For a window famous for the signings of Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, and his friend Luis Suarez, the January transfer window was a bit disappointing this year. Just eight million squid over the price paid for Fernando ‘he’ll come good eventually’ Torres was spent by clubs this winter.
Spending the day glued to various screens I was mislead into imagining Jermain Defoe to Liverpool, Clint Dempsey to Newcastle and Frank Lampard to Man United. But nothing mental happened.
The few transfers that popped up were drowned in a sea of players who probably should hang up their boots going on loan. And players that needed experience going on loan. And not-too-old-not-too-young players going on loan. Since when did Premier League clubs lend their players to the competition? Since when did anybody want Wayne Bridge?
Tottenham and Fulham’s managers lost all sense though, which was fun. Unless you support them.
Let’s have a little looksie at the main news…
‘It was quiet… too quiet’ would be the sentiments of all too many Gooner fans this market season. Although they would be over the moon to see Thierry Henry back for a quick love affair, he won’t be the answer to the aching question of ‘What happens if Van Persie doesn’t score?’ Wenger the Childcatcher did manage to scoop up 19 year old Thomas Eisfeld from Borussia Dortmund’s injury table/youth academy.
Outgoing were the once promising Vito Mannone to Hull, the lightening quick Ryo Miyachi to Bolton, and Emmanuel Frimpong to Wolves, all on loan. Of course.
I’m sure y’all noticed after the gargantuan brace he snatched t’other week, that 13 years after Villa’s initial attempt to sign him, Robbie Keane is theirs for a few months. Looking pretty good, he should see them pick up one or two points they otherwise would not.
Youngsters Nathan Delfouneso and Fabian Delph were loaned out to Leicester and Leeds for some financial balance.
‘The Spenders’ were still trying to do their bit (no doubt sponsored by Sky Sports News) t0 keep the total up. Gary Cahill was brought in for 7 million (Wait, didn’t Spurs offer 22 million in the summer?) to join potential England team-mate Terry at the back.
Cahill seemed like a good signing back in the summer but look who needed a center half back then – Tottenham, Arsenal, Man United – and yet he wasn’t signed. What followed was a shocking run by Bolton that left them skimming the bottom of the table. Although he is a fairly decent defender, pair him with David Luiz and I think Chelsea will spring a leak.
AVB must’ve seen something he liked during their recent Champions League games with Genk, proven by the signing of their winger Kevin De Bruyne.
In a Thibaut Courtois style move though, Kevin was immediately loaned back to the Belgian team. Also out on… sigh… loan, are the youngsters Gael Kakuta to mustard makers Dijon, and the much hyped Josh McEachran to Swansea. Foolishly Chelsea let Nicolas Anelka go and Villas-Boas’ ‘make no friends’ style also saw Alex (who I rate as highly as Cahill) move away to the part-bank part-club PSG.
Unbelievably, the Toffees were involved in some of the most exiting transfer news. Whilst most were expecting Moyes to spend the window looking for another penny so he could rub the one he has, he was in fact was very busy.
The fairly solid signing in Darron Gibson has already paid dividends in the game against Man City, and when combined with the annual appearance from the consistent Landon Donovan, Everton will probably see them shift a place or two.
An incredible piece of business has seen Steven Pienaar (who was sold to Tottenham and warmed the bench/reserves there) return on loan. That’s right, they have the money for selling the South African, and the player himself too!
In form striker Nikica Jelavic helped Ally McCoist lose some more hair by making the move from Rangers to Merseyside to complete the signings.
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov decided to give Motty’s tongue rest with a move back to mother Russia. In another baffling Tottenham move, Everton shifted lesbian haircut wielding striker Louis Saha on, you guessed it, loan.
One of the earliest stories of the day was that gravel voice himself, Martin Jol had decided he didn’t have enough challenges at Fulham and was selling their England international and useful center forward Bobby Zamora for a paltry four million pounds. Clearly Clint Dempsey will be scoring all the goals from now on.
As a replacement, Jol brought in Motson’s new nightmare; Pavel Pogrebnyak – a player I’d describe as a poor man’s Russian Zamora. This seems a terrible idea knowing how poorly Russian players settle in league’s abroad (just look how his form dipped when he moved to Stuttgart), and with Ruiz and Dembele unlikely to score the weight really is with Dempsey.
Making up the other half of the ‘comeback spree’ was the leg breaking scotch egg Paul Scholes, a player it is always a delight to see play. Otherwise United mainly cut some dead weight – like Darron Gibson – off the wage bill, loooaaaaaning Federico Macheda to QPR, selling Mame Biram Diouf to Hannover, and giving problem child Ravel Morrison to Big Sam to whip into shape at West Ham.
Queens Park Rangers
Mark Hughes’ shiny new play thing were the big playas this January, with three actual signings. Nedum Onuoha will finally get the chance to become the quality player he can be with a move from Man City. Making up the new strike partnership with Zamora is ex-Liverpool hitman and part time doodle pad, Djibril Cisse. On top of the mainly useless Macheda, QPR also secured the AC Milan powerhouse Taye Taiwo.
Although these are all positive and reasonably good looking signings, I can’t help but feel that Neil Warnock, the man who got them in the Premier League, would have QPR heading up the table had he been given the £10.5m + additional wages. I don’t think Hughes has what it takes to really make these signings work, but they will probably be enough to keep the team up for the season.
The Black Cats are monstering under O’Neill but his signings seemed a bit dubious. Content benchwarmer and basic defender, Wayne Bridge teams up with Sotirious Kyrgiakos (because O’Neill obviously didn’t think Sunderland were giving enough penalties away) to join the likes of Titus Bramble, Wes Brown, John O’Shea and Phil Bardsley, in what has to be the biggest collection of Premier League defenders who just aren’t good enough.
Even as the window come withing an hour of being “SLAMMED SHUT”, we all knew ‘Arry would have some deals ready to reveal. What we did not expect however was that he would be signing the mainly crocked Saha and (still) trying to sign Blackburn stalwart Ryan Nelsen – two transfers both looking at retirement.
Along with this was making ‘Yago’ Falque’s loan move from Juventus a permanent one. Falque being a player who has never really achieved first team football at any of the big clubs he has frequented – a trend that continued as Spurs loaned him to Southampton. Speaking of… really?… loans, Sebastien Bassong (who’s wanted out of Tottenham since summertime) has gone to Wolves, and un-dynamic fullback Vedran Corluka has escaped the reserves and gone to Bayer Leverkusen.
Along with these was a flurry of no less than seven loan deal involving various young players that don’t need listing.
As I mentioned earlier, Steven Pienaar really takes the biscuit. Who knows why they signed him in the first place? But to then loan him back? No wonder ‘Arry is struggling in court, I’m surprised he can tie his shoes.
Any extra details can be found on this excellent interactive graphic.