The English transfer window brought with it some shock signings involving some big name players such as Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres. While these signings may have be garnering the most amount of media attention, the best deals have somewhat flown under the radar.
Under two months has passed since the final day of the transfer window saw Fernando Torres complete a startling fifty million-pound move from Liverpool to Chelsea. Torres' start to his Chelsea career has been underwhelming as he is yet to score for the club including a lackluster sixty-minute spell against his former teammates on his debut.
There were a few strikers on the move during the transfer window as the previously mentioned Suarez signed with Liverpool, from Ajax, along with former Newcastle striker Andy Carroll. Carroll has yet to make an impact for the club realistically while Luis Suarez has quickly enamored Kopites with his infectious attitude and quality on the ball scoring two goals and notching three assists, most notably the first against Manchester United.
You must sail down the league table to find the true impact players acquired in January though.
If you drop down just one place to Bolton Wanderers in seventh you will find a young English striker by the name of Daniel Sturridge who joined the club on loan in January. Sturridge had scored four goals in his first four appearances for Owen Coyle's, making it four in six currently. His mixture of physical strength, pace and agility to go along with his deft technique and nose for the net has given Bolton an edge that, with all due respect to Kevin Davies, has been lacking in recent years.
In what has looked like a very adept window from Owen Coyle, he also picked up David Wheater from Middlesborough for around 2 million pounds. Wheater, at 24 years of age, has his best years ahead of him while also giving Bolton an immediate improvement in the center of their defense.
Aston Villa may be lumbering in fourteenth place for the time being but the 18 million pound signing of Darren Bent should help them climb into European contention. Bent is a talented goal scorer hitting the prime of his career. He is well suited to a Villa team that features players like Ashley Young, Stuart Downing and Gabriel Agbonlahor. Bent should be a major improvement over the loaned out John Carew and the aging Emile Heskey. He has scored three goals in his first seven games for the Midlands outfit.
Steve Bruce has brought back former Portsmouth standout Sulley Muntari from the wilderness that is Italian football. Muntari has brought another physical presence in the center of midfield for Sunderland alongside Lee Cattermole. He is a better player than Cattermole though as he can link up play well and has the energy to be a box to box midfielder for 90 minutes.
Muntari wasn't the only former Portsmouth midfielder on the move as Jamie O'Hara left Tottenham on loan to join relegation battling Wolves.
Along with Bolton, Wolves probably made the most astute signings of the window picking up an experienced premiership player in O'Hara, who has scored two goals in his first five appearances, as well as exciting young winger Adam Hammill. Hammill moved from the Championship into the Premier League after spending time at Liverpool as a youngster. He is a technically gifted player, an exceptionally good crosser of the ball with a determined work ethic.
What was the best signing during January?
Speaking of wingers, Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp reaffirmed his fondness of signing top quality midfielders for pennies. The signing of Steven Pienaar for three million pounds is eerily familiar to the Niko Kranjcar signing for two million a few years back. Pienaar's refusal to sign a contract at Everton meant that Redknapp could pick up a player worth at least eight million pounds for around a quarter of his value. Pienaar has already featured in the Champions League for Spurs.
While Chelsea's capture of David Luiz could not be considered under the radar, the hype surrounding the player has been somewhat diminished by Torres' signing. Luiz is a fantastic defender who is versatile enough to play at full back and is a dangerous attacking threat showing great composure on the ball. He has revitalized the Chelsea team and fans with his enthusiasm so far.
Demba Ba rounds off this list of signings to look out for in the remaining few months of the season. Ba has had West Ham fans in raptures reminding them of a little Argentine who once saved them from relegation. Ba is a very different type of player to Carlos Tevez but nonetheless very effective. He scored four goals in his first five appearances showing great skill for such a big and powerful man. If he keeps up his current form West Ham could be looking at another great escape come May.
Fernando Torres may be considered by most experts to be the best player signed in the transfer window but by no means does that make him the best signing of the window.