20 Most Disappointing Things to Happen in the January Transfer Window
That's all folks, the January transfer window is now closed for business.
After weeks of speculation, months of rumours and a busy deadline day, trading is over until the season's end.
As always, there were highs, there were lows and lots of fans were left feeling that their cup was decidedly half empty.
But what were the most disappointing aspects of the January window? Over the next 20 pages, we let you know, in slides ordered from least to most disappointing.
Read on for more and feel free to add your thoughts below!
Crawley Town Failing to Sign Messi, Bale and Ronaldo
This tweet had us fooled:
Wilfried Zaha Exiting Old Trafford
Wilfried Zaha joined Cardiff City on a season-long loan after clocking up just 30 Premier League minutes for Manchester United this season.
The former Crystal Palace winger was Sir Alex Ferguson's last signing as Manchester United manager and his performances for the Eagles in 2012/13 held much promise.
There have been many rumours as to why David Moyes has not played the 21-year-old this term, as reported by the Telegraph's Mark Ogden.
But whatever the reason, it was disappointing to see Zaha leave Old Trafford without one full game to his name.
In Cardiff, however, they probably feel differently...
Not Enough Helicopters
Until Juan Mata arrived at Carrington on January 25 in a chopper, we weren't aware of what we were missing.
And we are disappointed. Disappointed because there should be more helicopter travel involved in football transfers.
Picture Dimitar Berbatov flying to Monaco (he'd probably pilot it himself), envisage Sam Allardyce travelling only by helicopter to scout new targets and imagine Yevhen Konoplyanka hovering somewhere between the Ukraine and Anfield, as he waited to see if his Liverpool deal went through.
It would make for great viewing.
As Mata said himself, via Hannah Duncan in Metro: "What I like the most about Man United is the fact they brought me here by helicopter."
Fabio Coentrao: Unable to Leave Madrid
You have to feel for Fabio Coentrao.
The left-back has suffered through injury and the loss of his father during the last six months, and he also seems to have been treated pretty unfairly at Real Madrid.
Even last season, who can forget this video of his teammates laughing at him when he sat on the bench only to find out he hadn't even made Jose Mourinho's matchday squad?
Coentrao has made just four La Liga appearances for Madrid this season, and there's been a lot of interest linking him with a move away from the Bernabeu.
In the Premier League, the Portugal international was rumoured to be a target for both Manchester United and Spurs, as written by James Dickenson in the Express.
However, Carlo Ancelotti has other ideas, gruffly telling the Guardian last month: "No one is leaving and no one is coming in."
Disappointing for Coentrao, for fans who wanted to see him in the Premier League and disappointing for his chances at the 2014 World Cup.
Dimitar Berbatov to Monaco
Nope, we're not disappointed that Dimitar Berbatov chose to swap Fulham for Monaco. It is a match made in heaven, after all.
We're just a little disgruntled that we weren't there to see the moment that the famously cool, laid-back forward made his grand entrance at the Stade Louis II.
We're thinking French cigarettes, brandy and Berba dressed in a white linen suit. Yep, that's exactly how it was.
Julian Draxler Linked with Arsenal. Again.
You have to hand it to Arsenal, they seem pretty intent on signing Julian Draxler.
Like a persistent ant at a family picnic, they keep showing up. Again and again the Gunners have tried to sign the Schalke midfielder but have seen their hopes dashed as the deal falls through.
It's got to be disappointing for Arsenal fans.
In the summer, it seemed they were close to signing him, as reported by John Richardson in the Express. Schalke said no.
This winter, the 20-year-old was tipped to be on his way to the Emirates, Schalke said no, as seen in this from the Guardian's David Hytner.
Now it's being reported that Draxler will, in fact, join Arsenal next summer, according to Metro's Jamie Sanderson.
Schalke to say no…?
Liverpool: Not Winning in the Transfer Market
Liverpool fans must be dismayed by their recent dealings in the transfer market.
Keeping hold of Luis Suarez is a coup; failing to bring in midfielders is another matter.
Over the summer, the Reds saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan snaffled up by Borussia Dortmund when it appeared he was on his way to Anfield, as reported on BBC Sport.
They were also gazumped by first Tottenham Hotspur and then Chelsea for Willian's signature, in whom Liverpool had shown first interest in, as seen on goal.com.
This January, a deal for Dnipro's Yevhen Konoplyanka appeared to collapse when Brendan Rodgers' side failed to deliver a transfer fee on time, according to Anthony Chapman in the Express.
On BBC Sport, it seems that the move broke down because the Ukrainian club's owner failed to sign the necessary paperwork.
Liverpool also reportedly missed out on Mohamed Salah, with BBC Sport reporting that the side had been interested in signing the Basel man, who joined Chelsea for £11 million.
Kim Kallstrom's Medical
Arsenal's medical staff must have been sorely disappointed when they found out that Kim Kallstrom had a back injury.
Not too disappointed, however, because the Gunners signed him anyway.
It's a bizarre tale, as it has emerged that the Swedish midfielder had damaged his vertebrae while playing beach football with Spartak Moscow in Abu Dhabi.
Arsene Wenger has admitted that the 31-year-old might not ever kick a ball for his side, despite agreeing to a season-long loan.
He told the Telegraph's Jeremy Wilson:
I would not have signed him if we’d had two or three more days to do something. It was 5pm, so sign him or nobody. We had to sign him in these conditions. We might need the players in March or April. We think it will be four to six weeks out.
Arsenal are currently without the suspended Mathieu Flamini and the injured Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere in midfield.
Michael Bradley to Toronto FC
Michael Bradley's move from Roma to Toronto FC was quite the surprise.
The 26-year-old had only been in Italy for a matter of months before deciding to make the switch to Major League Soccer.
With years still ahead of him, it's somewhat disappointing to see him giving up on his adventure in Rome—where Rudi Garcia's side were chasing a Serie A title—to ply his trade with the Canadian club.
As Frank Isola, of New York Daily News, wrote:
While making $6.5 million a year is incredibly tempting, leaving behind a world-class team on the verge of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League for an MLS bottom-feeder in the prime of your career makes no sense professionally.
Bradley insisted that he made the move for sporting reasons, telling MLSsoccer.com:
I came here because I want to be part of this club. When I spoke to everybody involved here, I started to understand what they are working to build here and the determination they have to make it all happen. As a player, you want to be involved in something like that. I have always made decisions in my career based on the football and what is best in that aspect. I made this decision with that same thing in mind.
Mitroglou Signed…for Fulham?
The player who has been scoring goals for fun with table-topping Olympiacos in the Greek Super League and was about to face Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions League has joined Fulham.
Fulham who are on the bottom of the Premier League, have recorded seven losses in their last 10 games and have a manager who looks like he'll be gone as quick as you can say the words Alan Curbishley?
Yes, that Fulham.
Who knows? It's a move that might just work, but it's slightly disappointing that Mitroglou decided to depart the club in January, leaving Olympiacos without their star man for the rest of the Champions League campaign.
Dortmund Lacking in Defence
Borussia Dortmund have been hit with injury after injury this season, most notably in defence where Neven Subotic, Erik Durm, Jannik Bandowski, Marcel Schmelzer and Mats Hummels have all been forced on to the sidelines at times.
In midfield, we've seen Jakub Blaszczykowski ruled out until the end of the season, while Ilkay Gundogan is still not back in the team after a lengthy layoff.
Sven Bender and Nuri Sahin also picked up knocks in December.
Jurgen Klopp brought in Milos Jojic on deadline day from Partizan Belgrade to bolster midfield, but 33-year-old Manuel Friedrich, who was brought in on a short-term deal in November, should really have been accompanied by another solid centre-half.
Disappointingly, the club's lack of transfer activity looks likely to impact their current goals in the Bundesliga and this season's Champions League.
Ever Banega Didn't Move to the Premier League
Ever Banega was rumoured to be on his way to the Premier League for a considerable amount of time before news broke that he was going to Newell's Old Boys on a season-long loan.
The Argentine midfielder came to Europe in 2008, when he swapped Boca Juniors for Valencia. He made 184 appearances for the La Liga side, where he also took in 31 games when on loan at Atletico Madrid.
As detailed by Ed Malyon in the Mirror, Banega is famous not only for his football but also for partying, a string of off-pitch controversies and famously getting run over by his own parked car at a petrol station after...er...trying to stop it with his foot.
The 25-year-old would have made an interesting addition to the Premier League.
Lack of Big Names
Juan Mata aside, there was an absence of any earth-shattering moves this January.
The papers gave us all manner of transfer rumours, including the likes of Diego Costa, Andrea Pirlo, Edinson Cavani, Marco Reus, Fabio Coentrao and more.
None of them happened.
Quite unlike last January when Mario Balotelli signed for AC Milan, Wesley Sneijder put pen to paper with Galatasaray and David Beckham and Lucas Moura moved to Paris Saint-Germain.
Newcastle Bid Goodbye to Cabaye
"Judge me on my signings," said Joe Kinnear, Newcastle United's director of football, back in July.
The former Magpies manager brought in just one name last summer, striker Loic Remy, who signed a season-long loan from Queens Park Rangers.
In January, striker Luuk de Jong also signed for the North East club on loan from Borussia Monchengladbach.
Meanwhile, Newcastle sold their best player when they bid farewell to Yohan Cabaye on January 29.
Two players in on loan and their top performer gone. In January, Kinnear had indeed been "judged" on his signings and decided to resign from his post at St James' Park.
Maybe, for Geordie fans, that wasn't so disappointing after all...
As seen on ESPNFC.com, Mario Balotelli was being linked with a move to Chelsea during the January transfer window.
It had all the ingredients of an intriguing move back to the English top flight, where Balotelli would reunite with former Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho. Let's say that the player best known for setting off fireworks in his Manchester bathroom had a fairly explosive relationship with Mourinho, too.
It would make for great viewing.
Let's face it, the Premier League is lacking in colourful characters right now, and with Balotelli, there is never a dull moment.
The move didn't come off: "Super Mario" is still at San Siro and we're disappointed.
The prospect of seeing Adel Taarabt (Adel Taarabt!) on the same team as Balotelli, however—that cheers us up.
A Lack of Protests at Arsenal
Everyone remembers the "spend, spend, spend" man from Arsenal's summer transfer window, right?
Well, he must have been on to something, as Mesut Ozil signed for the club just 16 days later.
In January, there was a significant lack of home-made signs (made in earnest by actual adults).
Perhaps that's what the Gunners were missing as they failed to bring in any significant signings last month.
Apart from Kim Kallstrom. Who was already injured.
I rest my case.
Vucinic-Guarin Swap Deal Called off
It looked like a swap deal involving Juventus' Mirko Vucinic and Inter Milan's Fredy Guarin was on the verge of completion before the move fell through on January 22.
According to the Guardian:
Juventus had agreed to exchange the striker Mirko Vucinic for the Inter midfielder Fredy Guarin when the deal was halted by Erick Thohir, the Indonesian business tycoon who took over as president of the Milan club in November.
The proposed switch was at such an advanced stage that Vucinic had already cleared his personal belongings out of his locker at Juve before being told that it would not go ahead.
According to the Guardian report, the deal was halted after a protest by Milan fans. Juve president Andrea Agnelli said:
What is most striking, and underlines this negative situation, is the fact that when a player clears out his locker and takes his personal belongings, this obviously says that the transfer has been concluded. And that was something Vucinic had done.
No-one will be more disappointed that Vucinic, who has played just five minutes of football in his side's last four games. Guarin has also been missing for Inter's last two Serie A matches.
Marco Reus' Release Clause
When Marco Reus was linked with a string of clubs, including Arsenal, Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, as seen on ESPNFC.com, it was an exciting prospect.
Here was one of the most talented young midfielders around, with an all-important release clause in his contract. He was set to leave Borussia Dortmund and join another massive club in Europe—in a move that could wildly affect the title aspirations of any major side.
That is, until it was revealed that his release clause can not come into effect until the 2014/2015 season, seen here in a report by the Independent's Samuel Stevens.
De Bruyne's Departure
It's a move that will have delighted Wolfsburg fans but will have left a lot of Chelsea supporters wondering "what if?"
Kevin de Bruyne—a Chelsea player for two years, played just nine times for the Blues (in all competitions).
Highly-rated, experienced and voted Bundesliga Young Player of the Year last term, it's a shame that Jose Mourinho didn't take to the Belgian to show Premier League audiences what he could do.
The 22-year-old joined Wolfsburg on January 18 in a deal worth a reported £16 million.
Andrea Pirlo Stayed in Italy
It's not that we believed the rumours, but oh how we wanted to.
Andrea Pirlo, his contract running down at Juventus, was linked with a move to Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, seen here in a report by the Mirror's Paul Gorst.
The Italian was also rumoured to be interesting Manchester United and Arsenal, as seen in this from the Daily Star's Gary Jones.
Pirlo's still at Juve, with a new contract extension that, according to Transfermarkt, will not expire until June 2016.
We're still crying ourselves to sleep.