Steve Bruce probably couldn't believe it. Having made Robert Snodgrass Hull City's second most expensive signing ever, after handing the greater honour to Jake Livermore earlier in the summer, the Scot went and dislocated his kneecap in the first Premier League fixture of the season. Out of action for six months is not what Tigers fans wanted from a new player who was set to be pivotal in building on last season's 16th place finish.
As Brazil proved at the World Cup, putting too much emphasis on one player can quickly lead to that team's unravelling if they become unavailable. Luckily for Hull, they have other players who can step up and enough time to find a replacement before the transfer window closes. Not seeing Snodgrass have the impact he was brought in for, however, is still a little disappointing.
Managers have been taking risks by signing injured players or those with a lengthy injury history for a while now, as well as being desperately unlucky when they pick one up soon after arriving. Here are five recent signings who, had they stayed fit, could have drastically improved their club's season.
5. Kim Källström (Arsenal)
With influential midfielders Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey (to name a few) all injured, Arsene Wenger brought Swede Kim Källström in on loan during the January transfer window from Spartak Moscow. Having enjoyed a successful six years at Lyon before moving to Russia, Källström was viewed as an experienced midfielder who could step in and help Arsenal in their title push.
Despite a back injury being noticed during his medical, there was little time for Arsenal to find another option, so they went ahead anyway. Two months later (when their title hopes were pretty much over) Källström made his first appearance for Arsenal, playing the last ten minutes against Swansea.
Two weeks later and he made his only noteworthy contribution, coming on as a late substitute and scoring in the FA Cup penalty shootout against Wigan. So, while he didn't have the desired impact of tightening the midfield as Arsenal seriously challenged for the title, Källström did at least play a small part in securing Arsenal their first piece of silverware in nine years.
4. Érik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur)
After breaking Tottenham's transfer record when he signed in late August last year, a lot was expected from Érik Lamela at White Hart Lane. With 15 league goals in 33 appearances for Roma the previous season, Lamela was hot property and had attracted interest from pretty much every big name club in Europe. At just 21 years old, Tottenham had scooped a player who looked destined to fulfil the huge boots left by the departed Gareth Bale.
A couple of days after signing, he made his debut as a substitute against Arsenal and bagged his first assist against Tromsø in the Europa League. It wasn't until November that he scored his first goal and made his first start in the Premier League though, before a back injury at the end of the year ruled him out for the rest of the season.
Had Lamela stayed fit (and been given more playing time) Spurs may well have run Arsenal closer for that fourth place finish, especially under Tim Sherwood's resurgence.
3. Andy Carroll (West Ham)
Prolific for Newcastle, an expensive misfit for Liverpool; West Ham weren't willing to gamble when it came to Andy Carroll so they signed him on loan for a season in August 2012. Despite suffering a small injury in November, he managed seven goals in 24 games for the Hammers and they decided to snap him up for half what Liverpool paid at the end of the season.
However, Carroll picked up another injury in the final league match of the 2012/13 season and this ended up keeping him out of action until January. It wasn't until March that he scored his first goal for the club since permanently signing.
While West Ham finished a 'comfortable' seven points above the drop zone, had Carroll been present since the start of the season it would have no doubt been a much easier ride as he'd likely have added a few game changing goals.
2. Konstantinos Mitroglou (Fulham)
The big Greek became Fulham's most expensive player ever on the final day of the January transfer window last season, as well as their big hope of avoiding relegation. An imposing figure, he was in a fine run of form throughout most of 2013 and became the first Greek player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League.
In November 2013, Mitroglou suffered an injury that kept him out for a month, but he recovered enough to make one more substitute appearance for Olympiacos before signing with Fulham. Three weeks after joining he made his first appearance from the bench against West Brom, but constant injury and subsequent fitness problems meant he only made one start and another substitute appearance for the Cottagers the rest of the season. Fulham were duly relegated.
Had Mitroglou not suffered such injury setbacks and continued his fine run of form, then Fulham may not be sitting bottom of the Championship having forked out £11 million for another striker.
1. Michael Owen (Newcastle United)
Becoming Newcastle United's most expensive signing, taking the crown away from Alan Shearer, Michael Owen was under immense pressure when he turned up in the Toon back in 2005. Thousands were at his unveiling for the club (somewhat reminiscent of Shearer's nine years earlier) and plenty of Geordies were full of optimism that it could finally be a season to remember again.
A slight injury in pre-season meant he missed a few early games, but was soon in action and scored in his second game in mid-September. However, at the end of December Owen broke the dreaded metatarsal in his foot and underwent a long healing process, not playing for Newcastle again until the end of April. The Magpies finished seventh, but a few Owen goals could easily have helped them reach the UEFA Cup (as it was).
To make matters worse, Owen was then injured on World Cup duty and didn't appear for Newcastle again until April 2007, nearly a year after his last game for them. He's not remembered too fondly on Tyneside.
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