February 1st, 2011
12:29 PM ET

The best and worst deals of a dramatic deadline day

Chelsea spent $114 million on the last day of the mid-season transfer window.
Chelsea spent $114 million on the last day of the mid-season transfer window.

Wow, what a day! If you went to bed early, you missed one of the most exciting conclusions ever to a European transfer window. I was honestly shocked at how many players moved on Monday and at how much money was spent, especially in the English Premier League.

Leading up to the final day of the mid-season transfer window, one of the stories had been how Chelsea had not spent a single dime on players. Even though their aging squad looked burned out and incapable of winning any silverware this season, Blues’ owner Roman Abramovich kept the key to his well-stocked safe well hidden.

Well someone or something must have told him to spend, spend, spend! By the end of play on Monday he had dished out an incredible $114 million on Spain Fernando Torres and David Luiz of Brazil.

Let’s start by analyzing the purchase of Torres. Even though he has endured a very tough season, his numbers at Liverpool are still phenomenal. Overall, he scored 81 in 142 games for the Reds. Explaining why Chelsea signed him is easy, especially if you consider the fact he scored 7 times in 7 games against the Blues.

It is also easy to explain why "El Nino" wanted to leave Anfield. After enduring several years at Atletico Madrid playing second fiddle to Real and Barcelona, the last thing he wanted to do was to spend a decade at Liverpool without winning a single trophy. And let’s face it, the Reds are in transition, and it will be a while before they can compete for major honors.

What about the money? Well $80 million is a LOT of money, the most ever spent by an English club in fact. Would I have paid that much? Never. At this moment in time I believe Torres should have been valued at about 60% of that amount.

Then again, if former Newcastle striker Andy Carroll is worth $44 million, then Torres was a bargain! I can’t believe how inflated the transfer market is when it comes to English players. Is the 22 year-old goal-getter good? Yes. Does he have potential? Yes. But is he worth that kind of money? No way.

Carroll has had a good first season in the Premier League with 10 goals in 19 games and he scored for fun in the second division last year, but he could never be worth more than $25 million. Liverpool obviously felt that they needed to buy someone who could become a new English idol for the fans and decided to splash the cash on a player who could fit that mold. Then again, he could also become a huge bust.

So what were the best and worse moves of the mid-season transfer market? Here is my verdict:

Best deals

Emmanuel Adebayor – I have never been a big fan of the big front man, but to get a proven goal-scorer for virtually nothing midway through a season has to be a major coup. If his main issue has always been work rate and team spirit, then Mourinho will put him in his place. I expect him to be a big hit at the Bernabeu.

Antonio Cassano – Is he unstable? Yes, and his biography proved it. However, he is still one of the most talented players of his generation and could be the X-factor Milan needs as they look for their first Scudetto since 2004. If he behaves, he will be a hero at the San Siro.

David Luiz – How can $34 million be a good deal? Well, David Luiz is the most talented young defender on the planet. Trust me. I have watched him for over three seasons at Benfica and he has improved every year. Already a regular with Brazil and will quickly become an icon at Stamford Bridge.

Worst deals

Steven Pienaar – $4.8 million for a good international midfielder isn’t a bad deal, don’t get me wrong. However, I think Spurs made a big mistake in messing with their team chemistry. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s what they say, and Harry Redknapp will not win many games, especially against big teams, with Pienaar, Modric and Van der Vaart on the pitch. If anything, Tottenham needed a new defender. Not another creative player. The South African was a waste of money as far as I’m concerned.

Luiz Gustavo – A good player, no doubt, but never worth $23 million. Hasn’t played a single game for Brazil even though they don’t have that many quality defensive midfielders. I think Bayern gambled a little too much on a player who was good at Hoffenheim but will struggle to make the step up at the Allianz Arena.

Julio Baptista – The much-traveled Brazilian went back to Spain and signed for Malaga. The price tag, $3.4 million, doesn’t bother me. However, what does bother me is that Baptista is not the player a team battling against relegation needs. His work rate is poor and so is his commitment. Will score the odd goal but still a liability, both on and off the pitch.

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soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Soirtubg

    "David Luiz is the most talented young defender on the planet." -> LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL

    you've made my day, thank you

    February 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  2. PokerKnave

    The best deal has been Newcastle selling Carroll for £35m – we all know what happens in the second year of a striker game in the EPL – it always goes down as teams work out how to stop him.

    The best deal maker this season has been Sunderland buying Gyam for pennies, then selling Bent for loads. Steve Bruce is a master of deal making.

    Impressive manager of buying damage goods is Alex McLeish. Hopefully he wins the Carling Cup 🙂

    February 1, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  3. cqdemal

    PokerKnave: Newcastle sold Carroll for £35m but had no time to invest any of that money into a replacement (or two). If they are relegated again, then £35m is worthless.

    Also, Sunderland did not sign Gyan for 'pennies'. Bruce paid £13m – just £5m less than Bent. Since Bent has proven himself to be a consistent Premier League performer while Gyan remains decent at best, the jury is still out on this one. Best deal maker for Bruce? No way.

    February 1, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  4. James

    Why euro picture, while most of the tranfers in Pound!

    February 1, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Reply
  5. Duartinho

    @Soirtubg mark my words... Pedro's right! You'll never see a defender like David Luiz! And he will keep on improving! Great in the air and on the pitch. excellent tackler, good dribble, passing and vision (especially for a defender). It's not a coincidence that he's on the Brazilian squad (although you might refute with the fact that Brazil isn't on top shape, but still...). Just you wait and see! 25million was a bargain! Real Madrid paid 30 for Pepe, Chelsea other 30 for Carvalho, and they weren't as good as Luiz, neither do they had that sort of potential! (and take notice on the fact that i watched all three of them every week before headin' out to their respective clubs)

    February 1, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Reply
  6. CmonYouReds

    Final Verdict: Only time will will tell... 😛

    February 1, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  7. McKeith

    I would like to agree with you on the issue of players being sold at inflated prices. I must admit that for me Liverpool probably too a huge gamble in buying Andy Caroll. Like you say, he is good but is he worth £35m? I don't think so.
    If I were Liverpool I would have sold Torres and then gotten a player like Daniel Sturidge on loan from Chelsea. Then liverpool would wait for the Transfer window in August and pay the "right" money for Andy Caroll. I think the money Liverpool Spent on Caroll is insane and I hope it doesn't appear to be the biggest con in the history of football. Remember how Pool paid £20m for Aquillani and £20m for Robbie Kean. Carrol is good player but his price tag is too inflated. Besides I also think Liverpool need a Right Back and they did not put in any effort to buy one.

    Why would spurs buy Pienarr? I don't Know. Gareth Bale has been impressive on the wings and Assou Kotto good in the right back position. Pienaar is going to distort the set up and I don't think the buy was for the good of the game. I also predict Pienaar will be sold at the end of the season.

    I think InterMilan acquiring the services of Pazzini was a fab buy.

    February 2, 2011 at 9:50 am | Reply
  8. Garry


    February 2, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  9. Bode Thomas

    I still think both Liverpool and Chelsea could have done with spending some of that massive money on proper wide offensive players, which I think they have both lacked this season. dalglish seems to have worked out a pretty decent modified 3-5-1-1, but i think it will still come unstuck against a team that looks to exploit the hole between the full backs and the centre backs. There were options I felt for them both, Pienaar, Kranjcar, Ashley Young would have all been let go in their clubs for decent money.
    And personally, I'm holding out on David Luiz. Until I see him under the kosh of dealing with the middle level teams who bomb the ball forward to huge strikers a la John Carew, Kenwyne Jones, Emile Heskey, Kevin Davies et al.

    February 7, 2011 at 10:39 am | Reply
  10. Dabo

    I agrèe wit all the transfer.,especially adebayor.

    February 19, 2011 at 1:37 am | Reply

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