The Worst Bundesliga January Transfer Window Signings

While the January transfer window can be a welcome opportunity to sign some much-needed quality after seeing what the Hinrunde has brought you, it can also be a real pitfall, where pressure to spend leads you to splash the Euros on a player who turns out to be a bit of a dud.

Sporting directors and managers beware the January sales! There are plenty of examples of players from recent seasons, who have arrived amidst the headlines in January, only to forgotten come the end of the season. For every Leon Bailey there is a Timothee Kolodziejczak.

Here at the BundesligaFanatic we bring you the worst January transfer window signings of recent years.

Timothee Kolodziejczak (Borussia Mönchengladbach)

French defender Timothee Kolodziejczak arrived at Borussia Mönchengladbach in January 2017 from Spanish side Sevilla in a deal costing the Fohlen a reported €7.5 million and then flopped in spectacular style.

“He’s exactly the player we wanted to strengthen our defence,” said Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl at the time. “He’s a left-footed centre-back, who can also play at left-back. He’s incredibly ambitious, has already shown what he’s capable of and is still young.” Nice words, but what happened next did not meet expectations.

He arrived in Germany having won the Europa League twice with Sevilla, as well as playing for France from U-16 to U-20 level helping to win the U-19 European Championship in 2010.

However, for whatever reason, he was unable to compete with Jannik Vestergaard und Andreas Christensen, and Kolodziejczak made just an eight-minute substitute appearance against Schalke during his time at the Borussia Park- that works out at €937,500 per minute!

In September, with the European transfer window closed he agreed a transfer to Mexican side UANL Tigres. Adios!

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Paul-Georges Ntep (VfL Wolfsburg)

The French Ligue 1 has developed in recent years into a great source of talented players into the English Premier League and more recently into the Bundesliga. For a few years prior to his transfer, Rennes winger Paul-Georges Ntep had been touted as a major talent and someone ready to take his game to the next level.

Cameroon-born Ntep began his career at Auxerre before joining Stade Rennes for €5 million in January 2014. His €5 million arrival in Wolfsburg last year was seen as smart piece of business by the Volkswagen-backed club, but things just haven’t panned out.

The wide attacker made five starts in last season’s Rückrunde as Wolfsburg were almost relegated and this season has started just once with four additional substitute appearances. It seems that he is angling for a move back to France with Nice being linked with a move to end his miserable time in Germany.

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Arkadiusz Milik (Bayer Leverkusen)

Based on what we know now, it was a case of wrong place, wrong time for Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik when he signed for Bayer Leverkusen in January 2013. Spotted by Bayer scouts playing at Górnik Zabrze, the club splashed out €2.6 million to bring him to the Bay-Arena hoping he would be the next Robert Lewandowski.

Six substitute appearances totalling all of 55 minutes was the sum total of his contribution in the Rückrunde as he struggled for a place against Stefan Kießling, Andre Schürrle and Sidney Sam. At the start of the following season he was only in the second team, and was loaned out to Augsburg, where he did get some game time scoring twice for the Fuggerstädter.

His time at Leverkusen however was up, and after another loan to Ajax, the move was made permanent with the Dutch club paying €2.8 million. Fast-forward 12 months and Italian giants Napoli then splashed out €32 million after the Pole had scored 47 goals in75 matches for the Amsterdam club.

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Sambou Yatabaré (Werder Bremen)

When Malian midfielder Sambou Yatabaré arrived at the Weser Stadion at the start of 2016 there was an air of optimism that the powerfully built international would bring some much-needed steel to the Werder Bremen team. A fee of 2.5 million was paid to Olympiacos while Bremen also reportedly paid Standard Liege €500,000 to cut short his loan deal there.

He made eight appearances for the Grün-Weißen scoring against Wolfsburg, but the start of last season saw him play just twice before Alexander Nouri demoted him to the U-23 team. Any optimism from his arrival was gone and many Werder fans would gladly have had a whip round to pay for his ticket out of Bremen.

In the summer Yatabaré was arrested for punching a policemen in Paris and is now currently on loan at Royal Antwerp with Werder fans praying he doesn’t come back.

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Giovanni Sio (VfL Wolfsburg)

Another example of Wolfsburg splashing the January cash on a dud can be found in the case of Giovanni Sio. Felix Magath did make two good signings in the 2012 transfer window in Ricardo Rodriguez and Vierinha, but the acquisition of Ivorian striker Sio wasn’t such a good bit of business.

Having been a fairly regular scorer for Sion in Switzerland, Wolfsburg opted to spend €5.8 million on the forward. He failed to impress in any of his nine substitute appearances and was loaned out to Augsburg for the following campaign. Again he struggled and another loan to Sochaux in France followed. Ultimately Wolfsburg cut their losses and recouped €2 million of their initial €5.8 million outlay by selling him to Basel.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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