It wasn’t the most inspiring of January transfer windows, but there was still plenty to take from who did – or didn’t – do what in the Premier League.
The move that stole the headlines on deadline day was that of Pep Guardiola. It was one of the game’s worst kept secrets, and it’s something of a relief that the news has now been confirmed.
One has to feel somewhat sorry for Manuel Pellegrini who could well leave Eastlands having just added to the trophy cabinet, but that’s not always enough at City. But one can see why Guardiola has been brought in. Having achieved great success in Spain and Germany, the 45-year-old will now be looking to add the Premier League to his list of league’s conquered, and you wouldn’t bet against him.
From unfashionable to en-vogue, Stoke City have undergone quite the revolution, one which was underlined by the club record signing of Giannelli Imbula from Porto for £18.3million. Xherdan Shaqiri, Bojan and Marko Arnautovic have formed an attacking unit that has terrorized many defences this season, and with Imbula slotting in behind them, Stoke now has some defensive steel in their midfield too.
Two points shy of safety and in need of some wins, Newcastle have strengthened well during the January window. Striker Seydou Doumbia arrived on loan from Roma on deadline day, while Henri Saivet, Jonjo Shelvey, and Andros Townsend arrived earlier in the window. Chairman Mike Ashley is not known for his big spending, but he’s backed his manager on this occasion. Steve McLaren will have no excuses if he can’t keep the Magpies up.
The Toffees’ season is flagging, with last week’s failure to make the Capital One Cup final the latest in a run of disappointing results. There are very real fears among the Goodison faithful that a number of big names will be departing in the off-season, including star striker Romelu Lukaku. By bringing in Oumar Niasse from Lokomotiv Moscow for £13.5m, Roberto Martinez has now not only got support up front for Lukaku, but also a replacement should the Belgian leave in the summer. Having bagged £8.5m from Norwich for Steven Naismith, Everton have done some good business up front.
Fringe players on the move
There were a number of players who really needed a change of scenery before the transfer window closed, some got their moves, others didn’t. Arsenal right-back Mathieu Debuchy had understandably grown frustrated after falling behind Hector Bellerin in the pecking order and a switch to Bordeaux will give him every chance of winning a spot in France’s squad for the European Championships.
Likewise, Steven Naismith and Matt Jarvis had seen their progress halted at Everton and West Ham respectively, and will now have a better shot at first team football after joining Norwich. Andros Townsend will be hoping to get back in the England frame after making the switch to Newcastle.
For all his early promise, the Brazilian’s career has stalled somewhat, with injuries doing their bit to ensure that the 26-year-old hasn’t played for Selecao since October 2013.
Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink didn’t seem totally convinced when Pato was signed, saying: “We will test him physically in training and will see when he is available. It will take him a while, but it’s not a gamble. Coming on loan makes it possible to have a good view of him, whether he’s able to adapt to the high demands of the club and the league. We’ll give him all the support, but it’s up to him.”
For the sake of Pato’s career, he better adapt to those high demands.
For the first time since 2005, Manchester United didn’t sign a single player in the January transfer window. Given that Louis van Gaal has already spent a small fortune the United accounts department might be relieved with the Dutchman’s lack of spending, but with cross-town rivals City stealing the headlines, United fans would have hoped for a signing that could spark their season.
One has to feel a bit sorry for Remi Garde. With not a single new face arriving at Villa Park and their rivals strengthening, Garde’s chances of leading his side in a dramatic bid for safety look hugely improbable.
The West Brom striker’s career has never been the same since he threw his toys out of the cot after a move to Tottenham was blocked in the previous window. Berahino took to Twitter to say he would never play for the club’s chairman again after the transfer fell through, and he certainly hasn’t played much, with boss Tony Pulis stating that the England international lacks fitness and the trust of his manager.
This time around, the Baggies rejected a £21m bid from Newcastle for the striker, but there was no spitting of the dummy this time, although there was a tweet: “Everyone waiting once again for the silly little-spoilt boy to make same mistake so here you go. Goodnight all and thanks for the support.”
Berahino’s talent means that he’s still considered hot property, but he needs to start playing – and scoring goals – if he’s to stay that way.
Chelsea’s back-up front men
One would imagine that Falcao and Loic Remy were itching to leave Stamford Bridge in January given their lack of playing time. Remy was linked with a switch to Leicester City which would have been a good move for both parties, but nothing came of it. Despite being on the injured list, there were rumours of a switch to Madrid for the Colombian, but he will be staying in London for now.