Transfer deadline day: The stories behind five panic buys

Andy Carroll, Benjani, Marouane Fellaini, Mikel Arteta, Roman Pavluychenko,
Signing players at the end of a transfer window carries an element of risk

The pressure is on and the heart rate is rising.

Transfers have fallen through, fans are demanding signings and the deadline is fast approaching.

It is the moment when months of studious scouting can disappear out of the window to be replaced by the last-minute panic buy.

Some succeed, others fail, but all have a slight hint of desperation about them.

The costly mistake - Carroll to Liverpool

Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez
Andy Carroll scored 11 goals for Newcastle before Liverpool made their move in January 2011

When Spain striker Fernando Torres walked into Damien Comolli's office 10 days before transfer deadline day in January 2011 and said he was leaving, Liverpool's director of football strategy at the time knew they had to act quickly to replace him.

"Fernando [Torres] came with his agent on around 21 or 22 January and said 'I am off. You will receive an offer from Chelsea and I am off'," Comolli told BBC Radio 5 live.

"So that night I put the call into Newcastle about Andy Carroll."

Luis Suarez was already on his way to Anfield but the club felt another striker was needed to replace Torres adequately and the first public murmurs of a possible move for Newcastle striker Carroll emerged in the early hours of 31 January.

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty, in his 1 February 2011 blog:
"Liverpool had a mountain of cash, a Fernando Torres-sized hole in their team and little time left to address the problem. The answer was Andy Carroll, a 22-year-old wild card of undoubted talent but questionable temperament with only 41 Premier League appearances and 72 minutes of England action to his name."

As rumours turned into something more concrete, eyebrows were raised at Liverpool's move for a striker who, at that stage, had not even played a full season in the Premier League. Especially so when a £30m offer was rejected by Newcastle.

The saga rumbled on for much of the day until, minutes before the 23:00 GMT deadline, Liverpool confirmed the £35m arrival of Carroll, with Torres's £50m move to Chelsea going through a short while after.

While Carroll was seen as having undoubted potential, it seemed a huge price to pay for someone without proven pedigree at the top level. He scored just six goals in 26 league games for Liverpool before eventually joining West Ham on a permanent deal.

"Andy was the target for the following summer," added Comolli. "It was not like we woke up on 31 January and said 'let's sign Andy Carroll'. It is very rare that is the way it happens."

Carroll may have been a long-term target for Liverpool, but the size of the transfer fee paid and the last-minute nature of the deal suggest it was a panic buy.

The buyer's remorse - Benjani to Man City

Benjani Manchester City
Benjani joined Manchester City from Portsmouth on deadline day in January 2008

Transfer deadline day is synonymous with reporters spending most of the day camped outside the gates of the Premier League's big clubs, waiting for any sign of potential activity.

That was certainly the case on 31 January 2008 as a potential move by Manchester City for Portsmouth striker Benjani rumbled on for much of the day.

City had managed just one win since the turn of the year, and with regular first-choice striker Rolando Bianchi sold and forward Darius Vassell preferred on the left wing, then-manager Sven-Goran Eriksson wanted to strengthen his squad.

Benjani in the Premier League
Benjani scored on his debut for Manchester City at Old Trafford in a 2-1 win against Manchester UnitedHis most prolific season was the 2007-08 campaign, scoring 12 goals for Portsmouth and three for Manchester City
In total, he scored four Premier League goals for City before joining Blackburn Rovers when his contract at Etihad Stadium expiredAs well as Manchester City, Benjani also played for Portsmouth, Sunderland and Blackburn in England

With a couple of potential deals believed to have fallen through earlier in the day and the hours ticking away, City turned their attention to Benjani.

Reporters gathered outside City's Etihad Stadium and Portsmouth's Fratton Park to shed any detail they could on what ultimately developed into one of the more bizarre deadline day sagas.

A fee was agreed for the Zimbabwe international in the afternoon and he subsequently made his way to Southampton airport. Then things started to go wrong.

Benjani reportedly fell asleep, which resulted in him missing two flights to the north west and ultimately not arriving in Manchester until after 23:00 GMT.

In that time, City had also apparently got "buyer's remorse", having become concerned with a long-standing knee injury, and tried to back out of the original deal.

A City spokesperson later stated the deal had not gone through before the midnight deadline but, four days later, the Premier League confirmed they had received the necessary paperwork in time and the move was officially completed.

Benjani made an ideal start to life at City, scoring on his debut in a 2-1 win against Manchester United, but injuries restricted his appearances after that, playing 22 further games and scoring three more goals over a two-year period before leaving in 2010 when his contract expired.

Paying over the odds - Fellaini to Man Utd

Marouane Fellaini
Marouane Fellaini started 16 Premier League games in 2013-14, the fewest in his six seasons in England

It is hard to dress up Manchester United's signing of Marouane Fellaini as anything other than a last-minute panic buy.

Having tried without success to tempt one of Cesc Fabregas or Thiago Alcantara from Barcelona for much of summer 2013, David Moyes, in his first transfer window in charge at Old Trafford, turned his attention back to former club Everton.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Which clubs had a good deadline day?

The Scot had made a joint bid of £28m for both Fellaini and full-back Leighton Baines in mid-August. Everton described it as "derisory" and immediately rejected it. Little progress was being made as deadline day approached.

Moyes, having left Everton earlier that summer, was aware that Fellaini had a £23.5m release clause in his contract, but the deadline for that expired on 31 July, with no United bid forthcoming.

But less than one hour before the transfer window closed, the Red Devils confirmed the signing of Fellaini for £27.5m, £4m more than the release clause.

Midfield was evidently a position Moyes wanted to strengthen but Fellaini's late, late arrival certainly gave the impression that he was not high on the list of intended targets.

"It's definitely a position where people have said we've been short of numbers, with the likes of Paul Scholes [retiring] and Darren Fletcher not ready to come back just now," Moyes said after Fellaini's arrival.

"I felt we needed to strengthen there and I'm glad we got him."

Fellaini ultimately struggled to make an impact in United's disappointing campaign last season, making just 16 Premier League appearances, and was recently linked with a move to Italian side Napoli.

A poor man's Fabregas? - Arteta to Arsenal

Arteta and Fabregas
Mikel Arteta played 29 Premier League games in the 2011-12 season for Arsenal, with the Gunners winning 20 of those. They won just one of nine games without him in the side

The very nature of a panic buy, made with hours to spare before the transfer window closes, hints at a manager taking a risk he would not normally consider.

Sometimes, though, panic buys do succeed, as Mikel Arteta's form for Arsenal has shown since his last-minute arrival from Everton on 31 August 2011.

With midfielders Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and defender Gael Clichy all leaving in the summer window, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger embarked on a deadline-day spending spree.

Midfielder Yossi Benayoun arrived on loan from Chelsea while defenders Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos were also brought in.

But the on-off saga over Arteta's potential move from Everton provided much of the day's drama.

Completed passes and tackles in the Premier League since Mikel Arteta joined Arsenal
Players Completed passes PlayersTackles
Yaya Toure6,663Pablo Zabaleta305
Mikel Arteta6,622James McCarthy292
Michael Carrick6,235Mikel Arteta289
Ashley Williams5,460Ramires268
Gareth Barry5,301Mohamed Diame268
Angel Rangel5,040Morgan Schneiderlin267
Leon Britton4,947Mousa Dembele265

News of Arsenal's interest in the Spaniard first emerged at around 17:00 BST on deadline day but talks broke down and the deal was seemingly dead a few hours later.

However, with one hour left before the transfer window closed, Arteta handed in a transfer request at Goodison Park and the deal was completed moments before the deadline.

Confirmation of his arrival was met by criticism from some Arsenal fans who, having just seen Fabregas depart, felt the signing of Arteta was underwhelming.

But he quickly proved his worth, displaying leadership on the pitch that eventually saw him named captain.

"Mikel Arteta has been a good buy for Arsenal," former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn told BBC Sport.

"Arsene Wenger's deadline-day signings have been quite mixed - there was Andre Santos on the same day as Arteta, Denilson joined on deadline day in 2006 as well as Julio Baptista, but they were not successful.

"I think the reason Arteta ultimately did well was because he was used to the Premier League, whereas the others needed to adapt."

The unwanted man - Pavlyuchenko to Spurs

Roman Pavlyuchenko
Roman Pavlyuchenko scored 21 goals in 78 league appearances for Tottenham between 2008 and 2012

Russia striker Roman Pavlyuchenko may not have been a signing that was pushed through in the final stages of deadline day, but his £14m move from Spartak Moscow to Tottenham on 1 September 2008 certainly looked like that of a manager filling a hole with time running out.

With Robbie Keane joining Liverpool a few days earlier in a £20.3m deal and Dimitar Berbatov on the verge of a move to Manchester United, then Tottenham boss Juande Ramos needed strikers before the window closed.

Pavlyuchenko was Tottenham's big-money arrival, but whether he was the club's main target is debatable. Ramos, appointed in October 2007 and sacked a year later, stated in an interview earlier this year that he "wanted Samuel Eto'o and David Villa" but ended up with Darren Bent and Pavlyuchenko.

As for Pavlyuchenko, he finished his maiden campaign in England with a solid return of 14 goals in 36 appearances.

However, under Harry Redknapp - who replaced Ramos - his chances became increasingly limited and the striker ended up as the fourth-choice forward.

Speaking to the Russian press in 2009, Pavlyuchenko described how he felt he was being "mocked" by Redknapp.

"You cannot even imagine how tired I am of sitting on the bench," he said.

"Do you want to hear a joke in London? It goes: 'Harry Redknapp put Roman Pavlyuchenko into the starting line-up.' For me it would be funny if it was not so painful.

"I have a feeling that our manager is mocking me."

Pavlyuchenko left in February 2012, joining Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow after scoring 42 goals in 113 appearances for Spurs.

Top Stories