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Transfer Window XI: Best players to move in January

Kostas Mitroglou
Squawka News

Kostas Mitroglou

The January transfer window is always an interesting time of year, and this year was all about the struggling sides in the Premier League, as the lower half of the table got busy to strengthen their survival bids.

Fulham and Crystal Palace were the busier sides, with both having particularly hectic deadline days, while West Ham were also heavily involved in the transfer action.

Of the top sides in the division, Chelsea were the winners of the month as they made three big signings, while Arsenal failed to sign the striker they needed, but did sign Kim Kallstrom.

Liverpool didn’t quite get their star signing over the line in time, but Manchester United did, making the biggest move of the window by signing Juan Mata from Chelsea.

We at Squawka have put together an XI of players signed in the month of January, with only the best making the cut.

Goalkeeper – Wayne Hennessey (Wolves to Crystal Palace)

We won’t lie, it was difficult to find a goalkeeper, with a string of back-up ‘keepers being the only stoppers that moved around in the Premier League.

Hennessey is probably the pick of the bunch, with the Welsh international leaving Wolves after ten years at Molineux to provide competition to Julian Speroni.

Hennessey spent the first half of the season at Yeovil Town in the Championship and kept just one clean sheet, making 1.68 saves per goal he conceded.

Right Back – Marcos Alonso (Fiorentina to Sunderland)

No right-backs actually seemed to move around, so we’ve had to be a bit creative and switch Marcus Alonso from left to right to fill the gap.

Alonso was Gus Poyet’s first signing of the window as he joined on loan until the end of the season for his second stint in England, after a spell with Bolton previously.

Alonso is three games into his Sunderland career, but has already created four chances and made 12 interceptions.

Centre Back – Kurt Zouma (St Etienne to Chelsea)

Chelsea pulled off a real coup by getting the signature of Kurt Zouma from St Etienne, with the young defender being scouted by most of the top sides in Europe.

Zouma is touted as a future France captain by Didier Deschamps, and comes with a huge reputation as one of the stars of the future, making our team despite the fact he will be loaned back to St Etienne for the remainder of the season.

Zouma won 69% of his tackles in Ligue Un this season, while he also was successful in 75% of his aerial duels.

Kurt Zouma stats

Kurt Zouma stats

Centre Back – Scott Dann (Blackburn to Crystal Palace)

Tony Pulis has done wonders for Crystal Palace’s defence since taking over from Ian Holloway, and made moves to strengthen it further by bringing Scott Dann to Selhurst Park.

Pulis was keen on signing Dann when he was at Stoke and finally got his man after a long-term courtship of the Blackburn defensive rock.

Dann won 73 aerial duels for Blackburn this season, while he won 51% of his tackles as well.

Left Back – Pablo Armero (Napoli to West Ham)

West Ham were in desperate need of defensive reinforcements after their clean sheet run came to a juddering halt with a raft of injuries.

Armero’s arrival allowed them to release the unsettled Razvan Rat as well and it looks as though the Hammers have upgraded in the full-back position.

Armero created 12 chances in his limited spell in the Napoli team, while he won 54% of his tackles.

Pablo Armero

Pablo Armero

Centre Midfield – Kim Kallstrom (Spartak Moscow to Arsenal)

A lot of Gunners fans were somewhat underwhelmed that Kallstrom was the only player coming through the entrance to the Emirates stadium on deadline day, with striking reinforcements the priority in their minds.

But they have signed a player of real ability, with the Swedish midfielder displaying real industry in the centre of the park, a position Arsenal need cover in.

Kallstrom won 76% of his tackles for Spartak Moscow this season and created eight chances in his ten appearances for the Russian side.

Centre Midfield – Nemanja Matic (Benfica to Chelsea)

This was the signing that kicked the transfer window into life, as Chelsea threw £21m at benfica to strengthen their options in the centre of the park.

Matic returned to Stamford Bridge after being sent to Portugal as part of the deal that brought David Luiz to West London, but having developed as a player at Estadio De Luz, he has returned to marshal the Blues’ midfield.

Matic completed 83% of his passes for Benfica in the Champions League and already boasts an 86% passing success in his two substitute appearances for Chelsea since arriving.

Right Wing – Lewis Holtby (Spurs to Fulham)

It was expected that Holtby would return to Germany after failing to make much of an impression in the Spurs team since joining last January, but this is a move that could suit all parties.

Spurs get an unhappy player off their books and get Premier League experience, Holtby gets the game time he wants and Fulham get a player of real ability to bolster their survival hopes.

Lewis Holtby still managed to create 17 chances in his limited game time at White Hart Lane, carving out an opportunity once every 32 minutes.

Left Wing – Mohamed Salah (Basel to Chelsea)

Most people were expecting Salah to turn up at Liverpool after a long chase, but suddenly Chelsea sprung up out of nowhere to snag his signature.

It’s difficult to see where he fits into Chelsea’s system, but he is undoubtedly a fine player with pace and end product in his locker, as dispalyed by his two goals in two games against Chelsea in the Champions League this season.

Salah had a 69% take-on success in the Champions League, while he drew 13 fouls in the six group games.

Centre-Attacking Midfield – Juan Mata (Chelsea to Manchester United)

This was the marquee signing of the transfer window, with Juan Mata making his much heralded move from Chelsea to their Premier League rivals, Manchester United.

Chelsea’s player of the year for two successive years was criminally underused by Jose Mourinho and with United crying out for some creativity in the midfield, this was a move that made sense for Mata and United, if not for Chelsea, who will rue this transfer in time .

Mata created four chances in his first game for the reds, one less than Shinji Kagawa has managed in nine appearances all season.

Juan Mata stats

Juan Mata stats

Striker – Kostas Mitroglou (Olympiakos to Fulham)

Fulham had a very good window in all and made some shrewd moves that could well prove the difference in their survival battle.

Kostas Mitroglou has a superb record in Greece, while he became the first Greek player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League this season.

Mitroglou had 13 shots in his five Champions League appearances and boasted a conversion rate of 23.1% as Olympiakos qualified from the group stages for the first time.

Transfer Window XI - Football tactics and formations

Transfer Window XI

Edited by Staff Editor

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