The craziness and frenzy that surround the entire Europe, apart from the usual snow during the month of January, in the name of transfer window had came to an end at the midnight of 31st January. Although, to be precise, this window only gains momentum in the last 7 to 10 days. Being aware that getting players won’t be easy, clubs try to procure suitable deals to plug loopholes in their team for the remaining season. Looking across the different leagues, Riddhi Ray Chaudhuri at Goalden Times points out the major movements happened in the last month.
THE MOVERS AND SHAKERS:
Manchester United: Undoubtedly the transfer that grabbed the headlines was Manchester United’s capture of Juan Mata from their fierce rival Chelsea for a club-record fee of £ 37.1 million. It is not very common to see a club selling one of their best players to their direct rival. Although Mata’s future became untenable under Jose Mourinho, still the selling of a player of Mata’s calibre has raised eyebrows. On the other hand, it is a huge shot in the arm for David Moyes and his side to revive their season that is becoming increasingly difficult. If Moyes can device a system to accommodate the trio of Wayne Rooney-Robin van Persie-Juan Mata, it will propel United to their battle for a ‘top-four finish’.
Chelsea: Chelsea’s decision to sell Mata was staggering to say the least. Probably due to their unwavering trust in Jose Mourinho, Chelsea fans have accepted such a decision without much rancor. Given Mata was a fan favourite, similar decision by any other manager would have certainly raised a furore among Chelsea faithfuls. Along with that, they also let Kevin De Bruyne move to Wolfsburg for £ 17 million. But Jose Mourinho has played his cards very well; he used the money from Mata and De Bruyne’s sell to strengthen his squad. With the signing of Nemanja Matic from Benfica, Mourinho has rectified the central midfield of his team which was probably the achilles heel till now. Along with the signings of talented winger Mohamed Salah from FC Basel and centre-back Kurt Zouma from Saint-Etienne, Chelsea is now only a quality striker away from building a world-class squad.
OTHER SIGNIFICANT TRANSFERS:
Yohan Cabaye has ended his time at the Tyneside and returned to his country after signing for Paris Saint-Germain. This move will provide him the next level in his career where he will get to test himself at the highest level of club football in the UCL. The toon fans will remember Cabaye fondly as their midfield talisman. This move is going to be significant for the 27-year-old midfielder especially with the World Cup coming up. Cabaye is not going to walk into PSG’s midfield, rather he has to prove himself against the likes of Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi to get his chance.
Dimitar Berbatov has moved to Monaco for the rest of the season. With their frontman Radamel Falcao out for the season and Lacina Traore out on loan, Claudio Ranieri’s team is in serious need of some firepower upfront. After spending almost a decade in the BPL, this will be the final frontier for the Bulgarian and he will have his task cut out to boost Monaco’s chances of securing a spot in UCL.
The last day of the transfer window didn’t turn out to be like that of the summer for the Gooners. Rather in an anti-climax, Arsene Wenger concluded his business with only the loan signing of 31-year-old Swede Kim Kallstrom from Spartak Moscow. So far it is not foreseen that the Emirates faithful will see a lot of Kallstrom unless some drastic changes occur. He will remain way behind in pecking order for a midfield spot. Unfortunately, Kallstrom suffered an injury in his very first session with Arsenal. There are rumours that he was carrying an injury during his medicals.thus undermining Wenger’s motive behind this signing.
Clarence Seedorf has begun the rebuilding work of AC Milan with the capture of the trio of Keisuke Honda, Michael Essien and Adel Taarabt. How much Seedorf can revitalize Essien who seems to have passed his prime remains to be seen. Same goes for the erratic yet talented duo of Honda and Taarabt.
After four successful seasons with Lazio, Hernanes has left Rome for Inter Milan. This is going to be very significant for both Hernanes and the Nerazzuri. Walter Mazzarri will welcome Hernanes in his midfield who might turn out to be the necessary force for Inter’s quest for a UCL spot. On the other hand, with Paulinho not enjoying the best of the season in Tottenham colours, this will be Hernanes’ golden chance to stake his claim in Brazil’s starting 11 in June.
Pablo Osvaldo will be relieved to end his dreadful stint in England and return to Italy in the colours of Juventus. However it is going to be an uphill task for Osvlado to outperform Carlos Tevez, Fernando Llorente, Mirko Vucinic and Fabio Quagliarella to get regular chance in Conte’s first 11. Spending time on bench won’t be ideal to boost his chances in Ceasare Prandelli’s World Cup Squad.
Rafael Benitez’s Napoli has signed the highly impressive Jorginho from Hellas Verona. The dynamic Brazilian was one of the top performers in the first half on the season. He can prove to be the missing piece in Napoli’s midfield jigsaw.
MLS once again flexed their economic muscle with the double capture of Jermain Defoe from Tottenham and Michael Bradley from AS Roma. Both of them have signed for Toronto FC. From the players’ perspective, it is difficult to see anything other than money to be the motivation behind their moves. But for MLS, these are fantastic advertisements of their fledging reputation
Fulham has surprised everyone with the signing of Konstantinos Mitroglou form Olympiakos on the last day of the window for a fee of £ 12.4 million. Mitrologlou was one of the star performers in the group stages of the UCL. What prompted the 25-year-old striker to move to Fulham is difficult to gauge. If he have waited till summer, he surely would have get a chance to move to a better club than Fulham who are having a below par season. If he can adjust to the life of Premier League, fans are in for a treat. Capture of Mitroglou and Lewis Holtby can prove to be the turning point for Fulham in their otherwise stuttering campaign.
Arguably the shrewdest piece of business in the last transfer window was the capture of Diego from Wolfsburg by Atletico Madrid. Diego has unfinished job at Vincente Calderon from his last stint and he will provide a cutting edge to Diego Simeone’swell-oiled machine. When on song, Diego is a delight for every football fan.
THE TRANSFERS THAT DID NOT HAPPEN:
Arsene Wenger was keen to add Schalke wonderkid Julian Draxler to his already impressive group of midfielders. But an injury that ruled out Draxler for about six weeks along with Schalke’s extortionate asking price has put Wenger’s pursuit on hold. It is expected that Arsenal will comeback in summer.
Liverpool’s manager Brendan Rodgers underlined in several interviews how much his squad was in need of some reinforcements. But club failed to acquire their targets of Mohamed Salah and Yevhen Konoplayanka leaving Anfield hierarchy red-faced. It is going to be a tremendous job for Rodgers to carry on his fight for a top four spot with the injury-depleted squad.
Juventus’ attempt to prize away Fredy Guarin from Inter Milan proved to be futile after the Nerazzuri fans took a strong stance against the move. Inter’s new owner Erick Thohir has to back off from the deal, which also involved Mirko Vucinic coming to Inter, fearing fans’ backlash. However the capture of Hernanes probably indicates that Inter are willing to part with Guarin when the right opportunity arises.
Manchester City wanted to sign Porto duo of Fernando Reges and Mangala on the very last day of transfer window. However, Porto didn’t want to part company with these two vital members of their squad in the mid-season which could have proved to be debilitating. Rumours are that Manchester United also wants Mangala as replacement for Rio Ferdinand next summer. It can be one of the long drawn battle between the neighbours come next summer