The Posh are famous for signing lower league gems for a bargain price, but are also never afraid to open the chequebook. Mo Eisa smashed the previous transfer record of £1.25m spent on Britt Assombalonga in the summer of 2013. But not all of these pricey buys have been successful. We take a look at Posh’s 5 most expensive signings, pre-Eisa, to see which players set the record books on fire and who ended up being rather lukewarm.
1/ Britt Assombalonga, £1.25m from Watford, 2013
Posh Apps: 58 Posh Goals: 33
Posh recruited then record signing Assombalonga upon their return to the third tier from Watford for £1.25m. What a fantastic centre forward! His 23 league goals fired Posh into the play-offs where we narrowly lost out in the semi-final to Leyton Orient as well as being crowned Johnstone Paint Trophy victors at Wembley. His impressive season lead to higher realms wanting his services and this talented striker signed for Nottingham Forest in 2014 for £5.5m.
Since then he has taken the Championship in his stride, albeit with some difficult absences due to injury, and has since signed for Middlesbrough for a whopping £15m in 2017!
2/ Tyronne Barnett, £1.1m from Crawley Town, 2012
Posh Apps: 50 Posh Goals: 8 (Excluding 2011/2012 loan)
Barnett was signed on an emergency loan in February 2011 and definitely impressed! A debut goal gave us fans a sign of what he was capable of, scoring a total of 4 goals in 13 matches. He was then signed on a permanent basis for £1.1m, our first million pound plus signing! Things didn’t really work out after that, failing to replicate that form plus a string of injuries lead to only 8 goals in his 50 appearances as a permanent Posh player. After not-so successful loan spells at Ipswich Town, Bristol City and Oxford United Barnett signed for Shrewsbury Town for a reported £100k fee, less than 10% of what MacAnthony had shelled out for him.
At 34, Barnett now plays for National League side Eastleigh after playing for numerous clubs in the lower reaches of the football league.
3/ Michael Bostwick, £800k from Stevenage, 2012
Posh Apps: 228 Posh Goals: 23
Cracking signing, Bostwick was an absolute boss from 12 yards! He spent five seasons at London Road in both the Championship and League One. He also scored some absolute screamers as well as being a very consistent and versatile player.
After his long spell at Posh he signed for Lincoln City of League Two for an undisclosed fee, helping them reach League One in 2018/19 and is still putting in impressive performances up the other end of the A15.
4/ Jack Payne, £750k from Gillingham, 2013
Posh Apps: 90 Posh Goals: 6 (Excluding 2012/2013 loan)
Another player who originally signed on loan, Posh splashed out £750k on the young midfielder who had previously captured the attention of Reading. 14 decent loan appearances lead to the permanent signing and he became Posh captain in 2014. However after less than convincing performances he was placed on the transfer list in 2015, signing on loan for Leyton Orient.
Like Barnett, Payne now plays for Eastleigh after signing for Blackpool and then Ebbsfleet, both on free transfers.
5/ Luke James, £600k from Hartlepool United, 2014
Posh Apps: 34 Posh Goals: 2
Oh dear is the first thing that springs to mind when talking about Luke James. At just 19 he was Hartlepool’s top scorer in 2013/14 as well as their player of the year. We were all excited thinking we had snatched another goldmine after the success of Dwight Gayle and Britt Assombalonga who preceded him up front. It just was not to be. 2 goals in a season is simply inexcusable for a forward at any level. He looked too fragile, too easily bullied off the ball, not clinical enough and simply without confidence.
After a season of struggle at Posh he went on loan to League One rivals Bradford City, but after no goals to his name in four months his loan spell was terminated early. This was followed by loan spells back at Hartlepool and Bristol Rovers. In 2017 he signed on a free transfer for Forest Green Rovers.
James, now still only 25, returned to Hartlepool United who find themselves in the National League.
It is safe to say Posh haven’t always been the greatest in the transfer market. But when you consider Dwight Gayle and Ryan Bennett were purchased for £470k and £500k then were sold for £6m and £3.5m respectively (that’s a £8.53m turnover!!!) Posh have probably done better than most in the transfer market, despite the odd blotch in the history books. The questions now are will Eisa return to his early season form to warrant that high price and if Posh fail to succeed to returning to the Championship will Ivan Toney eclipse the £6m received for Gayle?