Top ten to avoid
Matt Stanger sorts the chaff from the wheat in warning Premier League bosses which players to avoid in the January transfer window. Looks like neither Jon Daly nor Kaka will be on the move any time soon.
Last Updated: January 10, 2012 2:56pm
Kaka prays for his struggles at Real Madrd to come to a close
Lukas Podolski (FC Koln)
The striker would be a sizeable risk for anyone willing to take a punt. Yes, he's incredible for Germany, but are Germany in the Premier League? No, no they are not. Following his last big move from FC Koln to Bayern Munich in 2006, Podolski scored only 15 goals in 71 Bundesliga matches. His first year back at Koln didn't go to plan either, with only two strikes in 27 games. Essentially, that's four years in a row where Podolski wasn't delivering the goods in domestic competition. The last two seasons have been a lot rosier, but would you really want to splurge £20million on a player who is ultimately a gamble? Go grab yourself a Yakubu for £1.5million, plus a truck-load of cream cakes.
Yoann Gourcuff (Lyon)
As a youngster at Rennes, Gourcuff was seen as France's bright new hope, compared somewhat inevitably, and perhaps unfortunately, to Zinedine Zidane. A move to AC Milan didn't go to plan and it wasn't until a loan spell at Bordeaux in the 2008/09 season that Gourcuff really lived up to expectation. His wonderful creativity helped Les Girondins, managed by Laurent Blanc, to their second ever league and cup double. Gourcuff hasn't reached the same heights of performance since, suffering several injury setbacks in a permanent spell at Bordeaux and following a €22million move to Lyon. Further reason for clubs to be wary of the French midfielder are comments made by Milan legend Paolo Maldini to L'Equipe in 2010. Gourcuff's former captain at the San Siro referred to the playmaker as lacking discipline and being distant with his teammates. The last thing Arsenal need is another Samir Nasri rocking the boat.
Ganso (Santos)If you're Manchester United, and don't have much money to spend, you want (and need) to bring in someone who can take the team to the next level immediately. Despite a hatful of plaudits for his displays in Santos' glorious Copa Libertadores campaign, Ganso is far from being the finished article. He was poor at the Copa America in the summer and has also struggled with injuries over the past 12 months. At 22, Ganso still has plenty of time to mature, but why wager £15million at this stage on a player who still needs to develop? It's worth mentioning that Kleberson was the best thing since Guaraná Antarctica when he signed for United from Atletico Paranaense back in 2003, and we all remember how that worked out.
Yann M'Vila (Rennes)
To be honest, M'Vila is a smashing prospect and will no doubt be an instrumental figure in a UEFA Champions League team one day. The problem with acquiring his signature, however, is that you'll need to stump up around £26million. In fact, Rennes said they rejected bids of that figure in the summer, so his price is probably higher still. M'Vila would fit in perfectly at Liverpool, Arsenal or Manchester United, but paying over the odds for a Ligue 1 player, with no Champions League experience, is hard to stomach. It's been pointed out at regular intervals that Newcastle paid less than £8million for Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote, and when you consider Lassana Diarra is available from Real Madrid for around £20million, you know you're best spending your money elsewhere.
Guillaume Hoarau (PSG)
There was a time when Hoarau looked every bit a Premier League striker. Tall and athletic, it was no surprise when he was linked with Arsenal back in 2008. After flourishing for Le Havre in Ligue 2, Hoarau eventually moved to PSG where he continued his rich vein of form. In his first season in the capital, the French international bagged 17 goals in 32 league matches and was the subject of a €10 million bid from Lyon. PSG held onto their prize asset, but injury and poor form have seen Hoarau's stock plummet. These days he warms the bench while Kevin Gameiro stars for nouveau oil-riche. Hoarau could be available for as little as £6million, but that figure should still be enough to scare off suitors Fulham.
Aly Cissokho (Lyon)
Cissokho will go down as one of the finest pieces of business in Porto's history. The Portuguese club paid just €300,000 for the left-back's services in 2009 and he settled into the first team like a kamikaze lamb to the slaughter. Only six months later AC Milan came a knockin' with a big fat cheque for €15million, but an odd problem with Cissokho's teeth saw the deal collapse. This didn't deter Lyon, who matched the offer and snapped up the defender on a five-year deal. Cissokho has failed to kick-on in France, however, looking more like a €300,000 player than €15million. He was tipped to be the national team's left-back for the next decade, but as yet has made just a single appearance. Perhaps Cissokho has stagnated because he doesn't have to do much when the brilliant Michel Bastos is in front of him, but Newcastle and Arsenal should be strongly advised to keep their money in their pockets.
Any Striker From The Scottish Premier League
Nikica Jelavic, Gary Hooper, Jon Daly; all three have been linked with moves to the Premier League this month, but despite the trio's goalscoring feats north of the border, it would be an unwise move to pin your hopes on any of them. The standard of football in the SPL has declined rapidly over the past few years to the stage where strikers aren't poaching goals against Championship-level defences, rather finding themselves untested against quality befitting League One. Conor Sammon's transfer from Kilmarnock to Wigan at this juncture last season is a case in point. The striker was relatively free-scoring for a struggling side in the SPL, but has only found the net once for the Latics. David Goodwillie has also failed to impress at Blackburn and is widely known to be one of the worst players statistically in the PL this season. Gone are the days of Henrik Larsson and Michael Mols; browsing the Scottish market is a risky business.
Maxi Lopez (Catania)
Lopez's number 9 predecessor at River Plate was Fernando Cavenaghi, an idol to the fans who scored 71 goals in 121 matches during his first spell at the club. When Barcelona paid a visit to Buenos Aires in 2004, Cavenaghi had already left town, but they decided to take a chance on '13 goals in 56 games' Lopez anyway. They had barely arrived back at the Nou Camp before realising they had been sold a cropper. Lopez was quickly ushered out the door to Mallorca, but it wasn't until he returned to South America in 2009 that he really looked like fulfilling his supposed potential. A decent spell at Gremio in Brazil saw a return to Europe materialise with Catania where he started in brilliant form. His goals to games ratio has been creeping upwards, however, and he was so incredibly awful in Spain that quite frankly, it's a surprise he was ever trusted with a football again.
Kaka (Real Madrid)
Kaka is surely a no-no for any manager whose chairman may be tempted to splash out on someone to sell shirts. Kaka is past it; I'm not the first to say it, I won't be the last, and no matter how much you try and convince yourself otherwise, you know it as well. If he had come to the Premier League when City were interested back in 2009, I would've been as excited as a chimp on a helter-skelter. But unfortunately he "bottled it" and chose the easy option of joining Real Madrid instead. It hasn't gone well for him - hampered by injuries, struggling to fit into Mourinho's system and carrying a few extra pounds have all added to speculation that Kaka will soon leave the Bernabeu. The idea of him coming to these shores has 'Andriy Shevchenko' written all over it.
Any Over-priced, Over-hyped English Player
We know which club might be tempted in this area, but for the love of all things holy, think twice before opening the purse strings. It used to be funny to think about the £35million Liverpool spent on Andy Carroll, but now it's painful to even watch him play. As far as sending out a statement goes, this one was down there with the way the Suarez affair was handled. It hasn't worked out for club or player, and when you look at the fees paid for Henderson and Downing as well, 2011 wasn't a good year for Anfield investments. Before being chastised for how Carroll actually cost only minus £15million, it should be pointed out that Liverpool are not the only club who have fallen into this trap. We all remember Francis Jeffers' £10million move to Arsenal, the £21million deal to take Shaun Wright-Phillips to Chelsea and Glen Johnson's £18million move to...oh wait. How about Man City paying Everton £22million for Joleon Lescott instead. It just isn't a good market. Granted, clubs can benefit from a core of English players, but buy Grant Holt or something?
Matthew Stanger writes for Football365