Five shock January moves you didn’t expect
There were some eye-catching signings in January, Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic perhaps the most high-profile, while Hull broke their club record twice in one month, snaring Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long respectively.
Here, however, Squawka takes a look at the surprise signings of the January transfer window and, as I’m sure you’ll all agree, there were a fair few to choose from.
Kim Källström – Spartak Moscow to Arsenal (season-long loan):
Perhaps the most bizarre of the lot was the Swedish international’s loan move from Russian outfit Spartak Moscow to Arsenal.
The deal was deemed odd for various reasons. Firstly, Arsenal’s need for a striker had not gotten past anyone during the previous window apart from, it would seem, Arsene Wenger, who could not seal a deal for the forward which would surely see the Gunners keep up with the pace set by Manchester City are setting in the title race.
The need for a midfielder – despite the feeling Wenger merely seized the opportunity to stock up an overflowing collection – was heightened following injuries and suspensions sustained by key midfield personnel and the Frenchman acted swiftly to avoid an injury crisis.
But Källström who, let us not forget will bring experience to an Arsenal team still fighting on three fronts, is not match fit with Spartak in the midst of a Russian league close season and at 31, is most probably lacking the pace required to get to grips with the unforgiving tempo of the Premier League.
It would be unfair to castigate Källström and make him the scapegoat of Arsenal’s January failings and if a striker had been added, his acquisition would have been regarded largely as a sensible one. However, when you consider his passing accuracy comes in at a measly 69%…
For a midfielder, that is simply not good enough. In fact, only Olivier Giroud, Wojciech Szczesny and Yaya Sanogo have fared worse from the Gunners squad while only Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, who have both been sidelined for long periods this term, have a worst average duels won percentage, with Källström coming out on top 39% of the time.
The news of a back injury – which will keep him sidelined for the club’s next six matches - that emerged during the medical procedure of his move, though, makes this move one of the most mysterious of recent transfer windows.