Many managers are reluctant to splash the cash in January for a number of reasons. Inability to bed into a new team, ineligibility in competitions, outrageous prices, etc.
Some January transfers do not quite workout as expected. Manucho joined United in January 2008 following a good showing at the 2008 ACN, whilst Zoran Tosic’s move to United last January has not quite turned out how he or United would have liked. Yet for all the bad buys, there are gems.
In January 2006 Man United signed both Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra for for under £12m from Spartak Moscow and Monaco respectively, try signing both now and you would be looking at least triple that for the pair. Fulham signed Brede Hangeland and Stoke signed Ryan Shawcross for paltry sums in 2008 and Portsmouth snapped up Lassana Diarra for an undisclosed fee from Arsenal in 2008 only to sell him on for £20m to Real Madrid a year later. Although his performances couldn’t save Birmingham from the drop, Mauro Zarate shone after joining Birmingham on loan from Al-Sadd in January 2008.
Last January saw some great buys as Arsenal snapped up the Russian wizard Andrei Arshavin from Zenit St. Petersburg for an undisclosed fee thought to be in the region of £16.5m. He has already shown why Wenger was so keen to splash out on him with a wonderful solo performance against Liverpool where he scored all 4 goals in a 4-4 draw at Anfield and then another spectacular effort against the Scousers this season. Man Utd too have also been on the receiving end of his magic when he confounded Ben Foster with a long range banger in August.
If talking about stand out then Man City’s Craig Bellamy must get a mention, as he remains one of the club’s best buys amongst the many stars purchased following the club’s foreign investment. Formerly seen as a problem player, Bellamy has settled down and focused on just playing football, much to the dismay of others. He has 6 goals this term scoring against both Man Utd and Arsenal, but it is not only the goals though as his assists and general performances see him get a mention here.
Jimmy Bullard’s impact at the KC is clear for all to see. He raises the Tigers merely by being on the field so it is a shame that after his £5m move from Fulham last January he has spent the majority of his time in the physio room. This season in his brief appearances Hull looked rejuvenated and his celebration after scoring against Man City will undoubtedly go down as one of the moments of the season. Injured at the moment, Hull will hope that when Bullard returns in the coming weeks he will be able to stick around long enough to ensure they avoid relegation.
It is still early doors and there has been very little activity in this year’s window but only time will tell if players like Wellington and Maxi Rodriguez will be included in next year’s list for best bits of January business.