Transfers that went wrong, including Alexis Sanchez at Man Utd, as Kalvin Phillips continues to struggle at West Ham

TRANSFERS don’t always work out – just ask this lot.

When Kalvin Phillips moved to West Ham on loan to reignite his career, following a disappointing spell with Man City, no one could have predicted his dramatic dip in form.

Kalvin Phillips has endured a miserable time at West Ham since moving on loan from Man CityCredit: AFP
Phillips is in danger of missing on the England squad for the upcoming EurosCredit: Getty

The ex-Leeds man was the first name on Marcelo Bielsa’s team sheet only two years ago, earning a regular place in Gareth Southgate’s England starting line-up.

But now, after failing to settle with the Hammers, it appears his place in the squad for the upcoming Euros is in doubt.

Phillips isn’t the only footballer to see his form dip dramatically after a move.

For these are the transfers that went, unfortunately, wrong.

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Alexis Sanchez at Man Utd

The Red Devils believed they got a real scoop when they prised the Chilean legend away from Premier League rivals Arsenal in 2018.

He left North London in a £35million deal, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan moving the opposite way.

For some reason, though, Sanchez just could not find his shooting boots – with the spotlight on his reported £560,000-per-week wages scrutinised every time he failed to find the net.

In the end he played just 45 times – scoring five goals – before he was shipped out to Inter Milan.

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He is back with the Serie A giants this campaign, following a successful stint at Marseille.

Ex-Man Utd star Alexis Sanchez slips as he high fives Marseille fans following transfer
Alexis Sanchez’s spell at Man Utd was a total disaster after his £35m moveCredit: Getty – Contributor

Phillips’ West Ham loan is a disaster… it’s toe-curlingly difficult to watch, says Dave Kidd

By Dave Kidd

HE’S had an extraordinary career, Kalvin Phillips.

A Treble-winner and one of only 12 living Englishmen to have started the final of a major international tournament.

A home-town hero at Leeds, where he was the kingpin of Marcelo Bielsa’s buccaneering Championship-winning side and feted as the ‘Yorkshire Pirlo’.

England’s Player of the Year in 2021, when the Three Lions reached a final for the first time in more than half a century.

Indeed, Phillips has featured in most of England’s best wins of the last three years — against Germany and Denmark at those Euros, home and away in qualifiers against Italy, against a Belgium side ranked No 1 in the world, the World Cup thrashing of Senegal and in last autumn’s hammering of the Scots.

That record for Gareth Southgate’s side points to a great irony.

If Phillips had stayed put as a Manchester City bench-warmer, he would be going to Germany this summer and quite possibly as a starter.

The mighty man-bun man has been a fine footballer and, at 28, he might become one again.

Phillips is also a good bloke too, much-loved in the England squad and attracting a full house from the entire Leeds staff when the club held a leaving do before his Etihad move in a £45million deal.

But right now Phillips has become unwatchable. Toe-curling, cringeworthy, hide-behind-the-sofa-the-Daleks-are-coming levels of unwatchable.

His loan switch to West Ham, which originally looked sensible for club and player, is an unmitigated disaster.

And it feels as if Phillips is at the centre of a football-wide conspiracy which has deemed that anything which could go wrong, will go wrong.

Fernando Torres at Chelsea

At Liverpool, the now hench Torres was a goalscoring superstar.

El Nino plundered 81 goals in 142 games, which encouraged Chelsea to steal the Spaniard away from Anfield for a massive £50million in January 2011.

However, he was more renowned for his goal droughts at Stamford Bridge.

903 minutes in his first season, 24 games in his second, and 11 hours in his third.

Fernando Torres often cut a frustrated figure in front of goal at ChelseaCredit: Action Images – Reuters

Eden Hazard at Real Madrid

No doubt about it – Hazard was one of the Premier League’s best players in the past decade.

For the Blues he was sometimes unplayable, and was a recipient of the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2015.

Real Madrid were believed to have paid in excess of £150million for his talents in 2019.

Struggles with his weight, injuries and a fallout with Carlo Ancelotti saw him quit the game three months after he was released by Los Blancos aged just 32.

Eden Hazard’s career at Real Madrid was blighted with weight issues, injury and a fallout with Carlo AncelottiCredit: Getty

Juan Sebastian Veron at Man Utd

The Argentinian was one of the best midfielders in the world, a standout in Serie A for Lazio and already an established international superstar.

And Man Utd paid a premium to get him in 2001 – a then British transfer record of £28million.

However, they didn’t quite get Argentine beef for their buck. Far from it, and he was sold two seasons later to a gullible Chelsea after 51 league appearances.

Sir Alex Ferguson blasted his critics saying: “[Veron] is a f****** great player and you’re all f****** idiots.” 

Juan Sebastian Veron cost Man Utd a British record transfer fee of £28mCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Sir Alex Ferguson backed Veron – calling his critics ‘f****** idiots’Credit: Bradley Ormesher – The Times

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Nicolas Pepe at Arsenal

It’s unfathomable now to think Arsenal paid Lille £72million for winger Nicolas Pepe in 2019.

There were flickers of hope he might turn out to be the player the Gunners hoped for, even if then-manager Unai Emery wanted Wilfried Zaha instead.

But the former Lille man flattered to deceive, scoring 27 times in 116 games.

He was released on a free transfer last summer, with a year left on his deal, and is now with Turkish side Trabzonspor.

Nicolas Pepe was a £72m flop at the Emirates, who was finally give a free transfer last summerCredit: Getty

Andriy Shevchenko at Chelsea

Here’s another, like the Veron transfer, that you never expected to fail.

Ukrainian superstar Shevchenko was Roman Abramovich’s dream signing – and the former Blues owner got his man in 2006 for £40million.

Two year prior, the ex-AC Milan striker was a Ballon d’Or winner. But he was dreadful at Stamford Bridge – later putting it down to injury woes.

23 goals in 77 games was a poor return for a man who scored 173 goals for Milan in seven seasons.

With a heavy heart, Abramovich moved Shevchenko back to Milan on loan, before he returned to Dynamo Kyiv.

Andiry Shevchenko was a shadow of the man who won the Ballon d’Or two seasons prior to his Stamford Bridge move

Andy Carroll at Liverpool

Much-maligned for his technique, it didn’t help matters that Carroll was signed at the same time as Luis Suarez – who would go on to become a hero at Anfield.

But Carroll was an old-fashioned centre forward who Suarez could play around, surely, and feed off his scraps?

Well, it didn’t quite work out that way when he signed in 2011. Especially given the fact a £35million fee meant he had to score goals too.


He managed just two in his first season, then nine in his second.

Carroll went to West Ham, but the Newcastle forward was a shadow of himself, which wasn’t helped by injuries.

Andy Carroll arrived at Anfield alongside Luis Suarez in 2011
But Carroll would struggle in his time at Liverpool – scoring just 11 times in all competitions across three seasons

Source: Soccer -


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