There’s a famous financial adage that goes, “Don’t attempt to catch a falling knife.” 

When a security is any sort of drop or free fall, some will view this as the opportune time for acquisition because it should be a good deal. However, there is a risk because one does not know the duration or depth of the drop. The attempt to seize upon a deal can lead to an even greater loss, which is why financial advisers often urge investors to not be tempted by a plunging asset. Wait for it to hit bottom or stop falling. Don’t attempt to catch or assume it is stable.

Consider this metaphor at its most basic and least figurative. The sharp knife is falling from a moderate height, and you are attempting to grasp it with your hand before it hits the floor. The best case, with the lowest probability of occurring, is you catch the knife and now have an effective weapon. There’s a chance you miss the knife entirely and it falls to the ground, having neither hurt nor helped you. Of course, there’s the third option where one reaches for the knife – panicked, clumsy, and desperate – and manages to get a hand on it, but it slices and breaks the skin, causing anything from a minor to a severe injury with oodles of blood.

The most prudent course of action is waiting until the knife is safe and stabilized on the ground, and then picking it up. Don’t try to beat the odds, don’t take the risk, and don’t be clever by thinking you can grab it while it’s still dropping or bouncing. Wait until it is at its safest (or financially lowest value), then grab it. But humans, damned as we are, cannot resist the urge to reach for the shiny knife, even if it possesses the potential to hurt us in its current and not fully understood state.

English footballers are widely agreed upon to be overpriced due to a variety of factors not limited to television money, an outsized sense of Premier League superiority, and the necessity of signing domestic players to meet roster regulations. For any European signing in MLS, it is often viewed as a move to find money or redemption. For an English player especially, those stipulations lend themselves to a player whose value is either in free fall or has completely bottomed out. Why would any player come to America, turning down opportunities to eventually reach the Premier League, continue to earn handsomely in the money-flush Championship, or catch on with a lower league team in the hopes of immediately bouncing back up the ladder? Acquiring someone no longer thriving in England represents a risk that is exponentially intensified when paired with an oftentimes overpriced transfer fee.