Deadline day: Arshavin, Carroll and other awful January deals

Feb 2, 2015
Bill Mann

If your team doesn't end up with a bargain today, it could be for the best...

On deadline day 2011 Liverpool did a good bit of business with Ajax, signing striker Luis Suarez for £22.7m. In the three-and-a-half years after that, the Uruguayan striker scored 82 goals in 133 matches for the Reds and established himself as one of the deadliest finishers in Premier League history, albeit with a somewhat unsavoury interest in human flesh. 

Unfortunately for Liverpool, on the same day they secured the prolific Suarez they also signed Andy Carroll for a much bigger fee. And that's the danger of the January deadline day - for every Suarez, there's a Carroll, such an utter waste of money that Liverpool might have well tipped £20m into the Mersey.

Here are the top ten flops of the January transfer window:

Konstantinos Mitroglou: Fulham broke their transfer record when they paid upwards of £11m for Greek international Mitroglou in 2014. The Olympiakos striker was supposed to rescue the Cottagers from the drop, but they would have done better offering the Craven Cottage tea-lady a contract. Mitroglou made just three appearances, including one start, failed to find the net and was farmed out on loan back to Olympiakos in the summer as Fulham crashed out the Premier League.

Savio Nsereko: West Ham have made several January transfer window blunders. In 2009 they paid Italian side Brescia £9m for forward Nsereko. The Ugandan-born German was billed as a replacement for Craig Bellamy, but he ended up making just one start and after no goals in ten appearances he was despatched to Fiorentina for an undisclosed fee. Did the Hammers learn their lesson? No. The next season they signed Benni McCarthy.

Emmanuel Olisadebe: Nigerian-born marksman Olisadebe moved from Panathinaikos to Portsmouth in January 2006 having helped the Greek side to their first league title in seven years. Capped more than 20 times by Poland, Olisadebe arrived on the south coast injured and played only twice for Pompey before being released four months into his contract.

Alfonso Alves: Middlesbrough broke their record transfer fee when in 2008 they signed Alves from Heerenveen, for whom he'd scored 45 goals in just 38 appearances. But the Brazilian managed just 10 goals in 42 appearances which, considering they'd paid £10m for him, wasn't quite the return They'd hoped for. Middlesbrough were duly relegated to the Championship at the end of the 2008-09 season and Alves was offloaded to a side in Qatar.

Vegard Forren: Norway international Forren, signed by Southampton for £4m from Molde in January 2013, arrived in England with a reputation as a strapping six-foot defender. When he returned to Molde six months later, Forren was still a strapping six-footer but his reputation as a defender was slightly less clear – he'd never managed a game for the first team.

Ricardo Rocha: In January 2007 Portuguese defender Rocha signed for Spurs from Benfica in a three-and-half-year deal said to be worth £3.3m. If Tottenham thought they had snaffled a bargain they were soon disabused of the notion as the international central defender managed just 14 matches in two years before Standard Liege took him off their hands.

Felipe Caicedo: The striker became a Swiss sensation when in 2008 he moved from Basel to Manchester City in a £5.2m deal. It was the biggest transfer in Swiss League history and then City manager Sven Goran Eriksson was delighted to have signed the Ecuadorian ahead of Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Juventus and AC Milan. His delight soon turned to despair, however, as Caicedo managed just five goals in 27 appearances before eventually being sold to Lokomotiv Moscow in 2011.

Andrei Arshavin: When Arsenal paid Zenit St Petersburg £15m for Arshavin in 2009, few baulked at the then record club fee. The Russian striker had starred for his country at the 2008 European Championships and three months after arriving at the Emirates he scored all the Gunners goals in their 4-4 draw with Liverpool. That was as good as it got for Arshavin, and over the next four years he managed just 19 more goals before returning to Zenit in June 2013 – on a free transfer.

Fernando Torres: The £50m that Chelsea paid Liverpool for Torres in January 2011 remains the biggest transfer between two Premier League clubs. For the Reds, it enabled them to splash out silly money on Andy Carroll (of whom more later), and for Chelsea...? In his three years in the blue of Chelsea, the Spanish striker has scored 19 goals in 99 appearances, compared to the 65 he racked up for the Reds in 102 matches.

Andy Carroll: Three years after paying Newcastle £35m for Andy Carroll, Liverpool's bean counters must still be rueing the day. It remains the biggest fee paid for a British footballer and Carroll remains the biggest flop in January transfer history. In 58 appearances for the Reds, Carroll scored 11 goals and was eventually loaned out to West Ham before the move became permanent in May 2013. How much did the Hammers pay Liverpool for the pleasure? £15m. 

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