Having reviewed our picks for the best signings of the transfer window, we thought it was only fair, now that the dust has long settled, to give our opinions on the worst/weirdest signings in January.
Dan Blank: Dominic Solanke – (Liverpool > Bournemouth)
For me, this is simply a £19m gamble Eddie Howe didn’t need to make.
With Callum Wilson, Josh King, Jermaine Defoe and Lys Mousset all in his ranks prior to the window opening, Howe allowed the eldest, Defoe, to move on-loan to Steven Gerrard’s Rangers.
Rather than sign a cheaper more experienced striker to replace the former England man, similar to Burnley’s signing of Peter Crouch, Howe opted to make a player with just one Premier League goal to his name the club’s third most expensive player of all time in a deal that raised a few eyebrows. In the aftermath of the deal, Liverpool’s sporting director Michael Edwards was praised by Liverpool fans across social media for the piece of business.
Solanke is certainly one for the future, however whilst playing for Liverpool he always seemed half a yard off it. He will need to get up to speed quickly to fit in with Bournemouth’s frequent counter-attacking play and must improve upon his decision making in the final third.
Although his potential talent is unquestionable, question marks on the player’s fitness and confidence gives Eddie Howe a problem that he didn’t really need entering the new year. A strange deal for the Cherries that may have been better suited for the summer.
Dan Stokes: Denis Suarez (Barcelona > Arsenal)
My pick for weirdest signing may come as a surprise but all things considered I’ve gone with Denis Suarez.
Anyone could tell you that Arsenal needed to sign a defender having only kept four clean sheets all season. In fact, only Huddersfield, West Ham and Fulham have fewer clean sheets and as we know, two of those sides are tipped for relegation. That said, it was strange that the Gunners refused to sign a defender with Head Coach Emery insisting there was enough quality in the squad already. That belief, however, seems misplaced with consistent errors and injuries leaving Arsenal with very few options at the heart of the backline.
Like many Arsenal fans, I was excited to see Denis Suarez play in the shirt, but he has failed to pull up any trees so far. In his 3 appearances so far, he has actually looked quite average. In his first appearance against Man City, he gave the ball away far too often in his short cameo appearance.
Whilst this certainly isn’t the worst signing, by taking into account the business Arsenal should have done this is definitely my choice for weirdest signing of the January window.
Laurie: Lazar Markovic (Liverpool > Fulham)
The Serbian winger has continued his downward spiralling career path by completing a move to Fulham this January.
He was originally signed for Liverpool in 2014 for £20 million as one of the brightest talents in European football but eventually was demoted to the U23 side at the beginning of this season.
It now seems a tough ask to revive his career with the Cottagers. Fulham have been throwing money at their problems and Markovic (who only appeared 8 times on loan for Anderlecht last season) will have to compete with Schurrle, Sessegnon, Babel, Ayite and de la Torre. Not only does this signing not make sense on a financial basis but it seems as if he will barely see any game time.
There is a possibility this is a tactical signing for the Championship, yet it’s hard to ignore that it seems like a nepotistic move to keep his fellow Serbian (Mitrović) happy at a club which may eventually be relegated.
Will: Kevin Prince-Boateng (Sassuolo > Barcelona – Loan)
Not a Premier League move, but because of the player’s extensive Premier League history, he has to count in this weird transfers list.
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho: debatably the most formidable attacking trio in world football at the moment, with Ousmane Dembele hot on their heels. So Barcelona’s last-minute loan deal for Kevin Prince-Boateng is an odd addition to an incredible attack.
Boateng has had his time in the Premier League making numerous appearances for both Tottenham and Portsmouth. His current team is Sassuolo, who play in the Serie A, and this is the ninth club that he has officially signed for.
The one year loan deal came with an option to buy at the end of the season for £9 million: that is if Barcelona still requires the 31-year old’s services. Barcelona stated that he is “versatile to a fault.” – suggesting that he is there to fill in the gaps.
Jackson: Samir Nasri (Free Agent > West Ham)
It feels odd to suggest that the potential worst signing of the window was a free transfer, but that’s what I’m going to do, by picking Samir Nasri to West Ham.
To me, this is a classic case of a team inflating a player’s potential value to the side based on years old performances.
Nasri is not the same player he was for Arsenal and Man City. Alongside the fact he’s the wrong side of 30 and is beset by repeated injury problems, almost bad enough to derail this transfer before it happened in fact, he’s also been subject to a doping ban for the last 18 months and so has played no football.
On top of that, he’s never been far from controversy, and arguably the reason he never became a true great was that his mentality was lacking.
I know West Ham are in need of some more attacking creativity, and a free transfer for someone of Nasri’s stature seems like a win-win, but my view is he could be blocking the path of someone else who will be at West Ham for far longer than just the remainder of the season – a player whose impact on the pitch surely won’t warrant the hassle that goes with it, not at this stage in his career, anyway.