Sports Journalist at FST, Gareth qualified as a journalist after graduating from university and spent over a decade as a freelance broadcast journalist, commentator and tipster before joining FST. Now living in Manchester, he is a long suffering Bolton Wanderers fan who also enjoys boxing, the NBA, tennis and rugby league.
The January transfer window is done and dusted and there were some huge deals done before the deadline passed.
Philippe Coutinho and Kieran Trippier are back in the Premier League, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s time at Arsenal came to an end.
I’ve had a run through of who I think were the winners and losers in the January transfer window, including what it could mean at different ends of the table.
Transfer Window Winners
Aston Villa backed new boss Steven Gerrard in the January window and they managed to make some eye-catching signings. Picking up Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona with the option to buy was the clear highlight, indeed that may well prove to be the deal of the window if he can get anywhere near the kinds of performances he was putting in for Liverpool in his previous stint in England, while the signing of Lucas Digne from Everton also looks a shrewd move.
Newcastle splashed out in their first transfer window since their takeover early this season and made an early statement of intent with the signing of England international Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid. The Magpies attempted to spend their way out of trouble after a terrible start to the season and the move may pay off, as the captures of proven Premier League defenders like Trippier, Matt Targett and Dan Burn should make them more resolute.
They spent the most money on Brazil international Bruno Guimaraes, a £40million buy from Lyon, and apparently beat off competition from Arsenal, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain – but the signing of Chris Wood from Burnley may be their best bit of business.
Newcastle paid Burnley a reported £25million to bring in the New Zealand international, and taking away a key man from a direct rival in the relegation fight could prove to be an incredibly smart move by the time May rolls around.
Transfer window Losers
Arsenal had a bit of a clear out in January but I can’t help but feel it leaves them a little short on options for the remainder of the campaign. The Gunners moved on a few fringe men, sent out a host of players on loan and allowed out-of-favour forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to leave as a free agent for Barcelona.
Clearly, there was no way back for Aubameyang under Mikel Arteta and he hadn’t played since early December anyway but the fact Arsenal let him go without signing any kind of replacement looks a risky decision given they are still well placed to secure a top four finish.
The Gunners sit sixth in the table but are just two points adrift of Manchester United in fourth with a game in hand. The North London outfit have drifted a bit in the top four finish market and are behind both United and Spurs, and that may in part be due to the fact they allowed Aubameyang to move on without bringing in a new forward.
Burnley saw Wood leave for Newcastle and signed Dutchman Wout Weghorst as a replacement from Germany’s Wolfsburg. Weghorst is a similar type of forward to Wood and looks a like-for-like replacement – but it may take him time to adjust to his new surroundings and with the Clarets involved in the relegation scrap they really need him to hit the ground running.
I’ve questioned Burnley’s business, but at least they have tried to strengthen in January and now I’ve got to question why fellow strugglers Norwich opted not to bring in any new faces whatsoever. The only significant move at Carrow Road was the departure of Todd Cantwell, who had fallen out of favour, and the fact they didn’t add to their options looks unambitious to say the least.
The relegation battle this season is shaping up to be a four-way fight between the Canaries, Newcastle, Burnley and Watford. Another team could of course be dragged into the battle and both Everton and Leeds look vulnerable, but as it stands Norwich are in the final safe spot with just four points separating them from rock bottom Burnley. The Canaries may be 17th in the table but they are the favourites to finish bottom of the table and that is perhaps no surprise after their quiet January window.
The Clarets, Newcastle and Watford all made January moves but Norwich chose to stick with what they’ve got, despite having both the worst attack and worst defence in the league with just 13 goals scored and 45 conceded. Safety is by no means out of reach for Dean Smith’s men but their reluctance to do any deals in the January window may prove costly at the end of the campaign.
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