The January Transfer Window: A month in the football calendar in which fire sales and panic buys are all secretly enjoyed by fans in amongst hoping that there club comes out on top by securing the signature of that goal scoring or creative gem rarely found at this time of the year. This is typified by the sheer euphoria of deadline day. A day that has increased in significance over the past couple of years in which fans across the country hammer various forms of media in a hope they’ve sufficiently bolstered their squad to reach their end of season target, whatever that may be. Here I have highlighted my top 10 Premier League January transfers. Various factors come into consideration with regards to my final decision, which surprisingly come from a shortlist I made of 35 (which I was not expecting). So, here they are:
After signing on a free from D.C United in January 2005, Ryan Nelsen was integral in turning Blackburn’s back four into one of the tightest in the Premier League.
Further success followed for Nelsen and Blackburn as they qualified for the UEFA cup in 2006, and reached the FA Cup semi-final twelve months later.
However, injuries over the past year have dogged the ex-captain of helping Blackburn fight relegation and he has now moved on to Spurs in a bid to re-ignite his career.
Easily one of the most under-rated defenders in Premier League history, Alvaro Arbeloa was virtually unknown to most in England following his £2.5 million switch from Deportivo La Coruna in 2007.
After stifling Lionel Messi in his full debut for the Reds, Arbeloa progressed to appear in a Champions League final and played regularly in a team consistently in the top four, culminating in a title challenge in the 2008-09 season. International success also beckoned for Arbeloa, as he was part of the Euro 2008 winning squad.
The signing of Glen Johnson in the close season of 2009 led to much speculation that Arbeloa would move on and in July 2009 he signed a five-year contract with his former club, Real Madrid.
After being courted by the majority of the Premier League’s elite, it was Tottenham who snapped up Dawson for a fee of £4 million on January 2005. Dawson has been a rock at the back for Spurs, undertaking the role of team captain in the process, due to Ledley King’s injury problems.
Consistent top-class performances earned Dawson an England call-up, which he took full advantage of, and he will now be firmly in the thoughts of Fabio Capello for Euro 2012.
Dawson is nearing a return to fill fitness and will be a massive boost in Tottenham’s quest to prove they are side that can compete for the Premier League title.
Brede Hangeland joined Fulham in a bargain £2.5m deal from Copenhagen in 2008 and has built a strong reputation as an uncompromising and talented stopper ever since.
One of the most consistent defenders in the Premier League, the Norway captain has played a key role in keeping the Cottagers in the top flight and progress to a status of regular mid-table finishers.
Hangeland was also instrumental in Fulham’s run to the Europa League final, where they eventually lost out to Atletico Madrid.
Daniel Agger joined Liverpool from Brondby in 2006 for £5.8 million and has developed an intelligent, ball playing style in his 6 years so far in England.
Despite a few injury problems, the Dane formed a solid partnership with the consistent Jamie Carragher, which led the reds to a Champions League final in 2007, and 2nd place Premier League finish in 2009.
It has perhaps this season in which Agger has been most impressive. He is now the leader of a back four that has the joint 2nd best defensive record, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if his name pops up on the PFA Team of the Year list at the end of season. With Liverpool in the Carling Cup final and progressing in the FA Cup, Agger will have his eye on adding more silverware to his modest collection gained since his time at Anfield.
The sensational Uruguayan has hit the ground running since his £23 million switch from Ajax last January. Frighteningly talented with the ball at his feet, Suarez is gaining a reputation as one of the world biggest stars.
His form in his first year has been the main catalyst for the Reds as they look to win back a top-four spot. He’s matched his club form on the international stage, as he was influential in Uruguay capturing the Copa America in 2011 adding to their impressive fourth place finish at the 2010 World Cup.
Like Agger, Suarez will have his eyes firmly on winning silverware this season whilst attempting to help salvage a top four spot for Liverpool. If Suarez can now stay clear of any further on-field discrepancies, and let his football do the talking, the sky is the limit.
Making your debut in the Manchester derby is never going to be an easy task as proved by Evra as he was substituted at half-time. However, the Frenchman eventually settled, becoming an uncompromising, world-class full back in the process.
He has gone from strength to strength, winning the League Cup, Champions League and four Premier League titles, and often captaining the Red Devils.
After committing his future to United amid interest from Real Madrid last season, the left-back spot looks to be in safe hands for some time to come.
3. Clint Dempsey: New England Revolution to Fulham, £2m
So Clint Dempsey doesn’t have the medals to show for his time in England, but the USA international has one been a consistent threat to all back fours since his move from New England Revolution in 2007.
Constantly weighing in with his fair share of goals and assists, Dempsey has been vital in Fulham’s progression in the Premier League. He too, like Hangeland, was key in Fulham’s run to the Europa League final in 2010. Pretty impressive considering he cost a measly £2 million.
Dempsey has been impressive once again this season, scoring 10 goals in 23 PL appearances. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before a top European club makes a serious move for the Texan.
Initially on a six-month loan deal, Mikel Arteta was an utter revelation at Goodison Park. Always regarded as a huge talent, stints at Barcelona and Rangers never quite worked out for the Spaniard, until he settled on Merseyside, developing into a midfield maestro.
Once signed on a permanent deal for around £2.5 million, Arteta was at the forefront of an Everton side which regularly finished in the top six and were finalists in the 2009 FA Cup.
In the summer of 2011, Arsenal offered the surprisingly uncapped Spaniard one last crack at the ‘big time’. For all of his excellent work at Everton, it would be harsh if Arteta didn’t end up with some silverware to show for his time in the Premier League.
Similar to Evra, Nemanja Vidic’s Manchester United career got off to a shaky start when the pair joined in January 2006. Again, like Evra, Vidic settled and has earned the reputation of a commanding, world-class centre- back.
Forming in my opinion, the best defensive partnership in Premier League history with Rio Ferdinand, Vidic has racked up an impressive 13 trophies in his time with Manchester United. Not the worst signing in the world for just £7 million.
Recent Injuries and the odd bad game heavily pin-pointed by the media shouldn’t discredit what a signing he has been, and in my opinion, the best since the January transfer window system has been brought into compulsory effect.
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