The January transfer window was littered with some exciting transfers, but a great deal of the speculation and rumour amounted to nothing. Some of the proposed moves, such as that involving Yevhen Konoplyanka and Liverpool, were hamstrung by late complications, but others never even looked like truly coming to the boil.
However, might an underwhelming January window actually point towards an exciting and engrossing summer? Have some manager’s business dealings (or lack of them) give us some clues about what to expect at the season’s end?
This article looks at what the January transfer window might teach us for the summer.
When Jose Mourinho arrived at Chelsea he, like Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo before him, was faced with the challenge of overhauling an ageing squad.
Mourinho, who recruited many of the 30-something stars who have, for so long, formed the backbone of the side, would inevitably be faced with a tricky decision—could he truly be ruthless with the men who had done so much to construct his reputation?
Despite Chelsea’s encouraging first half of the season, Mourinho appears primed to reconfigure the makeup of his squad.
Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah have been recruited and should well be major building blocks in the club’s future, while Kurt Zouma, one of the globe’s most exciting centre-backs, will arrive in the summer.
Mourinho appears committed to building a new side at Chelsea and looks keen to completely renovate the squad. Expect the major facelift to continue this summer.
A lot of big-name, big-money transfers were planned for the January transfer window, but in actual fact, few of them actually materialised.
Even though we are now entering February, Diego Costa remains at Atletico Madrid, Marco Reus remains at Dortmund and Julian Draxler didn’t make his long-awaited switch to Arsenal.
The non-moves of the January window could well make for a very exciting summer.
The World Cup must also be considered as a significant factor. The tournament provides a platform for the world’s finest to demonstrate their wares and for new stars to emerge.
The summer months should be riddled with fascinating transfer talk and a smattering of big moves.
Manchester United were responsible for one of the key moves of the window as they recruited Juan Mata from Premier League rivals Chelsea for £37.1 million.
The transfer means that the new Manchester United boss has now made one big acquisition per window, the addition of Mata following the big money move for Marouane Fellaini in the summer.
Simultaneously, Moyes has begun to remove the unnecessary components from the club; Sir Alex Ferguson’s trusted backroom staff were all offloaded during the summer, while dead wood like Fabio da Silva, Anderson and Bebe have all departed (with varying degrees of permanency).
However, does Manchester United’s recent form not indicate that Moyes’s overhaul should be happening at a far greater pace? Even despite the addition of Mata, the Red Devils were hopelessly lacklustre in defeat against Stoke City, and fans continue to lose faith in the current squad and set up.
Slow progress in the January window should mean that Moyes heads into the summer window with a ferocious desire to recruit new blood.
Mike Keegan of the Manchester Evening News indicated that a senior club source believes “three, four or maybe five” new faces are set to arrive in the summer with names like Toni Kroos, Axel Witsel and even Andres Iniesta among potential arrivals.
Of the numerous top players set to be out of contract in the summer, very few agreed to deals during the January window. Some have agreed to remain at their current club, but a large number face uncertain futures.
The destinies of the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Nemanja Vidic, Ashley Cole and John Terry are yet to be accounted for.
A number of these stars will neither renew deals nor be tied down to new clubs by the time their contracts run down in the summer; they will be released as free agents.
Naturally, a good proportion of the most talented stars will become the new generation of designated players in the MLS/China/Australia/the Middle East—delete as appropriate—but a number of others will reassert themselves into the main sub-plots of European football.
Anyone fancying an experienced professional with oodles of international appearances should find themselves with a plethora of options.
Yet again, Newcastle United find themselves at a turning point.
Anyone taking a glace at the Magpies’ transfer dealings to date should be fairly confident that Alan Pardew and head scout Graham Carr have the nous to reinvest in the squad and overcome the recent sale of Yohan Cabaye.
But is Cabaye just one player sale too far? The Frenchman was, at times, the inspiration and the creative hub for Newcastle, and his departure (to Paris Saint-Germain) threatens to rip the spirit and the invention from the heart of the side.
This one could go either way.
If Hatem Ben Arfa can deliver on his immense potential and convince in the heart of the midfield replacing Cabaye, or if Carr can work his wonders once more and recruit a player of a similar stature to the departing international, then Newcastle might be able to overcome such a loss.
However, if Ben Arfa cannot live up to Cabaye’s precedent, then expect a hectic summer at St James’ Park.
The planned January overhaul of the Internazionale squad, as reported by Ben Jefferson of the Express, simply never materialised.
Jefferson suggested that the likes of Edin Dzeko and Dani Osvaldo could arrive at the club, while players like Fredy Guarin, Zdravko Kuzmanovic and Andrea Ranocchia could be on the way out.
In the end, it was all fairly flat.
Hernanes was recruited from Lazio, representing an accomplished addition, and Ishak Belfodil and Alvaro Pereira departed on loan, but the club were a lot quieter than many had anticipated.
This summer, however, provides another opportunity for club president Erik Thorir and manager Walter Mazzarri with a better opportunity to shake things up—could Inter be set for some big business?