Torres to Barca & 8 other transfers clubs definitely couldn’t afford

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Carlos Tevez playing for West Ham against Manchester United 13 May 2007 Old Trafford

Ferran Torres completed a shock £55million move from Manchester City to Barcelona in the late stages of 2021.

The most shocking part of the transfer was nothing to do with his ability, but the fact that Barcelona could even afford such a deal. After a well-publicised financial crisis, which resulted in the departure of Lionel Messi, a club in serious debt had just spent £55million on a new forward.

Torres joined City just 16 months before the move to Catalonia and had made a good impression in Manchester. But as a Spaniard, he had always dreamed about playing for Barcelona, even in their current predicament.

Spearheading the post-Messi era appealed to him enough that he requested to leave City, who stand to make a tidy profit from the deal.

How Barcelona attempt to pay for the deal will be scrutinised going forward, with the general consensus being that they cannot afford the transfer, even with the fee being amortised and the slight cushion provided by the loan they took from Goldman Sachs earlier in the year.

Here are eight other transfers which caused financial issues for the buying club, in one way or another.

Santi Cazorla – Malaga

The Arsenal hero may not have never joined the Gunners were it not for serious financial mismanagement from Malaga. The Andalusian side had brought him in from Villarreal for £20million in the summer of 2011, but years of overspending meant that they then had to sell their assets a season later.

Cazorla joined Arsenal for a cut-price £16million in 2012, meaning Malaga recouped some of their money but had still made a loss, whilst also losing one of the biggest talents in Spain.

Cazorla, alongside Salomon Rondon, Nacho Monreal, Jeremy Toulalan, and Isco were brought in to build a side to compete with the biggest sides in Spain, but this project ultimately ended in disaster.

Malaga did reach the Champions League quarter-finals under Manuel Pellegrini after Cazorla and Monreal left, but were knocked out by Borussia Dortmund in the final minute of the second leg.

The Spanish side were eventually relegated in 2018, and still find themselves in Spain’s second division. A historic club ruined by economic turmoil.

Julio Cesar – QPR

Queens Park Rangers decided to spend heavily ahead of the 2012-13 season after they narrowly stayed up in the Premier League the previous campaign.

They splurged around £45million on big names in both the summer and winter windows, the likes of Christopher Samba, Loic Remy, Esteban Granero and Park Ji-sung arriving at Loftus Road alongside the Brazilian No.1.

Julio Cesar played regularly as QPR were relegated under Harry Redknapp. He was linked with a move away, but it never materialised.

QPR were in financial trouble following their relegation, and needed to cut their wage bill. After Julio Cesar failed to leave, he found himself on the bench with the club unwilling to pay his appearance fee.

One of the best goalkeepers in the world found himself in the Championship on a bench in west London. It was nothing short of a disaster.

Alvaro Negredo – Valencia

Negredo went on loan from Manchester City to Valencia in 2014 with a clause included in the deal that meant the Spanish side had an obligation to buy the forward for £27million.

His loan spell was a mixed bag, netting just five times in 30 league matches, setting the tone for what was to come with Valencia frustrated at the fact they now had to pay £27million for a bit-part striker.

Things went from bad to worse when Negredo openly criticised manager Nuno Espirito Santo’s tactics (Tottenham fans may sympathise) which led to him being completely frozen out from selection.

He was rescued however when Espirito Santo was replaced by the one and only Gary Neville… although we know how that went.

Valencia were desperate to get rid of him and he went on loan to the Costa del Middlesbrough for a season in 2016, leaving permanently for Besiktas the following summer.

He’s back in Spain now with Cadiz, where he was their top goalscorer last season.

Carlos Tevez & Javier Mascherano – West Ham

Perhaps more so than any of the other clubs on this list, this was a deal the club fundamentally could not afford.

The transfer of both Tevez and Mascherano to West Ham in a £25million shock double deal from Corinthians in 2006 is English football’s most infamous bit of business and for good reason.

For a start, they both might have joined from Corinthians, but in reality, both players were signed from outside businesses who owned their economic rights and continued to do so when they moved to West Ham.

That conglomerate was in talks to take over West Ham when the two joined, but when the takeover never happened it caused big problems.

Mascherano left in January but Tevez stayed on and whilst he struggled to score for most of the season he suddenly came to life towards the end of the campaign with West Ham in serious threat of relegation.

His winning goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford on the final day of the season kept the Hammers up at the expense of Sheffield United who sued the London club.

The club was fined £5.5million by the FA for withholding information regarding the duo’s ownership and also came to a £20million settlement with Sheffield United.

The whole situation contributed to West Ham’s serious financial trouble in the subsequent years.

READ: Why the shady Carlos Tevez & Javier Mascherano deals should be celebrated

Samuel Eto’o – Anzhi Makhachkala

How did some of the game’s greatest ever players end up in the Russian republic of Dagestan? Money, that’s how.

After recently being taken over by an ambitious billionaire, Anzhi Makhachkala signed Samuel Eto in 2011 from Inter Milan, making him the world’s best-paid player in the process.

He was the next in a long line of headline signings which included Roberto Carlos, who had come in during January.

More followed, with Willian joining in 2013 but soon after the club decided that they had to make drastic cuts, unable to sustain spending sheer millions on player wages with the little success they had had.

Eto’o himself left for Chelsea, but carried on his tradition of weird transfers when he moved to Everton in 2014.

Sulley Muntari – Portsmouth

Muntari arrived in 2007 for around £7million from Italian club Udinese and was a part of the side that won the FA Cup in 2008.

But alongside a host of other signings such as Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch, Muntari’s signature helped spark financial disaster at the South Coast club, which saw Pompey go into administration twice.

They were relegated three times, dropping all the way down to League Two and they remain in League One to this day.

Gary Medel – Cardiff City

A newly promoted team spending big in an effort to make it to the big time, destroying dressing room unity, getting relegated, and then having financial problems as a result? It’s a tale as old as time.

The 2013-14 season was Cardiff’s first in the Premier League, but it didn’t end well.

It was the height of the owners’ attempts to change the clubs’ colours from its traditional blue to red and it caused huge animosity with fans, turning what should have been a joyous occasion into a nightmare.

That fed onto the pitch where big money was spent in a failed effort to keep the side up.

Gary Medel was chief amongst them, the Chilean defensive midfielder signing from Sevilla for almost £10million.

When Cardiff were relegated he, along with most of the other signings, were sold at a loss with the club unable to support their wages.

Jean Michel Seri – Fulham

This is almost a copy and paste from Medel at Cardiff.

Fulham spent £100million after promotion in 2018-19, only to of course go straight back down.

As part of that spree, Ivorian midfielder Seri came in from Nice for around £18million.

He was loaned out when the side were relegated with the club unable to fund his wages.

After loans with Galatasary and Bordeaux, he is now back in the fold at Fulham for the 2021-22 season… at least for as long as they can afford to keep him.


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