The five strangest January window transfers

Grant Holt 2

With Grant Holt securing a move to Aston Villa and Kenwyne Jones linked to Everton respectively, here are some equally baffling January moves. West Ham, Hull, Middlesbrough and Real Madrid feature.

The January transfer window has already produced some pretty astonishing deals, with Roger Johnson joining West Ham for the rest of the season and Jonas Gutierrez's loan move to Norwich City raising a few eyebrows.

If those deals were weird, then the idea of Grant Holt, a striker struggling for games in the Championship with Wigan Athletic, being reunited with former Norwich manager Paul Lambert is borderline preposterous.

That Kenwyne Jones is supposedly on strike to force through a move to Everton, who hold a keen interest in the Trinidadian, makes this January transfer window all the more bizarre.

Here are the five strangest January moves, since the new year transfer window's inception in 2003...

Savio Nsereko - Brescia to West Ham United (27 Jan 2009 - £9m)

The name surely rings a bell or two. The Ugandan-born German was billed as the next big thing after signing from Serie B outfit Brescia, having scored three goals in 17 appearances. West Ham certainly thought so, shelling out a reported club-record fee of £9m to secure his services. They shouldn't have.

Savio, as he is more commonly known, made just one Premier League start in a six-month stay in England after failing to live up to his reputation of a goalscoring wideman. Now 24, the flop is currently at Kazakhstani outfit FC Atyrau but has not scored since his ill-fated spell in England for any of the clubs he has turned out for. He was also involved in a staggering fake kidnapping scandal where he demanded a ransom of €3,000 from his own family.

Jimmy Bullard - Fulham to Hull City (23 Jan 2009 - £5m)

The midfielder had largely impressed at Wigan Athletic and Fulham but had struggled with a series of knee injuries which threatened to curtail his career, and ultimately did.

Upon signing for Hull from the Cottagers for a club-record £5m, Bullard had only just returned from a 16-month spell on the sidelines and Fulham's decision not to award him a new lengthy contract spoke volumes.

With an air of inevitability about the whole situation, Bullard sustained another injury in his first outing and was ruled out for the rest of the season. He returned the following campaign with the Tigers having avoided relegation from the top flight, but his most memorable moment with the Humberside team came when mimicking Phil Brown's half-time team talk after the manager had tore into his players on the Etihad Stadium pitch at the interval.

Afonso Alves - Heerenveen to Middlesbrough (31 Jan 2008 - £12.5m)

Perhaps not all that odd given his superb goalscoring record, but when you consider that was in the Eredivisie with Heerenveen. A club-record £12.5m outlay was always likely to add unnecessary pressure to the Brazilian, and he duly wilted under it, as his goalscoring record of 13 goals from 37 appearances would attest.

Alves not only failed to replicate the wonderful goalscoring form he had shown elsewhere but also looked well off the pace in England and his contribution of just four league goals was largely responsible for Middlesbrough's relegation in the 2008/2009 season.

Thomas Gravesen - Everton to Real Madrid (13 Jan 2005 - £2m)

The Danish midfielder was something of a cult hero during his spell in England for his all-action style at Goodison Park, but was informed he could leave with his contract up at the end of the 2005-2006 season.

Gravesen sought pastures new to realise a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of playing Champions League football, but it was such a startling deal due to his lack of elite level football. Despite signing him for a paltry £2m and showing some early promise, the move was ultimately a disaster and eventually signed for Celtic just 18 months after his arrival after failing to settle.

Julien Faubert - West Ham United to Real Madrid (31 Jan 2009 - season-long loan/£1.5m fee)

Another strange outgoing transfer from the Premier League, and Real Madrid were once again involved, snapping up West Ham right-back Julien Faubert in perhaps the most eye-opening transfer of the January window.

Faubert had not shown any real form for a mid-table West Ham side and yet managed to secure a loan until the end of the season with the La Liga giants, where he endured a torrid time as he failed to mix it with the Galacticos of the Madrid squad. 

image: © joncandy

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