Pitchside

Top 10 biggest risks of the transfer window

Pitchside

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The transfer window has seen some interesting signings for Premier League clubs, ranging from the big-money World Cup deals such as Alexis Sanchez’s move to Arsenal, and the lower-key free transfers such as Gareth Barry’s move to Everton.

They don’t always work out though. So we take a look at the ones which could backfire…

1. Luke Shaw (Southampton to Manchester United, £30m)

The deal that Jose Mourinho said would “kill” Chelsea saw an 18-year-old left-back given £100,000-a-week for the daunting task of replacing Patrice Evra. Shaw is undeniably gifted and has 60 Premier League games under his belt, making him more experienced than his age would suggest. But he has never really had to play under pressure, was part of an underrated Saints side, and by his own admission was not physically ready for such a move. Louis van Gaal has questioned his fitness, and the decision to play 3-5-2 could see the most expensive teenager in world football further marginalised. Or he could end up being the next Gareth Bale.

2. Brown Ideye (Dynamo Kiev to West Brom, £10m)

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West Brom broke their club record signing to recruit a player who manager Alan Irvine admitted he had never seen play. Some favourable scouting reports and a decent highlights DVD were enough for the Baggies to secure their first eight-figure transfer, which could well blow up in their faces. The striker has a decent record with 74 goals in 182 career games but didn't make Nigeria's World Cup squad, while Shola Ameobi did. Irvine has said of Ideye: "..it would be fantastic if he could have the same impact as Peter Odemwingie did." So that'll mean he's hanging around QPR's car park like a bad smell in January then?

3. Liverpool’s entire summer spending spree (£80m)

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While none of Liverpool’s post-Suarez acquisitions are particularly troubling in isolation, there is a feeling they may have overpaid for some of them, and that so many new faces could spoilt Brendan Rodgers’ broth – see Tottenham after Gareth Bale as an example. Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren at least have Premier League experience with Saints, but Lazar Markovic, Emre Can and Javier Manquillo are untested here. One thing that works in the favour of such a large outlay on so many players is that, previously, the squad was short on numbers, so it’s not like half the team will get the hump about losing their places. Indeed, it gives the likes of Raheem Sterling and Jon Flanagan the chance to develop at a more natural pace. Still, it’s a lot of new faces to bed in, and it may take time to gel – by which point, the top four clubs could be miles ahead.

4. Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid to Chelsea, £32m)

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Costa was fantastic as Atletico Madrid won La Liga and suffered a heart-breaking Champions League final defeat to their city rivals Real. Big, strong and – last season anyway – free-scoring, at first glance he has all the attributes to be Chelsea’s new Didier Drogba. But on closer inspection there are some worrying signs. Last season was his breakout campaign but, at 25, you have to wonder what he was doing beforehand. A glance at his record shows the following league goals record from the age of 21 onwards: 8-6-10-10-27. Yes, there are late developers – Drogba being one – but there are question marks about his attitude, such as regular flashes of temper and the decision to turn his back on Brazil. Drogba aside, Chelsea have trouble bedding in strikers. Indeed, Stamford Bridge is something of a graveyard for centre-forwards as Fernando Torres, Andre Shevchenko, Hernan Crespo, Adrian Mutu, Mateja Kezman, Nicolas Anelka, Daniel Sturridge and, well, pretty much anyone who isn’t Drogba will testify.

5. Calum Chambers (Southampton to Arsenal, £16m)

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Chambers, 19, raised eyebrows when he was signed by the Gunners – not least because Arsene Wenger had already spent £12m on a replacement for Bacary Sagna by bringing another France right-back, Mathieu Debuchy, to the Emirates. Unlike Shaw, who has been a top-flight regular for Saints since promotion, Chambers has only played 21 Premier League matches and it’s uncertain what his best position will be, with the Gunners largely using him as a centre-back pre-season, and to good effect in fairness. His versatility could see him play a fair few matches this season – but it could also be a hindrance, as Phil Jones will testify.

6. Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea to Everton, £28m)

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Included because of his price relative to wealth of club, Lukaku is undoubtedly a fine player, and has previously shown he can do the business on loan at both Everton and West Brom. But £28m is a LOT of money for a club like Everton to spend. A lot. Especially as it means Everton have paid £28m to be only as good as last season. Jose Mourinho obviously has a problem with Lukaku’s mentality, and while the Special One does sometimes get it wrong, there remain doubts over his work-rate and ability to perform under pressure. Having said that, Everton don’t really have any pressure to succeed, so he should do well regardless.

7. Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton to Leicester, £8m)

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One of the smaller purchases on this list, cost wise, but – despite the mega-inflated prices in the era of this new TV deal – this is a significant outlay for a 28-year-old target man who has only played one full season in the Championship. Ulloa, admittedly, had been the best player in Spain’s Segunda Division for a few years previously, but you’d think he could be purchased for around half that amount. Memories of Ade Akinbiyi are rekindled, although Crystal Palace were vindicated by their similar decision to spend big on Dwight Gayle, whose goals helped keep them up.

8. Enner Valencia (Pachuca to West Ham, £12m)

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If spending £8m on an Argentina striker who had only played 18 months in England seems risky, you have to say the Hammers’ decision to spend £12m on an Ecuador striker who has had one good Mexican campaign could be construed as foolhardy. There is no doubt that Valencia (no relation) has fine physical and technical attributes, but he has never played at the highest level and could be a total flop. In mitigation, he had a good World Cup, but so did Saeed Al-Owairan.

9. Ander Herrera (Athletic Bilbao to Manchester United, £29m)

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Ander has been a target for United ever since Athletic Bilbao tore them to shreds in the Europa League, and he appears the right kind of signing for a club lacking in the midfield guile department. But he is uncapped and, at £29m, has not come cheap. While obviously a good footballer, that whole 'silky playmaker comes to Premier League' doesn't always work out. Just ask Juan Sebastian Veron...

10. Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United to QPR, free)

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Rio Ferdinand is without question one of the finest defenders to grace English football. But in his latter years he has become injury-prone and error-prone, and now QPR appear to be building a whole new defensive system around him. Glenn Hoddle is being recruited as a coach to help put in place a new 3-5-2 formation which, it is said, will feature Ferdinand as a sweeper, the libero position he always seemed so well equipped to play in during an era which has almost always demanded four at the back. Perhaps the Peckham-born Londoner will reinvent himself as 'Peckhambauer', but this could all go horribly wrong.

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