frank worthington

Failed Medicals: What Happens Next?

Loic Remy failing his medical at Liverpool has thrown Brendan Rodgers’ transfer plans into disarray, as the QPR and France striker had been earmarked with the unenviable task of helping to replace Luis Suarez.

Remy’s not the first top player to have a transfer fall through on medical grounds, with Victor Valdes’ recent move from Barcelona to Monaco also cancelled due to medical issues. We look at some others, and what happened the player subsequently.

George Boyd

Scotland international, George Boyd, had an eye for goal throughout his career, notching a goal every four games from midfield for Peterborough United. His form for The Posh prompted a race for his signature in January 2013, with Nottingham Forest agreeing a fee with Peterborough. However, Forest pulled out of the deal two hours before the transfer window deadline, citing a “failed eye test” as the official reason.

Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony slammed Forest’s decision as “ridiculous”. Hull City had no such worries about Boyd’s eyesight and signed him on loan days later. His goals, including one against Forest where he flicked the ball over his shoulder with his back to goal, helped the Tigers win promotion to the Premier League. He signed a permanent deal at the KC Stadium and his appearance in last season’s FA Cup Final was one in the eye for Forest’s doubters.

Frank Worthington

On the pitch Frank Worthington was a flamboyant talent, off it he was a
self-confessed womaniser. Bill Shankly sought to bring the player to Liverpool in 1972 but Worthington failed a medical due to “high blood pressure” – linked to his excessive lifestyle and rumoured to have actually been an STI.

Shankly was non-plussed and told the striker to take a two-week break and return for a second medical. Rather than taking it easy Worthington headed for Majorca for a fortnight of partying. Upon his return he failed the second medical, allegedly with even worse results than the first one. After his move to Anfield fell through, he went on to play for almost two dozen clubs, and played until he was 43 despite his consistently hedonistic lifestyle.

Demba Ba

The Senegal striker had agreed personal terms with Stoke City in January 2011 but was shocked when a failed medical scuppered the move. Ba had played regularly for Hoffenheim in the first half of the season with no injury issues, but there were no shortage of suitors for his signature.

West Ham had no qualms over an alleged knee problem, and he finished the season as their top scorer despite only making twelve appearances for the club. After the Hammers were relegated, he’s since passed stringent medicals at Newcastle United, Chelsea and Besiktas.

Asa Hartford

Hartford was a talented midfielder for a relatively successful West Brom side in the early 1970s, whose performances for the Baggies earned him a host of admirers. He was all set for a move to Don Revie’s all-conquering Leeds United side when the discovery of a heart condition put paid to the move.

It was a high-profile transfer at the time, with Leeds fans flocking to Elland Road to witness the player’s debut against Leicester City. However, a Leeds statement three hours before kick-off shocked fans and Hartford alike.

Renowned tough cookie Revie admitted “crying like a child” after telling the player that the move was off. Hartford was subsequently always known as the “hole in the heart footballer” but the longevity of his career made a nonsense of the Leeds medical team’s concerns.