With Stewart Downing set to draw the curtain on an underwhelming couple of seasons at Liverpool we look back at Kenny Dalglish’s scattergun spending spree during his short second spell at Anfield.
The £35m acquisition of Andy Carroll may have been the Liverpool legend’s stand out mistake, but if Newcastle’s £5m swoop for dour Downing comes off he could leave for a quarter of the fee paid to Aston Villa in the summer of 2011.
Three Premier League goals and a hand full of assists is a poor return for anyone’s £20m and current Reds boss Brendan Rodgers thinks so little of Downing he often replaced him with full-back Jose Enrique during the last campaign, such was his lack of effectiveness on the left wing.
That was the pre-season Dalglish also handed over £16m to Sunderland for fellow north east native Jordan Henderson, far too big a fee for an unproven, low-scoring midfielder in a bottom-half team, although the former England under-21 did improve last year when covering for influential injured midfielder Lucas Leiva.
Charlie Adam – whose corner taking ability alone was worth £10m according to Sir Alex Ferguson – failed to translate his sensational form at Blackpool after a staggering £9m switch to Merseyside the same summer. Adam moved on to Stoke for a much more sensible £4m 12 months later and chipped in with a few goals during Tony Pulis’ fraught final term at the Britannia.
Ultimately, however, it will be the capture of Carroll six months earlier that keeps Dalglish awake at night.
At West Ham last season the lanky striker showed glimpses of the form that saw him hit over 30 league goals during his short time in Newcastle’s first team – and he is an interesting outsider for Premier League top goalscorer this season at 66/1 – but Liverpool took a massive financial hit on the England man after the Irons completed a £15m move and will be wary of paying the premium that comes with buying British in future.