Every single January transfer window since 2010 has, for me, been a time for reflection. By reflection I mean I take a moment and remember the sale of Andy Carroll for £35 million and the signing two weeks later of 34 years old Shefki Kuqi on a free transfer. Kuqi went on to make six appearances that season and performed exactly as we might have expected a 34 years old striker available as an out of contract player in February. These beautiful memories of ‘Big Shefki’ got me thinking of other players United have signed that seemed utterly baffling. Here’s my oddball eleven in an innovative 3 4 1 2 formation.
Lionel Perez (GK)
An abysmal keeper at Sunderland and part of the team that lost 4-3 to Charlton in the 1998 play-off final. Kenny Dalglish signed him on a free from our nearest and dearest. He never played a competitive game and joined Cambridge United on a free transfer in 2000. It seems Kenny signed him just for a giggle. A bit like that time he sold Les Ferdinand and replaced with 64 years old Ian Rush. ROFLCOPTER KENNY LOLZ.
Ronny Johnsen (D)
35 years old, released on a free by Aston Villa and utterly ruined with injury. The ideal Graeme Souness signing then.
Achraf Lazaar (D)
I was excited when we signed this young Moroccan international full-back who’d been a regular in Serie A. He’s still at the club and has made four appearances since 2016.
Lamine Diatta (D)
Signed on a short-term deal by KK in 2008 after he bought his own contract out from Besiktas. He played twice before leaving and then moving on to Hamilton Academicals where he made zero appearances.
Peter Garland (M)
Kevin Keegan bought Garland from Spurs reserves for £35,000 as United battled to stay in the old Division Two in 1992. He made two appearances before leaving for Charlton. KK’s record in the transfer market was fantastic on the whole but this one was a peculiar one.
Not just odd but spectacularly bad. Clearly this lad got trials at clubs like Barnsley and Colchester purely on the basis he was Brazilian. They didn’t offer him a contract. Sir Bobby picked him five times based on Wormtongue AKA Mick Wadsworth’s influence. Possibly the oddest and worst player I’ve ever seen in black and white.
Georgios Georgiadis (RM)
A Greek international midfielder signed by Kenny Dalglish for just under half a million. He was supposed to do for Kenny what Stuart Ripley had done for him at Blackburn, i.e. supply the bullets for Alan Shearer. That didn’t happen once in the 10 games he played.
Brian Pinas (LM)
A highly-rated youngster who Kenny Dalglish (again) brought in from Feyernoord. However, Pinas found it hard at Newcastle and was impotent in trying to erect a career at St James’ Park. He never made a single first team appearance.
Pedro Dimas (AM)
Brought in by Bobby Robson as a youngster from Porto. He never made a single first-team appearance and by all accounts disappeared off the face of the Earth after leaving the Club.
Facundo Ferrerya (CF)
With a decent goalscoring record in Argentina and Ukraine, Ferreya was signed on loan with an option to buy during the summer of 2014. Over 6 feet tall but apparently incapable of coping with the demands of the Premier League…despite not making a single appearance in it.
Shefki Kuqi (CF)
Captain. Leader. Legend.
Please have a go at producing your own oddball eleven. I don’t doubt I’ve missed some belters out and I’m worried about the defence given that I’ve got Lazaar playing left-sided centre-half.