Deadline day transfers - a history
The January window is often a madcap dash, featuring managers frantically filling the cracks and covering the weaknesses in their squads that have caused them half a season of suffering.
As you’d expect, this has led to a number of last minute, desperate, dubious deadline day deals and while some have been the answer to the club’s prayers, others have been pretty damned awful. For that reason, we’re looking at the five biggest Premier League deals on January deadline day.
Where to Where: Zenit st Petersburg to Arsenal
The Damage: £15 Million
Worth it: Just About
Following an impressive showing in Euro 2008, eyes were on Andrey Arshavin, so it made sense that Arsenal were eager to sign him for a club record of £15 million. Initially, the deal seemed worth every penny as AA seemed to adjust to the Premier League immediately - coming second in the voting for Arsenal’s Player of the Season, despite only having played one half of it.
It didn’t last. After a strong showing in the 2009/2010 season, Andrey’s form nosedived, with the goals coming far less frequently and eventually only being used as a substitute or in League Cup matches. AA quietly moved back to Zenit after his contract ran out, but his promising first two seasons just about manages to pardon him from being one of the many famed transfer flops.
Where to Where: Benfica to Chelsea
The Damage: £21.3 Million
Worth it: Yes
So nice Chelsea signed him twice, David Luiz was a hero in Benfica after helping the Portuguese club to a first league win in five years. So much of a hero that it took over £21 million and a swap with Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matić to convince Benfica to part with him on the final day of the 2011 January window. The money was well spent, as Luiz went on to become a crucial part of Chelsea’s world-famous defensive line-up and continuing to help them win trophies, even during their Premier League title drought.
Chelsea would eventually sell Luiz to Paris Saint-Germain for £50 million, only to buy him back two years later, where he continues to be a fan favourite.
Where to Where: Ajax to Liverpool
The Damage: 22.8 Million
Worth it: Yes
Easily one of the best signings Liverpool ever made. However, it could have been very different and was just one day away from not happening. Suarez had been a star player in Ajax with 81 goals in just 110 appearances, and after a slow start at Liverpool he soon adopted the same proficiency, scoring 61 goals in his last two seasons and being named by the PFA as Player of the Year - the first non-European to ever win it. Suarez’s ability was not able to help Liverpool in the way of silverware, however, and he was tempted away by Barcelona for the mind-boggling price of nearly £65 million. Suarez was one of two strikers Liverpool signed on the January transfer deadline day that year. The other wasn’t quite as successful.
Where to Where: Newcastle to Liverpool
The Damage: £35 Million
Worth it: No
Signed just a couple of hours after Suarez, Carroll set a record as the most
expensive British footballer of all time. This was when there was a growing demand for British talent in the Premier League, particularly from the bigger teams. Carroll was not only a new signing but represented a statement that Liverpool were still capable of attracting the
the stars of the future. Unfortunately, like so many talented English footballers, he didn’t live up to the hype.
Carroll appeared in over his head from the start, getting flustered and frustrated both by his
opponents and his own fans, and netted just 6 goals in 44 league appearances. It didn’t take
Liverpool long to realise their error and loaned Carroll to West Ham United, before eventually selling to them for £15 million.
Where to Where: Liverpool to Chelsea
The Damage: £50 Million
Worth it: No
Liverpool really left it late in 2011. The signing that pressured Liverpool to sign two strikers to replace him, Torres became the most expensive signing in Premier League history when he signed for Chelsea early on the final day of the 2011 January transfer window. One of the best strikers in the world playing for one of the best teams in the world seemed like a guaranteed winner, right? Wrong. Just like with Shevchenko five years earlier, Chelsea broke their transfer record on a striker who would subsequently and spectacularly underperform - scoring just once in the remainder of the 2010/2011 season, Torres went on to score a measly 20 goals in 110 league appearances. He went on loan to AC Milan for a season before signing permanently for no fee. An ignominious end for a partnership that promised much but delivered very little.