The January transfer window – a mad month of frantic activity as clubs seek reinforcements to push on towards the championship title, Champions League qualification, or to avoid relegation. It’s renowned as a difficult time to make meaningful signings, but here are ten of the most successful and memorable as selected by Vernons.
Ajax to Liverpool, January 2011
January 2011 saw a striker merry-go-round at Anfield, with Fernando Torres leaving for Chelsea and Liverpool signing replacements in Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez. No question who was the better acquisition – despite his various controversies, Suarez was a revelation for the Reds before leaving in a monster £75m deal to Barcelona.
Spartak Moscow to Manchester United, January 2006
United’s once impressive defence was in need of an overhaul during the 2005-2006 season, so manager Sir Alex Ferguson went shopping. He signed both Vidic and Patrice Evra. Both became key members of his back four but it was Vidic, who formed a great partnership with Rio Ferdinand, who will be remembered as one of the best centre-backs of the Premier League.
Real Sociedad to Everton, January 2005
A really cute signing, Arteta arrived at Everton initially on loan. The cultured Spanish midfielder added a touch of class to David Moyes’ side, helping the club to a fourth-place finish and a place in the Champions League qualifiers. The move was made permanent for just £2m; Arteta moved to Arsenal for £10m in August 2011.
Bordeaux to Birmingham, January 2003
The French striker answered a desperate SOS call at exactly the right time when he arrived at the Blues. Birmingham were battling relegation and Dugarry’s five goals in the last six games of the season kept the club up. He signed permanently the following summer but never recaptured his early form.
Lazio to QPR, January 2012
Cisse was a deadline day signing for Rangers and made an explosive impact.
The striker was sent off twice but also scored six goals in eight matches and QPR escaped relegation by a point.
Spurs to Portsmouth, January 2006
Mendes joined troubled Pompey along with fellow Spurs players Sean Davies and Noe Pamarot but was the most prominent of the trio. The midfielder scored three goals – one of them an injury-time thunderbolt against Manchester City in a 2-1 win – and Portsmouth stayed up, finishing 17th.
Sunderland to Villa, January 2011
At £18m, this was a big fee but with Villa stumbling towards the drop it was a calculated investment: Bent was at the top of his game at the time and scored nine goals in 16 games. Villa eventually finished in a rather comfortable ninth place, driven there by the striker’s impressive return.
New England Revolution to Fulham, January 2007
There can be few more successful and sustainable signings in any January transfer window than that of Clint Dempsey. The USA midfielder joined Fulham in 2007 for £2m and spent five a half years with the club, scoring 50 league goals during that time. His contribution was immediate – his winner against Liverpool in May ensured the club avoided relegation.
Chelsea to Bolton, January 2011
In January 2011, Sturridge was a promising if raw player barely getting any game time at Chelsea. The striker was signed on loan by Bolton, scrapping at the other end of the league table, and he responded by scoring eight goals in 12 appearances. Bolton stayed up, comfortably, and Sturridge had announced himself emphatically.
Watford to Villa, January 2007
Eyebrows were raised when Martin O’Neill paid a shade under £10m for a player with half a season of Premier League football under his belt but the winger was in sparkling form through his time in the Midlands – arguably the peak of his career. Villa more or less doubled their money, too, when Young left to join for Manchester United for £18m in 2011.