Ahead of the January transfer window, we take a look at some of the more questionable Premier League signings made by Hull City.
The January transfer window is about to swing open its doors and Hull City manager Steve Bruce will be hoping he can find the missing pieces to the KC Stadium jigsaw.
Get it right and the Tigers should be able to steer a course to Premier League safety. Get it wrong and they will be readying themselves for Championship football again in 2015/16.
Bruce must tread carefully and ensure that any fresh faces will contribute positively to the KC Stadium cause, rather than follow the lead of some of these questionable signings made by the club in the recent past.
Most recently seen bringing his unique brand of ‘banter’ to the Australian jungle, Bullard was once a Premier League performer considered to be deserving of an England call-up and a £5 million transfer fee. Hull will be cursing the day they wrote that cheque, though, and handed an injury-prone midfielder a four-and-a-half-year contract. Bullard spent more time on the treatment table than he did out on the field and his lucrative salary contributed to the financial struggles endured by the Tigers as they tumbled out of the top-flight.
Another of those drafted in during Hull’s last stint in the Premier League, and another handed a remarkably long contract. Ghilas’ eyes probably lit up when he saw a four-year deal pushed in his direction, with the Tigers attempting to fend off interest from top-flight rivals while negotiating a £1.7 million deal with Celta Vigo. The Algeria international started well enough, as he netted on his debut, but that was to be as good as it got and he was loaned out in 2010/11 and 2011/12 before finally being offloaded.
No transfer fee paid in this deal, but Sonko will go down as one of the worst loan signings in Hull’s history. Having impressed at Reading, he was snapped up by Stoke City and offered a Premier League stage. They were less than convinced by the centre-half, though, and allowed him to head for the KC Stadium in September 2009. Things started badly for Sonko with the Tigers, in a 4-1 defeat to Sunderland, and his performances from that point were never convincing as supporters soon turned on him and his competitive minutes dried up.
Having survived their first ever season in the Premier League, Hull felt the need to splash the cash again in an effort to consolidate their standing among the elite. They threw £3 million in the direction of Stoke City for Olofinjana, believing that he was the midfield powerhouse they needed in their engine room. He was, however, to become an expensive flop as he suffered relegation in his debut campaign, spent time on loan at Cardiff City and endured a serious knee injury before being released at the end of his contract as a free agent.
Hull broke their transfer record to acquire Halmosi from Plymouth Argyle in 2008, with the midfielder costing them £2 million. He never got close to justifying that price tag, with the step up to the Premier League proving one too far for the Hungary international. Another of those to have committed to a four-year contract at the KC Stadium, he lasted less than three. Halmosi left the Tigers by mutual consent in January 2011 having made just 27 appearances and failing to record a single to-flight goal. He gets the nod here ahead of a man making plenty of headlines at present, with Bruce ready to cut his losses on Hatem Ben Arfa having realised that his loan move from Newcastle United is never going to work out.
Hull have, quite obviously, been burnt by the transfer flame in the past and need to take important lessons from the mistakes mentioned above.
They have, at times, been too quick to invest heavily (Abel Hernandez, anybody?) and will need to ensure that any funds made available to Bruce in January are spent wisely – with this no time to be taking risks.