11 worst panic buys in January transfer window ranked – from Carroll to Benjani

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A bad first half of the season and a lack of satisfaction with players can, and has, often led to January panic buying.

Several managers throughout time in the Premier League have been forced to delve deep and look for alternatives in the transfer market.

It’s been more commonplace among some than others, but most teams have done it one window or another.

Sometimes panic buying has worked out well, but in many cases it hasn’t.

With the transfer window here once more, Daily Star Sport takes a look at 11 of the worst January panic buys in the Premier League.

1. Fernando Torres (Chelsea – 2011)

After setting the Premier League alight at Liverpool, Torres left Anfield in favour of a move to Chelsea for a then-British record fee of £50million in 2011.

But such a hefty price-tag took its toll on Torres and the Spaniard was never able to justify it during his torrid time at Stamford Bridge.

Torres managed just 20 league goals in 110 appearances for Chelsea and was subsequently sold to Atletico Madrid in 2016, after two year-long loan spells with his boyhood club, and a season at AC Milan before that.

2. Andy Carroll (Liverpool – 2011)

Liverpool experienced their very own taste of January panic-buying in 2011 when they brought in Carroll from Newcastle for £35m to replace Torres.

Carroll had scored 11 times in just 19 appearances for Newcastle in what was his first taste of Premier League football, but unfortunately those goals never really came at Anfield.

The former England striker suffered numerous injuries while at Liverpool and managed just six goals in 44 league appearances, before being sold to West Ham for a loss of £20m two-and-a-half years later.

3. Juan Cuadrado (Chelsea – 2015)

Which of these players do you think was the worst panic buy? Let us know in the comments section.

In January 2015, Cuadrado joined Chelsea for little more than £25m after impressing in Serie A with Fiorentina.

But boss Jose Mourinho scarcely gave Cuadrado a chance to showcase his abilities and the Colombia international barely played a part in Chelsea’s title-winning campaign that year.

Cuadrado was loaned to Juventus that summer in what turned out to be a two-year loan spell, before the Italian giants took a gamble on the winger in 2017 by paying Chelsea £18m.

4. Wilfried Bony (Manchester City – 2015)

Bony’s goals at Swansea earned him a £28m move to Man City in 2015.

But Bony failed to live up to the heights that were expected of him at City, and the forward couldn’t replicate the kind of form that fans witnessed at Swansea.

The forward scored just six league goals for City in total, and was sent on loan to Stoke for the 2017-17 season, before leaving Manchester for good in 2017 when he returned to Swansea.

5. Chris Samba (QPR – 2013)

Eyebrows were raised when Harry Redknapp’s spendthrift QPR splashed the cash on Anzhi Makachkala defender Christopher Samba.

Samba joined the west London side for £12.5m and earned himself a bumper contract worth £100,000-per-week in the process.

Anzhi’s director at the time, German Tkachenko, claimed QPR were ‘out of their minds’ to spend such a fee on Samba.

While there were hopes that Samba could help QPR to survival, Redknapp’s side finished bottom of the table.

Then in bizarre circumstances, Samba returned to Anzhi that summer for £12m, despite only being at Loftus Road for six months.

6. Guido Carrillo (Southampton – 2018)

The Argentine forward arrived at Southampton from Monaco in January 2018 after spending three seasons in Ligue 1.

But Carrillo made next to no impact at St. Marys, making just six Premier League appearances in total, whilst he failed to score a single goal.

Carrillo spent the next two seasons on loan at Spanish side Leganes, before Elche brought his south coast nightmare to an end in 2020 when he joined the club on a permanent basis.

7. Kostas Mitroglou (Fulham – 2014)

Relegation threatened Fulham signed Mitroglou from Olympiacos for a then-club record fee of £12m in 2014.

Injuries got in the way of Miroglou’s career at the Cottagers and the striker registered just three appearances for the club in total.

Fulham went on to get relegated and Mitroglou was sold back to Olympiacos without scoring a single goal.

8. Afonso Alves (Middlesbrough – 2008)

Forty-eight goals in 50 appearances for Heerenveen in the Eredivisie was enough to convince Middlesbrough to shell out a club record transfer fee of £12.5m to sign Alves in 2008.

Alves looked as if he was going to be a shrewd signing after his six Premier League goals in 11 games in his first six months in England.

But those goals quickly dried up, and the Brazilian forward managed just four in 31 appearances his first full season with the club.

Gareth Southgate’s side were relegated later that season, and Alves was sold to Qatari side Al-Sadd that summer.

9. Benjani – (Manchester City – 2008)

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The on-off transfer saga was finally passed through in the first week of February, with Benjani leaving Portsmouth for Man City.

The Zimbabwe striker admitted he was ‘shocked’ to leave Portsmouth and admitted ‘it was never his choice’ to do so, but the move went through anyway.

Benjani scored 12 league goals in 23 appearances in the first part of the 2007-08 campaign, but followed that up with just three goals in 13 for City.

Injuries got in the way for Benjani at City and the striker scored only four goals in the Premier League for the club in just 23 games.

Benjani spent time on loan at Sunderland in the 2009-10 campaign and subsequently joined Blackburn in the summer of 2010, bringing an end to a disappointing spell in Manchester.

10. Alexis Sanchez (Manchester United – 2018)

While Sanchez’s arrival at Old Trafford wasn’t the same as many of the other transfers in this list, in that no hefty fee was paid, it was a panic buy, nonetheless. And it didn’t work out either.

Eighty goals in 166 matches for Arsenal had earned Sanchez a dream move which saw him made the then-highest-paid Premier League player.

But Sanchez’s career took a dramatic turn for the worst at United, and the Chile international managed just three league goals in 32 appearances.

A loan at Inter for the 2019-20 campaign followed, before the Italian giants offered him the chance for a fresh start with a permanent deal the following season.

11. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal – 2018)

In the other part of the Sanchez swap deal, Mkhitaryan joined Arsenal after a two-year spell at Old Trafford.

And while it didn’t fare well for Sanchez, it didn’t work out much better for Mkhitaryan either.

Mkhitaryan struggled with consistency at the Emirates, and Unai Emery eventually opted to loan the player to Roma for the 2019-20 campaign.

The midfielder’s time at Arsenal came to an end in the summer of 2020 when he decided to cancel his contract at the club by mutual consent, which paved the way for a move to Roma.

  • Premier League

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