BigDub’s BIG EPL Update: Transfer Window Winners and Losers
We had to wait a little bit longer than expected, but the January transfer window in the English Premier League provided the drama we are used to seeing. Records were broken as English clubs shelled out over 200 million pounds combined in all transfers, with a majority of that money being spent on the final day. Time to take a look at who came away as the window’s biggest winners and biggest losers.
Chelsea: The Blues did most of their work on the final day of the window making January’s biggest move, a 50 million pound signing of Liverpool’s star Spanish striker Fernando Torres. Yes he was expensive, but the man they called The Talisman at Anfield now gives Chelsea the best attacking talent in the league. Together with Didier Drogba expect Torres to fire Chelsea up the table in a hurry. The Blues currently sit fourth but with their new striker will expect to be competing for the title before all is said and done. This news certainly was not met with positive reception from Manchester Untied. The League leaders currently remain undefeated but have to face the new look Blues twice before season’s end. Chelsea also managed to sign Brazilian defender David Luiz from Portuguese side Benfica in a deal worth well over 20 million pounds. With these two marquee signings one has little choice but to declare Chelsea the biggest winners in this transfer window.
West Ham: West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan promised to make moves to help the Hammers avoid relegation and in January they did just that. Avram Grant’s sight landed the strike power they were looking for, securing Demba Ba’s (pictured above) signature from German side Hoffenheim and getting Ireland captain Robbie Keane on loan from Tottenham Hotspur with a permanent move guaranteed in the summer should West Ham avoid relegation. Signing fullback Wayne Bridge on loan from Manchester City is another nice move for the London club, though his first few performances have left something to be desired. West Ham now have the players they need to help avoid relegation. Considering that the teams around them in the table did very little in terms of adding players, West Ham’s hopes of Premier League survival took a huge step in the right direction this January.
Blackpool: The seasider’s best move wasn’t a move at all. Tangerine fans will be excited knowing that Ian Holloway stayed true to his word that captain Charlie Adam would not be leaving the club. Management rebuffed several large bids from top clubs to ensure their player of the season thus far would go nowhere. Liverpool were perhaps the club who pursued Adam the hardest throughout January, ultimately producing offers that did not meet Blackpool’s 14 million pound valuation of the player. Tottenham came in very, very late with a last ditch attempt to sign the Scotland midfielder with an offer believed to be over 10 million pounds, but the move simply came too late for Spurs to secure his signature. Blackpool also managed to sign winger Andy Reid from Sunderland on the window’s last day, strengthening Holloway’s attacking options.
Tottenham Hotspur: Despite their best efforts Spurs were unable to sign the striker they desired. Bids for players including Sergio Aguero, Diego Forlan, Alvaro Negredo, and Giuseppe Rossi were all turned down. Disorganization and lack of focus on the part of the Spurs management very well might have cost them. Chairman Daniel Levy simply waited too long to negotiate the transfer of some of these names. The bigger issue for Spurs is that the teams against whom they are competing for the fourth spot got better. We have already discussed Chelsea’s moves and Manchester City also made a huge signing, securing Bosnia striker Edin Dzeko from German side Wolfsburg in a deal believed to be worth 27 million pounds. Spurs, in contrast, stood still. Their only signings were a pair of South Africans, winger Steven Pienaar from Everton and defender Bongani Khumalo from South Africa side Supersport United. It will be a tough, uphill battle as Spurs continue to compete for a Champions League place.
Arsenal: The Gunners did even less than their North London rivals in terms of signing players. Arsene Wenger’s lone signing came minutes before the close of the window, as Japanese youngster Ryo Miyaichi was brought in last minute. It has since been revealed that the young forward will immediately begin a loan spell with Dutch side Feyenrood. In essence, then, Wenger signed nobody who will be at Arsenal the remainder of the season. This year looks to be one in which Arsenal can compete for the title until the very end. However, they desperately needed some help in defense and failed to address that issue altogether. In order for the Gunners to remain in the title hunt they are going to have to find some form and maintain it for the long haul, as they have no new blood to make a difference. Given the additions to the clubs around them (mainly Chelsea and City) it would not at all be surprising if Arsenal end the season in fourth.
Everton: Like Arsenal the Toffees signed absolutely nobody in January. Their only headlines this window involved rebuffed offers from Spurs for their captain Phil Neville. Everton were in desperate need of midfield help but decided against any sort of spending. This season has been a difficult one for David Moyes’ side and the January window provided an opportunity to strengthen the squad for a potential push into contention for a Europa League spot. If Everton are to reach such a goal it will be with the current crop of players who, up to this point in the season, have provided disappointing results to say the least. The drop looks highly unlikely. A mid-table finish following a silent transfer window looks probable for a side used to being near the top.
This week, I’ll have an update on how the transfers panned out kits wise. – J