This year’s January transfer window broke spending records of any other January window with £130million splashed out, £10million more than the previous highest. Here we take a look at the best purchases, the questionable purchases and even the non-existent purchases.
Where else better to start than the biggest money transfer and headliner of the window Juan Mata to Manchester United. The 25-year-old Spaniard swapped his blue colours of Chelsea for the red and white of United for a club-record fee of £37.1million, the hunger for a move away being sparked by the lack of games he was getting under José Mourinho.
Stating he wants to help the Red Devils climb out of their slump with his belief of them still being able to win the title, Mata was already underway with an assist and an overall impressive performance in his first two games for them against Cardiff and Stoke.
Staying on the subject of former Chelsea players, Nemanja Matić was recently added to the ranks at the Bridge once again, alongside some new boys in the form of Basel’s Mohamed Salah, Saint-Étienne’s Kurt Zouma and the long-awaited arrival of 18-year-old starlet Bertrand Traoré. This made the Blues the highest spenders of the window by some distance, with approximately £44.5million paid out to secure the services of their targets.
Moving on to another club that saw a handsome amount of money cross their path was Newcastle United, seeing the loss of their lynchpin to Paris Saint-Germain for an estimated £20million plus add ons.
This was a worrying sight for supporters of the Tyneside team as no direct replacement was brought in to fill the pretty large void left by the Frenchman’s departure.
Only loanee striker Luuk de Jong from German outfit Borussia Mönchengladbach was introduced to the club - which is not enough, considering what Cabaye did for his team on a regular basis, evident in the Magpies’ 3-0 loss at home to their bitter city-rivals Sunderland which was their first match without him.
Liverpool being a club that could have done better in the window, sending multiple players out on loan, injuries blighting their squad and the need for another constant goal threat – they failed in their attempt to sign Ukrainian winger Yevhen Konoplyanka from Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. With the deal done and his medical seemingly passed, all the Reds needed was the signature of the clubs’ chairman and they would have their man. Of course this did not go to plan, the chairman refused to sign the agreement as he didn’t want to let the 24 year old leave, not even for the agreed estimated £16million.
I have never really questioned Arsene Wengers’ transfers for Arsenal, most being proven quality – but I find myself questioning the loan move for 31 year old injured midfielder Kim Källström.
I can understand he may want to fill out the squad a little given certain injuries such as Aaron Ramsey, but I do not feel the Spartak Moscow man is the player to fill that role of even just-incase bench warming for a club like Arsenal who aspire to be champions. Instead of using an at-best average, aging player, why not bring one of the youth into the senior team, which we already know Wenger is fantastic at doing, or simply loan in someone better and not injured?
As well as the questionable transfer moves and the high-end transfers, there have been clubs that were very busy indeed during January.
New Cardiff boss and Manchester United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjær brought in six new players, including United duo Fabio (permanently) and Wilfried Zaha (loan).
Although I disagreed with Vincent Tan’s sacking of Malky Mackay, I do believe Solskjær is taking steps into the right direction with his purchases. Bringing in the previously mentioned Fabio and the likes of Kenwyne Jones may not be the top-notch quality kind of player from the Premier League, but the kind of player with experience in it – which a freshly promoted team definitely could do with.
Crystal Palace being another club that were busy themselves, highlight being that of the loan move for the very sort after and highly rated winger Tom Ince. Another team with obvious ambitions to stay in the Premiership - the purchases they already made in summer with the likes of Marouane Chamakh, adds to their increasingly experienced team with the new additions of Joe Ledley from Celtic, Scott Dann from Blackburn and a permanent deal for Southampton’s Jason Puncheon.
Finally I’d like to give my opinion on who I thought did the best with dealings this January. Although Sunderland did well with bringing in Argentine Striker Ignacio Scocco, West Ham made a good move loaning in Antonio Nocerino and Marco Boriello and Everton did a nice bit of business getting Aiden McGeady on the cheap – I feel Fulham came out top with quality reinforcements for every section on the pitch.
René Meulensteen didn’t have a lot of money to play around with and it’s never too easy to attract a good player when you’re in the relegation zone, but he did a fantastic job bringing in Greek striker Kostas Mitroglou for an estimated £12million, who is a proven goal-scorer both in the Greek League and the Champions League boasting a very impressive four hat-tricks this season.
Attack aside, loaning in Stuttgart’s William Kvist is placing quality and experience in midfield and the free transfer of Johnny Heitinga from Everton is another top-level defender and player to add to the increasingly threatening looking Fulham.
These three additions are already impressive, but that’s not even the whole of it. Also loaning in Tottenham’s Lewis Holtby and Seattle Sounders' (and formerly Fulham’s) Clint Dempsey it really shows Meulensteen’s intentions of major progress for Fulham, given he doesn’t get sacked as stories are suggesting recently.
Overall January doesn’t really provide the ammunition clubs need to make the changes and improvements they desire - but if one thing is for sure it’s going to be a very different second half of the season in the Premier League now, with this window in particular being a very surprising and busy one.
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