With the football season at the halfway stage, it’s time for the clubs of the Premier League to get out the chequebooks. Ian Moore takes a look back at the strangest January moves.
YOU would be easily forgiven for thinking that the silly season was well and truly behind us for another year but as anyone with a passing interest in the beautiful game knows, the juggernaut that is the January transfer window will continue the frivolity right the start of February.
Propelled by a perfected storm of wantaway stars, opportunistic agents, and perturbed managers; the January transfer window has given us inflated transfer fees, panic buys and occasionally the player that can salvage a season. With its pot-luck nature, there is no surprise that the window has given us it’s fair share of surprises so here are a few of the deals that have raised eyebrows over the last few seasons.
Andy Kellett – Bolton to Man Utd (Loan)
It’s not every day one of football’s superclubs comes calling for the services of a youngster with only a handful of appearances for a struggling second tier side to his name. But with the Red Devil’s Under-21 side threadbare in defence local lad Kellett was brought in for cover on Deadline Day in 2015.
As the all too familiar yellow ticker announced the story on Sky Sports News there was no melee of delinquent supporters in wait at Old Trafford or Carrington, in fact Kellett himself struggled to wrap his head around the switch, fully convinced that he was on the receiving end of a wind-up from then Trotters boss Neil Lennon.
Unsurprisingly, Kellett never featured in a first-team game for United and after returning to his parent club he soon moved on to Wigan where he has featured sparingly since.
Andy Carroll – Newcastle to Liverpool (£35 Million)
Deadline Day in 2011 was a godsend for Sky Sports. It elevated the tickered televised event to the status of cultural phenomena and will be best remembered for the almost instantaneous stagnation of its two marquee signings.
Fernando Torres had left Anfield for Chelsea in a £50m move and Liverpool decided to make his replacement (a player with one full Premier League campaign to his name) the most expensive British player of all-time in a move that has become a byword for all the excesses of the January transfer window.
Multiple bids were made, Carroll suggested he was “forced out” of his boyhood club and then he goes and hands in a transfer request, and finally Kenny Dalglish’s fax machine coughed and just like that Andy Carroll became the eighth most expensive player of all-time right before our very eyes.
Stephen Caulker – QPR to Liverpool (Loan)
There is no doubt that Jürgen Klopp is one of the foremost tacticians in the modern game but many scratched their heads when the bespectacled maestro brought in the former Spurs centre-half to sure up the Red’s injury ravaged defence after Caulker was essentially anonymous in a similar spell with Southampton earlier that season.
In a strange development, the one cap England man never featured in the very defence he was intended to slot into. In fact, Caulker appeared as a “striker” in all three of his Premier League appearances where unsurprisingly he failed to score and didn’t feature again after February and returned to Loftus Road, presumably wondering like the rest of us what had just happened?
Cohen Bramell – Hednesford to Arsenal (£40,000)
Arsenal’s first (and likely only) foray into this edition of this January transfer window has all the hallmarks of an Arsene Wenger scheme, a mesh of youthful obscurity and penny pinching will leave a certain section of Arsenal supporters shaking their heads.
It’s safe to say virtually no one saw this one coming, let alone actually knew much about the 20-year-old left-back who combined lining out in the seventh tier of English football with working in a Crewe car factory, from which he was made redundant days before joining the Gunners on trial.
While it is clear from Bramell’s highlights reel that he is a cut above what the Evo-Stik NPL has to offer, only time will tell if he will emerge from obscurity and join Tony Cascarino’s “sold for a bag of tracksuits” in the pantheon of non-league transfers.
Julian Faubert – West Ham to Real Madrid (Loan)
With their pedigree as a financial powerhouse it’s hard to imagine Los Blancos ever requiring the services of a middling right-back from the wrong end of the Premier League. Nonetheless, it appeared that is exactly what Juande Ramos had in mind when he brought Faubert to the Bernabau.
The highlights of his time in Madrid included giving himself the day off training and falling asleep on the bench during a game against Villarreal and actually managing to get on the pitch twice. Abundantly clear that he wasn’t cut out to be a Galactico, the Frenchman returned to a West Ham side facing a season in the Championship, a level much better suited to his skills