One Thing Every Premier League Team Missed in the January Transfer Window
There was some meaningful business conducted in January—notably Manchester United’s club-record acquisition of Juan Mata, Chelsea’s double capture of Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah, and Fulham’s surprise swoop for Greek marksman Konstantinos Mitroglou.
But while few Premier League sides were content to stand pat when the chance to improve their squads presented itself, many will have no doubt wished they had addressed at least one pressing issue while they still had the chance.
In the following slideshow, we’ll reveal one thing every Premier League team missed out on during the January transfer window.
This one is hardly a surprise.
Arsenal were keen to bolster their strike force during the January transfer window and, according to the Independent, they even made late approaches for both Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid) and Mirko Vucinic (Juventus).
They failed to get either, however, and as their deadline-day acquisition of the injured Kim Kallstrom demonstrated, they might have done better with some improved scouting as well.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert did well to secure the loan acquisitions of Grant Holt from Wigan and Ryan Bertrand from Chelsea, but he will still have wished he had been able to acquire a creative midfielder.
Bournemouth’s Eunan O’Kane was widely tipped to be on his radar, but manager Eddie Howe succeeded in fending off the 23-year-old’s suitors, according to the Mirror. As a result, Villa’s predictability in the middle of the park wasn’t done away with.
New Cardiff City boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wasted little time in bringing three fellow Norwegians (Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Mats Moller Daehli and Jo Inge Berget) to the Welsh outfit.
He also managed to acquire Fabio and Wilfried Zaha from Manchester United—the latter on loan—and striker Kenwyne Jones from Stoke.
But his most pressing need might well have been another centre-back, and as of late January Wales Online was reporting on discussions on a move for Wigan’s Ivan Ramis.
It didn’t come off, however, which means Cardiff will play out the stretch of the 2013-14 campaign with the same defensive corps that conceded the second-most amount of goals through 24 rounds.
The 2014 January transfer window was a huge success for Chelsea, who managed to rake in massive fees from the sales of Juan Mata and Kevin De Bruyne while snapping up Nemanja Matic from Benfica and Mohamed Salah from FC Basel.
And as they showed on Monday against Manchester City, they now have a squad that would seem to be forged in manager Jose Mourinho’s image—one that balances pragmatism with the occasional flair; one that gets results.
But they could have pushed harder in their pursuit of a left-back.
Ashley Cole is no longer first choice, and while Cesar Azpilicueta has been performing well in the position, a serious bid for Southampton’s Luke Shaw or Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Rodriguez might have been advisable.
The loan acquisition of Tom Ince was a tidy piece of business but, on the whole, Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis missed out on most of his January transfer targets.
According to the Telegraph, Pulis was prepared to part with £3 million in exchange for Stoke striker Peter Crouch, but in the end, pursuit of an experienced goalscorer came up short.
To their credit, Everton had little to do to improve their squad in January but still managed to enhance it through the signings of Aiden McGeady and Jindrich Stanek, and the loan acquisition of Lacina Traore.
But given striker Romelu Lukaku’s uncertain future at season’s end, they might well have pushed harder for attacking depth, particularly given Traore’s similarly temporary status at the club.
For the time being, however, the Toffees would seem to be in good shape for the stretch run.
Fulham did well to add John Heitinga to the defense from Everton, and the £11 million capture of Konstantinos Mitroglou from Olympiacos should pay off in goals.
But manager Rene Meulensteen would have surely preferred to do more to bolster his midfield than simply taking youngsters Ryan Tunnicliffe and Larnell Cole of former club Manchester United’s hands.
The Cottagers made no secret of their interest in West Ham playmaker Ravel Morrison, but as reported by Metro, they were rebuffed in their pursuit before being reported to the Football Association for the manner of the approach.
With Everton’s Nikica Jelavic and West Bromwich Albion’s Shane Long brought in to enhance Hull City’s attack, club manager Steve Bruce can look back on a mostly successful January transfer window.
But given James Chester’s injury, he might have done well to acquire a central defender, particularly with a likely relegation battle destined to take its toll on the players he already has in the position.
From players one thru 11, Liverpool’s squad is among the best in the Premier League. It’s beyond the starting line-up that Brendan Rodgers has reason for concern.
An injury to Luis Suarez or Daniel Sturridge would be disastrous for the fourth-placed Reds, and it’s with that in mind that they pursued Mohamed Salah before the Egypt international was snatched from under their noses by Chelsea.
Yevhen Konoplyanka was their ultimate transfer miss, however, with the club unwilling to meet Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk’s £15 million valuation of the 24-year-old.
Manchester City admitted their most pressing need when they approached Porto about France defender Eliaquim Mangala in the final days of the January transfer window.
According to the Guardian, however, they balked at the €48 million the Portuguese giants were demanding for both the centre-back and midfielder Fernando.
Although City’s squad is as strong as it gets in the Premier League, captain Vincent Kompany has had some injury problems and neither Joleon Lescott nor Matija Nastasic are what could be described as an "elite" defender.
Manchester United set a club record in signing Chelsea’s Juan Mata for £37 million, but while the Spain international will no doubt add a creative element to the Red Devils’ attack, the club’s first priority should have always been to bring in a quality centre-back.
Mangala—the Manchester City target—would have been a nice addition, as would have Benfica’s Ezequiel Garay or Bayern Munich’s Dante, who hinted at an Old Trafford switch, as per the Mirror.
United’s last significant squad makeover began with the January 2006 acquisitions of Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra—something the club would have done well to mimic last month.
In the end, the ousting of director of football Joe Kinnear might prove to be Newcastle’s best piece of business this winter.
After Yohan Cabaye’s move to Paris Saint-Germain, Kinnear was unable to replace his dependable midfielder, even striking out in his attempt to sign Clement Grenier from Lyon, as per the Guardian.
The addition of Luuk de Jong will only end up being worthwhile if he can somehow turn back the clock to his Twente days. What the Magpies really needed was a central midfielder.
Chris Hughton was able to secure a loan deal for Newcastle winger Jonas Gutierrez that could prove useful, and he also brought in defender Joseph Yobo on a six-month arrangement from Fenerbahce.
The latter move dealt with a serious need in the centre of defense, although the Norwich manager may end up regretting that he wasn’t able to make a permanent transfer to address it.
According to the Daily Mail, he made an inquiry as to the availability of Blackburn’s Scott Dann, although the two clubs were unable to come to terms.
Given that they were able to send the troublesome Dani Osvaldo out on loan while keeping hold of key players such as Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana, the January transfer window was largely a success for Southampton.
That said, manager Mauricio Pochettino would surely have preferred to add to his strike force; according to Sky Sports, he had even hoped to acquire Juventus forward Mirko Vucinic.
Stoke City managed to bring attacker Peter Odemwingie to Britannia Stadium on loan from Cardiff, and they also acquired Manchester City striker John Guidetti on a temporary basis while snapping up Juan Agudelo from New England Revolution.
But what manager Mark Hughes really wanted was an experienced goalscorer to help ensure the Potters’ Premier League survival, and to that end he had his eye on Sunderland’s Steven Fletcher, according to the Daily Mail.
A £10 million double swoop for Fletcher and midfielder Lee Cattermole was rebuffed by the Black Cats, however, leaving Stoke without a top target and a combative midfielder who would have also been a useful asset.
Improving Sunderland were busy in January, acquiring left-back Marcos Alonso from Fiorentina, defender Santiago Vergini from Estudiantes, goalkeeper Oscar Ustari from Almeria, midfielder Liam Bridcutt from Brighton and striker Ignacio Scocco from Internacional.
But even Scocco—the 28-year-old former Argentina U-20 international—is unlikely to provide the goals from up front that Black Cats manager Gus Poyet so desperately requires. With that in mind, the club are thought to have made a bid for Celtic’s Georgios Samaras, according to the Mirror.
Only five Premier League sides have scored fewer goals than Sunderland so far this season and bolstering his attack was Poyet’s top priority all along.
Unless the loan capture of David N’Gog will suddenly ease Swansea City’s goalscoring concerns, manager Michael Laudrup may well recognise that failing to enhance his strike force during the January transfer window was one of the reasons for his sacking on Tuesday.
That said, it was in defense that the Dane really needed to focus his attention, what with the Welsh side having conceded the fifth-most amount of goals in the Premier League so far.
The versatile Rhys Williams was one of Laudrup’s targets, according to the Daily Mail, but Middlesbrough ended up keeping hold of the 25-year-old Australian.
Metro reported Tottenham Hotspur had made a mid-January move for Juventus misfit Fabio Quagliarella, but the pursuit of another attacker should never have taken priority over the need for left-back reinforcement at White Hart Lane.
Unless manager Tim Sherwood feels one of Danny Rose and Kyle Naughton is the man to help his side make a serious push for Champions League football, he would have done well to go after Luke Shaw, Ricardo Rodriguez, Fabio Coentrao or even Alvaro Pereira, who ended up joining Sao Paulo on loan from Inter Milan.
West Bromwich Albion
It won’t be long before Nicolas Anelka is issued an FA ban for his controversial "quenelle" gesture, so with that in mind, new West Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel might have had the foresight to bolster his attack.
Sky Sports reported in the final week of January that Valencia forward Jonas was a possible target, but deadline day came and went without the relegation-threatened Baggies signing the Brazilian—or anyone else for that matter.
West Ham United
Only four clubs have scored fewer goals than West Ham this season, but with Andy Carroll returning to full fitness and Marco Borriello acquired on loan from AS Roma, the club would seem to have the cavalry coming.
In fact, the Hammers addressed several issues during the January transfer window, in which they also made loan deals for Napoli left-back Pablo Armero and AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino.
But Roger Johnson was the only addition they made to the centre of defense, and given the 30-year-old’s reputation as "Relegation Roger," they might have made a push for Joleon Lescott, who is currently out of favour at Manchester City.