With the January transfer window now underway, managers and boardrooms alike will be clamouring to add much needed reinforcements to their squads.A means to quell the unpredictability of an open-ended, season-long transfer squabble, the January transfer window was ushered in in the 2003/04 season with a pair of successful acquisitions from the loan market.
Christophe Dugarry moved temporarily from Bordeaux to Birmingham, whilst America’s Brian McBride moved from the MLS and Columbus Crew to supplement Everton’s squad. Both players proved great short-term successes at their respective clubs, Dugarry scoring five goals in his first four league games for Birmingham and McBride scoring four in his eight appearances for Everton.The loan market has since proved an effective way to add recruits to a diminished squad at a time when the market is considered at its most unstable.
Mikel Arteta’s move from Real Sociedad to Everton in 2005 was later engineered into a permanent move due to the Spaniard’s value to David Moyes’ squad. Elsewhere Jack Wilshere (2010) and Daniel Sturridge (2011) enjoyed spells at Bolton Wanderers; perhaps the most successful examples of the loan system at work in the Premier League.Many of today’s most renowned defensive warriors made their name in the Premier League with moves in the January window. Both Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic and Liverpool’s Daniel Agger made the move from abroad in 2006, going on to captain their respective clubs. Ryan Shawcross’ move from the depths of the Manchester United reserves to become the lynchpin within Stoke City’s rock-solid defence has solidified his £1m move as one of the bargains of the window. Fellow England defender Gary Cahill has moved twice in January, from Aston Villa to Bolton in 2008, then to Chelsea in 2012.
The short time afforded during the transfer window often leads to clubs making the worst business. Famously, Liverpool’s Fernando Torres moved to Chelsea for £50m in 2011 and, subsequently, Newcastle’s Andy Carroll joined the Anfield club for £35m. Both signings were undisputed failures. The striker theme continues as Afonso Alves moved to Middlesborough in 2008 for £12.7m. The move failed miserably after a bright start, with a lowly scoring rate of four goals in 31 games.
Most recently centre back Chris Samba joined QPR in 2013 from Russian club Anzhi, and his considerable lack of fitness contributed hugely to the club’s relegation.Conversely, the January transfer window has brought some of the league’s best players. Manchester City cemented their rise to the top of English football with two understated January signings: Nigel De Jong in 2009 and Patrick Vieira in 2010. Manchester United signed Patrice Evra for £5.5m in 2006, the Frenchman becoming an important cog in Sir Alex Ferguson’s title-chasing engine Finally, given his unstoppable form since joining Liverpool in 2011, Luis Suarez can comfortably consider himself amongst the greatest January transfers to date.