Since the introduction of the January transfer window in 2003, there have been advocates both for it and against it. While there has been no clear cut evidence in favour of getting rid of it or keeping it, there have been plenty of examples of its benefits and disadvantages; here are some of the best and worst transfers conducted in January.
Asmir Begovic to Stoke – £3.25 million
Tony Pulis took advantage of the poor financial situation at Portsmouth in January 2010 to sign the Bosnian shot-stopper. While £3 million for a sub keeper seemed like a lot at the time to Stoke, it has since been vindicated.
Begovic took nine months to break into the first-team – courtesy of a Tomas Sorensen injury – but once he got the number one jersey he never gave it back. A total of 41 clean sheets (4 this season) in 145 Premier League appearances means he is one of the best goalkeepers in the league and has attracted much attention from top clubs since his move to the Brittania Stadium.
Branislav Ivanovic to Chelsea – £9.7 million
Whoever the scout was that found Branislav Ivanovic deserves a pay increase at the very minimum due to impact he has made since being signed. He didn’t feature in any matches of the 2007/08 season because of fitness problems and it was looking like he could be another transfer flop.
However, eight months after he signed for Chelsea he made his debut. It took him a while to secure that regular first-team place but when he did he showed good reason for keeping it.
A no nonsense defender, he is feared by Premier League attackers due to the sheer stature and size of him. Not only can he defend but he has also the ability to score having got 17 in his seven year spell.
In his time with the club he has been key to helping them win 3 FA Cups, 1 Europa League, a Premier League title and the Champion’s League once in 2012. He was also named on the PFA Team of the Year for the Chelsea’s 2009/10 Premier League winning season which further highlights the success he has had since moving from Lokomotiv Moscow in 2008.
Clint Dempsey to Fulham – £2 million
It is hard to believe that a player that made such an impact on the Premier League cost so little; such is the bargains that can be got in January. Of course it was 2007 when transfer fees didn’t really reach ridiculous heights but still, at only £2 million it was cheap.
It took him a while to settle – such is the way with mid-season transfers – but when he did he hit the ground running. Six goals in his first full season and he had announced himself to English football. A total of 26 in the next three years meant his name was on the lips of every Fulham fan.
However, it was his final season with the club where he scored 17 goals, bringing his total to 50, where his value was truly established. This prompted Tottenham to peak their interest and he signed for a reported £6 million – three times his initial transfer fee – not a bad January investment in the end.
Nemanja Vidic to Manchester United – £7 million
The hard-hitting centre-back could have featured on the other side of the list had he not gotten his act together. What can only be described as a disastrous debut, Vidic thought about not wanting to be at the club after the 4-1 hammering at the hands of derby rivals Manchester City.
Thankfully for both himself and Manchester United fans he stayed and the rest they say is history. He became one of the best central defenders in the world and won a total of 15 honours at the Theatre of Dreams including 5 Premier League titles and a Champion’s League.
Danny Graham to Sunderland – £5 million
It was meant to be his “get out of jail free card” but it turned out so differently for the Gateshead-born striker. Having fallen down the pecking order at Swansea he desired a move away from The Liberty Stadium and Martin O’Neill decided to splash out on the centre-forward.
Failing to score in any of his 13 appearances for the Black Cats the fans got on top of him and thus ended his playing days at the Stadium of Light. He is still on the books at Sunderland after unsuccessful loan spells at Hull, Middelsborough and Wolves and this January transfer window may see him move on with better fortune.
Konstantinos Mitroglou to Fulham – £12.4 million
He was a goalscoring machine in Greece notching up 50 goals in 62 appearances in the three and a half years previous to signing for the Cottagers. So it is no wonder they broke their transfer fee record to bring him to England.
However, the impact was not as it was expected to be. Injuries and fitness problems plagued the six months that he spent there and he only played 151 minutes of football meaning he cost over £80,000 per minute (excluding his wages).
Fulham got relegated that season and he is now doing what he does best scoring; except he is back at former club Olympiakos on loan and has got 8 in 12 appearances.
Andy Carroll to Liverpool – £35 million
This was the deal that shocked the whole footballing world. It did, however, come as a knock-on effect of another transfer but that was no excuse. It was an incredible sum of money even if the young English striker had netted 11 times in 19 appearances so far that season.
He managed to get 2 league goals in 448 minutes that he played in the remainder of the season and followed that up with 4 in 35 the following season. The poor goalscoring return meant he was loaned out to West Ham before completing a permanent £15 million move the following year.
He is currently coming into a bit of form at West Ham which may justify Damien Comolli’s (former Director of Football at Liverpool decision) to sign him four years ago – just not for £35 million.
Fernando Torres to Chelsea – £50 million
It may be harsh to say this but the transfer of Fernando Torres to Chelsea could not only be reason to shut down the January transfer window but the summer one as well.
It was a British transfer record fee at the time but that was the only record broken as the Spaniard failed to set Stamford Bridge alight.; not even by means of a few sparks.
His one league goal for the rest of the 2010/11 season was followed up by a mediocre six, eight and five goals in the following consecutive three seasons while featuring in 110 games. He was the subject of frequent taunts and jeers from opposing fans as he struggled for form and even went over 11 hours without hitting the back of the net.
His Chelsea nightmare ended when he went on loan to AC Milan earlier this season before the deal was made permanent in this transfer window. Since then he has moved back to his home club Atletico Madrid on loan for the remainder of the season hoping to find that initial form that made him one of the best around.
By Kieran Kilkelly
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