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Worst last day transfers in Premier League History

Sun 26 June 2022 | 4:30

While there have been some absolutely cracking deadline day deals over the years, not every piece of last-minute Premier League business has worked out so well. Read on to find out morer about the worst last day transfers in Premier League history.

The Premier League is the richest competition in the world and has within it a number of the richest clubs in the world.

Since its establishment, because of the new top tier of football in England for the 1992/93 season, broadcasting rights and sponsorship deals have seen money flood into the Premier League, with exorbitant spending over the past 30 years.

There have, of course, been many memorable signings over the years, but thanks to the sheer amount of cash spent season after season and therefore the subsequent turnover of players, there are thousands of

transfer flops

, too.

Unfortunately, sometimes these rich clubs don't succeed in recruiting new players, especially when deals and decisions have to be rushed on deadline day—perhaps with a crucial detail or two overlooked or the odd few million (or more) spent too hurriedly.

Although, teams always hope to seal a late deal to add some vital components to their squad who might aid a title push, seal a European place, or perhaps even avoid relegation.

Worst last day transfers in Premier League History:

Looking back over everything in the Premier League, here are the worst transfers within the competition’s history. The metrics to choose the players are based on value for money, longevity, legacy, individual performance, and the level of letdown from expectations.

Hossam Ghaly

From Feyenoord to Tottenham Hotspurs for €3 million – January, 2006

  • Full name: Hossam Mohamed El Sayed Metwalli Abdel Sattar Ghaly

  • Date of birth: 15 December 1981 (age 40)

  • Place of birth: Biyala, Kafr El Sheikh, Egypt

  • Height: 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)

  • Position(s): Central midfielder

  • Current team: Al Ahly SC (Board Member)

The first name on the list of the

worst last day transfers in Premier League history

is Hossam Ghaly who joined

Tottenham

for an undisclosed fee (later revealed to be €3 million) on the last day of the winter transfer window in the 2005-06 season, but the money they paid Feyenoord was way too much.

Ghaly was given the number 14 jersey and made his debut against

Manchester United

at Old Trafford on 9 September 2006. His first with Tottenham ended with him participating in 34 games in 4 competitions, resulting in 3 goals and 6 assists, a disappointment by any measure.

His future at Tottenham was left in doubt after he pulled off his shirt and threw it to the ground after being substituted during a Premier League match against Blackburn on 10 May 2007.

The Tottenham fans were left angry at Ghaly's reaction, singing, "You're not fit to wear the shirt" and he was disciplined by the club soon after. He issued the following apology, "I am just so angry with myself," Ghaly told the official Spurs site.

Nonetheless, he was not to play for the club again. He stated that he wished to leave Tottenham due to his frustration at being unable to play in central midfield; He was usually played on the right-hand side of the field.

He was loaned to Derby Country for a season but didn’t make any impact there, too. His time in the Premier League ended with only 36 games and a single goal, in the span of 3 years.

Giannelli Imbula

From Porto to Stoke City for €25 million – February 2016

  • Full name: Gilbert Imbula Wanga

  • Date of birth: 12 September 1992 (age 29)

  • Place of birth: Vilvoorde, Belgium

  • Height: 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)

  • Position(s): Defensive midfielder

  • Current team: Portimonense

On 1 February 2016,

Giannelli Imbula

joined Premier League club Stoke City on a five-and-a-half-year contract. He made his Stoke debut on 6 February 2016 in a 3–0 defeat against Everton. Imbula scored his first goal for Stoke on his second Premier League experience in a 3–1 win over Bournemouth.

Imbula had such a good year in the 2014-15 season that

Didier Deschamps

thought about inviting him to train with the seniors while he was in the France under-21 team.

To speak the truth, it wasn't his tactical abilities that made him a bad signing, but rather the team's performance with a combination of his own foul mindset. Whilst at Stoke, Imbula's attitude prompted some heavy criticism from some of his club teammates.

Glen Johnson spoke on BBC Radio 5 Live in March 2019 about an occasion where Imbula subbed himself in a pre-season game after someone did not pass him the ball, only to sub himself back on again ten minutes later.

Ultimately, Imbula's contract with Stoke was terminated on 22 February 2020, with a total of 26 Premier League appearances.

Ben Davies

From Preston to Liverpool for €2 million – February 2021

  • Full name: Benjamin Keith Davies

  • Date of birth: 11 August 1995 (age 26)

  • Place of birth: Barrow-in-Furness, England

  • Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)

  • Position(s): Centre-back, left-back

  • Current team: Sheffield United (on loan from Liverpool)

The 2020/21 season for

Jurgen Klopp

and his Liverpool side did not go very well in terms of injuries as they saw almost all of their main players injured by the end of the year.

They had to go to the market in the winter transfer window and purchase needed players. They brought in Ozan Kabak and Nathaniel Phillips on loan moves, from FC Schalke and Stuttgart, respectively, and a bath

Ben Davies

from Championship side, Preston.

The loan moves did good, not exceptional, but good enough to put Liverpool in the top 4. Ben Davies's performance, however, was as short as this paragraph.

He made 0 appearances for the remainder of the season, not a single minute was given to him by Jurgen Klopp and he was loaned to Sheffield United at the end of last season. It was a move that makes you think why did Liverpool even bother buying him?

Eric Djemba-Djemba

From Manchester United to Aston Villa for €2.5 million – January 2005

  • Full name: Eric Daniel Djemba-Djemba

  • Date of birth: 4 May 1981 (age 41)

  • Place of birth: Douala, Cameroon

  • Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)

  • Position(s): Midfielder

When he first joined Manchester United, the fans started saying, “he's so good, they named him twice”. Djemba-Djemba, however, was so bad that he'll forever be remembered as one of Alex Ferguson's worst signings and demonstrated as much in 20 Premier League appearances over 18 months for the Red Devils.

But that didn’t stop

Aston Villa

from signing him in January 2005. However, the move did little to restore the player's reputation as he found it difficult to move ahead of Villa’s crowded midfield.

He only played 6 games until the end of the season for Villa, starting 3 of them. And while fans were optimistic about his shine in his first full year, as Aston Villa had sold some midfielders, Djemba Djemba did even worse.

Out of 38 matches in the Premier League, he participated in only 4 of them; 100 minutes in total. Although he did half of a good job at Burnley in the championship, he's moved to Aston Villa is it still one of the worst signings in the Premier League.

The Cameroonian was last seen in a French 5th tier Club in 2016 as an official player and finally retired in September 2021.

Afonso Alves

From Heerenveen to Middlesbrough for €17 million – January 2008

  • Full name: Afonso Alves Martins Júnior

  • Date of birth: 30 January 1981 (age 41)

  • Place of birth: Belo Horizonte, Brazil

  • Height: 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)

  • Position(s): Striker

In the January transfer window of the 2007–08 season, Middlesbrough was struggling to avoid relegation in 2008 and in a desperate search for goals, secured the signing of Brazil international Afonso Alves, on a four-and-a-half-year contract.

Alves had been prolific in the Eredivisie, scoring 45 goals in just 39 league appearances. The signing was eagerly anticipated, but the forward struggled to adapt to English football.

He made his debut on 9 February, against Fulham as a second-half substitute for Lee Dong-Gook. He finished the season with 11 games and 6 goals, one of them a hat-trick against

Manchester City

, and Middlesbrough managed to stay in the Premier League.

His first full season at the English top-tier football league was terrible; he scored just four times in 31 league appearances as the team failed to survive in the Prem and was relegated to the Championship.

Eventually, after 49 games and only 13 goals, Middlesbrough decided to cut their losses in September 2009 and shipped him out to Qatari side Al-Sadd. He stayed in the Gulf until his retirement in 2013.

Xisco

From Deportivo de La Coruña to Newcastle United for €5 million – September 2008

  • Full name: Francisco Jiménez Tejada

  • Date of birth: 26 June 1986 (age 35)

  • Place of birth: Palma, Spain

  • Height: 1.87 m (6 ft 1+1⁄2 in)

  • Position(s): Striker

  • Current team: Alcorcón

Disco showed a promising talent with Spain's Under-21 team and during the summer of 2008, a lot of clubs in Spain and England were trying to sign him. In the end, he decided to join Newcastle United and start his journey in Great Britain.

His journey, however, was as short as only a season. He scored in his debut in the Premier League against Hull City, inspiring hope inside supporters, unfortunately for disco, that was his first and only goal in the Premier League, ever.

However, he featured rarely during the season, being only seventh choice behind Michael Owen, Obafemi Martins, Mark Viduka, Peter Løvenkrands, Shola Ameobi, and Andy Carroll.

After only four months,

Newcastle United

attempted to sell Xisco, only to be blocked by FIFA who did not allow for a player to be registered for three clubs in one season. In February 2009 he stated he had not made a mistake by moving, insisting he would eventually succeed.

He hardly featured in the 2008/09 season and, after the Magpies were relegated After Newcastle were relegated, Xisco stated that he was unsure whether to stay at the club and eventually was signed on loan by Racing Santander on 31 August 2009, in a season-long move.

Paul Konchesky

From Fulham to Liverpool for €4.20 million – August 2010

  • Full name: Paul Martyn Konchesky

  • Date of birth: 15 May 1981 (age 41)

  • Place of birth: Barking, England

  • Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)

  • Position(s): Left back

  • Current team: West Ham United Women (manager)

Paul Konchesky might not be a legendary Defender in the Premier League but you cannot have a certain amount of quality and play 347 games in the Premier League, so he's certainly retired with pride in 2018.

His move to Liverpool, however, even he would agree that was a mistake. Roy Hodgson had arrived at Anfield in 2010, and he decided to bring full-back Konchesky with him from Fulham, though the move proved a huge failure.

He came to Liverpool in order to make it to the next level, but things went sideways at Anfield. An error against Spurs allowing Aaron Lennon to score the winner was heavily criticized and Konchesky was sarcastically cheered by Liverpool fans when substituted in the home defeat to Wolves.

He made only 18 appearances during four months and was sent out on loan to Championship club Nottingham Forest after the arrival of new head coach,

Kenny Dalglish

. He was never to play for Liverpool again as the club decided to sell him to Leicester.

Fernando Torres

From Liverpool to Chelsea for €55 million– January 2011

  • Full name: Fernando José Torres Sanz

  • Date of birth: 20 March 1984 (age 38)

  • Place of birth: Fuenlabrada, Spain

  • Height: 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)

  • Position(s): Striker

  • Current team: Atlético Madrid U19 (manager)

One of the most

controversial transfers in the premier league history

in the past decade happened on the deadline Transfer Day of January 2011 when

Fernando Torres

, one of the finest strikers Liverpool has ever had in the past years, abandoned his team to join Chelsea, mid-season, breaking the British transfer record from their Premier League rivals in January 2011.

The transfer however did not work for either side due to Torres's poor performance at the London Club. In sum, he scored more goals in his debut season at Liverpool than he scored for Chelsea in three and a half seasons.

It took him 903 minutes to open his Chelsea account and he never reached double figures for league goals in any of the three full seasons he spent in west London.

Despite his personal struggles he did achieve team success and won elusive silverware, winning an FA Cup and Champions League double in 2012.

He was largely looked like a shadow of the player who terrorized defenders in the red of Liverpool, he even went on an 8-game drought of scoring while playing for Chelsea. Eventually, He was loaned out to AC Milan and Atletico Madrid before joining the latter permanently in 2016.

Andy Carroll

From Newcastle to Liverpool for €41 million – January 2011

  • Full name: Andrew Thomas Carroll

  • Date of birth: 6 January 1989 (age 33)

  • Place of birth: Gateshead, England

  • Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)

  • Position(s): Striker

  • Current team: West Bromwich Albion

Having scored 17 goals and dishing out 12 assists in the 2009-10 season in the championship,

Andy Carroll

helped Newcastle promote to the Premier League, once again.

Half a season later, after scoring 11 goals and providing 8 assists in 20 games with Newcastle, Liverpool decided to use the money they got from Chelsea to sign England's new upcoming Striker, Andy Carroll, and the Uruguayan from Ajax, Luis Suarez. Though, only one of these purchases worked out.

Unfortunately, Injuries hindered his progress as he was dealing with thigh problems even at the time of signing his contract.

Whilst he also seemed ill-suited to new manager Brendan Rodgers’ methods after the Northern Irishman replaced Kenny Dalglish as head coach. Carrol started only 5 times the rest of the season and score a brace in the 3-0 win against Manchester City at Anfield.

He wished his situation would improve the season after that but he couldn't be more wrong. By the end of the 2011-12 season, Andy Carroll had made 47 appearances, 29 of which he was in the starting lineup, but he failed to score double digits during all campaigns.

He finished the season with 9 goals and 6 assists. In the end, Liverpool loaned him for a season to West Ham and at the end of his loan contract, West Ham decided to purchase Carroll, permanently with €17 million. Some Liverpool fans still boo him when he touches the ball at Anfield.

Saúl Ñíguez

From Atletico Madrid to Chelsea for €5 million – August 2021

  • Full name: Saúl Ñíguez Esclapez

  • Date of birth: 21 November 1994 (age 27)

  • Place of birth: Elche, Spain

  • Height: 1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)

  • Position(s): Midfielder

  • Current team: Atlético Madrid

Returning to familiar names, we have

Saúl Ñíguez

. On the last day, and I dare to say last minutes of the summer transfer window, Saúl joined Premier League club, Chelsea, on loan for the remainder of the 2021–22 season, with an option to make the transfer permanent upon the completion of the loan, with €40 million.

From the moment of this news, no one could exactly figure out the reasons for this move, because he was said to be happy at Atlético, Simeone was happy with him, and Tuchel’s tactics didn’t seem to be perfect for a non-physical midfielder. Nevertheless, the move was done.

He made his Premier League debut on 11 September, in a 3–0 win against Aston Villa, but the problems started in the very first weeks; lack of physicality due to the aggressiveness of the Premier League, lack of focus due to inability to adapt, lack of communication between teammates, and so on.

Tuchel started to bench him and stick with his other midfield players for the position. Saul even found himself playing as a left-wingback, but to his low stamina and defensive vulnerability, Tuchel quickly regrated his choice.

In the end, she decided not to execute the option to buy in permanently and he will be returning to Atletico Madrid this off-season. He left Chelsea karma playing only 23 games and scoring a single goal in the FA Cup.

Andre Santos

From Fenerbahce to Arsenal for €7 million – August 2011

  • Full name: André Clarindo dos Santos

  • Date of birth: 8 March 1983 (age 39)

  • Place of birth: São Paulo, Brazil

  • Height: 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)

  • Position(s): Left-back, left winger

Brazil has always had some of the most decorated full-backs in football history was

Andre Santos

was definitely not one of them.

After a fair good season at the Turkish club, Fenerbahce, Arsene Wenger, Arsenal's legendary manager, decided to purchase Brazilian left-back, Andre Santos.

He made his debut for the Gunners on 13 September, coming on as an 86th-minute substitute for Gervinho in a 1-1 draw away to Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League.

Though he showed what one might call an average performance, it was his childish mistakes that aroused a lot of criticism around him. Also, his personal life was something that was not appreciated by the club and the manager.

On 3 November, after a dismal first-half performance against Manchester United, Santos came under even more criticism after having swapped shirts with ex-Gunner captain Robin van Persie at half-time.

Eventually, his time at Arsenal came to an end as he was loaned to the Brazilian side Gremio and after that Arsenal sold him permanently to another Brazilian team, Flamengo.

Christopher Samba

From Anzhi to Queens Park Rangers for €15 million – Jan 2013

  • Full name: Veijeany Christopher Samba

  • Date of birth: 28 March 1984 (age 38)

  • Place of birth: Créteil, France

  • Height: 1.94 m (6 ft 4 in)

  • Position(s): Defender

Samba was a former Blackburn central defender before signing a fruitful contract with the Russian club, Anzhi Makhachkala, with a salary of £100,000 per week.

Following his transfer back to the Premier League, QPR manager Harry Redknapp commented that "Chris is just what we need. He's a monster. Great in the air, quick, a leader, strong, fantastic in both boxes, hard as nails. He's a proper center-back. He was willing to take a massive pay cut."

While it was believed that Samba's presence can help the QPR defense, his presence made no difference at all. The team was still losing left and right and getting closer and closer to the relegation zone by the end of the season.

During a 3–2 loss against Fulham on 1 April 2013, Samba was at fault when he gave away the penalty for the opener, then got robbed of possession to set up the second. Inevitably the team did relegate to the Championship.

Following this, Samba suffered an injury that kept him out for the rest of the 2012–13 season. 10 appearances later, Samba was sold back to Anzhi for €12m.

Radamel Falcao

From Monaco to Manchester United for €8 million – September 2014

  • Full name: Radamel Falcao García Zárate

  • Date of birth: 10 February 1986 (age 36)

  • Place of birth: Santa Marta, Colombia

  • Height: 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)

  • Position(s): Forward

  • Current team: Rayo Vallecano

Radamel Falcao

is one of those unlucky strikers that could have delivered much bigger and better performances if it not had been for the injuries they suffered from.

He was a huge success and a golden boots contender when he was at Athletico, then he moved to Monaco Auntie continue to the scoring until he suffered from an ACL injury that forced him to sit out the rest of the season as well as the 2014 Brazil World Cup.

But Louis van Gaal believed that he could be an important player for Manchester United, so the club brought him in on a loan transfer with an option to sign him permanently, but after his season, it was definitely not the case for the Red Devils.

After months of disappointing performances, Louis van Gaal decided to demote Radamel Falcao to the under-21 team for a game. A decision that was criticized heavily, Van Gaal himself stated that he didn't "intend to humiliate" the Colombian.

At season's end, he was adjudged by many to be among the worst signings of the season. In May 2015, Manchester United announced their decision to not exercise their buy option on Falcao, ending a spell at the club in which he scored 4 goals in 29 appearances.

Next season, he spent another year in the Premier League on loan, but this time at a different club; Chelsea. Though the performances weren’t any different.

Benni McCarthy

From Blackburn to West Ham for €3.5 million – February 2010

  • Full name: Benedict Saul McCarthy

  • Date of birth: 12 November 1977 (age 44)

  • Place of birth: Cape Town, South Africa

  • Height: 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)

  • Position(s): Striker

  • Current team: AmaZulu F.C. (manager)

The last name on the list of the

worst last day transfers in Premier League history

is Benni McCarthy. He signed a two-and-a-half-year contract on transfer deadline day that was due to run until the summer of 2012. The South African had Champions League experience with Porto, previously, and he was proven to be a good striker at Blackburn.

But unfortunately for him, on his debut in the Hammers’ shirt against

Burnley

, He sustained an injury that would keep him out for six weeks.

In February 2011, having played just 326 minutes of football, making only three starts and failing to score any goals for West Ham, McCarthy was omitted from West Ham's 25-man squad for the remainder of the 2010–11 season.

In April 2011, McCarthy left West Ham by mutual agreement after the parties agreed to terminate his contract. He finished his time with zero goals and although you can call him a flop transfer, but it was definitely not fair to call him a “big fat mistake”, something that the Hammers' vice-chairman called him in her newspaper column.

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