The January Transfer Window – The Most Important Yet?
4th November 2013
Soon it will be time to do it all over again; gossip columns, transfer talk and of course Jim White and his yellow tie will welcome in the New Year and the January transfer window. There is somewhat an added feeling of anticipation surrounding this window however, as the Premier League title race is still wide open and with unsettled world-class talent across Europe potentially coming onto on the market, there might be no better time to splash the cash. The summer saw high profile acquisitions at Manchester City and Tottenham, yet problems still yet to be addressed at Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea. As a result this piece will focus on these teams to establish quite how influential this window could be for them and how this might determine who lifts the title in May.
David Moyes’ first Christmas as Manchester United manager could easily see him still stuck outside the top four after an embarrassing summer of missing out on key names such as Cesc Fabregas and Andre Herrera. Having paid over the odds for the so far un-inspiring Marouane Fellaini, the January transfer window would be the perfect time for the board to prove their economical standing and bring in a marquee signing, so typical of the Fergusson era. Although it seems as if Baines’ transfer could be all but secured with Everton searching the market for available left-backs, it would take a more creative presence in midfield to truly kick-start their season. Players such as Ozil however do not come cheap and are rarely ever available, let alone in January, thus it might come to pass that Moyes will have to accomplish what came so naturally to him at Everton, and do the best with what he’s got.
The impact of world class talent on a dressing room is no more evident than at the Emirates and it seems like the hottest question at the moment is whether Arsenal can win the title? And more often than not, the common reaction is no, on the grounds of squad depth and striking options. However, with one of the best number 10s in the world in Ozil and quite possibly the most in-form midfielder in Europe in Ramsey, a couple of subtle multi-million pound acquisitions could certainly boost momentum once more, but this time all the way to the top. Poor starts have prevented Arsene Wenger from competing for the championship for three years now, yet this has not occurred this season and sitting near the top of the table, with a suggested £42million to spend certainly isn’t the worst position to be in at Christmas. As has been well documented, an injury to lone striker Oliver Giroud, could be devastating, but with Chamberlain, Walcott and Podolski all to return from the sidelines and an apparently unsettled Karim Benzema wanting away at Madrid; this window could be even more defining than the last for Wenger, if executed correctly.
Chelsea have been put on red alert with Borussia Dortmund looking to sell Robert Lewandowski for as little as £7million to avoid title rivals Bayern Munich snapping him up for free in the summer. The blue’s proverbial striking problem that has lasted almost 3 seasons now, but it could be that for once, the solution exists at a cut price. Mourinho’s patience with Torres’ rollercoaster form will no doubt wear thin and with Ba and Eto’o looking far from first choice frontmen, the Special One will certainly be in the market for a special striker of his own. Lukaku’s loan move to Everton baffled many, yet his improved return in the summer will no doubt mean an exit for one of the aforementioned trio, and along with a number 9 with half a season of experience, Mourinho may have one eye on next season if this one doesn’t necessarily go to plan.
Often seen by many as the subordinate transfer window, this January could be the most influential, in terms of the top, that the Premier League has ever seen. Very rarely by the half-way point of the season are so many teams still in with the chance of winning the title and with visible areas for improvement evident, the purchase of world class talent could certainly be a key catalyst for success.