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6 worst January transfers in EPL history

Torres is the archetypical definition of a January transfer flop
Torres is the archetypical definition of a January transfer flop
Elvis Ume O

We have passed the midway point of the European footballing season and by now we have a clear picture of how the title race is shaping out to be in most of the leagues, with the serious contenders having been separated from the pretenders.

It also signals the resumption of transfer activities, with the winter window offering clubs a chance to strengthen their squads, by restocking in perceived areas of weaknesses to help them achieve their season objectives.

The timing of the window means that most buys are mostly panic purchases, as clubs are usually desperate to get their hands on players who they perceive can help them either stave the drop down to relegation or help with their title quest, with the result being that more often than not, players signed during the winter transfer are usually tagged as flops.

While there been some genuinely brilliant purchases conducted during the winter transfer window as was the case with Luis Suarez, Virgil Van Dijk and Nemanja Vidic, there are far more cases of the contrary.

In this piece, we would be taking a look at the six worst transfers made in Premier League history during the winter window.


#6 Juan Cuadrado

Cuadrado was underwhelming for Chelsea
Cuadrado was underwhelming for Chelsea

Fiorentina - Chelsea

Date of arrival - 2 February 2015

Transfer fee - £23.3m

Having impressed significantly in the Italian Serie A, first with Lecce and then Fiorentina, Juan Cuadrado earned a move to Stamford Bridge in February of 2015 in a deal reportedly worth £23.3m, with new Liverpool darling Mohamed Salah going the other way on loan.

The Colombian international came highly revered, with his pace and direct running setting him up to be a success in the Premier League, but it all went horribly off-course.

Cuadrado found playing time extremely hard to come by, having to settle with a spot on the bench or not even being part of matchday squads, before being shipped out on loan to Juventus less than six months after arriving.

In six months at Chelsea, Cuadrado was only able to make 15 appearances in all competitions of which only three were starts without scoring any goal.

He, however, flourished at Juventus, being an integral part of the club's Italian dominance so much so that his loan transfer was made permanent which must have left Chelsea fans wondering what went wrong for the 30-year-old at Chelsea.

Also see : EPL Transfer News, Fantasy Premier League , Fantasy Premier League Tips

#5 Chris Samba

Chris Samba
Chris Samba

Anzhi Makhachkala - QPR

Date of arrival - 31 January 2013

Transfer fee - £12.5m

How this man was able to pull off a large transfer deal not once but twice is quite baffling, to say the least.

A brutish defender lacking in any real flair, Samba was not extraordinary even at his best, so it was quite shocking when then moneybags Anzhi Makhachkala sanctioned his purchase in 2012 for £12.3m from Blackburn Rovers on a salary of £100,000/week (making him the highest paid defender in the world at the time), although, in fairness to the Congolese, the Russian club did make a lot of questionable purchases in and around that time.

Even more preposterous was the decision by then QPR manager Harry Redknapp to give the green light on Samba's return to the EPL, but this time with the London club for a fee in the region of £12.5m on a similar salary to the one he received at Anzhi, in a deal which the Russian's club's director said QPR were out of their minds to make.

QPR were in danger of being relegated at the time of his purchase, with Redknapp stating that Samba was the defender that they needed to help them avoid the drop.

The bulky centre-back hardly made any new friends among the Rangers fans when he told them to forget about his salary and focus instead on what he could bring to the table (which admittedly was not much).

It goes without saying that Samba was powerless to stop QPR from going down, even putting in some shambolic performances including one against Fulham for which he had to issue an apology to the fans.

On 2 July 2013 (less than six months later), Samba was once more on the move, this time back to Anzhi in another £12m deal, but that did not last either and he has since been something of a journeyman, failing to stay at any club long enough to prove his worth, further highlighting the folly of QPR's dealing in January 2013.

#4 Guido Carrillo

Guido Carrillo
Guido Carrillo

Monaco - Southampton

Date of arrival - 24 January 2018

Transfer fee - £19.2m

Southampton received a world record fee of £75m when they sold Virgil Van Dijk to Liverpool in January 2018 and as such had excess cash to burn and like most other clubs who found themselves in similar positions, The Saints splashed the cash on a player who proved to not be worth it.

The player in question happens to be Argentine forward Guido Carillo who had been an unspectacular backup to Falcao and Mbappe during Monaco's record-breaking 2017 season but was still relatively unknown which made the decision by Southampton to spend £19.2m on him really baffling.

Carillo had zero impact at the St Mary's, making just seven league appearances without a goal, before being shipped out on loan less than six months after arriving (a recurring theme in this piece) to team up with the man who sanctioned his purchase (Maurizio Pellegrino) at Leganes in Spain.

#3 Kostas Mitroglou

Kostas Mitroglou
Kostas Mitroglou

Olympiakos - Fulham

Date of arrival - 31 January 2014

Transfer fee - £12m

Having established himself as a decent goalscorer in the Greek Super League with Olympiakos, English side Fulham paid £12m (a then club record) to the Greek side for the services of Mitroglou.

The London club were facing the prospect of relegation, leading then manager Rene Meulensteen to state that Mitroglou's goals would be crucial to the Cottagers avoiding the drop.

As it happened, that proved to be far from the case, as the Greek international was plagued by a series of nagging injuries which massive affected his impact on the field.

The 30-year-old was restricted to just three Premier League appearances scoring zero goals, with Fulham, of course, going on to be relegated at the end of the season which was a rather poor return for the massive investment that was made into getting him.

#2 Fernando Torres

Fernando Torres
Fernando Torres

Liverpool - Chelsea

Date of arrival - 31 January 2011

Transfer fee - £50m

A long-term target of Abramovic's at Chelsea right from the first year of his takeover, the Russian Oligarch finally got his man in January 2011 for a fee of £50m, which was the then record for a British transfer.

Quite how Torres went from one of the best strikers in the world confident in his abilities at Liverpool to a player full of doubt and poor in front of goal at Chelsea is anyone's guess, as in four years at Stamford Bridge, Torres was so poor, looking a shadow of the man who terrorized opposition defences (including Chelsea's) at Liverpool.

Things began badly for Torres, as he lost 1-0 on his debut to his former club and perhaps this was a sign of things to come, as he went 903 minutes before opening his Chelsea account in April, which was to be his only goal of the season in 18 appearances for his new club.

It got progressively worse for Torres and despite some high points such as the equalizing goal in the 2012 Champions League semi-final against Barcelona, becoming the first player to score in seven different competitions in the same season or netting the opener in the 2-1 victory in the Europa League final of 2013, there were too many low points that it would only take the most biased supporter to consider Torres' Chelsea career anything but a failure.

The Spaniard's spell at Chelsea was characterized by numerous goalscoring droughts in addition to that mentioned above, including a 24-game scoreless run that stretched from October 2011 to March 2012, over 11 hours between November and December 2012 among others.

Torres ended his Chelsea career in 2015 with a loan move to AC Milan having scored just 20 Premier League goals in 110 appearances which is a far cry from the figures (65 in 102) that he posted at Liverpool.

#1 Andy Carroll

Carroll was a Liverpool flop
Carroll was a Liverpool flop

Newcastle - Liverpool

Date of arrival - 31 January 2011

Transfer fee - £35m

Once hyped as the next big thing in English football, Carroll was extremely highly rated as a youngster and like other "English prodigies' before him, he proved to be nothing but an overrated player.

Having been the driving force behind Newcastle's immediate promotion back to the Premier League in 2010, Liverpool shelled out £35m (most expensive British and eighth overall transfer at the time) for the then 21-year-old to bring him to Anfield on deadline day in January 2011to replace the departing Fernando Torres.

Perhaps buoyed by the fact that they knew Liverpool were desperate to get their man and more importantly had a largesse of cash available, Newcastle inflated the price for the player and it is a purchase which every Liverpool fan regrets till this day.

In two years at Liverpool, Carroll scored just six goals in 44 Premier League matches, amounting to about £6m for every goal he scored and it is hard to find a higher waste of money anywhere in football history.

Edited by Vignesh Ananthasubramanian

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