Football transfers: The best and the worst.

Eric Cantona and Andy Carroll top each poll…

Injury-prone frontman, Andy Carroll, who now plies his trade for Reading, managed only 11 goals in 58 appearances in his three years at Liverpool, with fans plonking him as the ‘worst-ever Premier League signing’. Charming news for the Geordie lad. The poll of a wide selection of UK football fans found the Reds were the beneficiaries of the second-biggest transfer blunder, when Barcelona paid them £140m for wantaway midfielder Philippe Coutinho.

But the Brazilian struggled at the Nou Camp, although his fortunes have turned since returning to the Premier League on loan at Aston Villa. The research was commissioned by Virgin Media O2 to highlight the Transfer Centre Tool showing the latest transfers as they happen.

Fernando Torres moving from Liverpool to Chelsea – in the same window Andy Carroll came in – was deemed the third biggest waste of money by football fans. And Alexis Sánchez’s move from Arsenal to Manchester United in 2018 was voted the sixth biggest waste of cash – despite no actual transfer fee changing hands, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan went the other way.

On the brighter side of the balance books, Eric Cantona signing on the dotted line for Manchester United from Leeds for just £1.2m in 1992 was named the best ever value for money. Jamie Vardy’s 2012 move from Fleetwood Town to Leicester City for a similar fee was second, with Cristiano Ronald’s first arrival at Man United third on the list.

David Bouchier, chief TV and entertainment officer at Virgin Media O2:

“Football fans love nothing more than talking about transfer gossip and that is why we have launched a new live transfer tracking tool to keep them up to date with the latest ins and outs. As our research has shown, fans have a clear passion for how their club navigates the transfer window with strong views on what makes a good or bad signing.

“The January transfer window looks set to conclude in exciting fashion with many players set to be on the move so fans can be confident in our online tool to keep them one step ahead of the game.”

The research also found more than half of footie fans (53 per cent) have gleefully chanted ‘What a waste of money’ at a rival’s poorly-performing big signing. And six in 10 admit they ‘love it’ when a rival team sign a player who turns out to be the wrong fit.

Just under four in 10 (39 per cent) believe the club they support is worst of them all when it comes to duff signings. But, strangely, 47 per cent admit that despite a signing for their team turning out to be a flop, they still look back at their time with the club with nostalgic fondness.

It also emerged that the vast majority – 75 per cent – of football fans believe transfer fees are too high in the modern game, according to the OnePoll figures. More than half (56 per cent) would like to see caps on transfer fees and salaries, with 86 per cent blaming agents for driving prices up too high. It has got to such a point that 63 per cent claim the astronomical fees involved in football have started to ‘put them off’ the sport.

Top 5 Worst Value Premier League signings

1. Andy Carroll, Newcastle to Liverpool – £36m, 2011

2. Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool to Barcelona – £140m, 2018

3. Fernando Torres, Liverpool to Chelsea – £52m, 2011

4. Ángel di María, Real Madrid to Man United – £67m, 2014

5. Danny Drinkwater, Leicester to Chelsea – £34m, 2017

Top 5 Best Value Premier League signings

1. Eric Cantona, Leeds to Man United – £1m, 1992

2. Jamie Vardy, Fleetwood to Leicester – £1m, 2012

3. Cristiano Ronaldo, Sporting Lisbon to Man United – £12m, 2003

4. Thierry Henry, Monaco to Arsenal – £11m, 1999

5. Mohamed Salah, Roma to Liverpool – £37m, 2017

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