Premier League: Every club's worst January signing has been named


Not every club gets it right in the January transfer window.

For every Luis Suarez there’s an Andy Carroll. Two players signed in the same window by the same club, with very different results.

The winter window is very often used with a short-term interest in mind. Clubs looking to add quality in order to fend off relegation, for example, or secure a top four spot.

It’s why we often see some transfer fees that don’t really make much sense. £35 million for Carroll? Ouch.

But Liverpool aren’t the only team to have a bad winter signing on their record. Two years ago Manchester United signed Alexis Sanchez and, well, you know how that’s gone.

Football365 decided to take a look at every Premier League side’s worst ever January arrival and there are some real howlers.

Arsenal | Kaba Diawara

Arsene Wenger thought he had signed the next Nicolas Anelka when he paid £2.5 million for Bordeaux striker Kaba Diawara in 1999.

But he made just 15 appearances and failed to score a single goal before returning to France.

Aston Villa | Jean Makoun

Gerard Houllier thought he had a “good asset for the future” when he signed Jean Makoun from Lyon in 2011.

That turned out to be false.

The Cameroonian was sent off a month after signing for a lunge on Blackpool’s DJ Campbell and managed a total of seven league games for Aston Villa before leaving the club.

Bournemouth | Lewis Grabban

This one is still quite baffling.

Bournemouth sold Lewis Grabban to Norwich in 2014 but re-signed him two years later after watching him score one goal in six Premier League games in the 2015/16 campaign.

He scored once in 22 appearances for the Cherries before leaving again in 2018.

Brighton | Jonny Dixon

Jonny Dixon was signed by Brighton in January 2008 but he played just five games before retiring 18 months later at the age of 25 to concentrate on his business ventures.

Burnley | Leon Court

Burnley signed defender Leon Court in January 2010 to help keep them in the top flight but in his 15 games, they conceded 36 goals and failed to keep a single clean sheet.

He was loaned out a couple of times before leaving permanently in January 2012.

Chelsea | Juan Cuadrado

Not Fernando Torres?

F365 opted for Juan Cuadrado, claiming Torres “can at least claim to have played a huge part in the club’s Champions and Europa League wins”.

Cuadrado, on the other hand, started four league games in the 2014/15 campaign after arriving in January and was loaned out to Juventus for the following two campaigns before making his move to Turin permanent in May 2017.

He failed to score a single goal for the Blues.

Chelsea v Everton - Premier League

Crystal Palace | Valerien Ismael

Valerien Ismael was Palace’s record signing for 15 years after arriving from Strasbourgh for £2.75m in January 1998.

The Frenchman left nine months later after playing in 13 matches, and eventually went on to play for Bayern Munich.

Everton | Cenk Tosun

Sam Allardyce raved about Cenk Tosun after completing a £27m deal to sign him from Besiktas in 2017.

"We looked at the qualities of the player, his talent and goalscoring, and his resilience, too,” the then-Everton boss said. “I do not think you can look any more than we have done."

A return of nine goals in 44 league matches for the Toffees suggests they could have looked a bit harder.

Tosun was recently loaned out to Crystal Palace.

Leicester City | Andrej Kramaric

Twenty appearances. Four goals. Not what Leicester expected from their club-record signing.

Kramaric no longer holds that record, much to the relief of the club’s supporters. He was terrible for the Foxes, playing only two league games in their remarkable 2015/16 campaign and therefore missing out on a Premier League winner’s medal.

The Croatian is now tearing it up in the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim.

Manchester United v Leicester City - Premier League

Liverpool | Andy Carroll

Fernando Torres’ £50m move to Chelsea prompted this terrible panic buy.

Andy Carroll had scored 14 to-flight goals when Liverpool spent £35m on him in January 2011.

Liverpool fans had to wait until March for his debut and until April for his first goal.

Overall, he scored 11 goals in 58 games before being sold to West Ham for £15m in 2013.

Manchester City | Wilfried Bony

There was some logic to Man City £25m move for Wilfried Bony in January 2015.

He was the Premier League’s top scorer in 2014 with 20 goals for Swansea.

But he wasn’t as prolific at the Etihad, netting 10 goals in 46 games for the club.


Manchester United | Alexis Sanchez

Who else?

Alexis Sanchez’s move to Man United was met with a great deal of fanfare and THAT piano video.

But what’s followed has been simply disastrous.

The Red Devils are currently paying the Chilean £300,000-a-week - and he’s playing for Inter Milan.


Newcastle United | Jean-Alain Boumsong

Rangers signed Jean-Alain Boumsong on a free in the summer of 2004 - so it was baffling to see Newcastle spend £8m on him just months later.

Boumsong’s move was even considered in the Stevens inquiry into football corruption in 2007. The former France international joined Juventus in 2006.

Norwich City | Steven Naismith

Norwich’s £8m capture of Steven Naismith in January 2016 initially looked like a solid piece of business - especially when he scored on his debut against Liverpool.

But that would be the only goal he scored for the Canaries in the 2015/16 campaign and he was unable to prevent them from going down.

The Scot wasn’t much better in the Championship, netting five goals in 31 league games before joining Hearts.

Sheffield United | Geoff Horsfield

Geoff Horsfield’s move to Sheffield United was completed in February but F365 have included it on the list due to the sheer tragedy of his signing.

Neil Warnock signed him on loan from West Brom in 2006 but it went so badly that both parties wanted to terminate the move.

”Warnock wants to get rid of me,” Horsfield said. “He told me that he cannot see me getting into the team now or next season.

“Then he told me he didn’t want me near his club and to train at home.”

But West Brom insisted that Sheffield United had an obligation to sign Horsfield at the end of the season and a £1.2m deal was completed.

The striker never played for the Blades again and was loaned out to Leeds United, Leicester City and Scunthorpe before being released in 2009.

Southampton | Guido Carrillo

Guido Carrillo joined Southampton in January 2018 for a reported £19m fee and it’s turned out to be a disaster.

The Argentinian made 10 appearances for the Saints, scoring zero goals, and has been out on loan at La Liga side Leganes since July 2018.

West Bromwich Albion v Southampton - Premier League

Tottenham Hotspur | Ricardo Rocha

In 2007, Tottenham agreed to pay Benfica £3.2m and play them in two friendlies, with the Portuguese side receiving all the profits from gate receipts and television money, in exchange for Ricardo Rocha.

But he was released in June 2009 after appearing in just 18 games for the north London outfit.

Watford | Will Hoskins

Will Hoskins had to wait 19 months before scoring his first goal for Watford after joining in January 2007.

He managed seven goals in 60 league games before leaving in January 2010.

West Ham | Savio Nsereko

Savio Nsereko was named in the 2008 Under-19 Euros Team of the Tournament, so West Ham probably thought they were doing well when they paid £9m to sign him from Brescia in January 2009.

Boy were they wrong.

He made just one start in the Premier League before being sold to Fiorentina six months after arriving.

Wolves | Eggert Jonsson

Icelandic midfielder Eggert Jonsson joined Wolves in January 2012 but suffered relegation with the club and was released from a contract that had two years left on it in 2013.


The January transfer window is particularly tough to crack.

Man United thought Sanchez was going to be a huge success at Old Trafford but, in retrospect, it was just the continuation of a decline that had begun at Arsenal.

It's particularly tough to get a real piece of good business in the winter window, although Liverpool have clearly learned from their mistakes; Virgil Van Dijk arrived from Southampton in January 2018.

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