made quite the name for himself at Swansea, as the Welsh side paid what was a club-record fee of £12 million for Wilfried Bony back in 2013. The investment paid off, with Bony’s physicality and finishing bearing 25 goals in his first season. A couple years later, Manchester City identified him as their latest signing, paying £25 million for him in January of 2015. From 12 appearances, he scored just twice. In the 2015-16 season, he scored just eight goals for a total of 10 in 46 appearances for the blue side of Manchester. A loan to Stoke followed, with a permanent return to Swansea in August of 2017. Since then, he’s never again found his form.

#8: Juan Cuadrado
Chelsea (2015)

2015 certainly had English clubs going transfer-gaga during the winter window. Chelsea, never one to shy away from a signing or three, couldn’t resist when it came to Juan Cuadrado’s exploits in the Serie A for Fiorentina. With Chelsea already cruising towards the title, Cuadrado was brought in for £23.3 million and Mohamed Salah sent the other way on loan because… uhh… well, to help keep the bench warm. Jose Mourinho handed the Colombian just four starts during the remainder of the season, with the Portuguese manager reminding fans and media that he was one for the future. He was indeed one for the future – said future being at Juventus, as he’d go on to feature regularly for the Italian juggernauts.

#7: Christopher Samba
Queen’s Park Rangers (2013)

Harry Redknapp, man or meme? You tell me. Well, back in January of 2013 while QPR were still willing to flex their financial muscle, Redknapp claimed that bringing in Congolese international Christopher Samba from Anzhi Makhachkala for £12.5 million was just what they needed. An imposing figure physically on the back line of any team, Samba was to be central to QPR’s resurgence under Redknapp – and well worth the £100,000 per week wages, right? Well, unfortunately for QPR fans, Redknapp resigned days later, Samba put in howler after howler while telling the fans to “get over” how much he was paid, then returned to Anzhi in the summer.

#6: Kostas Mitroglou
Fulham (2014)

Olympiacos had an absolute gem in their ranks, as Mitroglou was prolific for the almost perennial Greek Champions – so much so that when Fulham found themselves in need of a striker to cap off their January 2014 signings of Johnny Heitinga and Lewis Holtby, they spent a then-club record of £12.4 million for the Greek marksman. Well, to put a number on the actual value the Cottagers got out of their investment would be closer to £12 than it was to 12 million, as Mitroglou started just one match for Fulham, and was loaned out twice before being sold permanently to Benfica. Three appearances, one start, zero goals, £12.4 million. Ah, don’t you love a January panic buy?

#5: James Beattie
Everton (2005)

After making his way up through the Blackburn Rovers youth setup, English striker James Beattie didn’t find regular playing time until he moved to Southampton – and the goals came rolling in as well. In his final three seasons with the Saints, he averaged about a goal for every two appearances, thus making him a hot Premier League property. So, in January of 2005, you could excuse Everton fans for getting ahead of themselves when Beattie signed there for £6 million. His first full season with the Toffees wasn’t great, with 10 goals from 32 Premier League appearances. The following year? Forgettable. Incredibly forgettable, with just two goals in 33 outings, and Beattie fleeing Merseyside for the Steel City in the summer of 2007.

#4: Jean-Alain Boumsong
Newcastle (2005)

So get this: Scottish side Rangers sign Jean-Alain Boumsong on a free transfer in the summer of 2004 from French side Auxerre. Just a few months later, in January of 2005, Graeme Souness and Newcastle throw an £8 million offer on the table for Boumsong to bring the French defender to Tyneside. Curious inconsistencies in the transfer aside, there were even more inconsistencies in the actual play of Boumsong, who started decently for Newcastle. Despite this decent start, he went on to become a defensive liability, helping Newcastle ship plenty of goals in his first full season with the club – leading to a transfer to Juventus, who were about to spend a season in Serie B after a match-fixing scandal.

#3: Savio Nsereko
West Ham (2009)

Savio Nsereko’s story would make for an interesting documentary. Well, at least somewhat interesting. After catching the eye of, well, perhaps not top clubs, but at least top flight clubs across Europe, West Ham signed the Germany under-20 international for £9 million in January of 2009. Well, after being handed the number 10 shirt for the Hammers, he went on to make just 10 appearances for the club, only one of which being a start. He was promptly sold to Fiorentina in the summer for £2.7 million plus Manuel Da Costa… that’s harsh on Da Costa. Nsereko went on to have an interesting career to say the least, even going so far as faking his own kidnapping in Thailand.

#2: Fernando Torres
Chelsea (2011)

Spanish striker Fernando Torres certainly did more for Chelsea than any of the other players on this list did for their respective clubs. But, he also cost much, much more. In fact, when Chelsea signed the former Liverpool starlet for £50 million, it was seen as a ton of money – and still seems like a lot today with inflation. Anyway, Torres looked a shadow of his former self, scoring just one goal for Chelsea after 18 appearances. He did score an important goal for Chelsea in their 2012 Champions League run, and in their Europa League final victory. But looking at the numbers, he scored 45 for Chelsea in 172 appearances, while at Liverpool, he managed 81 goals – almost double – in just 142 appearances.

#1: Andy Carroll
Liverpool (2011)

Poor Andy Carroll. We aren’t saying he’s a terrible player – sure, he lacks in some areas, but his physicality and aerial presence are a massive boon to any team when he’s on his game… and when he isn’t injured, of course. After looking destined to be a top talent given his relatively short time in the top flight with Newcastle, Liverpool – newly minted from their Fernando Torres sale – made Andy Carroll the most expensive British player at the time. Paying out £35 million for ultimately an unproven talent, Carroll’s Liverpool career was mired with injuries and mishit strikes, scoring four goals in 35 matches in his first season, and left Anfield with just 11 in 58 matches. He was sold to West Ham in 2013 for around £15 million. Yikes.

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