The nation’s love affair with the January transfer window seems to be over. This year saw no £50 million moves, no players driving to rival clubs, and no one leaning out of car windows. The pros and cons of the windows are something people can discuss at length. It can unsettle a team if their best asset is stripped from the club. It could also improve a side who, either through bad planning or injury finds themselves struggling at mid season. If we take a look at the moves happening this past month, we can get a feel for what kind of window it was.
The bulk of the activity in the Premier League was from clubs in the bottom half. The three clubs who changed manager this season, Palace, Hull and Swansea, were among the most active at bringing players in. The window has given these clubs a chance to change direction and give them the best opportunity to survive. Only at the end of the season will we see if these transfers are a success, but let’s take a look at what has happened.
Paul Clement had one of the biggest tasks to turn around Swansea City. At some points this season the Swans have looked to be out of their depth. Key losses to attack and defence over consecutive seasons have seen them slip further down the league. With Tuesdays win over Southampton, it’s now two wins in succession since the bulk of the transfers arrived. The winning goal last night was set up by debutant Luciano Narsingh. His cross to Sigurdsson sealed the points which have kept Swansea out of the relegation zone. In the previous game away at Liverpool it was Tom Carroll who turned creator for one of the goals in their 3-2 win. With last night’s addition of Jordan Ayew from Aston Villa they look to have secured another goal scoring threat. Even with the addition of Martin Olsson in defence, they will likely need to score more goals to survive this season.
Hull City’s new boss Marco Silva has seen his side suffer the other side to the transfer window. Allowing one of their best performers this season to leave to West Ham for just over ten million pounds may cost them their place in the league. The Tigers have shown some fight in the last few games. A win in mid January against Bournemouth kept them within striking distance of safety, but this was when Snodgrass was still at the club. Recent performances in the League Cup against Manchester United have shown what they are capable of, but it remains to be seen if this can be sustained.
Crystal Palace were the third team to change manager earlier this season with Sam Allardyce taking the helm. Tuesdays win against Bournemouth was the first clean sheet for the Eagles since Christmas but was still unable to lift them out of the bottom three. The game saw Palaces defence switch between a three and five man defence, stifling Bournemouth in midfield. New addition from Sunderland Patrick van Aanholt made his debut at wingback in the new system and will provide a good attacking threat throughout the season.
Correcting the lack of attacking threat was the biggest aim at Middlesbrough. Moves for both Rudy Gestede and Patrick Bamford have given them some flexibility up front. Both featured from the bench against West Brom but were unable to improve the score as the game finished 1-1. Middlesbrough’s league position will surely improve If either of these can find their scoring touch, or push Negredo to find his.
Much has been said about Sunderland and their transfer activity during this window. The main success has to be keeping leading scorer Defoe, although they would hope that preventing a possible move to West Ham would not dent his moral. Other than that they lost Patrick van Aarnholt to a relegation rival, which is a major blow, but he was never the most defensive asset to have. Only by the end of the season will we know if bringing in players familiar to Moyes will improve their league position. I fail to see how they have improved the starting XI but a clean sheet against Tottenham on Tuesday night was a start.
Tuesdays surprise victory over Arsenal saw Watford seal their first win in eight games. They have had an active window, bringing in players on loan and selling striker Ighalo to China. It was loan signing Tom Cleverley’s sideways pass to set up Kaboul deflected shot to open the scoring. Cleverly, along with the attacking threat of Niang and Zarate will hope to turn the Hornets season around and halt the slide down the table.
It will not be until the spring until we find out how much of an impact these transfers have had on the sides above. Survival is built on momentum and currently it looks to be Swansea and Crystal Palace who have turned their fortunes.