Best & worst: January transfer window 2013

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The January transfer window is often a frenzy of excitement and anticipation, with 2013 being no exception. 

Teams who have endured a poor first half of the season have the opportunity to rectify the situation by purchasing a superstar who will provide a catalyst for a positive finish.

A number of players spring to mind in this respect. In 2005, Mikel Arteta arrived at Everton on loan from Real Sociedad, inspiring a sensational 4th place finish that resulted in a place in the Champions League qualifiers. 

Manchester United paid £7m to Spartak Moscow for Nemanja Vidic on Christmas Day in 2005, in what seems like an absolute bargain for a world-class centre-half who has helped United to four league titles and a Champions League trophy.

Of course, we are all familiar with the flops. Andy Carroll cost Liverpool a very hefty £35m, Fernando Torres cost £50m for just 27 goals in 105 appearances and Arsenal paid Sevilla as much as £17.5m to secure the services of Jose Antonio Reyes. But they are the not the only ones who have failed to sparkle.

Let's examine the business that took place in this transfer window and evaluate the best and worst of the January deals.

Five of the best:

Philippe Coutinho | Inter to Liverpool 

This is a major coup for Liverpool. What a prospect this young man is.

The 20-year-old Brazilian, dubbed "the future of Inter" by chairman Massimo Moratti, was a revelation at the 2009 U17 South American Championship and has already been capped by the senior national side. 

Known for his flamboyant playing style, Tottenham Hotspur fans will have horrid memories of this wonder-kid after he put in an outstanding performance in Inter's 3-2 defeat of Spurs in their 2010/11 Champion's League group clash.

Christopher Samba | Anzhi Makhachkala to QPR

A deadline-day signing by QPR boss Harry Redknapp, the Congolese defender will bring a defensive stability to the Rs that has so far been non-existent, along with an aerial presence in the opposition penalty area. 

With 37 goals conceded in 24 games, coupled with the departure of Ryan Nelsen to the MLS, Samba will need to utilise all of his previous experience of relegation battles with Blackburn to keep QPR up and justify his reported £100,000 weekly wages.

Lewis Holtby | FC Schalke 04 to Tottenham

Arguably the best signing of the transfer window. 

The German international, a former U21 captain, showed great potential for Schalke with some exceptional performances in the Bundesliga. 

Having originally agreed to join Spurs in the summer when his contract was due to expire, Andre Villas-Boas felt that he couldn't wait and proceeded to pay a nominal fee in order to immediately secure the player.

A great passer of the ball with an eye for goal, England really missed a trick with this young talent - Holtby could have been eligible for England as he has an English father.

Nuri Sahin | Real Madrid to Borussia Dortmund

A return to his former club after he failed to sparkle during spells at Real Madrid and Liverpool, this represents a fantastic piece of business by Dortmund. 

Voted 'Best Player of the Bundesliga' in 2011, this is Sahin's chance to re-establish himself as one of the best midfielders on the planet and an opportunity to lead the previously unfancied Dortmund to Champions League success.

Moussa Sissoko | Toulouse to Newcastle

Sissoko is a superb signing for Alan Pardew's side, he's an absolute powerhouse of a midfielder who was coveted by several clubs throughout Europe. 

Toon fans have already witnessed a barn-storming debut from the French international in the 2-1 win over relegation rivals Aston Villa, followed up by a brace of goals during the 3-2 home success over troubled Chelsea. 

Sissoko joins a growing French contingent at the north east club and will be an integral part of Newcastle's struggle to avoid the drop.

Five of the worst:

Yoan Gouffran | Bourdeaux to Newcastle

Ok, while some of the French players that Newcastle have brought in seem to represent good business, this one puzzles me. 

This appears to be the club settling for their back-up target after missing out in their dogged pursuit of Loic Remy. 

With a mediocre tally of 31 goals in 140 games at his previous club Bourdeaux, is this really the man Newcastle fans want to see replace the impeccable Demba Ba?

Wilfried Zaha | Crystal Palace to Manchester Utd

Yes, Zaha is arguably one of the brightest talents in English football. Yes, he does possess dazzling dribbling skills along with blistering pace. But £15m for a Championship player is always a massive gamble.

There is an undisputed gulf between the Premier League and the Championship and this means that a talented player has proven very little until he can demonstrate his abilities in the top flight. 

With an abundance of forwards at the Red Devils, only time will tell whether he can break into the United first-team and justify his expensive price-tag.

Mario Balotelli | Manchester City to AC Milan

This is another gamble for the Rossoneri. 

There is no need to delve into the disciplinary problems that have given Balotelli his 'bad-boy' reputation, but his goal-scoring record (one goal in 14 appearances this season) is simply not enough to justify this fee. 

Stephan El Shaarawy has already scored 15 league goals this season, and Milan really don't need another striker. 

Their problems have been at the back this season and this money could have been used to buy a world-class defender. 

Instead, they have purchased a temperamental player renowned for causing trouble in the dressing room.

Nicolas Anelka | Shanghai Shenhua to Juventus

Ridiculous signing. Juventus already have five decent strikers (Mirko Vucinic, Alessandro Matri, Fabio Quagliarella, Nicklas Bendtner and Sebastian Giovinco), all of which have played a part in firing Juventus to a three point lead at the summit of Serie A. 

Why do they need Anelka? The ex-Real Madrid striker joins Juventus on the back of a frankly pathetic spell in the semi-competitive Chinese Super League, with a measly three goals in 24 appearances. 

Another troublemaker (ask Raymond Domenech), is an unnecessary addition to a great squad who is not here for any reason other than his next pay-cheque.

Tal Ben Haim | Unattached to QPR

Simply put, this is not a man the Loftus Road faithful want to see starting at centre-half any time soon. 

It seems strange to see Harry Redknapp allow Anton Ferdinand to leave on loan to Turkish side Bursaspor, only to be replaced by Ben Haim, who was last seen at Portsmouth.

An unnecessary addition to the wage bill.


DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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Tottenham Hotspur
European News
Nicolas Anelka
Manchester City
Premier League
Newcastle United
Manchester United
Mario Balotelli
Crystal Palace
Tal Ben Haim

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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