After Mario Balotelli’s latest Liverpool no-show against Real Madrid, Reds hero Jamie Carragher described the Italian as a “panic” buy. In truth, there is some logic to this, with the Merseysiders having taken a massive £16m gamble in a bid to replace Luis Suarez with Brendan Rodgers having realised he’d entered the season with a lack of options up top.
Although Balotelli has been, well… awful so far, he is not the worst ‘panic purchase’ ever, with these TEN the pick of the bunch…
We’ll kick off with Pavlyucheno at Spurs. Fresh from selling Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane in 2008, then Lilywhites chief Juande Ramos asked chairman Daniel Levy for David Villa or Samuel Eto’o… before getting the Russian in. He wasn’t the worst buy ever, notching 42 goals in 113 games, but he failed to hit the highs expected of him after his late move and was not of the qulity of his predecessors.
Who? Hammers fans may have repressed the memories of Savio, who arrived late in January 2009. The Germany U-20 international cost £9m as was drafted in after Craig Bellamy left. He now plays in Kazakhstan. ‘Nuff said.
“One of the very best left-backs in the league and certainly deserving of a place in the England set-up.” Then Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson.
Despite the glowing praise from ‘Woy’ in 2010, Konchesky was by no means the answer to Liverpool’s left-back woes. When Hodgson was replaced after six short months at Anfield, Kenny Dalglish shipped out the former England star to Nottingham Forest on loan.
The most recent panic buy on our list, Marouane Fellaini’s move to Manchester United last year was an odd one. After a summer in which David Moyes missed out on a host of big names, he was force into a late £27.5m deal to bring one of his former Everton charges with him. Had he moved a matter of weeks earlier a release clause of nearer £20m could have been triggered, but instead the late panic sees United still lumbered with the big-haired Belgian.
In 2008 Robinho was seen as the man to kick-start the big money Abu Dhabi reign at Manchester City. The club paid a massive £32.5m to beat Chelsea to his signature from Real Madrid… with the player’s infamous press conference slip revealing that he thought he actually signed for the Londoners. A bright start soon tailed off as it became clear the Brazilian was signed with no real plan of action.
At just £2.5m, West Ham thought they’d bagged a bargain in 2011 after landing McCarthy from Blackburn. The South African had been decent at Ewood Park during his four year stint, but question were asked of his fitness and desire towards the end. The Hammers went on to be relegated a matter of months later with their strike saviour failing to score in 14 outings.
Vice-chairman Karen Brady also described the player as “a big fat mistake” after his contract was terminated at a cost of £1.5m.
Signed in during Arsene Wenger’s August 2011 late splurge, Park Chu-Young is undoubtedly one of the very worst panic buys in Premier League history. The Gunners chief needed to add more flair and guile to his team so took a gamble on the South Korean, who had been impressing in France with Monaco. You can count his number of Gunners performances on one hand, and the striker now plies his trade in the Middle East with Al Shabab after awful loan spells at Watford and Celta Vigo.
Right up there as one of the worst ever panic buys is Alves. Middlesbrough broke their transfer record in 2008 to lure the Brazilian to Wearside in a £10m deal, with Gareth Southgate then saying: “His goalscoring record in Holland in particular but in Sweden, too, has been prolific. We hope he will reproduce that sort of form for us.”
That he didn’t, as Alves cost the club roughly a £1m per goal – a far cry from the bang Heerenveen got when he netted 45 in 38 games – with half of his tally coming in the space of two games against Manchester United and Manchester City. When ‘Boro were relegated to the Championship in 2009 he was sold to Qatari side Al-Sadd.
With Chelsea desperate to challenge for the title, the £50m addition of Fernando Torres was seen as a sure fire way to overhaul Manchester United’s dominance. But, the move – a deadline day one in January 2011 – was an absolute shocker, with the Spaniard failing to achieve the highs he produced with such regularity at Liverpool. Reds hero Jamie Carragher has since revealed the utter shock at getting such a fee for a player whose best days were behind him, and Torres is now seeing out his Blues contract on a two-year loan at AC Milan.
After Liverpool mugged off Chelsea in the Torres deal, they promptly went and blew £35m on Andy Carroll after just a few months of decent form in the top tier. Newcastle repeatedly knocked back big offers from the Reds until, in a state of blind panic, the Merseysiders laid down their current record fee to convince the Magpies with minutes of the transfer window remaining. Carroll is now at West Ham after a terrible spell at Anfield.