The Spoiler’s BEST and WORST January signings
£8million, Graeme! £8million!
Feeling a little bit fed up because the January transfer window is so far as fun as a child-swap episode of Eastenders? Aww, don’t worry, man, things will hot up. In the meantime, after the jump, you can relive some of January’s finest and most appalling bits of football business…
Feel free to include your own in the comments section.
Patrice Evra, Monaco to Man United, 2006
After years of Phil Neville tirelessly repositioning his body to use his favourite right foot, and due in no small part to Gabriel Heinze being injured, Fergie splashed out on someone rather more inclined to stay fit and use his left peg. The doubters thought that £5.5million seemed like a lot of money, but now that Patrice Evra is a constant fixture in a “who’s the best?” debate with Ashley Cole, they can all shut up. For the record, they’re both good, but one is marginally less of a twat.
Javier Mascherano, West Ham to Liverpool, 2007
For reasons which no one will ever understand, Mascherano wasn’t considered to be good enough at football to play for West Ham, and so – after a long winded, messy, and confusing contract situation that even had expert businessmen scratching their heads until their brains bled – they flogged him to Liverpool for a baffling amount of money. He then became so good that he now plays for Barcelona. How Liverpool yearn for him hoovering things up in midfield.
Nemanja Vidic, Spartak Moscow to Man United, 2006
Described as an “old fashioned defender”, which basically means that he prowls the back line growling at people and randomly kicking out his leg like an infuriated donkey, Vidic’s meat-and-potatoes defending has proved to be the perfect foil for Rio Ferdinand’s slick MTV Base style of doing things. Now looks like the bargain of the century at a pre-Credit Crunch £7million.
Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy to Everton, 2010
When Everton needed a shot in the arm, Landon Donovan popped up to provide it. Sentences that sound like drugs metaphors aside, he proved to be a big hit during his short loan spell in Merseyside last year – even being crowned Evertonians Player of the Month for January. On the downside, his bosses in America wouldn’t let him stay on for a bit. Thanks a lot, Barack Obama.
Emmanuel Adebayor, Monaco to Arsenal, 2006
Depending on where you inhale your information, Adebayor cost anywhere between £3million and £7million when Arsene Wenger plucked him from relative obscurity in 2006 – in those days he was considered to be nothing more than a very capable Kanu impersonator. Fast forward just a handful of years, and Arsenal flogged him to Man City to the tune of around £25million. Great businessmen like Donald Trump or Lord Alan Sugar bloody love those kind of delicious figures. That’s a 500 per cent profit or something.
Jean-Alain Boumsong, Rangers to Newcastle, 2005
Eyebrows were raised when Newcastle decided to splurge £8million on Boumsong. Those eyebrows proceeded to rocket off topless supporters’ foreheads whenever Boumsong clumsily trod on the ball or just fell over for no apparent reason, as opposition goals rattled in thanks to his hilarious mistakes. Made Titus Bramble look like Carles Puyol, yet, somehow, he still plays football at a professional level. Albeit in Greece.
Jose Antionio Reyes, Seville to Arsenal, 2004
Not necessarily a bad player, Reyes was predominantly hamstrung by arriving at Arsenal with a £10.5million albatross weighing heavily around his neck. He then spent a couple of years tearfully complaining about London’s lack of good weather, and yearning deeply for small lunches made up of children’s portions of garlic prawns, bits of spicy sausage, and potatoes in tomato sauce. As expected, by 2007 he’d buggered off to Madrid.
Eric Djemba-Djemba, Man United to Aston Villa, 2005
One suspects that someone in the Aston Villa boardroom had the same hunch about Djemba-Djemba that had ended with Sir Alex Ferguson wiping great big handfuls of egg from his face – he’d played in a World Cup, he couldn’t be THAT bad, right? Wrong, he was rubbish. Totally rubbish. In bad football transfer terms, lightening had ridiculously struck twice, and six years later, Eric can be found randomly hoofing the ball around in Denmark. He’s still in his 20s, just hitting his peak.
Scott Parker, Charlton to Chelsea, 2004
If ever the old idiom about being “a big fish in a small pond” could be applied to a footballer, then that fish would be Scott Parker. An absolute barracuda at Charlton, and more recently at West Ham, he would have been better represented at Chelsea by plopping a goldfish bowl on a seat in the dugout and sodding off home for a nap. A massive waste of £10million from the good old days, when Chelsea were essentially Man City.
Georgios Samaras, Heerenveen to Man City, 2006
Now known for their preposterous money splurges on hugely disappointing strikers – Jo, Santa Cruz etc… – Samaras was the 2006 version of Dzeko, when City spent £6million to lure the young Greek from Heerenveen in Holland. He then made a mockery of the faith put in him by flaccidly scoring just 8 goals in 53 matches. He is now a superstud in Scotland.