Much has been spoken of the transfers of Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll to Chelsea and Liverpool respectively and the fees they have gone for in recent days. However, for the club that wishes to bolster its squad with an extra player or two midway through the season, or for the manager that finds himself in a spot of bother with a number of keys players injured for a lengthy period, the January transfer window can, if it is played correctly, become a cheap way to add the extra player or two required while all those around you are throwing bucket loads of cash about.
Here, we look at some of the more astute signings during this season’s transfer window following its closing an hour before midnight on Monday.
Obafemi Martins was at the last minute signed by Alex McLeish’s Birmingham City on a six month loan spell from Russian side Rubin Kazan. In the 12 matches the 26 year old Nigerian has played for Kazan he has netted just twice, and maybe the Russian league side feel slightly warmer climes may be a more prosperous hunting ground for him. Although Martins has not been firing in as many goals as he would like, he still has the electric pace and trickery that Newcastle fans will remember from his time at their club between 2006 and 2009.
Premier League experience is important for a foreign signing during the transfer window, as on far too many an occasion have we seen a player move to Britain and then take half a season to find their feet. Birmingham do not have time for this as they lie just outside the relegation zone, and having missed out on the signing of Robbie Keane to relegation rivals West Ham earlier in the window, they will have known that a striker who can bring pace to an attacking line alongside Cameron Jerome is a must if they are not to lose out in the second half of the season.
A similar move, for a player with bags of Premier League experience, sees James Beattie move on loan to Blackpool from Rangers until the end of the season. The now 32 year old former England striker has made just seven appearances in the Scottish Premier League so far this season. However, like Martins, he boasts an impressive CV in the Premier League.
Having scored 90 goals in the English topflight for the likes in Southampton, Everton, and Stoke City, as well as having played his trade in the Championship with Sheffield United as well, the five times England capped player will bring just the type of experience that Ian Holloway’s side require during the second half of their first season in the Premier League.
As Kenny Miller departed for Turkey from Rangers last week, it was important for the club to add a similar type of strike as the Scottish international to their front line. In Northern Ireland’s David Healy they have found just such a player.
Northern Ireland’s record goal scorer with 35 has long found it difficult to find a club in the Premier League that he can fit into. Often referred to as to small and not strong enough to compete in one of the world toughest leagues, the 31 year old has found himself on the edge of the first team during his time at Fulham and Sunderland, although in the lower leagues for Leeds United and Preston, as well as loan moves to Ipswich and Doncaster, he has proven his ability, if it was ever in question.
Healy has departed Sunderland, for whom he has yet to make an appearance for this campaign, and has signed with Rangers for the remainder of the season where Walter Smith will hope he can act as a direct replacement for Miller.
Although all the players so far mentioned have been strikers, there have also been a number of defensive transfers during the window. While forwards are signed for their goal scoring abilities in a hope of getting a side out of a spot of bother they have found themselves in at Christmas, usually defensive signings are made either with a long term view to the future, such as when Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra joined Manchester United a few years back, or they are made due to a crisis at the back where a club find themselves in need of an extra body in defence due to injuries and suspension.
The loan of Paul Konchesky to Championship side Nottingham Forest from Liverpool, just six months after he followed now sacked Reds boss Roy Hodgson from Fulham, is just such a loan move.
Forest find themselves with a number of injury concerns in their defensive unit, and with the push for Premier League football still very much in their sights, manager Billy Davies will be happy to add an experienced and strong Premier League defender, who can fill in at left-back or centre-half if required, to his young side.
Although he may have been deemed surplus to requirements at Liverpool by new manager Kenny Dalglish, his vast experience for Charlton, West Ham, and Fulham are likely to be a huge boost to Davies’ squad.