It’s the accolade no one wants: worst signing of the transfer window.
But someone had to be nominated – or four players in this case – as Eurosport and The Beautiful Game podcast teamed up again to talk through the ins and outs of the January window.
The entire Beautiful Game team of Justin Cole, Deji Odedina and Dotun Abijoh were joined by Pete Sharland from Eurosport to talk through the worst recruitments, with each guest nominating a player.
Premier League
Conte open to taking Manchester United job - reports
18 HOURS AGO
Let's begin...

Olivier Ntcham (Celtic to Marseille, loan)

‘Unbelievably poor’ – Why Ntcham was the straw that broke the camel’s back at Marseille

Olivier Ntcham’s surprise arrival at Marseille from Celtic led to manager Andre Villas-Boas offering to resign, claiming he did not want to sign the player.
So upset were Marseille at the Portuguese’s comments that they sacked him anyway, adding to the club’s woes after some supporters broke into the club’s training centre on Sunday.
“I don’t think this is any reflection on Ntcham, I think he’s a perfectly decent player. Maybe he hasn’t developed in the way we would have liked when he first went to Celtic but he’s a really solid player,” said Sharland.
“This is going to end up being the straw that broke the camel’s back and Marseille are going to lose one of the best managers they’ve had since Marcelo Bielsa.
“Villas-Boas is such a good manager and I can’t believe how badly Marseille have treated him. To go and sign a player he says he doesn’t want – I know you’ve got to try and think of your future… but you don’t bring him in when the manager who is there has said that he doesn’t want him. It’s just unbelievably poor.”

Amad Diallo (Atalanta to Man Utd, £19m)

‘Shelling that money in this climate?’ – Was Diallo the worst signing in January?

Teenager winger Amad Diallo made a shock switch to Manchester United from Atalanta for a reported £19 million, a fee that could rise to £36m if certain add-ons are met.
Diallo has been drafted into United’s Europa League squad but is yet to make his debut for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
“He’s an 18-year-old winger who has made five appearances for Atalanta and scored one goal,” said Justin Cole.
“When you consider Manchester United’s team and who’s ahead of him in the pecking order, you’ve got Dan James, Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Edinson Cavani. So many other attacking players who could occupy those positions and so it’s hard to see where he would fit in.
“Between now and the end of the season, he’s not going to feature much for United. So shelling out that kind of money in the current climate we’re facing just seems a bit touchy to me.”

Jean-Philippe Mateta (Mainz to Crystal Palace, loan)

'Where does he fit in?' - Mateta’s move to Crystal Palace questioned

French U21 international Jean-Philippe Mateta joined Crystal Palace on loan from Mainz until the end of the season.
Mateta started the season brilliantly for Mainz, firing nine goals in his first 10 appearances across competitions, but has not scored since November.
“It’s a signing that doesn’t make sense. Looking at the team, where does he fit in?,” said Odedinia.
“You’ve got Wilfried Zaha who is Palace’s man and there’s one empty void beside him, which is usually filled by Christian Benteke.
“They’ve got enough strength in depth for injuries to cope so I’m just a bit baffled by that one.”

Mat Ryan (Brighton to Arsenal, loan)

‘Arsenal have gained from this’ – Have Brighton made a colossal error with Ryan?

Goalkeeper Mat Ryan, who joined Arsenal from Brighton, was also nominated – but under the tweaked category of ‘worst business’.
Abijoh made the case that Brighton were crazy to let him leave and that he was a better stopper than Graham Potter’s preferred No.1 Robert Sanchez.
“Sanchez kept a clean sheet against Tottenham, had a very solid performance, but I just can’t see how he’s a better goalkeeper than Mat Ryan," said Abijoh.
"I think Arsenal have gained from this situation.”

VOTE

Why not listen to the full podcast, then have your say on which of our pundits' picks was the worst signing in the poll below (we've omitted Mat Ryan because, well, he quite clearly isn't the worst signing).
WHO WAS THE WORST SIGNING OF THE 2021 JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW?
Premier League
Like Lampard, Solskjaer is a reminder of the dangers of appointing former players
18 HOURS AGO
Premier League
The time has come for Man Utd to cut Solskjaer loose - The Warm-Up
A DAY AGO