It has become a football cliché that January is a terrible time for football teams to make transfers.
Inflated price-tags are mooted and questions about why rival teams willing are raised, while the players in question at parachuted in mid-season and asked to settle quickly. Not idea, it would seem.
Although there are many examples of deals going array *cough* Fernando Torres *cough* there have been more than a few decent deals picked up after Christmas in years gone by.
So, with teams up and down the Premier League likely to be pondering that late move to add a goalscorer, a midfielder, a centre-back or even a goalie to their ranks, here is some inspiration…
Moving from Spartak Moscow in January 2006 for £7m, Vidic would overcome a difficult start at United to become a fan favourite and one of the greatest defenders to ever play in the Premier League. He would go on to win five Premier League titles, the Champions League and three League Cups at Man United, which were all complemented by a myriad of personal accolades including; the Manchester United captaincy, being placed in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year four times and winning Premier League Player of the Season twice (2008-09 and 2010-11). For what has become a minor sum in today’s transfer climate, Vidic will not only go down as one of January’s best deals but also as one of the best bargains ever.
One of the most controversial and talented footballers to have ever graced the Premier League. When he moved from Ajax in 2011 for £22.8 million, Luis Suarez was the minor of two signings (Andy Carroll also arrived on Merseyside for £35m) and did not have a mountain of expectations to climb. Averaging over a goal a game during his time at Liverpool and elevating them to a second place finish in 2013/14, Suarez gave his all during his time at Liverpool despite the lack of silverware (Only winning one League Cup). Obviously controversy followed Suarez throughout his time in the Premier League, but his talent and value for money is undeniable. The tidy £52.2 million profit Liverpool made in selling him to Barcelona is another arrow in this deal’s quiver.
Despite having come from relative obscurity and taking a short while to find his shooting boots, Clint Dempsey is one of the primary reasons Fulham stayed in the Premier League between 2006 and 2013 and reached the Europa League Final. For a meagre £2m, Dempsey would come into the league as an unknown and would be linked to England’s top teams before leaving. Fulham may not have made a massive profit on Dempsey but he helped keep the team afloat for six years and took them to their highest point in recent history.
A man more known among English fans for his wacky haircuts than his goalscoring exploits, Djibril Cisse’s stint at QPR began with two red cards in his first five games and ended with him being released. Struggling to see the positives of this former Sunderland and Liverpool man’s move from Lazio for £4m to Loftus Road? Despite controversy and a disappointing second season, Cisse’s form in the second half of the 2010/11 season saved QPR from relegation – his six goals in eight games proved crucial to QPR’s one-point survival story. Such form is what many managers struggling with the threat of relegation dream of and his short but sweet QPR fairy tale is one relegation strugglers will have in mind when making their January purchases.
Finally, we move abroad for a great example of January success. Last season we saw Rakitic score the opening goal in the Champions League Final and he is now heralded as one of Europe’s finest creative players. This makes all the harder to believe that he was once worth £1.9m. However, that is the exact fee Sevilla paid to bring him to Andalusia from Schalke 04. The Croatian’s move in 2011 would be the platform for him to go on to lead Sevilla to a Europa League win and himself being nominated for the La Liga Midfielder of the Year award. For a midfielder, his return of 27 league goals in 117 games is no mean feat, but it was his ability to create chances for others that fuelled his £13m move to Barcelona in 2014. His three years at Sevilla serves as the perfect portfolio to prove how a hidden gem can be found