Picking through the burning rubble of the January window, there are some signs of life amongst the recycled has-beens and the unwanted freebies.
Let’s face it, this transfer window was a bigger let down than Theo Walcott. With clubs opting against twisting in a month renowned for exasperating rather than aiding, January proved so dry that the future of Liam Ridgewell became newsworthy. Thankfully a few clubs decided to play the game and keep us all mildly entertained, with some deals actually seeming worthwhile.
Bobby Zamora – Fulham to QPR (£4 million)
Amongst the chaos of Tuesday’s deadline day dealings, perhaps the shrewdest capture may come in the form of ex-Fulham man Bobby Zamora. At 31 the target man is no spring chicken, but has all the attributes to give Rangers what they need right now in a season which has only yielded 22 goals.
Whilst Zamora is hardly prolific he allows much of his sides attacking play to revolve around his ability to hold up the ball and drag opposition defenders out of position, meaning others are able to thrive around him.
£4 million for an experienced Premier League striker represents a great bit of business. Without the risk of a Nikola Jelavic who has a very good record in a rather appalling league, Bobby is sure to contribute more than the wasteful Jay Bothroyd and ensure QPR are dining at the top table for another season yet.
Djibril Cisse – Lazio to QPR (£4 million)
Hoping to get on the end of Zamora’s assists is enigma Djibril Cisse. In what will be the 3rd instalment of his Premier League adventure, Cisse is a player with something to prove. His spell at Liverpool was tarnished by a horrific injury, which I’m sure still lives in the ‘do not touch’ part of our brains, whilst his Sunderland career yielded 10 goals.
Though he was a little unlucky to be shafted by the Black Cats who instead opted to splash out on Darren Bent, the feeling with Cisse has perhaps been that he often flatters to deceive.
Lightning pace and an undoubted prowess in front of goal are too often weighed down by a tendency to go missing in crucial moments of a season. His record in Greece for Panathinaikos was exceptional, but he has just one solitary goal for Lazio this season. Cisse is an eccentric, a performer capable of the brilliant and the bizarre. At £4 million the Frenchman may be a risk, but definitely one worth taking.
Papiss Cisse – Freiburg to Newcastle (£9 million)
The Geordies already boast one of the finest attackers in the league in the form of Demba Ba. However with the addition of Senegalese compatriot Papiss Cisse the Toon are really starting to show their intent after a magnificent first half to the season.
Though both with no doubt be embarrassed by their sides no show in the African Cup of Nations, they should be fresh and ready for the challenge of maintaining Newcastle’s European push. Cisse’s record for a poor Budesliga outfit is exceptional with 39 goals in 65 games, and he clearly possesses the mental steel required after nabbing the famous number 9 shirt. If he and Ba can link up the way they’re expected to, Newcastle can realistically harbour hopes of finishing in the top 6 this season.
Kevin De Bruyne – Genk to Chelsea (£6.5 million)
AVB has been under pressure for most the season with Chelsea’s inconsistency frustrating fans and pundits alike. Whilst it’s easy to point the finger at the young Portuguese coach, his philosophies bring a breath of fresh air and are exactly what Chelsea need right at this moment.
Slowly but surely Villas Boas is ushering in a new era and in Kevin De Bruyne the Blues now have a young winger with pace and purpose, something lacking from their side for years. The young Belgian terrorised Jose Bosingwa in the Champions’ League group stages, and whilst that’s no boasting matter he’s shown more than enough quality in Europe to prove he’ll soon be a force on these shores.
Sebastien Bassong – Tottenham to Wolves (Loan)
Wolves defence has been nothing short of abysmal this term and have gone a massive 20 games without a clean sheet. With the usually reliable Roger Johnson vulnerable in a defence which boasts the likes of Ronald Zubar, George Elokobi and Christophe Berra, the experience of Spurs cast off Sebastien Bassong may be invaluable come the end of the season.
McCarthy’s men were tipped to kick on this season but the problems from last year’s near relegation still remain. Bassong himself hasn’t done much wrong for Tottenham but finds himself in the shadows of an impressive collection of players. If the Frenchman can find the form which convinced Redknapp to spend £8 million two and a half years ago, then Wolves might just clamber out of the trap door once again.
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