09 January 2019, by: Leonard Solms

Rating The Best And Worst January Transfers

The January transfer window has produced some of the most shrewd business ever done in world football, but it is also often a time of ineffective panic buys.

With the benefit of hindsight, BET Central’s Leonard Solms runs the rule over some of the best and worst January transfers ever to happen.


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The Best

5. Luis Suárez: AFC Ajax to Liverpool (2011)

Suárez’s quality was well known to Ajax fans, but few could have predicted just how successful his transfer to Liverpool would turn out to be.

He was not an out-and-out striker at the time of his transfer to the Reds but ended up spearheading the Liverpool attack with distinction — nearly leading them to the 2013-14 Premier League title.

Having cost Liverpool €26.5 million according to Transfermarkt, he was sold to Barcelona for €81.72 million at the end of that season.

4. Nemanja Vidić: Spartak Moscow to Manchester United (2006)

Although Manchester United signed him for around £7 million the previous month, Nemanja Vidić was cleared to play for the Red Devils in January 2006. By the 2006-07 season, he and Rio Ferdinand had formed a fearsome centre-back partnership.

Vidić won five Premier League titles and the 2007-08 UEFA Champions League with United before moving to Inter Milan in 2014.

Manchester United set a Premier League clean sheets record during the 2008-09 season with the help of the Serb — going 14 games without conceding.

3. Marcelo: Fluminense to Real Madrid (2007)

The sought-after Brazilian joined Real Madrid in 2007 and has arguably been the world’s best left-back since. With four La Liga titles and four Champions League trophies to his name, it is fair to say the 31-year-old was a reported $8 million well spent.

2. Jaap Stam: Willem II to PSV (1996)

Stam made his name in the Eredivisie with Willem II and it did not take long before PSV took note, signing him in 1996. Two years later, he became the most expensive Dutch footballer, signing for Manchester United for a reported £10.6 million.

Apart from starring in PSV’s 1996-97 Eredivisie title triumph, he also earned them a tidy profit.

1. Philippe Coutinho: Inter Milan to Liverpool (2013)

The tricky Brazilian signed for Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool in 2013 for a reported £8.5 million. It turned out to be a stroke of genius as he scored 54 goals in 201 appearances for Liverpool before being sold to Barcelona in 2018 for a reported £142 million including add-ons.

The Worst

5. Philippe Coutinho: Liverpool to Barcelona (2018)

The only player to appear in both sections, Coutinho endured a torrid year and a half at Barcelona before being loaned out to Bayern Munich. 

He has found form in Bavaria, recently suggesting he wants to stay. A possible resale value of €120 million means that the Blaugrana can at least recoup a large portion of what they spent.

4. Diego Costa: Chelsea to Atlético Madrid (2018)

Brazilian-born Spain striker Diego Costa forced his way out at Chelsea after a falling out with then head coach Antonio Conte. He re-joined Diego Simeone’s side in September 2017, but only became eligible to play for Atléti in January of the following year.

His previous spell there was nothing short of spectacular, and at first, his homecoming appeared a happy one. However, goals have all but dried up for Costa and he has failed to justify his £58 million price tag.

3. Christopher Samba: Anzhi Makhachkala to QPR (2013)

A case study in conducting woeful transfer business in the Premier League under Tony Fernandes, QPR looked to reignite their stuttering 2012-13 season by signing Christopher Samba from Anzhi for a reported £12.5 million.

Samba, a steady defender elsewhere, was underwhelming for the Hoops and failed to save them from relegation. At the end of that season, he agreed to a return to Anzhi.

1 = Fernando Torres: Liverpool to Chelsea (2011)

Chelsea infamously splashed out a then Premier League record £50 million on Spanish striker Fernando Torres midway through 2010-11. However, he didn’t come anywhere near justifying the hype after signing from rivals Liverpool.

Former Liverpool team-mate Jamie Carragher claimed that Torres had lost some pace by the time he joined the Blues, which affected him during his time at Stamford Bridge.

Although he scored some crucial goals in Chelsea’s 2011-12 UEFA Champions League victory and their Europa League triumph the following season, Torres never quite looked comfortable in blue and netted just 45 times in 172 appearances.

1 = Andy Carroll: Newcastle United to Liverpool (2011)

At a fee of £35 million, Andy Carroll’s transfer to Liverpool was just as disastrous as Fernando Torres’ move to Chelsea.

The lanky striker only made his debut in March 2011 due to an injury picked up at Newcastle. A total of 11 goals in 58 appearances failed to come anywhere close to justifying his price tag.

Carroll was sold to West Ham in 2013 for a reported £15 million. This season, he is back at Newcastle.


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