The winter transfer across all major leagues is coming to a close on December 31, we’ve seen quite a few surprises and the mid-season window was unusually action-packed.
From Alexis Sanchez to Philippe Coutinho, Sportstar ranks the top five not so great winter transfer deals in the history of club football:
5. Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United – 2017
With 80 goals and 45 assists in his 166 appearances with Arsenal, Alexis Sanchez was a hot commodity available in the market. It was a battle between rivals Manchester United and Manchester City as to who would sign the Chile forward and United came out on top, or so they thought.
But the ex-Arsenal man was not able to emulate the kind of performances that he delivered with the North London club and went down the then manager Jose Mourinho’s pecking order.
Sanchez donned the Red Devils’ jersey 45 times across leagues and was only able to net five goals in his stint. Sanchez was loaned off to Inter Milan in 2019 and eventually signed with the Italian club on a three-year permanent move.
4. Andy Carroll to Liverpool – 2011
Liverpool fans were delighted when their club announced the signing of Andy Carroll from Newcastle and it was not cheap, he came in for £35 million. Carroll’s injury-prone nature did not help, and he eventually failed to justify his massive price tag – he was the most expensive signing for the Reds.
His Liverpool career proved to be a disappointing one with him only netting 11 goals in 58 games- just six of which came in the Premier League. He sealed a transfer to West Ham in the summer of 2013, with Liverpool accepting a meager £15 million.
Later, Carroll revealed that he was forced out of Newcastle by its management. Was that one of the reasons for his below-par performance at Liverpool? we will never know.
3. Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea – 2015
After his exploits in the 2014 FIFA World Cup with Columbia, Juan Cuadrado was touted to be the next big thing in football. Chelsea made a last-gasp attempt and persuaded Fiorentina into selling him for £21 million.
But the turn of events for the midfielder at Chelsea was not as smooth as he would have expected. It is for the world to see that Jose Mourinho hardly gives second chances to players and Cuadrado was not an exception. The Columbian made just 15 outings for Chelsea, fetching just an assist during his time, before spending two years on loan at Juventus in 2015, eventually making the move permanent in 2017.
2. Fernando Torres to Chelsea – 2011
Fernando Torres’ transfer to Chelsea is one of the most talked about mistakes in the Roman Abramovich era. What could have been a Didier Drogba-esque transfer, became confined into the ‘number nine curse’ that Chelsea is always associated with. However, one cannot rule out Torres as an outright flop.
The Spaniard scored 11 goals in his first season with the London club and doubled it in his second season, but the problem was these performances were not even remotely close to the kind of football he played at Liverpool.
Albeit a poor stint with Chelsea, its fans will always remember Torres for his stoppage time winner against Barcelona at Camp Nou, that catapulted Chelsea into the 2012 Champions League final, which it eventually won.
1. Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona – 2018
In the summer of 2022, Aston Villa signed Philippe Coutinho for a reported fee of £17 million. But the Brazilian star’s previous stint with Barcelona can be written as a proper ‘rise and fall’ story.
After consistent performances with Liverpool, Coutinho came under the radar of the Catalans. After three failed bids, the highest allegedly being around the £ 180 million mark, Barcelona was finally able to acquire the services of the attacking midfielder for a whopping £140 million.
The Spanish giant had a vacuum to fill following Neymar’s exit and thought it had signed the perfect replacement. But Coutinho was not able to deliver with Barcelona due to the towering presence of Lionel Messi, who plays in a similar position, and had to often operate under the Argentinian’s shadows.
He managed to score just 26 goals in 106 appearances in all competitions and was constantly overlooked by then-manager Ernesto Valverde. Amid his struggles to get into the Barca side, he was loaned off to Bayern Munich during the 2019-20 season.
He eventually completed a permanent move to Aston Villa last year.