Transfer deadline day is well known for last minute panic buys and inflated prices. In general most football managers will avoid making any acquisitions on the last day of the window as much as possible.
But sometimes, thanks to a stroke of luck or a well developed scouting and negotiating team, some brilliant deals are struck.
Transfer deadline days have seen the likes of Luis Suarez, Jermain Defoe and Wayne Rooney all become smash hits at new clubs – so which last minute purchases from the January 2015 transfer window could go on to be successful ones?
Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea
There have been plenty of critics of Juan Cuadrado’s move to Chelsea with the most common argument being that he’ll simply bench-warm at Stamford Bridge – but I don’t think that will necessarily be the case.
The logic behind the transfer is obvious in that he had a standout World Cup for Colombia – bested only by James Rodriguez – and has been on the radar of every major European club ever since.
In some ways the deal is a minor coup for the Blues as they look to establish themselves amongst the elite once again.
A lot to offer
But in my opinion he is more than just a political transfer as I think that he can easily challenge for a starting place at Stamford Bridge. Willian is certainly enjoying a breakthrough season but if there is one thing lacking from his game it is scoring goals.
Sadly for Willian, Cuadrado can do everything the Brazilian can but he can do it faster, with more flair and score more goals in the process. The Colombian has just one less goal to his name so far this season (six) than Willian has achieved in 18 months at
But what makes his signing all the more promising is Cuadrado’s versatility. His best position is obviously as a winger but he has also been known to do a very good job in the centre of the park and at full-back.
Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic have both been absolutely brilliant for Chelsea this season but once you look past that combination it does become slightly less formidable. And Chelsea only really have three decent full-backs right now and Cesar Azpilicueta has struggled with injury in recent weeks.
In short Cuadrado not only adds some extra quality to wide areas but also provides the opportunity to take the pressure off several other creative and defensive departments.
It is that sort of strength in depth that wins you titles – just one look at the Manchester United sides under Sir Alex Ferguson tells you that – and given that is exactly what Chelsea hope to achieve this campaign they may have made a signing to ensure it.
Darren Fletcher to West Brom
Before completing his move to West Brom on deadline day, Darren Fletcher was the longest serving incumbent Manchester United player and he had been an important part of the set-up at Old Trafford for quite some time.
So for West Brom to be able to bring the veteran midfielder in on a free transfer – and include an optional date of termination in his contract – is a clever bit of business.
But the deal is just as inspired on the pitch as it is financially.
Baggies need a leader
West Brom have been missing a commanding and experienced central midfielder for far too long with the likes of the volatile Claudio Yacob and at times reckless Youssouf Mulumbu perhaps being handed a little too much responsibility.
Bringing in the disciplined Fletcher will add a stabling influence to the Baggies’ set-up and help them control games a little more after they have been accused of slipping to the back foot too often this season.
And perhaps the most frustrating thing for West Brom fans is that they are not tough enough opponents when at home having won just three games at the Hawthorns this year.
Also if recent revelations about the strictness of Tony Pulis’ new regime are true then adding in someone who spent 10 years working closely with Sir Alex Ferguson – and more recently with Gordon Strachan at international level – will no doubt help West Brom become a much tougher prospect.
Aaron Lennon to Everton
Everton have been lacking many things this season not least in wide areas. The likes of Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman were the linchpin of the Toffees success over the last two seasons but have completely gone off the radar offensively this term.
Many Premier League outfits realised that the best way to negate their wing-back play was to plan attacks down their respective flanks and both Baines and Coleman have been cleverly pegged back for most of the current campaign.
So Roberto Martinez needed to find a way to add both width and pace into his side in a more traditional forward capacity to alleviate pressure on his full-backs and add an extra dimension of supply to Romelu Lukaku.
And if anyone has the skills to do exactly that it is Aaron Lennon. Just as Everton have been crying out for width this year, Lennon has been crying out for game time.
A fresh chance
Limited to the Spurs Europa League squad, gone are the days when he was on the brink of being England’s “next big thing” but he still has a lot to offer – and even more to prove.
Now at the age of 27 he has an opportunity to re-establish himself as one of the best wingers in English football and, at a stretch, a chance to maybe push himself back into the international pool.
If there was ever one overriding attribute that governed Lennon in his heyday it was his dogged determination to always beat his man and if he can use that raw desire to return to form with a guaranteed starting place at Everton then he could prove to be an inspired signing.
While you could quite easily argue that Everton would have been better off bringing in a new centre-back you can’t really use that to say that they didn’t need someone like Lennon.