Prior to the winter just passed, there was a general consensus in football that the January transfer window was no more than a token gesture from FIFA, as minimal success-stories provide evidence to suggest otherwise. In the 2010-11 window, Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll were both involved in much-scrutinised, eleventh hour and record-breaking deals but both have since struggled to consistently impact. However, the signings made in January just passed are playing massive roles in the landscape of this Premier League season.
With the aforementioned Carroll departing the then named St. James Park for Anfield, Newcastle needed to fill a striker-shaped void, which with some aplomb they did; firstly with Demba Ba, but more pertinently, recently and even more successfully with Papiss Cisse. Following his move from FC Freiburg midway through January, the latter’s plaudits are anything but miss-directed after his blistering start and he alone proves transfers carried out in this much-maligned period can come to fruition. His form has been central to Alan Pardew’s side’s ascent towards them exceeding all expectations and achieving a potential top-four finish and presents bona-fide evidence of a mid-season acquisition making a defining impact.
Everton are renowned for waking up in the second half of the season and this campaign they have gone with type, but how much of this was aided by the signing of Nikica Jelavi?? The January arrival has settled into Premier League life immediately and discussions of his success have only been overshadowed by the aforementioned Cisse. The ex-Rangers man has scored six clinical goals in eleven Premier League games and was key to his side’s recent emphatic draw at Old Trafford. David Moyes bolstered his pack further with a loan deal to end Steven Pienaar’s White Hart Lane torment and the industrious midfielder has also been central to the Merseysider’s resurgence. With limited resources at Goodison Park, Moyes has been forced to adopt a shrewdness in the transfer market and these two signings not only enhance his acute managerial standing, but also again that investigating the January market can be rewarding.
Chelsea dipped into the market with more fruition this winter as Gary Cahill moved south from Bolton. In the lead-up to his move he had long been connected with a London club – with Tottenham also suitors for his signature – but the centre-half made his way to Stamford Bridge in a deal worth around £7m. As he completes his first half-season for the Blues, his blossoming partnership with club stalwart John Terry looks ever-promising and will enhance his chances of a Euro 2012 berth come the summer.
The general concern for any January signing is the adaptation to the pace of a new league – if arriving from abroad – or the club merely paying inflated prices. Many would argue that Newcastle’s Cisse has been the signing of the season, let alone the signing of the January window, and must help dispel the myth that this window is ill-equipped to provide club’s with positive investments.
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