10 worst January signings in the EPL

Joel Brookes 16/01/2017

With just a month to get transfer business done, mid-season moves are often rushed to be completed, especially for struggling sides.

It’s usually viewed as a chance to get a short-term fix rather than a long-term solution – which has led to a number of January transfer duds.

Here, Sport360 brings you ten of the worst Premier league deals we’ve seen in the January window…

MICHAEL RICKETS (Bolton to Middlesbrough, 2003)

Having been “stuck in a rut” at Bolton, Michael Ricketts – by then an England international – joined Middlesbrough for a fresh start in a Dhs15.5 million (£3.5m) switch.

He failed to rediscover his form at the Riverside however, scoring just two goals in 24 games in the 2003-04 season though he did win the League Cup, beating former club Bolton in the final.

Having failed to produce the goods, Ricketts left Boro after 18 months to join Leeds United and from thereon in his career took a downward turn. He struggled with his weight and moved eight times before eventually retiring after a spell with Tranmere Rovers.

RICARDO ROCHA (Benfica to Tottenham, 2007)

Having built a strong reputation during his five years with Benfica, big things were expected when Daniel Levy managed to prise the 29-year-old away from the Portuguese giants in January 2007 with a Dhs14.15m offer (£3.2m).

But the move was an abject failure with Rocha playing just nine Premier League games in the remainder of the 2006-07 season – before making ZERO appearances in 2007-08.

He was released at the end of his contract, and actually returned to England with Portsomouth in 2010 after a spell at Standard Liege.

AFONSO ALVES (Heerenveen to Middlesbrough, 2008)

Alfonso Alves joined Middlesbrough in January 2008 for a fee thought to be around the Dhs56 million (£12.7m) mark, on a four-and-a-half-year deal. The Brazilian arrived following a very successful spell in the Netherlands with Heerenveen, for whom he scored a phenomenal 45 goals in 39 Eredivisie games.

However, things went very differently on Teesside. There were a couple of highlights – a brace in a 2-2 draw with Manchester United and a hat-trick against Manchester City – but overall, Alves’ spell was entirely underwhelming – ending with Boro’s relegation to the Championship in 2009.

That summer Alves moved to Qatar with Al-Sadd, leaving for half the amount Boro paid for him.

SAVIO (Brescia to West Ham, 2009)

West Ham brought in Ugandan-born German striker Savio Sereko in for a then-club record transfer of Dhs40 million (£9m) from Serie B side Brescia, following the departure of Craig Bellamy.

The club trusted Gianfranco Zola to bring in some of Italy’s finest young players to help the Hammers establish themselves in the Premier League, but Savio did not cut the mustard.

The forward failed to adapt to life in England and played just 10 times in 2008-09 season. Only six months into his career in London, Savio was shoved out the door with West Ham making a Dhs26.5 million (£6m) loss.

JEAN MAKOUN (Lyon to Aston Villa, 2011)

Aston Villa signed Jean Makoun for Dhs27.5 million (£6.2m) from Lyon during the 2011 January transfer window, the midfielder arriving with an excellent reputation after a successful 10 years in Ligue 1.

The Cameroonian certainly didn’t shy away during his short stay in the Premier League, but his aggressive style didn’t bear fruit for Villa. Makoun played seven games in the 2010-11 season, picking up three bookings and a red card.

He spent the following two seasons on loan to Olympiacos and Stade Rennes before making his second loan spell a permanent move back to France. Now 33, Makoun currently plays in Turkey for Antalyaspor, alongside countryman Samuel Eto’o.

ANDY CARROLL (Newcastle United to Liverpool, 2011)

Andy Carroll became the eighth most expensive player in history when he joined Liverpool in 2011 for a staggering fee of Dhs155 million (£35million).

He’d scored 11 and assisted seven goals in 19 Premier League games for Newcastle before moving to Merseyside, but he started life at Anfield with an injury and only made his debut three months after joining.

Blighted by injuries and his inflated price tag, Carroll played out just one full season with Liverpool – scoring four goals in 35 league games before leaving on loan – and then permanently – to West Ham.

FERNANDO TORRES (Liverpool to Chelsea, 2011)

The decline of Fernando Torres still baffles football fans and pundits alike to this day. A scoring sensation at Atletico Madrid and then Liverpool, Torres swapped Anfield for Stamford Bridge when Chelsea swooped in with a British record Dhs221 million (£50m) offer.

Torres seemed a sure thing given his goal-scoring record but he endured a nightmare time at Chelsea, appearing a shadow of the player who had terrorized defences for Liverpool. The Spaniard scored just once for Chelsea in his first six months and things did not get much better.

Torres joined AC Milan on a two-year loan in the 2014-15 season, and made the move permanent just six months later. However, just two days later, he moved on loan to Atletico Madrid for the season. Torres then made a permanent return to Madrid, though he has still never reached the heights of his early career.

KOSTAS MITROGLOU (Olympiakos to Fulham, 2014)

Greece international Kostas Mitroglou joined Fulham in 2014 for a club record Dhs55 million (£12.4m) fee after scoring 14 goals in 12 appearances, including a hat-trick in the Champions League, for Olympiakos.

Appearing unfit and unliked by new head coach Felix Magath, Mitroglou made just one start that season as Fulham were relegated.

He returned to Olympiakos on loan, where he managed to hit fine form again with 16 goals in 24 league appearances, and later joined Benfica having rediscovered his scoring touch.

ANDREJ KRAMARIC (Rijeka to Leicester, 2015)

Despite heavy interest from Chelsea, highly-rated Croatian Andrej Kramaric joined relegation-threatened Leicester City for Dhs43 million (£9.7m) in January 2015.

Kramaric played 13 times in the Premier League, scoring twice as the Foxes survived relegation. However, that was as good as it got for the youngster.

As Leicester enjoyed a fairytale run to the 2015-16 Premier League title, Kramaric played little part – appearing just twice in the first half of the season before leaving for Hoffenheim in a loan move that was made permanent in summer 2016.

OUMAR NIASSE (Lokomotiv Moscow to Everton, 2016)

Oumar Niasse completed his dream move to the Premier League in a deal worth Dhs60 million (£13.5m) to Everton last January.

Following the move, the Senegal international struggled to adapt to football in England, with doomed manager Roberto Martinez’s gamble not paying off.

Niasse started twice and played a total of just 19 minutes in the remaining 13 league games – 14 minutes of which came when Niasse came on as a sub with Everton beating West Ham. The Toffees went on to lose 3-2.

Ronald Koeman replaced Martinez at Goodison Park and deemed Niasse surplus to requirements. He began the season with Everton’s U23s and was loaned to Hull City in January 2017, with an option for the Tigers to buy for Dhs42.3 million (£10m).

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Pep's five worst defeats as manager

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Pep's worst defeats

Pep Guardiola lived a charmed and rather sheltered life as manager of Barcelona. His pedigree as a tactician is unquestionable but with the best players in the world at his disposal, his plans were executed excellently.

As such, the Catalan had never been on the wrong end of a mauling but since leaving home comforts behind, he’s had to deal with a few sleepless nights following some humiliating results.

On Sunday night, Everton stunned the Premier League as they plundered four goals without reply against Guardiola’s Manchester City, their second 4-0 defeat this season.

Here’s a look at his five worst defeats as manager.

INTER MILAN 3-1 BARCELONA, APRIL 2010 (CHAMPIONS LEAGUE)

Despite falling behind against the defending champions, Jose Mourinho’s Inter side produced a masterclass to stage a 3-1 comeback in the Champions League semi-final first leg.

It was a remarkable achievement for the Serie A side against an all-conquering Barcelona. Mourinho’s complicated relationship with the Spanish outfit served as the backdrop as he took on Guardiola, the man who occupied the job he so desired.

Wesley Sneijder, Maicon and Diego Milito were all on the score sheet as the win enabled Inter to progress to the finals of the Champions League with a 3-2 aggregate score.

BORUSSIA DORTMUND 4-2 BAYERN MUNICH, JULY 2013 (GERMAN SUPERCUP)

Played one, lost one – and to your fiercest rivals no less. It was hardly the perfect start for Guardiola in German football.

Losing his first competitive match in charge of Bayern put a little bit of heat on the Spaniard who arrived with a massive reputation while fans still mourned the departure of the treble-winning Jupp Heynckes.

Despite Arjen Robben’s double, Dortmund were helped to victory with a brace from Marco Reus, an Ilkay Gundogan strike and Daniel van Buyten’s own goal.

BARCELONA 4-0 MANCHESTER CITY, OCTOBER 2016 (CHAMPIONS LEAGUE)

The most recent of his defeats, Guardiola’s City side were outclassed by a Barcelona team that exhibited bursts of scintillating football.

However, the real concern for the award-winning coach is that the hosts were aided by the individual errors of his own players.

Claudio Bravo’s howler which got him sent off stands out but there were poor performances all over the pitch and it showed just how far City were from challenging the best Europe has to offer.

EVERTON 4-0 MANCHESTER CITY, JANUARY 2017 (PREMIER LEAGUE)

Everton were at their clinical best as they swept City aside in a 4-0 thumping at Goodison Park. The Toffees forced Guardiola’s side out of the top four.

Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring before Kevin Mirallas, Tom Davies and Ademola Lookman added three more goals in the second half.

The defeat only served to raise more questions of the Spaniard’s capacity to adapt to the Premier League. Much has been made of his stubborn nature and refusal to adopt a Plan B.

BAYERN MUNICH 0-4 REAL MADRID, APRIL 2014 (CHAMPIONS LEAGUE)

This is the defeat Guardiola still refers to as the worst in his career and you can understand why. Despite his domestic success with Bayern, Champions League glory was what he was hired to achieve.

With his predecessor signing off with a historic treble, the bar was set as high as it could go. Guardiola faced familiar foes in Real Madrid as they stood between him and the Champions League final.

Following a narrow defeat at the Bernabeu, the contest at the Allianz Arena was anything but close. Bayern were outdone by the two best ways to score against a Guardiola side; counter-attacks and set-pieces.

Sergio Ramos headed in twice from set-pieces while Cristiano Ronaldo rounded off a counter-attack before putting away a free-kick as well to complete the 4-0 rout.

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10 players who went on strike

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Dimitri Payet was one of the best players in the Premier League last season and starred for France at Euro 2016 as well.

After starting this term rather slowly, the West Ham United midfielder has proved to be one of the most creative players in Europe despite failing to provide as many assists as he did last season.

The Hammers have seemingly regressed as well and Payet is desperate for a move away from the club. Given he’s 29 and in his prime, that ambition is understandable but he hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory with the way in which he’s gone about it.

The Frenchman has refused to play for his club as he tries to force through a transfer in January and with West Ham digging their heels in as well, it’s proving to be classic stand-off.


Payet isn’t the first player who has refused to take to the pitch though and the team at Copa90 have put together a top 10 list.








Which player stands out in the list?


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