It’s transfer season, and until Euro 2016 kicks off, we’re pushed for suitable content to write about that doesn’t make us switch the laptop off mid-article… Writing Mario Gotze updates for four months only to see the German turn us down was hard to take, you know?
So for this reason, we’ve compiled a list of the five oddest transfers of the Premier League era, hoping that we won’t have to adjust it at the end of the summer!
Antonio Nunez – Real Madrid (2004)
Signed for Liverpool as an unnecessary makeweight in the deal that took Michael Owen to Real Madrid. The Spanish winger never got in Los Blancos first-team while at the Bernabeu, and was just as useless for us during Rafa Benitez’s debut season in charge. After one season and a handful of uninspiring substitute appearances, Nunez departed for his homeland, where he dropped down to the Segunda Division – a league actually befitting of his ability. How he’s got Real Madrid and Liverpool on his CV is anyone’s guess!
Andy Carroll – Newcastle (2011)
As well as being our most expensive ever signing and arguably our worst, Carroll’s transfer was downright bizarre. Selling Fernando Torres on deadline day of the January window in 2011, Liverpool needed to get a replacement in desperately, and stupidly coughed up the £35m sum following just 13 Premier League goals – to Newcastle’s likely bewilderment. On the same day, we captured Luis Suarez for £22m. To think, the world’s best striker cost £13m less than Carroll – a mid-table forward with League One technical ability. Expectedly, Carroll flopped – when we realised he only suited a long ball side and we had footballing ambitions.
Steven Caulker – QPR (2016)
This January, Jurgen Klopp made his first signing as Liverpool manager, and it was one that’ll end up as a sports trivia question for years to come. With our centre-backs all injured, Liverpool decided to take Steven Caulker – owned by Championship side QPR – on loan. At the time he was on loan at Southampton, but couldn’t get anywhere near their side, so the Saints cancelled the contract so he could then be sent on loan to us instead! It turns out we didn’t really need Caulker either, as his only proper minutes came as a makeshift striker, although he did start one game at the back in the FA Cup. Now back with his parent club, Caulker’s Liverpool career is over before it really began.
Abel Xavier – Everton (2002)
Xavier, the only player to play in the Merseyside Derby for both Everton and Liverpool in the same season. In 2002, Gerard Houllier did the unthinkable and signed the bleach blonde bearded fullback from across Stanley Park, seemingly out of absolutely nowhere. The controversial Portuguese (now the manager of Mozambique…) started the first four matches but argued with the manager, didn’t start another game and was shipped out on loan to Turkey that January.
Christian Poulsen – Juventus (2009)
The Poulsen deal was proof that Hodgson was essentially off his rocker. During the Englishman’s first summer in charge, he sent Italian international Alberto Aquilani to Juventus on loan, but spent £5m on their ageing Dane Poulsen as a direct replacement. Aquilani had finally got fit after a season on the sidelines, but as soon as he regained health – Hodgson loaned the £18m midfielder to the Italian giants and gave them £5m for a much worse central midfielder in exchange. As decisions go, it’s the most ridiculous we can remember in the transfer market. Aquilani started week in week out for Juve that season, while Poulsen flopped miserably at Anfield and was ditched after one season following Hodgson’s firing.