Who did the best January transfer business in the Premier League?

There’s a few teams at the bottom of the Premier League who will hoping that their new January acquisitions will make a difference.

New blood at this time of the year can make a difference and can bring a breath of fresh life into a battle weary squad, particularly if they are the bottom team, drifting from safety.

Which makes it all the more peculiar that Aston Villa didn’t make a single signing. It does appear that the club are getting ready to drop a division and perhaps Randy Lerner is planning a spending spree to bring the team back up at the first time of asking. However, with thirteen games remaining, it isn’t all over at Villa Park. Only eight points adrift from fourth from bottom Norwich, this isn’t over.

Third from bottom Newcastle are very inconsistent, Norwich are dropping like a stone and Sunderland don’t look anywhere near safe yet either. Villa haven’t totally given up, but the lack of signings might to lead to suggestions that they have.

Whereas in the North East, it is a similarly sorry story, with both Sunderland and Newcastle in a relegation scrap, much like last season. Despite Sunderland changing manager, The Black Cats are simply unable to put any kind of run together, thought they’ll be boosted by their 2-1 home victory over Manchester United on Saturday.. The experience of Kirchhoff at the back may strengthen a weak defensive unit, but it surely isn’t enough.

Every year this team with a fabulous fanbase, as have Newcastle, lurch closer to the relegation trap door. Ambition here? To survive and not get relegated – every year. The fans deserve more.

It’s the same as The Magpies up the road. Townsend is a good player, but Shelvey’s shortcomings were there for all to see in recent matches after a sound performance on his debut. On their day, both can play and give Newcastle an edge, but they are still only part of a larger group that has more than enough ability to survive and to do more than just survive.

The money spent at St James’ Park should have been enough to see them in the top six, but the winter acquisitions of striker Seydou Doumbia, on loan from Roma, Saivet from Bordeaux, plus the aforementioned players, could prove just enough to get the team on a run and pulling clear of the bottom three. Sound buys.

Norwich are in desperate free fall and apart from Steven Naismith, there doesn’t appear to be much substance within the new group of players. Eight new faces walked through the door at Carrow Road, albeit that Matty Jarvis was already there on loan, but made permanent. Ivo Pinto has struggled in defence with Klose, and their recent stats are unimpressive to say the least.

Bamford is a short-term fix and a decent player, but the majority of buys at Norwich were players for the future – Adams and Maddison to name but two. Naismith can’t do it on his own, but he looks the best buy. No depth or much in the way of immediate we-need-it-now-type quality.

Swansea are pulling away, but their transfer window was all about a new manager. Alot of their hopes rest on Leroy Fer and Alberto Paloschi hitting the ground running as The Swans start to try to pull away from the relegation zone.

At the bottom end of the league, Bournemouth are already benefitting from the signing of Benik Afobe and his goals are starting to pay them back. Two further signings also distinguish themselves in the return of Lewis Grabban and the audacious signing of Juan Iturbe. Bournemouth have enough about them to avoid relegation and they have just strengthened their case. Good business.

Liverpool seem to make desperate signings, Arsenal are pushing for the title, but the single signing of Elneny isn’t what they needed and unlikely to get Gunners fans’ pulses running.

Palace took a gamble on Adebayor and, let’s face it, he had to turn up somewhere. He will be one of those decisions that either makes absolutely no difference or turns out to be the best bit of business over January.

It was three in and five out for Everton. Hopes are pinned on Oumar Niasse, the 25-year-old Senegalese striker who cost The Toffees a cool £13.5m. A strong, powerful striker with success in Russia, buy we’ll see if it translates here.

Southampton got a bargain in Charlie Austin, at least on the face of it. What he costs overall will tell us what kind of deal it was, but £4m must be a snip after the £15m required last summer. Stoke City pushed the boat out and spent big on Gianelli Imbula for the princely sum of £18.3m. The Baggies went for QPR’s Sandro and Alex Pritchard on loan from Spurs. Will they make a difference?

Watford continued to bring in players that no-one had ever heard of and West Ham signed one of the most promising right backs in the country in Sam Byram, and then picked up another striker in Emmanuel Emenike on loan from Fenerbahce.

When you look back over the signings, how many will turn out to be a success or make that necessary difference to avoiding the drop or pushing their club further up the league and possibly, for some, into Europe?

In truth – not many. Most of these players will no doubt disappear in a year or two and it just goes to show that the January transfer window is a difficult time to buy.