Due to the fact I now have an obscene four and a half hour gap between lessons on Thursdays, I have decided, in a desperate attempt to write more, that every Thursday, in said gap, I will offer my opinion on something from the wonderful world of football. This will be called Thursday’s Thoughts. This week’s thoughts are on: Every Premier Leagues team’s dealings in the transfer window…
This window smells like a massive chance missed for Arsenal. I feel that if they had have gone out and strengthened through out the team, especially up front, then they would have a real chance to go on and win the league. Instead they spent the window chasing Julian Draxler, who would have been an excellent addition, but the move materialised. Don’t get me wrong, Arsenal’s squad has proven that they are capable of coping with injuries, with Alex Oxalde-Chamberlain recently covering in centre midfield and performing brilliantly. The loan signing of Kim Kallstrom, could prove to be a shrewd one, he’ll add experience to the squad and will provide good cover in midfield areas. I just think that relying on Oliver Giroud to play upfront for the rest of the season, when Arsenal have some tough games coming up, could prove to be costly.
Result: 2-0 loss
Aston Villa’s transfer window has largely been a shambles. Although the capture of Ryan Bertrand on loan is a very good signing and now gives Villa a left back that actually has some ability. Grant Holt is a strange signing, yes he’s played under Lambert before and gives more options upfront, but they really should be aiming higher than Holt. But the real mess for Villa this window was their chase of Norwich’s Wes Hoolahan. While I believe he is exactly what Villa need, when it became obvious that Norwich weren’t going to sell, they really should have begun to look for other targets. You telling me Lewis Holtby wouldn’t have preferred to play for a comfortable mid-table side, rather than a team in a relegation battle? Now Villa are left without any creative influence. I think they’ll stay up comfortably, but it just stinks of a lack of ambition.
Result 2-0 loss
New manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done his best this window to put his own mark on Cardiff, which resulted in a recruitment of six players and the departure of eight, including the early departure of summer signing Andreas Cornelius, who proved to be a big waste of money. While I can’t offer much on Wolff Eirkrem and Inge Berget, I can say that from the cameo in which I watched Mats Moller Daehli at the Reebok, he looks a really exciting prospect, full of flair and trickery. I think Kenwyne Jones will prove to be a smart signing, who will pop with some vital goals in the run in and Wilfried Zaha could provide some moments of magic, like he has already. All in all, a good widow for Cardiff, but I do fear it might not be enough to keep them up.
Verdict: 2-0 win
No matter your opinions on the selling of Mata and de Bruyne, from the perspective of Jose Mourinho, they have had an excellent window. They’ve managed to sell a bench warmer for £37million and a player who rarely made the match day squad for £17million (an £11 million profit). As a side note, after watching Chelsea beat City, (I now fully understand why Jose sold Mata, Hazard and Willian are excellent and tireless defensively.) They also managed to get Michael Essien off the wage bill. On top of getting top money for players who weren’t in any type of plans, they brought in Nemanja Matic, Mohamed Salah and Kurt Zouma. Matic, as we all witnessed on Monday, is an excellent footballer, who adds steel and composure to Chelsea’s midfield. Salah is an good option to bring on late in games, when his pace can stretch teams and he adds even more depth to Chelsea’s squad, and Zouma is one of the most promising defenders in Europe. A brilliant month for Chelsea.
Result: 5-0 win
It’s been a steady and solid window for Crystal Palace, much in the fashion of Tony Pulis. They’ve acquired an experienced defender in Scott Dann, who very well may excel under the defensive style Pulis. The promising winger Tom Ince arrived on loan from Blackpool, and he will add depth out wide for Palace, an area where they could do with some added ability The signing of Wayne Henneseey, for a reported £3 million, is a really puzzling one as that’s quite a bit of money for someone who is only going to sit on the bench. Finally, the addition of Joe Ledley, which I believe is a very good one. He’s got experience in the Champions League and is a very sound player at both ends of the pitch, I think he’ll compliment Jedinak very well.
Result: 2-0 win
Martinez’ second transfer window at Everton and he’s yet to disappoint. The signings of Aiden McGeady and Lacina Traore are both exceptional captures, and being able to shift Nickica Jelavić and Johnny Heitenga off the wage bill is very useful. I can’t say I’ve watched much of the Russian league in recent times, so I can’t provide anything substantial on Traore, but the big striker is an excellent option to either cover for or play along side Lukaku, especially since the Belgian hasn’t been his best as of late. And we all know McGeady is a tricky winger, who could win the Blues points out of nothing.
Result: 2-0 win.
Fulham have had an astounding window, considering the position they currently find them selves in. They’ve made several signings who really are better than the level they are, Mitroglou and Holtby especially, both of them players that if Meulensteen gets Fulham going, will add goals and creativity to a dire team. Dempsey and Heitenga add Premier League experience, Kvist may add steel Fulham’s midfield and the signings of Ryan Tunnicliffe and Larnell Cole could prove to be shrew investments as they develop. Fulham’s biggest successes this window however, was being able to get Ruiz, Taarabt and Berbatov out of the squad, three players who, despite their occasional ability, aren’t up for a relegation dog fight and only hindered Fulham’s chances. Fulham have had a fine window, definitely, but it’s another question if it will keep them up.
Result: 3-0 win.
Hull spent this window bolstering their strike force, a wise thing to do, because the last thing you want as a team like Hull, who’ve had a good start but could easily fall into the relegation scrap, is the goals to dry up. I really rate Shane Long, and believe he will be a very good signing for Hull. Jelavić however, hasn’t been good for a while now, and looks really rusty. He may score a couple, but I reckon he’ll miss more golden chances than he’ll score.
Result: 1-0 win
Just like Arsenal, Liverpool have missed a massive opportunity this window. They had the chance to really cement their place in the top four, but squandered it. Had they strengthened with the additions of a defensive midfielder, full back and a winger, it would have been there’s for the taking. Instead they spent the entire window chasing Mohammed Salah, then Yevhen Konoplyanka, and ended up with egg on their face. I still think they will be able to attain top four come May, but this is the opportunity they had to seal it. Chance missed.
Result: 3-0 loss
City didn’t make any signings in January, but they didn’t really need any. They’ve been brilliant this season and don’t need to change a squad that has been so relentless in dismantling most teams in the league. Mangela and Fernando would have been very good additions to a squad already brimming with quality, but that can definitely wait until the summer.
The signing of Juan Mata is an excellent one, like I’ve stated many of times. But they’ve really not strengthened in the areas they desperately needed to. Additions in the centre of midfield and in defence were desperately needed to save their season and somehow clench a Champions League spot. Since they haven’t signed anyone in those positions, I can’t see them getting top four.
Result: 1-1, conceding a last minute equaliser. Would have taken a point, but left slightly disappointed.
Selling your most influential player is never a good thing, and even more so when said player isn’t replaced. Cabaye was Newcastle’s most creative player, and with him leaving for PSG a massive void has been left in the side. Luuk de Jong has potential and could possibly be a good signing, but he’s not had the best time at Borussia Mönchengladbach, not scoring a goal in nine months and hardly playing recently, and he isn’t going to fill the Cabaye shaped hole. Newcastle look like another club who could have done with Lewis Holtby, but alas, they’r left with Sammy Ameobi.
Result: 3-0 loss
Norwich are in real danger of going down, they’re in complete free fall and don’t seem to be stopping. They did add the experienced Joseph Yobo and Jonas Gutierez, but are they enough to keep them up? I can’t see it. The only way I think they will survive the drop is if the influx of players they bought in the summer finally click together and results start coming in, or if Hughton is sacked.
Result: 1-0 loss
Not much happened at Southampton during the window, but I suspect that’s just what Pochettino wanted. Dani Osvaldo ended his brief stint at the Saints and somehow got a big move to Juventus, after hitting a teammate in training. The move does leave Southampton a little light on strikers but they have Jay Rodriguez who can cover and young prospect Sam Gallagher.
The only real addition to Stoke in January was the loan signing of Manchester City starlet John Guidetti. Whilst unproven in the Premier League, Guidetti has an exceptional scoring record in the Eredivise and could add a bit of spark for Stoke, if he gets the chance.
Sunderland have had an interesting window, whilst I can’t offer any real knowledge on the Argentine trio of Santiago Vergini, Oscar Ustari and Ignacio Scocco, I can testify to the knowledge that Liam Bridcutt is a tremendous signing. Bridcutt sitting in front of the back four, winning the ball and dictating play will do wonders for Sunderland. They also signed a player I know very well in Marcos Alonso; whilst sometimes prone to silly errors he improved massively at both ends of the pitch in his last season with Bolton, and looks to have carried that on, on Wearside. Also with being able to shift some of the dead wood which previous managers had brought in, such as Danny Graham, Modibo Diakité and Ji Dong-Won, Sunderland have had a very good window, and I expect to see them comfortably avoid relegation.
Result 3-0 win.
Well then, Swansea have probably had one of the strangest transfer windows in quite a while. Six months ago they were signing Wilfried Bony, now they’ve signed David Ngog (thank you very much) and Marvin Emnes. I suppose they both offer cheap cover in attacking positions, but it’s still just so weird. Surely they should be aiming a bit higher? I don’t know. Weird.
Result: 2-0 loss, both own goals.
Tottenham didn’t sign anyone during the window, which can be taken positively or negatively. We’ll go negative first, they really could have done with strengthening some key positions most notably left back and up front. Danny Rose hasn’t turned out to be as good as was hoped, and he’s just one puncture in a leaky defence; and up front they’ll be left pretty bare when Defoe leaves for Canada. On the other hand, Spurs made a lot of signings during the summer and most of them are still yet to fully integrate in to the squad, if they ever do. Adding more players to the mix could have disrupted the squad even more and halt the progress that Sherwood has made.
Not much to say here really, the Baggies signed young French forward Thievy Bifouma from Espanyol, on loan, and apparently he’s quite fast, apart from that I know nothing. Selling Shane long may prove to be costly, but West Brom aren’t short on forwards and should have a fairly comfortable end to the season.
For a while it looked as if West Ham were going to have a disaster of a window, with other reported targets apparently getting stolen from their grasp, and only adding Roger Johnson to the ranks. But in the final days of the window they pulled off a trio of Serie A signings in Marco Borrielo, Antonio Nocerino and Pablo Armero. All three players give West Ham cover across the pitch with them being a striker, centre midfielder and left back respectively, and we may well see them offer game winning moments. But personally, I’m not sure that they are good enough to completely change West Ham’s season, they aren’t galvanising signings ala Mitroglou. Borrielo and Nocerino especially, are probably more likely to come on towards the end of the game to try nick a goal if needed, where as Mitroglou at Fulham, they hope, will be the spearhead them to safety.
Result: 1-0 win
Some teams had good windows, some teams had bad windows, but I think we can all appreciate that the true winner of this January transfer window, was no other than the agents. Taarabt to Milan, Emnes and Ngog to Swansea, Senderos to Valencia. Bravo lads, bravo!
So there’s my write up on the Premier League dealings during January, what are your thoughts? Let me know below!
‘Til next week (there probably won’t be one next week because I have mocks so whenever!)