Monday, 3 February 2014

Those Transfer Window Deals - Hit, Miss or Maybes?



Got your breath back yet? Got the annoying sound of Jim White's brainless witterings out of your ears? Good, then we shall begin. Last month the Premier League spent £130m on transfers before that window slammed shut (Does it close any other way?) That's roughly on a par with the £120m splashed out in 2013, a big jump on the relatively quiet window a year earlier, when only £60m was laid out and way off the whopping £225m that changed hands in 2011. So, was it money well spent? Is the Premier League going to be a more exciting place during the rest of the season? Let's investigates the big deals to find out.

Juan Mata [Chelsea - Man Utd] £37.1m

The headline grabbing deal of the window. Unloved at Chelsea because of his refusal to track back as insisted by Jose Mourinho, the Spanish playmaker jumped ship to Manchester United to fill the gap in the Reds line-up that has been left since age caught up with Paul Scholes. Mata's clever movement, immaculate touch and deadly passing is exactly what United have been crying out for. And even better for David Moyes is the fact he has already adapted to English football. Expect him to kick-start a resurgence at Old Trafford.

VERDICT: BANG ON BUY

Mohamed Salah [Basel - Chelsea] £11m

Chelsea pipped Liverpool to the winger's capture after he grew tired of three months of talks and no piece of paper to sign. Blues defender Branislav Ivanovic reckons Salah is the new Arjen Robben, and he should know after seeing the 21-year-old run rings around Chelsea's defence when scoring in both of Basle's wins over Jose Mourinho's side in this season's Champions League. Salah has been called the Egyptian Messi. He is very quick and still raw. He'll struggle for starts at Chelsea but look for some decent cameos.

VERDICT: THAT'S A GAMBLE

Luuk de Jong [Borussia Monchengladbach - Newcastle] Loan

The new Alan Shearer? Could well be. Big, strong and capable of destroying defences. The Dutchman also has a touch of Ruud van Nistelrooy about him in the way he is capable of finishing off chances in a variety of ways from clinical close range conversions to bending them in from distance. He is decent in the air as well. Fell out of favour at his German club but Newcastle fans will soon be singing his praise.

VERDICT: BANG ON BUY

David Ngog [Bolton Wanderers - Swansea City] £500,000
The former Liverpool striker switched to Bolton in their Premier League days for a fee of £4.5m but he failed to click as the Trotters were relegated. On his day looks like a steady top division frontman but those days are rare.

VERDICT: WHAT WHERE THEY THINKING?

Aiden McGeady [Spartak Moscow - Everton] Undisclosed

The former Celtic wideman was a long term target for Everton boss Roberto Marintez with the Spaniard trying to sign him during his days in charge at Wigan. McGeady will take time to get his fitness back after being forced to train with the kids in Russia but has the trickery to outwit Premier League defenders. He gives Martinez more options to play football and could combine well with attacking full-backs Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman with his smart brain.

VERDICT: BANG ON BUY

Shane Long [West Brom - Hull] Fee rising to £7m

Part of a new look Hull strikeforce along with Nikica Jelavic, the little fella is a big pest to defenders. He is capable of unsettling backlines with his energy and quick feet and excellent balance and his arrival adds some bite to the Hull attack as he proved by scoring on his debut in the draw with Spurs.

VERDICT: BANG ON BUY

Nikica Jelavic [Everton - Hull] Undisclosed

A one trick pony who was soon found out at Everton. The boy can finish - with the majority of his goals coming from one touch. But he offers little else and once defences found ways of starving him of supply and getting touch-tight to him his effectiveness dried up.

VERDICT: WHAT WHERE THEY THINKING?

Nemanja Matic [Benfica - Chelsea] £21m

Shifted out to Benfica as part of the David Luiz deal but brought back by Jose Mourinho, the holding midfielder looks set to blunt rivals attacks for years to come. He has grown into a big unit, standing at 6ft 4in but also has the ability to get around the pitch well to provide a formidable barrier to attackers looking to get at Chelsea's back four.

VERDICT: BANG ON BUY

Grant Holt [Wigan - Aston Villa] Loan

Paul Lambert has gone back to what he knows in hope of adding some experience to an attack over-reliant on the 23-year-old novice striker Christian Benteke. Taking Holt, who he managed at Norwich, on loan from Championship Wigan is a backwards step though.

VERDICT: WHAT WHERE THEY THINKING?

Roger Johnson [Wolves - West Ham] Loan

Another desperation buy. This fella has been relegated with his past two clubs and spent the first half of the season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday - a team struggling in the Championship. Don't expect him to be around too long.

VERDICT: WHAT WHERE THEY THINKING?

Marco Borriello [Roma - West Ham] Loan

At the age of 31 his best years may be behind him but this guy does has pedigree. He has scored goals for Milan, Roma and Genoa in his career as well as winning call-ups for the national team. The one worry is that West Ham seemed jinxed when it comes to signing frontmen with fat boy Benny McCarthy and the injury prone Andy Carroll springing to mind.

VERDICT: THAT'S A GAMBLE

Antonio Nocerino [AC Milan - West Ham] Loan

Another Italian with a touch of class. Likes to arrive late in the box to add some goal threat to the team and that is exactly what West Ham need right now but is he too similar to Kevin Nolan and will he leave his defence exposed? Big Sam Allardyce doesn't think so.

VERDICT: THAT'S A GAMBLE

Ignacio Scocco [Internacional - Sunderland]

Quick, direct and with a hammer of right foot, this Argentina international can pop up on either flank and even play in behind a striker. He knows European football from his time in Greece with AEK Athens but can he cope with a cold north-east winter?

VERDICT: THAT'S A GAMBLE

Lewis Holtby [Tottenham - Fulham] loan

Holtby was hot stuff at Schalke 04 and was good enough to win caps for Germany. Unfortunately he joined Spurs at a time when then manager Andrea Villas-Boas was struggling to see the woods for the trees. At Fulham the midfielder is likely to excel and prove a shrewd signing.

VERDICT: BANG ON BUY

Wilfried Zaha [Manchester United - Cardiff] Loan

His defensive naivety meant David Moyes did not trust him but the kid is sensational on the ball and is going to cause chaos in Cardiff colours as he proved in coming on as sub in the draw with Norwich at the weekend.

VERDICT: BANG ON BUY

Kurt Zouma [St Etienne - Chelsea] £12m

One for the future. The defender has been tracked by the top teams for the past few years. He is going straight back to St Etienne on loan and can expect a few years traipsing around clubs on short term deals. As all of Chelsea's signings seem to do.

VERDICT: THAT'S A GAMBLE

Kim Kallstrom [Spartak Moscow - Arsenal] Loan

Typical Arsene Wenger. He needs a striker and signs another midfielder. He just can't resist can he? Kallstrom is coming in as cover for the injured Aaron Ramsey. Is he as good? No. He is already injured? Yup!

VERDICT: WHAT WHERE THEY THINKING?

Konstantinos Mitroglou [Olympiakos - Fulham]  £11m

Arms full of tatts, a First World War haircut and a rifle-firing goal celebration. Just as importantly he knows where the goal is. Great in the air, powerfully built and powerpacked right foot. Good business this for Fulham if he is fully fit.

VERDICT: BANG ON BUY


AND THE ONES THEY LET GO

Should have fought tough and nail to keep them

Yohan Cabaye [Newcastle - Paris St-Germain] £19m

Probably for the best

Michael Essien [Chelsea - AC Milan] Undisclosed
Kevin de Bruyne [Chelsea - Wolfsburg] Undisclosed

Goodbye and good riddance

Anderson [Manchester United - Fiorentina] Loan
Dimitar Berbatov [Fulham - AS Monaco] Undisclosed
Dani Osvaldo [Southampton - Juventus] Loan

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