Summer’s here and the transfer rumour merry-go-round is well and truly underway. We all know about the world’s most expensive players, the best bargain deals and the worst moves ever – but what about swaps that were so short-lived barely anyone remembers them? Here are ten players who didn’t stick around for long:
The imperious Argentine centre-back was a member of the extraordinarily successful Valencia team of the early 2000s, collecting two LaLiga titles and a UEFA Cup. He also made an appearance in the 2001 Champions League final, being named the defender of the tournament despite the Spanish side’s defeat on penalties.
Ayala, who won 115 caps for La Albiceleste, opted to leave the Mestalla in 2007 after the club failed to offer him a new contract and Villarreal quickly snapped him up. However, before El Ratón had made an appearance for the Yellow Submarine, he was sold on to Real Zaragoza for a profit of £4.8m. Villarreal had the better of the deal: they recorded a best-ever finish of second the following season, while Zaragoza were relegated to the Segunda División.
A left-sided midfielder, Beauchamp caught the eye with his stellar performances for Division One Oxford United between 1989 and 1994. Premiership side West Ham decided to make a move in June of the latter year, splashing out £1.2m for Beauchamp’s signature. However, the Oxfordian’s plan to commute the 50 miles to East London from his native city didn’t quite work out and the Hammers sold him on to recently relegated Swindon Town – a 30-mile trip down the A420 – two days before the start of the season.
Part of the Málaga squad that was cruelly denied a place in the Champions League semi-finals in 2013, Demichelis agreed to sign for Atlético Madrid after the expiration of his contract at La Rosaleda that summer. But, less than two months after penning a deal with Diego Simeone’s side, the Argentine was on the move again, following former boss Manuel Pellegrini to Manchester City. Demichelis, who would later return to Spain after three seasons at the Etihad, failed to make an appearance during his short stint at Atleti.
Emenike’s parent club during his unsuccessful stint at West Ham in 2016 was Fenerbahce, where he scored 25 goals in 93 games between 2013 and 2017. The Nigerian might have improved on that record at the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium, having originally signed for the Yellow Canaries in May 2011 for nine million euros.
That summer, though, the then-Turkish champions became embroiled in a match-fixing scandal and Emenike was sold straight on to Spartak Moscow, without making a single appearance for Fenerbahce. He was later charged for his involvement in the scandal, with prosecutors saying he had been promised a transfer to Fenerbahce for refusing to play against them for former club Karabükspor. The striker was cleared in April 2013, leaving him clear to rejoin the Istanbul club that summer.
Jarni was one of the stars of the great Croatia side of the 1990s. After excelling at Real Betis in LaLiga and featuring in Croatia’s bronze medal win at France 98, the left wing-back was snapped up by Premier League Coventry City for £2.6m. Weeks later, though, Spanish giants Real Madrid came in with a £3.4m bid, which the Sky Blues promptly accepted. Jarni moved to the Bernabéu without ever striding out for Gordon Strachan’s side and some believe it was all just a ploy so Betis could save face and not have to sell one of their prized assets to the hated capital club.
For a brief couple of years, Anzhi Makhachkala from the Republic of Dagestan were one of Europe’s richest clubs. Bankrolled by billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, the Eagles were able to attract the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Roberto Carlos and Yuri Zhirkov, finishing third in Russia and qualifying for the Europa League. In 2013, though, Kerimov scaled back his financial commitments, meaning Anzhi had to sell most of their star players.
The biggest victim was Kokorin, purchased from Dynamo Moscow for €19m just weeks before. After Kerimov’s decision, the Russia international, along with Zhirkov and Igor Denisov, was put on the transfer list and eventually shipped back to Dynamo without playing a game for Anzhi. The club were relegated and have never quite hit the same heights since, while Kokorin has recently been sent to prison after an altercation with a government official.
In 2006, 26-year-old Livermore – Millwall’s player of the season – was looking for a way out of the Den after the Lions were relegated to League One. Leeds, who were fresh from a playoff final defeat to Watford, came calling, offering £500,000 for the player who had featured for the Bermondsey club 273 times. On signing at Elland Road, the midfielder said: “This is a huge club, this is where you want to be playing – at the right end of the division.”
Talk of aiming for the Premier League followed, yet just ten days later, Livermore was on his way to Hull, with Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell deeming him surplus to requirements after the signings of Ian Westlake and Kevin Nicholls.
The Italian striker enjoyed a peripatetic career, playing for 13 different clubs and staying at only one – Internazionale – for longer than a single season. So, when Sampdoria came calling in July 2006, they probably didn’t expect Vieri to stick around for too long – although it’s fair to say they may have thought he’d be at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris for the beginning of the 2006/07 Serie A season. Alas, when the campaign began following Italy’s World Cup win on 2 September, Vieri had already moved on to previous club Atalanta. He netted twice in seven appearances for the Bergamo club, before joining his 11th Italian club the following summer.
Once a contender to take over from David Seaman as England’s number one, Wright’s career spiralled downhill badly after a freak injury suffered in 2003. The former Ipswich player fell from his loft, injuring his shoulder and missing the start of the following season with Everton. After that, he only had one more season as an established number one, despite playing for another 13 seasons, mainly as a back-up.
In July 2012, the 34-year-old Wright signed for Preston North End in League One, but just a week later he reneged on the deal, citing homesickness – he’d spent the previous season at hometown club Ipswich – as the reason. Weeks later, he transferred to Manchester City, where he’d make exactly zero appearances before retiring in 2016.
Mercurial playmaker Yakin spent much of his career in his native Switzerland, appearing for Basel, Grasshoppers and Young Boys, among others. After impressing for Basel in the Champions League, he was snapped up by Paris Saint-Germain, ostensibly as a replacement for the Barcelona-bound Ronaldinho.
Any hopes the Parc des Princes faithful had for their new man were quickly quashed, however, when the midfielder had his contract cancelled just a month after signing for misinforming the French club about the extent of a groin injury. Yakin, who was capped 87 times by Switzerland, then had short-lived spells at Basel, Stuttgart and Galatasaray before getting his career back on track in Bern.
By Sam Carney @SamCarneyJourno