The January transfer window is a rather bizarre beast.
Situated smack, bang in the middle of the Premier League season, it can bring out the best of clubs, as they go on the hunt for bargains who can salvage a season, or propel a winning team to glory.
However, it’s had its fair share of absolutely terrible signings too, with players ending up at clubs and roundly failing to make any sort of impact.
Three such buys are listed below, perhaps as a warning to those chairmen who wish to splash the cash when the turn of the year comes around.
At the halfway point of the campaign, sometimes its better to stick than twist.
There seems to have been a revision in recent times of Fernando Torres’ horrendous spell at Stamford Bridge, one that suggests it was not as bad as history recalls.
The stats however will forever be mercilessly damning.
During four ferociously productive seasons at Liverpool, ‘El Nino’ fired home 81 goals in 141 appearances, marking him out as a worthy successor to Ian Rush, Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler before him.
Yet following a £50m switch to Chelsea in 2011 – the British transfer record not only shocking the nation’s mores to the core but also almost doubling what Manchester City paid for Edin Dzeko in the same window – Torres managed just 20 league goals in three-and-a-half years.
With such figures in mind it could be said they paid twice the going rate for half of the player they thought they were getting.
On Merseyside Torres was an explosive, lethal, and often unplayable phenomenon. He took on defenders as if they were training cones. He found the back of the net with unerring precision.
Whereas in the capital an inhibition took hold, as the pressure weighed on his shoulders and messed with his head.
At the time City’s move for the Swansea front-man made a good deal of sense.
Though Manuel Pellegrini’s first choice duo of Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero were going about their business in typically prolific fashion, their back-up Stevan Jovetic was failing to hit any great heights.
Bony had scored more Premier League goals – 20 – in the calendar year of 2014 than anyone else while his combination of quick feet and powerful physique offered the title-holders another dimension to their attack.
Admittedly £25m – rising to £28m – was an awful lot of money to pay for a squad addition, but there was clear logic in the expense. Then he put on a sky blue shirt and City supporters soon realised the awful truth, which was that 25 pence would have been a premium.
Like Torres, Bony’s stats were pretty dire – just six league goals in 36 games before City very quietly released him to Stoke on a season-long loan – but even they pale to the memory of his ineptitude.
From this writer’s perspective he remains one of the very few strikers ever witnessed who had the ability to mark himself.
He would stand centrally, up against a centre-back, then maybe trot sideways for a change of scenery. There is more nuanced movement in a corpse.
As for his touch, the ball was routinely repelled by him, ricocheting off shin or thigh at a greater speed from which it had arrived. Clearly City were blinded by form, when talent should have been the true barometer.
Aged 31, the Ivorian now plays in Saudi Arabia.
Few things better promote the prospect of a dud signing than an enormous sale gifting a club a fortune to squander.
Famously, Spurs took this to the extreme with numerous forgettable names bought from their Gareth Bale bonanza in 2013.
Five years later one of Bale’s former clubs followed suit after reluctantly parting with Virgil Van Dijk on New Year’s Day for a whopping £75m and lasting all of three weeks before wasting a chunk of it on an Argentinian forward whose only accreditation seemed to be that he occasionally shared a pitch with Kylian Mbappe at Monaco.
He may have cost the equivalent of Van Dijk’s leg but even in a differing position he’s not fit to lace his boots.