After a frantic month of buying and selling, the transfer window slammed shut at 11pm last night, and although it wasn’t the most exciting month, as usual I’ve written my top five signings made by Premier League clubs, who were all looking to add some quality to their squads in attempts to improve their season.
5. Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur to Everton – loan)
He might not look thrilled to have joined, but this is a move Aaron Lennon insists he is very happy with, as he looks to gain an opportunity to play football more regularly.
This season he has made just 17 appearances for Tottenham, with almost half of those coming in cup competitions. In his 10 years at White Hart Lane, scored 30 goals in 365 games as well as being called up 21 times for England.
Hull, Stoke and QPR all wanted Lennon on transfer deadline day too but he turned them down in favour of Everton. The Toffees need an attacking spark to kick start their season and someone who can provide Romelu Lukaku with good service and the 27 year old fits both of these criteria.
Roberto Martinez: “We all know what Aaron will bring to our squad with his experience and know-how, his involvement with England in two World Cups and the landmarks he has set in the Premier League.”
4. Wilfried Bony (Swansea to Manchester City – £28 million)
The first big deal of the window saw Wilfried Bony switch Swansea for Manchester City after scoring nine goals in 22 appearances this season.
The Ivory Coast international, 26, joined Swansea for a club-record £12 million from Vitesse Arnhem in 2013 and was the Premier League’s top scorer in 2014 with 20 goals.
As I write, Bony is currently at the African Cup of Nations, but when he returns, he will want to prove the doubters wrong who suggest that Manuel Pellegrini has too many strikers in his squad already. I feel though, Bony is the one type of striker City don’t have – a powerhouse. Him and Aguero could be deadly together.
Manuel Pellegrini: “He is very difficult to mark because he is so strong. He is an intelligent footballer who has skill and power. His goals record has been excellent since he came to England. He adapted very quickly to the game here and I think he will settle in at City quickly.”
3. Eljero Elia (Werder Bremen to Southampton – loan)
Another on loan winger, Eljero Elia is the first name on my list to have actually featured for his new club. After the deal was agreed in December, since joining up with Southampton Elia has made three appearances.
The Dutchman was quick to get on the scoresheet and bagged both goals in the Saints’ 2-1 win over Newcastle.
The 27 year old struggled to fulfil his early promise (he was named Dutch Football Talent of the Year in 2009) during subsequent moves to Hamburg and Juventus but has enjoyed more stability at Werder Bremen, where he made 33 league appearances last season. If the loan spell goes successfully, it is highly likely that Elia will move to St. Mary’s on a permanent basis in the summer.
Ronald Koeman: “He was a Dutch international, he had not such a good period in Germany but I believe in the qualities of the player. He is a wing player and we normally play with both a right winger and a left winger. We also like in our style of playing fast people who can play one against one with quality.”
2. Jermain Defoe (Toronto to Sunderland – undisclosed)
Just a year after leaving England to play for FC Toronto in the MLS, Jermain Defoe has returned to the Premier League in order to help Sunderland’s relegation battle, which is need of goals, something which the striker always provides.
Defoe, capped 55 times by England, is 14th on the list of all-time Premier League goalscorers, with 124 (now 125) from his time with Spurs, West Ham and Portsmouth.
After making his debut against former club Tottenham, the 32 year old bagged his first Black Cats goal against Burnley at the weekend. If he carries on in this matter, Gus Poyet (who has played alongside Defoe in the past) and his team will comfortably survive.
Gus Poyet: “I am thrilled that Jermain is a Sunderland player. I know all about his attributes and his qualities first-hand and his exceptional goal-scoring record speaks for itself. He has something different, something special.”
1. Juan Cuadrado (Fiorientina to Chelsea – £27 million)
Following days of speculation, Juan Cuadrado was finally announced as a Chelsea player on deadline day, signing from Fiorientina with Mohamed Salah going the other way on loan.
The winger played in Italy for five and a half years, initially joining Udinese from Medellin in his homeland in 2009. After a loan spell at Lecce, he moved to Fiorentina in 2012 and scored 20 goals in 85 Serie A appearances for the Florence side.
It was clear that if Jose Mourinho was going to sign anyone in the window, it was going to be a top class player, and Cuadrado, who has five goals in 37 Colombia appearances, certainly adds something special for the Blues as they pursue the Premier League title.
Juan Cuadrado: “I am very happy and thankful for this opportunity I’ve been given. This is a great club and honestly it is like a dream to join the Chelsea family and to know that the manager believes in me. I’m happy.”