The January transfer window is just around the corner and the speculation columns have gone into over drive. With that in mind it’s hard to think of too many players that have made a fantastic impact on their team when arriving in January. Papa Cisse may have set Newcastle alight when he arrived in January last season but more often than not we see players arrive in Jan and fail to settle. Think Fernando Torres at Chelsea and Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra when they arrived in January in 2006. Sir Alex has stated that e won’t be buying in January as he is happy with his squad and he also feels that there is no value in the market in January.
With that in mind it’s interesting to look back at Sir Alex’s transfer history during his time as United manager. We all hail Sir Alex Ferguson as a fantastic manager. There is no denying he is great at his job. However there have been times when even the great man has got it wrong. So with the transfer window upon as let us look back at some of the names that never made it at the theater of dreams.
- Karel Poborský– Signed from Slavia Praha in ’96 mostly off the back of his Euro ’96 performances. The Czech right-winger never made the grade at United mainly due to a certain David Beckham. He was sold on after a season and a half. It’s been said that it was Poborsky’s failure at United that prompted Sir Alex to never buy a player again off the back of his performances at a major tournament alone.
- Jesper Blomqvist– I was hesitant to put Jesper on the list as it is really injury that stopped him playing a bigger part for united. However one goal in 25 games is not really a great return for an attacking midfielder. Signed in United’s treble winning season for £4.4m, he did manage to get his hands on all 3 winner medals. A serious knee injury would prevent him from playing for United again after the ’99 Champions League final.
- Eric Djemba-Djemba– Signed from Nantes in 2003 as yet another potential replacement for Roy Keane. The Cameroonian made a good impression on his debut in the Charity Shield with an overly energetic display. Yet despite that he never established himself. The chant “Djemba-Djemba, so bad they named him twice” could be heard around Old Trafford. He was shipped off to Aston Villa in ’05 and has now made his way to sunny Denmark.
- Kleberson– Brazilian World Cup winning midfielder signed in 2002. Yet another South American who struggled to adapt to the English game. He would be the last player Ferguson would buy after judging them on their major tournament performances. Left after only 20 games in 2 seasons to Besiktas scoring 2 goals.
- David Bellion– The young Frenchman signed from Sunderland with some hype as being the new ‘Henry’. Suffice to say that comparison never came true. 24 appearances, mostly as a sub, herald four goals and loan moves to West Ham and Nice proved just as fruitless.
- Juan Sebastian Veron– Signed from Lazio for, a then record, £28.1m in 2001. A world-class midfielder signed by Ferguson who seemed to have no idea how to accommodate him into the United midfield. He started strongly but then struggled to cope with the pace of the English game. Sold to Chelsea two seasons later for 15m where he fared no better.
- Massimmo Tabi– The Italian goalkeeper bought for £4.5m from Venezia which means he cost the club over 1m for each of his four appearances for the club. Let in an absolute shocker against Southampton in the 99/00 season and didn’t fare much better against Chelsea as United lost 5-0. Was promptly shipped off back to Italy.
- Diego Forlan– Oh what could have been. The Uruguayan striker plucked from Independiente only managed to score 17 goals in 95 games. However he will always be loved by United fans for his two goals against Liverpool at Anfield in the 01/02 season. Sold to Villareal in 2004 where he scored 25 goals in the league in his first season. He hasn’t stopped scoring since.
- Liam Miller– The successor to Roy Keane or so he was dubbed, Liam was yet another in a long line of players to have the new Keano tag. Signed on a Bosman from Celtic. Liam never made the grade and is now enjoying retirement football for Perth Glory in Australia after working his way down the football club ladder.
- Bebe- Signed in 2010 for a reported £7.4m the Portuguese striker has never looked like making the grade at United. What was strange about the move was that Sir Alex admitted to have never seen him play before signing him. If he had I think he would have been quick to save that money for a rainy day. A loan move to Besiktas in 2011 failed to improve his form as he suffered a cruciate ligament injury. He is now back at United currently languishing in the reserves.
Other players worth a mention are: Jordi Cruyff, Ricardo, Mark Bosnich, Bojan Djordjic, Tim Howard, Manucho, Zoran Tosic, Dong Fangzhuo, Gabriel Obetan. If I have forgotten any please feel free to add or disagree…