Transfer deadline day is just a big recruitment headache

9 August 2019

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The clock is ticking, your customers are watching with hypercritical interest and, with every passing second, your entire recruitment strategy is slowly going up in smoke.

Though the salaries may bigger and the staff higher profile, football transfer deadline day is not unlike your attempt to recruit that crucial sales manager or IT director ahead of an important trading period.

Just like you, every club in the land will have set out their recruitment priorities at the start of the year, detailing which positions need to be filled to ensure the best possible performance going forward.

But as the end of the transfer window draws nearer, they watch as their bids for players are laughingly rebuffed as derisory and their targets are systematically snapped up by their rivals.

And so, as 5pm on August 8 looms, they abandon ever last vestige of a plan and, instead start to bid wildly and randomly for any player, in any position, still available just to avoid being accused of inaction.

As club’s desperately scrambled to bolster their squads, they will hope to avoid the mistakes and mishaps seen in previous years. Throughout football history, we’ve seen some desperate deadline day deals, with varying degrees of failure.

Here are six of the worst.

Andy van der Meyde: Inter Milan to Everton, 2005

Having guided Everton to a top-four finish, David Moyes was desperate to strengthen his squad as they prepared for Champions League football. He paid £8m to Inter Milan for their Dutch winger Andy van der Meyde, an international who had previously shone in an Ajax side containing the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rafael van der Vaart.

A red card in his first derby match against Liverpool was the start of a disastrous four-season period for van der Meyde on Merseyside during which he made just 20 league appearances while his life was beset with alcohol issues and personal problems which curtailed a once promising career.

Afonso Alves: Heerenveen to Middlesbrough, 2008

Middlesbrough were struggling to avoid relegation in 2008, and in a desperate search for goals secured the signing of Brazil international Alves from Dutch side Heerenveen.

Alves had been prolific in the Eredivisie, scoring 45 goals in just 39 league appearances before his £10m move to Teeside. The signing was eagerly anticipated, however, the forward struggled to adapt to English football. He scored just 10 Premier League goals in two seasons at ‘Boro before leaving for Al-Sadd, the club relegated to the Championship at the end of his second campaign.

Paul Konchesky: Fulham to Liverpool, 2010

A player who moved for a relatively modest fee, but one who’s transfer was perhaps one of the least popular in Liverpool’s recent history. Roy Hodgson had arrived at Anfield in 2010, his own appointment equally unpopular, and with the club in a dark period of ownership under American duo Tom Hicks and George Gillett, transfer recruitment was limited.

Hodgson decided to bring full-back Konchesky with him from Fulham, though the move proved a huge failure. The left-back failed to impress, whilst his mother’s decision to brand the club’s fans as ‘Scouse scum’ after criticism of his displays proved unwise. After just 18 appearances he was deemed surplus to requirements, sent on loan to Championship club Nottingham Forest.

Fernando Torres: Liverpool to Chelsea, 2011

The Spanish striker had established himself as one of Europe’s best forwards during a prolific three-and-a-half-year spell at Anfield, with Chelsea breaking the British transfer-record to sign Torres from their Premier League rivals in January 2011.

Torres had scored 65 goals in just 102 league appearances for Liverpool, but having struggled towards the end of his time at Merseyside his fortunes would only worsen at Stamford Bridge. It took him 903 minutes to open his Chelsea account, and he never reached double figures for league goals in any of the seasons he spent in west London.

A shadow of the player who had terrorised defences in the red of Liverpool, he was loaned out to AC Milan and Atletico Madrid before joining the latter permanently in 2016.

Andy Carroll: Newcastle to Liverpool, 2011

The Torres transfer saw Liverpool desperately seeking attacking reinforcements, their search taking them to Newcastle to sign giant Geordie Andy Carroll. The towering forward had helped fire Newcastle to promotion the previous season and adapted seamlessly to the top-flight, hitting 11 goals in the first half of the campaign.

That form persuaded Liverpool to splash a club-record £35m to bring Carroll to Anfield, though the forward struggled following his big-money move. Injuries hampered his progress, whilst he seemed ill-suited to new manager Brendan Rodgers’ methods after the Northern Irishman replaced Kenny Dalglish. After just 11 goals in 58 appearances, Carroll left the club to join West Ham.

Kostas Mitroglou: Olympiakos to Fulham, 2014

A club-record signing, the Greek forward arrived at Fulham on deadline day in January 2014 for a fee of £12m.

Mitroglou had forged a reputation as a prolific goal scorer at Olympiakos, having hit 81 goals in 182 appearances and helped the club to four league titles. The move proved a major flop, Mitroglou struggling with fitness issues and failing to score in just three appearances for the club. Fulham were also struggling and were relegated at the end of the season, with the Greek international swiftly heading back to Olympiakos on loan.

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