Newcastle United’s 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion on Sunday came courtesy of a brilliant brace from Papiss Demba Cisse – a big-money move from Freiburg in the January transfer window.
The Senegalese striker has proved to be a fantastic purchase from manager Alan Pardew, as the Magpies maintained their surprise challenge for a place in the Premier League’s top four and a return to the Champions League.
It isn’t just Pardew who produced some great business at the start of 2012 though, with a number of players impressing instantly at their new club after a New Year switch. GMF picks five of the best January dealings as we move towards the closing stages of the Premier League season...
Papiss Demba Cisse – Freiburg to Newcastle United (Undisclosed – January 17th)
The 26-year-old striker appeared to be a gamble, arriving at St. James’ Park with the African Cup of Nations around the corner and compatriot Demba Ba set to leave for the same tournament.
But, after finishing the 2010-11 season as the second highest scorer in the Bundesliga, Cisse has instantly showed his ability in-front of goal for the Magpies, scoring five goals in just six Premier League games thus far.
A debut winner against Aston Villa was a great way to begin life as the new No.9 on Tyneside, whilst goals against Wolves, Norwich and West Brom have gone some way to repaying the reported £9 million transfer fee instantly.
Gylfi Sigurdsson – Hofenheim to Swansea City (loan - January 2nd)
The former Reading star has been a massive hit in Wales, instantly adding goals and assists to an already efficient Swansea City side.
An assist on debut in the 3-2 win over Arsenal quickly won over the Swans’ faithful, and the Icelandic international then added goals with one in the 2-1 win against West Brom and a brace in the 2-0 victory against Wigan. He scored two more in the 3-0 win over Fulham.
“He's had a wonderful effect on the group and I know he thoroughly enjoys it here. He's a loan player who's benefiting from playing with a wonderful group of players and we're benefiting from his qualities. He fits in perfectly to our style and we both complement each other,” concluded manager Brendan Rodgers.
Thierry Henry – NY Red Bulls to Arsenal (loan – January 6th)
A surprise choice given the length of time the club legend spent at Arsenal, but it’s no coincidence that Henry manager to galvanise the Gunners during two fantastic months.
Scored the winner on debut in the FA Cup against Leeds, and added a couple of Premier League goals against Blackburn (in a 7-1 win) and Sunderland (the winner in a 2-1 victory).
When the former French international arrived at the Emirates Stadium, it was all doom and gloom under Arsene Wenger. However, the foundations were put in place for what is now a fantastic run of form as Arsenal return to third in the table.
Gary Cahill – Bolton to Chelsea (£7m – January 16th)
The worst kept secret of the transfer window as England international Gary Cahill moved from the Reebok Stadium to Stamford Bridge as his contract slowly ran down in Lancashire.
After originally struggling to break into Andre Villas-Boas’ side, Cahill made his debut in Chelsea’s 3-3 draw against Manchester United, but has steadily improved with fine performances in both the FA Cup and Champions League.
Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Tottenham was arguably his best performance as a Blue to-date, and the future looks very bright given the relatively small fee paid.
Louis Saha – Everton to Tottenham Hotspur (Free – January 31st)
Rarely does a striker with such Premier League pedigree become available on a free, but Harry Redknapp snapped up the Frenchman on a short-term deal as Saha looks to impress at White Hart Lane.
With three goals in five league appearances, Saha has shown some of the old pedigree that made him a success at Manchester United, netting a brace against Newcastle and the opener in defeat at Arsenal.
Used as either a partner or direct replacement for Emmanuel Adebayor in the main, Saha could be playing himself towards a one-year extension. But, as a shot to nothing for Spurs, he certainly hasn’t let them down in the past two months.