"Oh God... what have we done?!" The 11 worst January transfer deals

Greg Lea picks out some of the biggest (and most costly) mistakes made by top-flight sides in the winter window. Watch out! 

1. Jean-Alain Boumsong (Rangers to Newcastle £8m, 2005)

Newcastle paid Rangers £8m for Boumsong’s services just a few months after he’d been available on a free

This was a strange signing on many levels, with Newcastle paying Rangers £8m for Boumsong’s services just a few months after he’d been available on a free.

The 27-time France international actually got his career at St James’ Park off to a decent start, before basic defensive errors began to creep into his game and adversely affect Newcastle’s results. Juventus, having been relegated to Serie B just a few months previously, took Boumsong off the Magpies’ hands in August 2006 – though he never featured in Serie A once the Old Lady made it back.  

2. Afonso Alves (Heerenveen to Middlesbrough £12.5m, 2008)

Despite finding the net six times in his first 11 Premier League appearances, the Brazilian quickly faded

Tottenham fans are now aware of the pitfalls associated with signing strikers from the Eredivisie, with Vincent Janssen having joined the much-maligned category that includes Jozy Altidore, Siem de Jong and Mateja Kezman rather than Luis Suarez, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie.

Afonso Alves was another member of the former group: despite finding the net six times in his first 11 Premier League appearances, the Brazilian quickly faded and was sold to Al-Sadd following Boro’s relegation in 2009.

3. Savio Nsereko (Brescia to West Ham £9m, 2009)

Savio’s last three clubs have been Atyrau (Kazakhstan), Lietava Jonava (Lithuania) and Beroe Stara Zagora (Bulgaria)

Now 28, Savio’s last three clubs have been Atyrau (Kazakhstan), Lietava Jonava (Lithuania) and Beroe Stara Zagora (Bulgaria), which probably says more about his true level of ability than 2009’s £9m move to West Ham – easily one of the most bizarre transfers in Premier League history. 

The Irons handed the former Germany U20 international their No.10 shirt at Upton Park, but he failed to live up to expectations and made just a single Premier League start (he appeared in nine other games from the bench) before being shipped off to Fiorentina seven months later.

Savio Nsereko

Savio struggled to get to grips with the Premier League

4. Benni McCarthy (Blackburn to West Ham £2.25m, 2010)

After 14 appearances and zero goals in all competitions, McCarthy left the club with a £1.5m payoff in April 2011

Another disappointing winter acquisition for the Hammers. McCarthy arrived in east London in pretty poor form, his 14 top-flight outings for Blackburn in the first half of the season having yielded just one goal.

Gianfranco Zola’s side were in desperate need of some additional firepower as they attempted to pull themselves clear of the relegation zone, but the South African wasn’t the man to provide it: after 14 appearances and zero goals in all competitions, McCarthy left the club with a £1.5m payoff in April 2011.

Benni McCarthy

McCarthy failed to replicate his Blackburn form in east London