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Top 5 Transfer Flops of the Season, So Far

With a quarter of the season now passed, it is as good a time as any to reflect on the players and teams who have excelled and disappointed. First up are the transfers that have not met with expectations or values this season.

In evaluating a players performance after 10 games it is important to remember that not everyone will hit the ground running. Daniel Storey has extolled the virtues of patience in evaluating transfers and points to the examples of Johan Elmander, Javier Mascherano and even the great oranje Dennis Bergkamp as players who failed to set the league on fire in their first few months but who have grown into good and great players. In my opinion it would be unfair to include on this list any player who has not been active due to injury, whilst Tomas Hitzelsperger may be raking in a fortune for not playing it is unfair to evaluate a transfer based on unforeseeable circumstances. The same applies to City’s transfers as they start to slide from the win over Chelsea it would be unfair to select Kolarov, Boateng or Balotelli for this list when they haven’t strung two games together.

Also, when drawing this list up on those criteria I was surprised to find a relative parcity in terms of poor transfers, the flip side of this article will be hotly contested and probably far more contentious but I digress. The top 5 transfer flops (so far) this season:

5. James Perch: One of the few players Newcastle United actually paid money for this summer Perch was a bright young prospect that came through at Nottingham Forest. Having spent his entire playing career at the City Ground a move to St. James was seen as a step up for the 25 year old. However, if his performances are taken as a whole then it has been a step up too far. Perch became a statistic as he kept racking up Yellow cards. From what I can remember they were never malicious, usually cynical or clumsy which can be useful but given his position on the pitch giving free-kicks away –consistently- is an issue. Perch has since been replaced by Danny Simpson who has performed admirably so far and with Dan Gosling recovering from an injury Perch may drop to third choice right back and 6th choice midfielder. Not really what a promoted team should be pursuing in one of their only paid transfers of the summer.

4. Raul Meireles: The Portuguese midfielder was one of the more expensive (excluding Man City) transfers of the summer. Bought with the proceeds of Javier Mascherano’s forced sale, Meireles was to replace the defensive nature of the Argentinean with some creativity and dynamism, so far all Meireles has accomplished has been to make Lucas look better by comparison. This is (of course) not to write him off completely, he has never been a prolific goal-scorer and is more a box-to-box player who very rarely misses a game, however so far he has shown very little quality to go with his effort. His passing has seemed limited (this may be a tactical instruction) and his shooting has been woeful, in a Liverpool team that has been all accounts terrible it would be hard to stand out or even excel but for 12 million more has been expected.

3. Mauro Boselli: A personal disappointment this player, I had tipped Boselli to do well having come from Argentina with a fearsome goal-scoring record and a playing style which I felt would adapt well to the Premier League, in fact none of this came to pass. As Wigan started the season woefully only Hugo Rodellga performed well, Boselli was limited to a few headers but never posed a concerted threat to any back-line. Since demoted to Carling Cup duty (where he DID score) he has not had a starting berth for several weeks, he may yet turn into a Carlos Tevez but for now Boselli is 6.5 million that Wigan would rather have back.

2. Stephen Ireland: Ireland was frozen out at Manchester City and a move to Aston Villa was seen as the spark which could improve their midfield. Ireland had been sensational in patches over the previous two years with his partnership with Elano a particular highlight. However since his demotion to bit-part player at Manchester City, Ireland did not have the platform to continue his good form. A move to Aston Villa was seen as the right move at the right time, he would replace James Milner and add some flair to a stodgy midfield. However the opposite has been true, Ireland has been lethargic and actually drawn public ire from his manager. Aston Villa picked up a fine but troubled player in Ireland but his lack of form and the rumours that it was his inclusion in the Milner deal that broke Martin O’Neill’s back. If his inclusion was the reason for a disrupted start of the season and his form poor Stephen Ireland has been of no benefit to Aston Villa.

1. Joe Cole: Cole has been a microcosm of Liverpool’s season. Having made changes over the summer both entered the season with expectations relatively low, coming off a down year they were expected to return to their level of form if not better. These modest expectations have not been met. Joe Cole continues to frustrate, a bright pre-season was marred by a lapse in judgement as he ruled himself out for 3 matches.  On his return he was placed on the left wing, despite his preference to play in the middle of the pitch where he feels he is best, as a left winger he has been poor. His crossing is not of the standard required and as he drifts inside he clutters the middle of the pitch alongside Lucas, Gerrard, Meireles and Maxi who also tends to drift inside. Not to labour the point but this would be effective if Liverpool’s full-backs were allowed to overlap. No, Joe Cole has shown the same level of performance for Liverpool as he did for Chelsea, alot was made of the youngster coming through at West Ham, now 28 (29 in a week) Cole has fulfilled none of that promise. At Stamford Bridge last year as Inter knocked out Chelsea Cole was introduced to a large cheer from the fans but he flattered to deceive as usual and was inconsequential for 20 minutes. At Liverpool he continues this poor form. In a position that doesn’t suit him, taking playing time away from players who could be more useful on the wing Joe Cole’s tenure at Liverpool has been as bad as their season. (So far)

If you feel I’ve missed an obvious candidate out, leave a comment below.

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  1. Cricketlover

    November 5, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    I agree with the gaffer that Liverpool’s problem is two-fold. The players themselves are not performing to their potential, like Torres and Cole for example. They also have a lot of players who are just average and their 7th place finish last season was indicative of the talent they have. While Hodgson is a good manager he was never going to take the Liverpool team left by Benitez to challenge for the title. Of course Roy hasn’t done himself any favours by bringing in the likes of Cole, Poulsen and Konchesky who have all been very poor so far. So Liverpool’s present on-field problems are the fault of both the manager and the players.

    It’s also too early to compare Hodgson, who has only been at the club a few months, with Benitez, who was at the club for 6 years.

  2. Indigo

    November 5, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Tracy, if you’ve been reading any of gaffer’s posts about Roy Hodgson you’d know that he thinks “the sun shines out of Roy’s arse”. 🙂

    • The Gaffer

      November 5, 2010 at 4:21 pm

      Thanks Indigo for the vote of confidence! 🙂

      Just kidding, but seriously, I’m not a fan of Roy Hodgson, per se, nor do I dislike him. I just feel that a large number of Liverpool supporters are blaming the team’s woeful record on Hodgson while most of the players themselves seem to receive very little criticism. Managers are all well and good, but the rot that’s at Anfield has been happening long before Hodgson arrived.

      The Gaffer

  3. Arnold

    November 5, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Liverpool are on top of the list of teams who have brought in players who have shown nothing to justify their signings. Benitez was always rightly slated for his buying of players who were hard workers but who either lacked talent or creativity. Now Hodgson has done even worse because none of his signings have amounted to anything yet.

    This is the reason why Liverpool have now brought in Comoli (sp.) to take care of talent searches and transfers. A good move in my opinion.

  4. Tracy

    November 5, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Aquilani was a poor signing by Benitez but Benitez also bought players like Torres, Agger, Mascherano, Alonso, to name a few that are way better than Anyone Hodgson has bought for Liverpool so far. You can defend Hodgson all you want but it won’t change the fact that he is nowhere nearly as good as Benitez even if Benitez was no longer the right man for Liverpool.

  5. les hind

    November 5, 2010 at 6:12 am

    Last nights first half performance at home just shows me how far out of touch Hodgson is with his style of football , and just how bad the buys he has so far made are not up to liverpool standard .
    Poulson just does not do it , when you expect players of experience to step up he again has a shocker , Meriless just gives the ball away far to much ,
    I really do hope the new management team see that we need to find a new management team now rather than later.

  6. Marcus Watson

    November 4, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    I really have to disagree with Miereles. I think he has been solid since he was moved back to the middle. He has been lacking with his shot, but that is incredibly harsh to put him on this list. Poulsen is awful on the other hand. Konchesky has been serviceable.

  7. Ever_Forest

    November 3, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    I really can’t understand why you think James Pearch was such a bad deal at £1.5 million … I think it was an inspired piece of business … but then again I’m a Forest fan!!

  8. Tracy

    November 2, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Interesting isn’t it that most of the flops discussed here are Liverpool buys by Roy Hodgson, the man everyone said understood the EPL and would therefore be terrific at Liverpool. What a laugh! Poulsen, Konchesky and Cole are the 3 worst signings of the season so far. And to think Roy has criticized Benitez for leaving him with a poor squad. Roy is ten times worse than Benitez and I wouldn’t trust him with any money in the January transfer window. God help Liverpool if he is still in charge in January because then he’ll be given the funds to buy new players.

    • The Gaffer

      November 2, 2010 at 10:44 pm

      And Alberto Aquilani was such a great signing too 😉

      The Gaffer

  9. IdahoRed

    November 2, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Very disappointed to see Meireles on this list. He’s quite good.

    Joe Cole is rightfully number 1 because he was so highly touted as a vital missing piece for the squad. He’s been terrible. Just terrible.

    But Meireles? High quality. I hope he stays for a good long time.

  10. Why?

    November 2, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    The only player being some people’s choice that has surprised me is Martin Petrov who was superb at City I thought he’d do a great job.
    I never rated Kenwyne Jones I also thought Joe Cole would struggle away from London, Steven (Mr Bling) Ireland doesn’t surprise me in the slightest (there are many on here with pie in there face on this 1, better take him out of your dream teams now!). I don’t know enough about Perch, Poulsen or Meireles to comment on them. What does make me laugh is that people are trying to say that the new City player/s have some how flopped I.E Milner (has been great), Kolarov (Injured), Boateng (been decent when not injured) and Balotelli (for god sake the mans player about 120 mins of football this season!!) these choices just highlight the affects that a bias British media has on some people.

  11. che

    November 2, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    yeah yeah, only liverpool buys flops lmoa, what a bias. i would say meireles is not flop, but i could say joe cole is. and poulsen too. meireles been most consistent player of liverpool. last year i didnt see zhirkov before that year i didnt seee berbatov ib flop list, so only liverpool gets blame… where is balotelli and city players? meireles was damn cheap for his class.

  12. Dave B.

    November 2, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Seems to be a Liverpool tradition to have at least one player on lists like this each season.

  13. Duck

    November 2, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Don’t know what you want from Meireles. For most of the season he’s been deployed out of position on the right wing (thanks Hodgson). Last two games he’s played center of the park and has bossed it. The result? Two wins. Poulsen and Konch should be on this list instead of Raul.

  14. dominjon

    November 2, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Meireles is a little harsh. If in January you put him, Poulsen and Konchesky on sale for the price they were bought for, well you would have two players without bids, and one that would be gone.
    He hasn’t shone, but then nobody has.

  15. David Allison

    November 2, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Ah, just read back my “premiership-low” term and realise it sounds like minimum-wage-earned, when I meant low-for-the-standards.

    Still, I can’t really think of any other flops apart from the other Liverpool names mentioned. I stand my reckoning of Perch, so you’ll just have to make it a Top 4…! ;o)

  16. KKK

    November 2, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Kenwyne Jones was supposed to hit the ground running (specially with Delap’s emm special talents) , he’s familiar with the EPL and his transfer broke the bank, can’t say the same about his counterpart Asamowah Gyan though, he didn’t play a single full 90 so far and maybe he’s still adapting.

    • Tom

      November 2, 2010 at 5:35 pm

      Injured against Wolves, first game (just after rattling the crossbar).

  17. Dave

    November 2, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I think Martin Petrov deserves an honorable mention on this list. Yes it was a free transfer but I expected more from him coming to Bolton and he has really struggled to make any part of an impact there.

  18. Jessy

    November 2, 2010 at 9:44 am

    I would put Joe Cole at number 1. Much was expected of him and he has not produced the goods. His high salary demnds was what put off other teams who recognized that his best days are behind him. Only liverpool’s Hodgson was stupid enough to think Cole would be able to get back to his best. Chelsea didn’t offer him whay he wanted because they knew his best days are over.

    At number 2 I would put Stephen Ireland. He has been very poor and Aston Villa better hope he gets his act together soon or else he will waste away at Villa.

    At number 3 it has to be Christian Poulsen who Hodgson bought despite the fact that Poulsen was only a bench warmer at Juventus. What a waste of money he has been. Even for Denmark he has been so poor that their fans wanted him to change careers as they thought he shouldn’t waste his time playing soccer. Another Hodgson blunder.

  19. Sir Guy

    November 2, 2010 at 9:38 am

    I was dead wrong about Ireland. I really thought he’d do better in a new environment. As for Cole, I could never figure out what all the fuss was about in the first place. Maybe it is all about position, but I doubt it.

  20. timmyg

    November 2, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Aleksandar Kolarov anyone? I know he’s injured so there should be an asterisk, but he still cost 16-million and only played on opening day.

    • Why?

      November 2, 2010 at 2:40 pm

      I don’t understand what your trying to say Timmy. Because he got injured, cost £16m plays and for City he should be called a flop? Do you work for a British newspaper by any chance?

  21. UpTheBlues

    November 2, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Ahahaha Joe Cole. Got what he deserved. Chelsea laughs it’s way to the bank.

    • UpTheBlues

      November 2, 2010 at 8:43 am

      Bank meaning Joe’s outrageous salary, that is.

  22. David Allison

    November 2, 2010 at 7:21 am

    The James Perch mention is way off the mark. He, and everyone else, was not expecting to start the season, but Danny Simpson picked up an injury jsut before the start of the season, so he was thrown into the deep-end in as much as he lacked any Premiership experience.

    He performed well in Simpson’s absence and was unfortunate to score an own goal in the Stoke fixture (which he could do little about).

    You have to take everything into account; he cost a paltry £1m, earns a Premiership-low £20k, and was part of summer transfer drive that entailed very limited funds.

    In placing him in a top 5 transfer flops, you’ve clearly set your expectations too high, and not taken all factors in to consideration.

    • Chris McQuade

      November 2, 2010 at 7:27 am

      I appreciate the sentiment. Please suggest other fit players who have had a starting berth who have been worse. As i prefaced this was actually a tight list to put together, for me though you can see my points on Perch above in another comment.

      2 things, the Blackpool team cannot earn above 10k so they all earn less and Grandin cost 500k-1m and has been much better.

      • David Allison

        November 2, 2010 at 7:36 am

        One thing I will agree on is, yes, it is difficult to find any glaring flops. I will have a think, though; as Ben Harper said in ‘Better Way’, “What good is a cynic with no better plan”…!

  23. les hind

    November 2, 2010 at 7:14 am

    You only need to look at liverpools other buys to see your top 5 Poulsen has done nothing for the team , the left back from his old club is not worth talking of and he himself Hodgson has to consider a flop .
    Lets hope the new owners see sense and get some one with a little flair in .

    • Chris McQuade

      November 2, 2010 at 7:18 am

      Poulsen and Konchesky cost much less than Meireles and have contributed exactly the same – nothing. Those 2 added together don’t match Meireles’ fee.

      Beside’s Cole he’s the standout.

  24. Basel Arti

    November 2, 2010 at 7:07 am

    Perch hasn’t really been that disappointing, besides Newcastle are pretty deep in that position. I’m surprised there’s no one from Man City in that list. Milner? Balotelli?

    • Chris McQuade

      November 2, 2010 at 7:17 am

      I think Perch has been poor, it seems from his yellow card record (and i mean that literally) that he has been forced to commit fouls to prevent players getting past him.

      With that and 2 players ahead of him, 1.5m for a 25 year old out of his depth for a team in Newcastle’s position is disappointing. Milner has been decent and Balotelli is discounted for being injured.

  25. Adam

    November 2, 2010 at 6:45 am

    That’s brutal that a free transfer makes #1. Tough to argue though. Joe Cole has not produced the goods.

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