January signings can be a tricky business. The general market perception is that the need to buy players midway through a season adds more value to the pursuit of the clubs and hence the selling clubs have often been the beneficiary as they part ways with players for a higher transfer fee than they would have received in the summer.
That said, often teams have no choice but to go after a certain set of players, especially if they are either chasing a top four finish and need to add depth to the squad or battling relegation woes.
With the business end of the season fast approaching, its time we take a look down the memory lane for 5 players who were signed in the winter transfer window/midway through the season and helped their respective teams avoid relegation in the English Premier League.
#1 Gary Cahill – Bolton Wanderers (2007-08)
The 2006-07 season was resoundingly successful one for Bolton Wanders after they finished 7th in the Premier League and also qualified for the UEFA Cup competition in 2007-08. However, after Sam Allardyce left for Newcastle, the Trotters were in a soup come the end of the January in 2008. The club had won just five league games all season and were just two points clear of Wigan Atheltic who occupied the 18th spot with 20 points.
With defence being an area of concern, the club’s management signed the then 22-year-old centre-back Gary Cahill from Aston Villa after he was deemed surplus to requirement by Martin O’Neil. And this proved to be a career-changing move for the Englishman.
The centre-back showed great resolve in defence and given his ability in the air as well as on the ground, he was pivotal as the Trotters staged a late season revival. He featured in 13 league games in the season and was hugely applauded in his role as a leader of the side’s defence especially in the final five games in the season where they won three and drew the other two and in the process conceded a mere two goals during the period.
Their late resurgence allowed Bolton to narrowly avoid relegation by a solitary point and his performance in their revival ensured that Cahill received the deserved praise for his role in helping his side retaining their Premier League status.