When Gordon Strachan handed Sunderland £3.25m for Kevin Phillips in 2003, it seemed like Southampton had completed a marquee signing of real glitz and glamour.
After all, the striker had only recently won the European Golden Shoe award in 1999/2000 after notching 30 goals for the Black Cats, so Strachan appeared to have landed one of England’s best forwards – even if he had only managed to score six goals for Sunderland as they were relegated.
However, amidst all the glitz of this marquee deal, the signing of Phillips turned out to be a poor investment from the Saints.
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The man who won eight caps for England admittedly had a fine goalscoring record for Southampton, netting 25 goals in 71 games which works out at an average better than a goal every three games.
Despite that, Southampton didn’t really get much for their money.
The ex-Watford frontman only spent two years at St Mary’s before joining Aston Villa in a deal worth £1m, meaning that Southampton took a £2.25m loss on their investment and had very little to show for it.
In today’s money, the Saints’ £3.25m capture of the striker in 2003 would be worth £5,177,188.20.
Ultimately, Phillips cost the club £130k per goal, which isn’t awful value for money to say the least.
However, it was the hefty loss that the Saints took when losing the European Golden Shoe winner that makes this deal look like a poor investment, and also the fact that he didn’t manage to score enough goals to keep them in the top-flight as they were relegated under Harry Redknapp in 2005.
It was a signing with good intentions at the time, although one perhaps clouded by Phillips’ mesmeric goalscoring achievements in 1999/2000 – in that respect, you can’t blame Strachan too much for this one.
Having said that, it cannot be denied that the Scot made a blunder when this deal is viewed in hindsight.
In other news, what does the future hold for this promising Southampton man after his disappointing season?