Remember when Chelsea signed the two best players of the Premier League's last half-decade, Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne, only to let them both go? Us too. With that in mind, ESPN FC's Ryan O'Hanlon decided to look at some of the weird, wild and wonderful things that have happened in the January transfer window.
Eleven years ago, the January transfer window exploded on the final day. First, Fernando Torres jumped across nascent rivalry lines to join Chelsea for $64.4 million. "El Nino" was only 26, coming off of three-and-half seasons at Liverpool where he averaged 0.89 non-penalty goals+assists per 90 minutes. Absolutely electric and truly unstoppable when he was on the field, Torres's only issue was just that: staying on the field. He hadn't broken 20 starts in either of the previous two Premier League seasons. In 2010-11, though, he appeared newly robust, making 22 starts before departing for Stamford Bridge.
After Liverpool slipped out of the top four two straight years and lost two-thirds of their midfield -- Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid in the summer of 2009, Javier Mascherano to Barcelona in the summer of 2010 -- losing Torres seemed to signal an end to the club's run as a serious contender for a Champions League place. But then, on the same day, they reinvested $45.1 million of the Torres funds in 22-year-old Andy Carroll from Newcastle. Carroll had scored 11 non-penalty goals and assisted four more in his first half-season as a Premier League starter, and he, too, could seem unstoppable at times, albeit in a completely different fashion to Torres.
Of course, both moves were complete disasters. Torres' scoring rate had dropped by about 40% in 2010-11 for Liverpool, and it never recovered. He scored 19 non-penalty goals in 72 Premier League starts for Chelsea -- five fewer than he scored in his first season with Liverpool. Carroll was even worse, notching just six in 26 league starts for Liverpool. Both players played poorly and rarely played.
However, earlier that same window, Liverpool welcomed an awkward Uruguayan 24-year-old striker from Ajax named Luis Suarez for $29.2 million. He bit multiple opponents and was suspended for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra. He also produced the greatest attacking season in Premier League history in 2013-14 -- 43 non-penalty goals+assists (31 goals, 12 assists) at a per-90 rate of 1.33, both of which are league records -- before moving to Barcelona for $89.9 million the following summer.
And so, January 2011 seemed like it could be a paradigm shift -- in both directions. Don't sign anyone; it'll blow up in your face! Also, sign anyone you can; you could be getting one of the best players in the world! We've had 10 winter windows since then, so let's take a look at what's happened: the good, the bad and the Cenk Tosun. Welcome to January Transfer Window Awards.
(All transfer prices come from Transfermarkt.)