Top 10: Most absurd January football transfers

Top 10: Most absurd January football transfers

The mid season transfer window is all about finding quick fixes, whether for clubs who are finding themselves with a need of a stop gap to plug their injury crisis, for potential contenders who need more depth, or for relegation battlers who need extra firepower to propel them from the bottom of the table. Indeed, the January transfer window has the potential to make or break a club’s season and here we take a look at the 10 most mind boggling January deals in recent times. 

Amauri (Juventus to Fiorentina) 

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Image credit: Sky Sports Italia

Having sold long-time servant and Talisman Alberto Gilardino to Geona, Fiorentina needed a replacement and they turned to Amauri, a striker who was frozen out at Juventus by the manager, signing him for £450 thousand in January 2012. It is anyone’s guess why Fiorentina think the move would work out as Amauri had only managed double digit goals in a season twice having spent 11 years in the Serie A prior to his move, a very poor return for a striker. Predictably, he only scored once in 13 appearances and left for Parma on a free transfer at the end of the season. 

Lucas Silva (Cruzeiro to Real Madrid) 

Image credit: Lucas Silva

Signed for £9.7 million from Brazilian side Cruzeiro in January 2015 and seen as a suitor to replace Xabi Alonso, Lucas Silva never managed to adapt to the much faster pace and physicality of European football and managed just eight appearances in a stacked midfield featuring Luka Modric, James Rodriguez, Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira. He was immediately exiled on loan back to his native country for a lengthy two years after a brief spell at Marseille.  

Nicolas Anelka (Shanghai Shenghua to Juventus) 

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Image credit: Phil Cole/Getty Images

Juventus decided to turn to a loan move for Nicolas Anelka in January 2012 to alleviate their misfiring striker department with the likes of Mirko Vucinic, Sebastian Giovinco, Fabio Quagliarella and Alessandro Matri already in their ranks. This was a 34-year-old who was clearly on a rapid decline, having trouble even finding the net in the Chinese Super League (three goals in 22 appearances), and unremarkably he only managed three appearances in a Juventus shirt scoring none. What drove Juventus decision we might never know. 

Julien Faubert (West Ham to Real Madrid) 

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Image credit: Getty Images

Julien Faubert got a dream loan move on deadline day in January 2009 to Real Madrid, who were searching for a right-winger and resorted to their second choice having failed to sign Antonio Valencia from Wigan. He was clearly out of his depth amidst the likes of Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, and Ruud Van Nistelrooy and made only made two appearances for Real Madrid, on the back of a difficult start to life at West Ham as well. His most notable contribution was falling asleep on the bench during a game, which was caught by the cameras. Faubert duly returned to West Ham at the end of his uneventful Real Madrid loan. 

Vegard Forren (Molde FK to Southampton) 

Image credit: Svein Ove Ekornesvåg/NTB scanpix.

Vegard Forren signed from Norwegian side Molde FK in January 2013 for a fee of £3.5 million by then manager Nigel Adkins, who was also sacked on the day of the signing. Unfortunately for the player, incoming manager Mauricio Pochettino saw nothing in him and he failed to make a single appearance before being released on a free at the end of the season. Astonishingly, he signed for Brighton & Hove Albion in 2017 and the exact same thing happened, failing to make a single appearance before being released on a free. 

Savio Nsereko (Brescia to West Ham) 

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Image credit: Hamish Blair/Getty Images

Having sold Craig Bellamy to Manchester City, West Ham decided to invest most of the money (£9 million to be exact) in replacing their talisman with the little known German youngster then playing for Serie B side Brescia. Having found the net only thrice in Italy, Savio found life extremely hard in the premier league as well, making 10 appearances and scoring none. As a result, West Ham sold him to Fiorentina at the end of the season to recoup their losses.

Jean-Alain Boumsong (Rangers to Newcastle)


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Graeme Souness suddenly decided that Jean-Alain Boumsong was the rock that Newcastle needed and spent £8.5 million in January 2005 to bring the French national from Rangers. Although he had shown no interest whatsoever when he was a free agent six months earlier.  The move was thought to be so bizarre and against logic that the City of London Police launched an investigation into alleged corruption claims. Ultimately, he formed a partnership to forget with Titus Bramble at the heart of Newcastle United’s defense, and left after one and a half seasons. 

Konstantinos Mitroglou (Olympiakos to Fulham) 

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Image credits: Carlos Rodriguez – UEFA

Fulham decided on deadline day in 2014 that the Greek striker was the solution to their attacking problems, and spent £12 million, a then club record fee, to sign him. However, either a health screening was not done, or he suddenly became unfit and plighted with injuries after signing, for he only managed a total of three games for Fulham that season, and was immediately loaned back to his former club thereafter. In the games he played, he put in abject displays for someone who had a highly impressive scoring record prior, albeit in the Greek first division. Adding nothing to their firepower, Fulham were eventually relegated the same season.  

Christopher Samba (Anzhi to QPR) 

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Image credit: Getty Images

Signed on January transfer deadline day in 2013 from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala for £13.5 million, then manager Harry Redknapp called him ‘a monster’ and talked up his ability to keep QPR’s backline solid. He played ten matches in which QPR conceded 19 times, and famously earned the ire of supporters for two individual errors that led to a 3-2 defeat to Fulham. Why would you depend on a defender who left Blackburn (who were also relegated) just a season ago for the Russian riches for your own premier league survival? It was no surprise QPR were relegated that season, with the only saving grace being that they managed to sell Samba back again to Anzhi for £10.5 million.  

Andy Carroll (Newcastle United to Liverpool) 

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Image credit: Getty Images

Another deadline day signing, Liverpool paid a hefty £35 million in 2011 to acquire his services on the back of a promising half-season at Newcastle where he notched 11 goals in 19 appearances. However, it was still a huge gamble on a non-proven young English striker and it proved just that. Not only did he not fit the style of Liverpool’s fluid passing plays, he only scored a measly six times in 42 premier league appearances for the Reds and was plagued with injuries throughout his stay. It was nothing more than a panic purchase to plug the Fernando Torres hole when he left for Chelsea.

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