The modern phenomenon of Transfer Deadline day for a lot of football fans has become something like FA Cup final day. Football fans of various clubs arrange to take the day off work, get a load of their mates around, have a few beers and spend the day glued to Sky Sports News to see what teams pull off the biggest transfer of the day. Add to that the hype around Transfer Deadline Day by Sky Sports itself. The Jim White ads are already appearing on Sky and bets are being taken as to what colour of tie he’s going to wear as he counts down the last few hours of the transfer window. While it’s entertaining for fans to watch as Jim gets all excited about rumours and whispers about clubs rushing in to buy players for massive money before the window slams shut, for clubs buying a player in the closing hours of the transfer window can represent a massive gamble.
Every club in the Premier League have been guilty of spending lavishly on players on transfer deadline day and for reason or another the transfer doesn’t work out. For this particular piece I’m going to concentrate on players who for me could be described as some of the biggest transfer deadline day flops.
Torres signed for Liverpool in the summer of 2007 from Spanish side Atlético Madrid. His arrival immediately set the pulses racing of Liverpool fans as he become the first player since Robbie Fowler to score twenty league goals in a season and at the time was the fastest Liverpool player to score fifty league goals for the club. Torres scored 81 goals for Liverpool in 142 appearances, which equates to a goal every 1.75 games. His performances, for Liverpool attracted the interest from Chelsea and in January 2010 they signed Torres for a reported £50 million. His transfer from Liverpool caused the Liverpool fans to turn on him after he branded Chelsea a bigger club than Liverpool. Torres could never recapture his Liverpool performances and was criticised by Chelsea fans who branded him a flop. While playing for Chelsea, Torres only scored 45 goals in a 172 appearances which is a goal every 3.8 games. Chelsea eventually offloaded Torres on loan to AC Milan in January 2014.
With the sale of Torres to Chelsea, Liverpool were light on forward options up front. Those in charge at the club turned to Newcastle United striker Andy Carroll. Carroll was signed for a fee of £35 million which made him not only Liverpool’s most expensive player ever but also the most expensive English player ever. Carroll came to Liverpool injured and didn’t make his debut until March 6 2011 in Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Manchester United. Carroll went on to play 58 times for Liverpool scoring 11 goals. Carroll was eventually loaned to West Ham United in January 2013 before he signed permentally for the Hammers later on that summer.
Cuadrado made a name for himself in Italy. While there he played for Udinese, Lecce and Fiorentina. His performances for Fiorentina attracted the attention of Chelsea and on February 2nd 2015 he officially became a Chelsea player having signed a four and a half year deal and was signed for £23.3 million. Over the course of his Chelsea career his played a total of 18 games with a goal tally of zero goals scored. Cuadrado was deemed surplus to requirements by Chelsea for the 2015/2016 season and he was loaned to Italian side Juventus for the season.
Falcao for me is one of the strangest deadline day flops. Having had a stellar career with Porto and Atlético Madrid, Falcao has found it had over the past eighteen months to recapture the form that persuaded French giants Monaco to spend €60 million on him in May 2013. Manchester United signed Falcao on loan from Monaco on September 1st 2014. Falcao played 29 times for United scoring a total of 4 goals for the club. This goal to game ratio persuaded United not to take up the option to buy him at the end of the 2014/2015 season. Falcao is now on loan at Chelsea where his goal to game ratio isn’t much better scoring just the one goal in eleven appearances.
Alves signed for Middlesbrough on the 31st January 2008 for a fee of €20 million from Dutch side Heerenveen. While playing in Holland, Alves averaged a goal a game and this was the main reason Middlesbrough opted to stump up so much money for him. Sadly for the Middlesbrough fans, Alves couldn’t recapture his Heerenveen form and only scored 13 goals over two seasons before Middlesbrough off loaded him to Qatari side Al-Sadd for £7 million in September 2009.
Xisco arrived at St James Park on September 1st 2008 after scoring 12 goals in 44 games for Spanish side Deportivo La Coruña for a fee of £5.7 million. Xisco’s time at Newcastle could be deemed somewhat a disaster. He was only at the club four months when Newcastle attempted to sell him only to be blocked by FIFA, who wouldn’t allow a player to be registered for three clubs in the one season. He went on to play 9 times for the Magpies scoring just the once. After Newcastle were relegated from the Premier League he was loaned to Racing Santander in 2009 and to Deportivo La Coruña in 2011.
While these for me were some of the bigger transfer deadline day flops the likes of Robinho, Danny Welbeck, David Luiz, Christopher Samba and Kostas Mitroglou all deserve an honourable mention as being transfer deadline day flops.