We’ve allowed the dust to settle on a frantic January transfer window for just a few days before drawing some conclusions on Premier League teams’ performances.
The winter transfer window spans 31 days and gives managers the chance to add to their current squads, remove deadwood or transfer players who aren’t getting enough game-time.
On paper that sounds ideal—a midway relief point, if you will—but in practice it’s absolute hell. Prices are high, clubs aren’t interested in negotiating and it can be very, very tough to strike a deal.
A few EPL clubs nailed it; a few got it horribly wrong. Here’s our verdict:
Brendan Rodgers entered January with clear needs in defence.
Centre-back is well covered and he was able to lend Tiago Ilori to Granada, but right-back and left-back were both in dire straits. Glen Johnson has been performing extremely poorly and has now been dropped from the squad with an unspecified injury, while Jose Enrique is a long-term absence from the XI.
That leaves a club desperately trying to finish inside the top four with a collection of full-backs including Aly Cissokho, Martin Kelly (recently returned from injury) and Jon Flanagan.
So what did Rodgers do? Invest all his time, and what was perceived to be his budget, in a deadline day chase for winger Yevgen Konoplyanka. The deal collapsed, and the club signed absolutely no one.
Fulham have lost four in a row, five of their last six and stand embroiled in a tense relegation mixer.
Clubs have been in this position before and done very little about it, but credit to Shahid Kahn: he’s put his money where his mouth is and given Rene Meulensteen every tool possible to stay up.
Kostas Mitroglou signed for £13 million, Lewis Holtby and William Kvist arrived on loan and two Manchester United youngsters—who worked with Rene before—joined the cause.
These are signings that a club like Southampton would welcome with open arms; they’re ambitious, statement-making acquisitions.
If the Cottagers still go down they can sell Mitroglou—it could well be a stepping stone club for him—but if they stay up it’s a stroke of genius.
Like Rodgers, Arsene Wenger entered January with one sole need: striker. What did he obtain? An injured Kim Kallstrom—a 31-year-old central midfielder—on loan for the season.
Now, central midfield has emerged as an issue given the injury struggles Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey have had over the past two months, but Kallstrom’s back injury showed up on the medical and the Gunners OK’d the deal regardless.
The club will continue with Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Nicklas Bendtner up front and head into a manic fixture list that could make or break the entire season.
But they needed a body—anybody—to come in and help. It didn’t have to be Julian Draxler (who, for the record, would need retraining to play as a striker for Arsenal anyway), it just needed to be a man capable of sharing the load.
What Roberto Martinez has managed to do with Everton this season is fantastic, and it was nice to see him ace the January transfer window too.
They didn’t make any blockbuster moves so you may be wondering exactly how they can be classed as winners, but the fact that Martinez went about his business quietly is exactly what the club needed.
Lacina Traore was signed on loan to cover Romelu Lukaku, Aiden McGeady was added as a winger for a measly fee and Leighton Baines signed a new four-year deal.
In a nutshell, the Toffees didn’t rock the boat, kept their best players, located cover in a frugal manner and drastically enhanced their chances of claiming fourth spot.