Wednesday, January 31, 2007
ESPNsoccernet: February 2, 5:14 PM UK
Say hello, wave goodbye
Arriving in the Premiership halfway through the season can't be easy, and as anyone who's ever been to a foreign country knows, it can take time to adapt to a new culture.
However, a year on and some of last season's signings from the 2006 January transfer window still haven't made their mark in the English game - indeed some have already left for pastures new.
In finding a 'Top Ten' of January's worst from 2006 there are plenty who will still be hoping to impress, despite the start they've made, as well as a few who found the Premiership too tough to take.
10. Benjani Mwaruwari. A club record fee of £4.1million brought the Zimbabwean international striker to Portsmouth from Auxerre, only for his goalscoring touch to desert him. It took five months before he scored his first goal for the club, Benjani has not looked like replicating the feat much since, and is often used as the first line of defence for Portsmouth because of his high stamina and work ethic.
Unfortunately Harry thought he was buying a goalscorer, so it may not be long before the misfiring striker is replaced.
9. Georgios Samaras. The £6million Greece international striker came with a big reputation, having scored a hatful of goals for former club Heerenveen in the Dutch Eredivisie, but he is yet to replicate that kind of form for Man City.
He possesses a decent touch and work ethic, but Samaras' finishing has let him down all too often since his arrival and his goal tally of 11 goals in 43 appearances has led to reported interest in Spurs' Mido from boss Stuart Pearce. At 21-years-old he does have youth on his side though.
8. Danny Murphy. Once the golden boy of Liverpool and potential England star, the talented midfielder's career has been on the wane since his injury before the 2002 World Cup. A £2million acquisition from Charlton last January, Murphy has slipped behind Tom Huddlestone, Didier Zokora and Stead Malbranque in the Spurs midfield and doesn't look like putting up much of a fight.
With Edgar Davids now gone he may get more chances to shine, but is surely keen to be playing regular football.
7. Noe Pamarot. The French full-back hasn't quite made the impression his fellow ex-Spurs team-mates Pedro Mendes and Sean Davis have at Portsmouth. Despite being part of the impressive Pompey defence at the start of this season, Pamarot has struggled to cement his place in the side, behind the on-loan Glen Johnson, and now Lauren.
Although he scored in two successive games this season, he still looks out of his depth at this level.
6. Albert Riera. Another Manchester City flop, Riera was brought in on loan from Espanyol, but didn't impress enough in his six months with the club to warrant a permanent deal.
Playing only a handful of matches in Manchester, Riera's skill was never called into question, although his stamina and work ethic left something to be desired. Pearce opted for American winger DaMarcus Beasley over the temperamental Spaniard, who is now back with Espanyol.
5. Ade Akinbiyi. What is it about the journeyman striker that means he just can't make an impression in the Premiership? A cult hero for some of his clubs, Akinbiyi has commanded a lot of transfer money for little goalscoring return in his career, and his latest move to the top flight with Sheffield United was no different.
Neil Warnock paid a then club record of nearly £2million to bolster his strikeforce with a player who only ended up playing in 12 games. Shown the door as soon as this year's window opened, Akinbiyi is back at Burnley where he will hope to do better.
4. Ali Al Habsi. If the definition of a 'flop' is not playing any games, then the Oman international goalkeeper should be top of the list. Signed from Lyn Oslo last year, the tall stopper has been on the bench and in the reserves at Bolton since his arrival, but has never made his debut.
Seemingly happy to play second fiddle to Jussi Jääskeläinen, Al Habsi also had the misfortune to be named as one of the transfers that was under investigation in the 'bung' scandal.
3. Jan Kromkamp. A versatile defender, Kromkamp was viewed as one of the rising stars of Dutch football before his move to Liverpool. After spending a year in Spain with Villarreal, Rafa Benitez landed him while also offloading the ineffectual Josemi in a swap deal, but he did not convince the Spaniard of his worth and was sold in August 2006.
Kromkamp paid a personal price for his Anfield move, missing out on the Dutch World Cup campaign, despite being named in the squad, although he does have an FA Cup winners medal.
2. Emmanuel Olisadebe. Bringing a good goalscoring pedigree to Harry Redknapp's struggling Portsmouth side from Panathinaïkos, the Polish striker lasted only six months at the club and made only two starts, never scoring.
In terms of impact, he made none, and has since moved to Greek side Skoda Xanthi, where he has yet to make his debut. If a manager like Harry can't make it work, he must be in trouble.
1. Hossam Ghaly. The Egyptian international has failed to impress at Tottenham despite being given ample opportunity in his first year at the club. An unexpected signing for Martin Jol's side last January, the midfielder was carrying an injury when he joined from Feyenoord and his performances so far suggest that he is yet to get back to full fitness twelve months on.
Uneasy and often clumsy in possession, Ghaly also has a fiery temperament, as his elbow on Michael Gray at Blackburn showed.
So far he has looked out of his depth and he has a long way to go before he can oust Tom Huddlestone from central midfield. Jol may lose faith in him if he doesn't start performing soon.
Not all was bad news though in a transfer window that brought the likes of Dean Ashton, Theo Walcott and Nemanja Vidic to the Premiership. Vidic in particular has proven himself to be a solid defender in the Manchester United back-line and looks to be re-paying the £7.2million spent on him as United press for the title.
Another centre-back, Daniel Agger at Liverpool, is proving his worth, and at 22-years-old looks like a fantastic signing to replace the ageing Sami Hyypia. Togolese youngster Emmaneul Adebayor is also forming a good partnership with Thierry Henry at Arsenal, showing good strength and skill on the ball, as well as contributing six Premiership goals this season.
It just goes to show that January can be a bit 'hit and miss' when it comes to new signings, although with the 'Big Four' not getting too involved this year, it will be interesting to see which of the Premiership new boys has made an impression this time next year, and which have left without saying goodbye.
Any comments? Email Jon Carter