The transfer window has finally slammed shut after a month of fevered speculation, bated anticipation, joyous jubilation and depressed commiseration. So, as we look forward to the final third of the season how did your club fare in the cut-throat January transfer market? It’s time for the Transfer Tavern end of window report and first up for their marks out of ten, it’s Liverpool, Villa, Manchester United, Blackpool, Spurs and Stoke.
Best wheeling: Steven Pienaar – Decent, versatile midfielder for a reasonable price of £3 million. It’s questionable however if midfield was really where signings were wanted. Spurs have greater need at centre-back and up front.
Worst dealing: Letting Keane go and not bringing in another striker. Desperate, failed efforts to bring in Diego Forlan/Andy Carroll/Chris Armstrong at the very last minute left Spurs with only three recognised strikers in the squad, surely not enough to put up a convincing fight in the Champions League and the Premier League.
Best Wheeling: Luis Suarez – Proven international with hatfuls of goals and only just 24. The Uruguay hand-ball hero comes to Anfield with a fantastic record of goals in the Netherlands for Ajax (111 in 159) and could be the perfect replacement for Chelsea-bound striker Fernando Torres.
Worst Dealing: Losing Paul Konches…. I mean, spending £35million (more than Barca paid for one of the world’s best, David Villa) on the largely unproven and indisciplined Andy Carroll.
Best Wheeling: Avoiding the distraction of the transfer window and keeping a stable, winning squad together. Alex Ferguson has the experience to know that titles are rarely won through late additions, you need a steady group of players who know each others games: exactly what he has. Why meddle with a winning formula?
Worst Dealing: The manager not signing up to the BBC on a free. Come on Fergie, we’ve had enough of Mike ‘personality’ Phelan every week!
Best Wheeling: Keeping hold of talismanic captain Charlie Adam in the face of bids from Spurs, Villa and Liverpool. The Scotsman could hold the key to Blackpool avoiding relegation. Honourable mention to the deadline day capture of James Beattie and Andy Reid, Premier League experience and points to prove.
Worst Dealing: Could have done with acquiring an experienced centre-back, as defence is a concern coming in to the latter part of the season. Overall the squad is well set and the club has acquitted itself well in its first season in the Premier League, so even without such an addition they should be safe this year.
Best Wheeling: Jean Makoun for £4.2m – The classy central midfielder will provide an assured presence in midfield. With a fine range of passing and a proven record in the Champions League and internationally, the Cameroonian is a snip at under £5m.
Worst Dealing: Losing Sidwell, Carew, Davies and Ireland – While none of these players was a first-choice, getting rid of four seasoned pros in January could prove costly for a thin Villa squad that has faded towards the end of the season in the last 3 years.
Best Wheeling: John Carew and Jermaine Pennant – There’s nothing Tony Pulis likes more than a big clogger upfront. Luckily, with John Carew, he has a large centre-forward with a bit more skill than your average, and the acquisition of Pennant should help provide extra goal-scoring opportunities for the big man outside of Delap’s throw-ins.
Worst Dealing: Losing Eidur Gudjohnsen and Tuncay – With the departure of the classy Icelander and the mercurial Turk goes Stoke’s chances of playing anything other than agricultural football. Still, they say stick to what you’re good at and if hoofing and heading is your game then these two won’t be missed.
Top of the class 10/10? Or detention and on report 1/10? Let me know what you think, follow me on Twitter: @stuartcfootball