As ever, it’s time for me to countdown my top five transfer moves from last month, but first let’s take a look at the stats.
In the Premier League, 18 of the 20 clubs dipped into the transfer market, with Aston Villa and Manchester United the only ones not to splash any cash. Norwich City were the busiest, capturing seven new players, whilst Watford were the busiest on deadline day, signing two players on a relatively quiet final 24 hours in the English top flight.
It was Newcastle United who spent the most in the division, paying out £28.5 million on three players across the month (plus one loan signing). The most expensive arrival of the window was Gianelli Imbula, who arrived at Stoke City for £18.3 million from Porto.
In total, a five year high £175 million was spent in the Premier League, taking the season’s total to £1.045bn – the first time the one billion barrier has been broken. It also massively beats spending in other European leagues in January – the closest spenders were Serie A clubs who spent around £50 million in total.
Manchester United, West Ham United, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea all made profit last month. The Blues made the most – selling Ramires for £25 million and bringing in Matt Miazga for £3.5 million.
As I say every time, although usually these are the most expensive moves, the top five is not in order of cost, it is in order how how good a signing the player is, regardless of money. Furthermore, I am not including loan moves, meaning that the likes of Alexandre Pato and Juan Iturbe don’t qualify.
5. Oumar Niasse – Lokomotiv Moscow to Everton (£13.5 million)
After selling Steven Naismith to Norwich City midway through January, Everton left it until deadline day to sign his replacement, who might arguably be better than the Scotsman.
I’m not going to proclaim to know much about the Toffees’ new signing Oumar Niasse, but 13 goals in 23 games for Lokomotiv Moscow this season, who are currently third in the Russian league, certainly isn’t a bad record. Furthermore, it’s quite a coup for Everton, as the Senegalese international was attracting further interest from Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
He’ll need to get up to full fitness as he hasn’t placed since December 10th, but when he does he’ll provide competition for Romelu Lukaku, who he could then replace in the starting XI in the summer if the Belgian moves on to bigger things.
4. Benik Afobe – Wolves to Bournemouth (£10 million)
Benik Afobe never quite made the cut at Arsenal, and, via six loan moves, ended up at Wolverhampton Wanderers last January. One year and 23 goals on, and the 22 year old will once again get his chance in the Premier League. A chance he very much deserves.
The striker has shown that he has undoubted quality in the Championship, but with Wolves 11th in the table at the start of the month, Afobe was always going to attract interest from those in superior positions. When Bournemouth came in with £10 million, it was very hard for Kenny Jackett to turn down.
It’s a great signing for the Cherries, who lost striker Callum Wilson and winger Max Gradel to long-term injuries earlier this season. Afobe has made an excellent start to his career on the South Coast, scoring two goals in his first three games for Eddie Howe’s side. The fee was relatively high for a Championship striker, but if his goals help keep Bournemouth up, then it’s money very much well spent.
*EDIT: As I am writing, Afobe has just scored against Crystal Palace!*
3. Andros Townsend – Tottenham Hotspur to Newcastle United (£12 million)
Another player with a point to prove in the top flight is Andros Townsend, who is looking to get his career back on track after joining Newcastle United last month.
The winger made just three substitute appearances in the Premier League for Tottenham this season and was dropped for a Europa League match in November after a row with Spurs’ fitness coach. Despite this, there’s no doubt that Townsend has a lot of ability and could be crucial for Newcastle in their battle against relegation.
The 24 year old is quite inconsistent, but that may have something to do with the fact that he has had nine loan moves in his career. If given a decent run in the Magpies team, then we can really see what he can do. After all, he has three goals in 10 England caps which isn’t a bad record for a winger.
2. Gianelli Imbula – Porto to Stoke City (£18.3 million)
I come to the biggest deal of the window and also one of the last, with Stoke City snapping up Gianelli Imbula for a club record fee of £18.3 million late on deadline day.
He joins a Potters side already brimming with quality such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Bojan, but the Frenchman is more of a defensive player to compliment that attacking talent. He only joined Porto from Marseille last summer, but found his opportunities hard to come by, despite being one of the most highly rated young talents in Europe.
For the 23 year old to leave a side in European competition for a team currently ninth in the Premier League is quite a statement, especially as he was previously linked with Chelsea and Arsenal. Imbula is compared frequently to former Blues midfielder Claude Makelele, which is high praise indeed.
1. Charlie Austin – QPR to Southampton (£4 million)
I was surprised that Charlie Austin didn’t leave QPR last summer following their relegation to the Championship, but after he stayed and scored 10 goals in 16 second tier games in the first half of the season, there was no way that the London club were keeping hold of their main man in January.
What I liked about this transfer is that is was very much unlike most modern transfers. There was little/no speculation with the deal announced quickly and the fee actually being revealed rather than ‘undisclosed’. At £4 million, I think Southampton have got themselves an absolute bargain, as Austin got 18 Premier League goals last season.
Considering my team Reading got £3 million for Nick Blackman who had only started performing this season, it’s an excellent deal. Sorry, I had to get the Royals in there somewhere!
West Ham said that they didn’t want to sign the 26 year as he is an ‘injury risk’, but if he continues to score like he did on his debut to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, I’m sure the Saints won’t be complaining. For his quality, track record, the price and nature of the deal, Austin’s move to the South Coast is by far my number one from January.
What were your top five moves from last month? Maybe it was a completely different five to my choices? Let me know in the comments below!