February first will forever be a day reserved for reflection in the footballing world, amid the hangover left in place of fervent transfer rumours and gossip, which had filled acres of column inches in the press throughout January.
While some clubs have been left sore through either scuppered deals or having seen their teams raided, others will scarcely believe their luck in having landed dream additions, so let’s take a look at which Premier League teams came up trumps, and which found January a month to forget.
Without a doubt, of all PL teams Palace exhibited the most activity during deadline day in adding a raft of names to a squad that was already the largest in Europe. Former Eagles boss Ian Holloway was tremendously energetic in bringing players to Selhurst Park during the previous summer and Tony Pulis duly followed suit, ultimately able to land ex-Liverpool starlet Tom Ince, Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley, centre-half Scott Dann and goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy. Danny Puncheon’s loan move from Southampton was also made permanent.
Arguably the most significant signing in what was quite an anti-climactic deadline day was Konstantinos Mitroglou. Now a Fulham player, the Grecian forward managed to score three goals in five appearances throughout the Champions League group stage with former club Olympiakos and had been previously linked with both Liverpool and Arsenal. A good deal of much needed mobility has also been supplied to the Craven Cottage outfit’s midfield through landing Lewis Holtby from Tottenham on loan.
Not only did the reigning champions pull off a deal for a fierce rival’s player of the year two times running, they also managed to avoid any last minute anxiety through getting their business done relatively early. United may have only purchased one player, but what a player he is and the hope at Old Trafford is that Juan Mata can galvanise and rescue what has been an uninspired season for Man United so far.
They may have lost an extremely gifted playmaker, and the Blues attempts to break down a resilient, albeit deeply stationed, West Ham side during the week were crying out the Spaniards creative talents, but Chelsea made a huge sum of money from the sale of a player they weren’t actually using all that much. Additionally, the £37 million made goes some way in balancing the books following the signings of Nemanja Matic, Mohammed Salah and Kurt Zouma.
Having amassed the highest number of clean sheets in the English top-flight so far this season – all the more impressive considering Sam Allardyce has frequently been forced to cobble together a defensive line comprising players played out of position – one thing the Hammers have desperately needed is goals.
In view of this, the loan signing of Marco Boriello from Roma to supplement big Sam’s strike force seems a sensible one, while Antonio gives him options in midfield and Pablo Armero helps patch up a defensive line ravaged by injuries. However, the icing on the cake, perhaps, is that West Ham fan’s get to see the back of the rather suspect forward, Modibo Maiga, as well as Razvan Rat.
Ian Ayre and Liverpool’s transfer committee probably have more excuses to hand in fending off criticism for the Yevhen Konoplyanka palaver, in particular. It was deadline day, time was up against them, multiple agents scrambling for a cut had confused the situation, and all their work was ultimately undone when the Dnipro president refused to sign off on the deal right at the last hurdle.
However, judged alongside the protracted Mohammed Salah saga and the perhaps ill-timed announcement of a commercial partnership with Dunkin’ Doughnuts, the failure sees the credibility of the Anfield hierarchy in terms of transfer dealings plummet. What’s more, although it might be an overly simplistic conclusion, but should Liverpool finish outside the top-four, fingers may be pointed toward an ineffectiveness during the winter transfer window.
That the Gunners have just been knocked of their perch atop the league table only compounds what has been a frustrating window for the North London outfit. The source of angst among the Arsenal faithful can undoubtedly be traced back to the tantalising prospect of having nearly signed one of Europe most exciting young players.
What makes matters worse, however, is that if reports are to believed Julian Draxler was keen on the move and the Arsenal board was willing to match Schalke’s valuation, only for Arsene Wenger to decide against parting with such a large sum. However, reports have also emerged suggesting that it was the actually German club who put the kibosh on the deal, and it should be said that the inflated fee was in the same bracket as that which was paid for Mesut Ozil during the previous summer, putting the situation into perspective.
Newcastle’s negative experience of the recent transfer window largely stems from the departure of Yohan Cabaye, but there was a silver lining in the form of the sizeable fee obtained from Paris Saint-Germain. Yet, ultimately Luuk De Jong became the only signing made, and the Magpies failed to replace what was arguably their key player.
The Potters didn’t suffer the agony of having to wave goodbye to one of their finest, but did miss out on a couple of players who, from the outside, looked as though they would undoubtedly have improved Mark Hughes’ team.
Lee Cattermole was built for the Brittania, although perhaps more so for the side under Pulis’, and Tom Ince could have contributed the type of flair exhibited, at times, by Oussama Assaidi on the opposing flank. Ultimately, though, Stoke’s sole signing of the window was John Guidetti, loaned to them by Manchester City; a player who, apparently, is already unsettled through having been benched too often.