As we near the end of what has been a Premier League season full of surprises, let’s take a look at the best (and the worst) transfers we have seen this season. Just remember though … hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Javier Hernandez – C.D. Guadelejara to Manchester United for £8 million
Hernandez, or as his shirt says “Chicharito” arrived at United at the same time as another young striker Bebe, for about the same amount of money. No prizes for guessing which player most people are still speaking about. Hernandez didn’t have an easy task ahead of him, being up against Rooney, Berbatov, Owen and Obertan as competition for a place in the first 11 seems pretty intimidating, but he has managed 26 appearances scoring an impressive 13 goals, including the Hollywood moment 36 second goal against Chelsea. He’s only 22 and is on a long term contract with United, which could well mean the end of Berbatov’s career with the Red Devils.
Luis Suarez – Ajax to Liverpool for £23 million
In January Liverpool were in desperate need of some fresh firepower and Suarez was their first choice throughout the month, finally completing his transfer just hours before the deadline. When Torres left, Suarez was suddenly dubbed as his replacement, a daunting title, but one which he has managed to live up to with some style. His movement, speed, trickery and more has made him a real menace to defences and at under half the price that Torres sold for he looks more than twice as good. £23 million isn’t cheap, but at this point you’d have to say it was money well spent by Liverpool. Suarez will be central to any hope Liverpool have of continental qualification next season.
William Gallas – Arsenal to Tottenham on a free transfer
As free transfers go, they don’t get a lot better. Signing an experienced player from your bitterest rivals who will end up captaining your team to victory against them? Yes please.
Peter Odemwingie – Lokomotiv Moscow to West Bromwich Albion for £1 million
Odemwingie has to represent the best single million pounds spent in years, let alone just this season. West Brom are not a rich club and this season were in real danger of having to fight to avoid relegation, so any signings they did make had be both fiscal but effective. Odemwingie is both – 15 goals this season, 9 more than any of his teammates has meant that West Brom are going to survive the drop comfortably. Sadly, he only signed a 3 year contract, 1 of which has already gone. West Brom are surely already considering offering him an extension to this or they could lose him cheaply in just a year’s time. Somehow, I don’t think they’ll find as good a replacement with another million pounds.
Daniel Sturridge – Chelsea to Bolton on a loan.
Bolton have had an excellent season and may actually be a little disappointed to currently be sitting 9th in the Premier League. If domestic cup results hadn’t ended up securing European football for Birmingham and Stoke, Bolton would have been in with a real chance of scrapping for Europa League qualification. Sturridge signed for Bolton in January, scoring 7 goals in 10 appearances, not a bad return for minimal effort on the club’s part. Sturridge’s future depends largely on what will happen with Chelsea’s striker situation this summer, but it is more than likely he will end up staying in London next season, rather than being sent out on loan. Even if his Bolton career is limited to this half a season, it’s been a good loan spell for him, scoring some important goals and really helping them cement their place in the top half of the table.
The worst -
Edin Dzeko – Wolfsburg to Manchester City for £27 million
I don’t understand this one. What does Dzeko have which Adebayor, Balotelli, Santa Cruz or Jo combined don’t? Apart from the third highest transfer fee paid in the Premier League this season. Dzeko has managed only a single competitive goal so far, making him an extremely expensive bench-warmer.
I suppose when you have so much money and you’re buying so many players (some 22 first team players since 2009), you’re bound to make a few bad purchases. Some players, especially strikers just aren’t the type who will flourish in the Premier League, and Dzeko’s encouraging performances for City in the Europa League suggests that the best thing for his career may be a move back to the continent.
Fernando Torres – Liverpool to Chelsea for £50 million
When you’re a big name striker and a big name club makes a big money offer for you, you have to perform. Taking almost 1000 minutes to score your first goal, failing to link up well with the other top striker at the club and disappearing from games for 20 minutes at a time, doesn’t count as performing. At Liverpool, Torres was able to have a bad 89 minutes but still score in the 90th. At Chelsea , he has a bad 89 minutes and then a bad 90th as well. Having been played instead of Drogba seemingly because of his price than his form, it’s easy to imagine that Drogba may be interested in leaving Chelsea this summer. There have been rumours of him returning to France, and Real Madrid, coached by Drogba’s old coach Jose Mourinho, are also in the hunt for a top striker. If Drogba leaves and Torres doesn’t find form, Torres could become a whole lot pricier than the 50million Chelsea paid.
Stephen Ireland – Manchester City to Aston Villa for £8 million
I remember watching Stephen Ireland’s Manchester City career and thinking that it was only a matter of time before a top club took him somewhere else. Then City got rich and suddenly he was surplus to requirements. An 8million move to Aston Villa seemed perfect. He was put into a team that was desperate for a big presence in midfield, still feeling the pain of losing Gareth Barry and fresh from losing James Milner too. Sadly, Ireland managed just 10 appearances for Villa before being loaned out to Newcastle. Injury has played a part in his poor season, but attitude problems and form seem to be the overriding factors.
Christian Poulsen – Juventus to Liverpool for £4.5 million
Someone said to me at the beginning of the season that all defensive midfielders are the same. If that’s the case, why did Barcelona pay 18million for Mascherano and Liverpool ’s replacement Poulsen cost only 4.5? His displays have been poor at best, giving the ball away cheaply and failing to provide any cover for the defence. It didn’t take long for him to be benched, and of his 11 first team performances so far, he’s made none since January when Jay Spearing emerged as a real candidate for first team action. With Gerrard, Meireles, Lucas, Spearing and Shelvey all preferred to Poulsen, it’s hard to imagine he will get another chance to justify the money spent on him.
By David Astley