EPL Transfer News: The Top 15 Players to Benefit Themselves in the Window
The 2011 transfer window is finally closed and a number of EPL players made moves that will hopefully help their new teams, but will greatly benefit their own careers.
One such player is the fiery Craig Bellamy, who signed a two-year contract to return to Liverpool under manager Kenny Dalglish. The move is a great chance for Bellamy to again ply his trade in the Premier League after falling down the pecking order at Manchester City.
Bellamy had joined City in January 2009 under then manager Mark Hughes and enjoyed initial success with the club. When Roberto Mancini was brought in, Bellamy soon saw less and less playing time.
Last season, Bellamy played in the Championship League joining his hometown side, Cardiff City, on a season-long loan.
This summer, Mancini made it pretty clear to Bellamy that he was expendable, and was allowed to leave the club on a free transfer to sign with Liverpool.
It's a second go-round for Bellamy with Liverpool after playing for the club in 2007. It's also a chance for Bellamy to resurrect his top-flight career.
Joe Cole: Liverpool to Lille
Former Chelsea star Joe Cole signed a four-year contract with Liverpool last summer under then manager Roy Hodgson. What looked like a great match for both turned out to be a nightmare for Cole.
He saw limited playing time due to inuries and then found himself not fitting into new manager Kenny Dalglish's plans for the club.
Cole hopes to get back to his best this season as he has joined French Ligue 1 champions Lille on a season-long loan.
Cole had possible opportunities to remain in the EPL with interest from Tottenham, Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa, but he chose to go for a new opportunity in France.
Roque Santa Cruz: From Manchester City to Real Betis
Poor Roque Santa Cruz. He was a solid striker for Blackburn and a much in-demand transfer target after three seasons with the Rovers.
In June 2009, Santa Cruz signed a four-year contract with Manchester City under manager Mark Hughes. When Roberto Mancini took over, Santa Cruz found himself playing less often due to injuries and then a lack of form.
That pretty much sealed his fate.
Mancini left Santa Cruz out throughout the first half of the 2010-11 season and the striker eventually asked to leave in order to seek first-team play. He returned to his former club Blackburn on loan in January 2011 for the remainder of the season.
This week, he was loaned out by Manchester City to Spanish side Real Betis on a season-long loan. Santa Cruz will see plenty of action as Real Betis try to remain in La Liga after being promoted last season.
Nicklas Bendtner: Arsenal to Sunderland
Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner has never been lacking in confidence. What he has been lacking is regular playing time with Arsenal.
Bendtner fell out of favor with manager Arsene Wenger as well as many of the fans and found himself with minimal playing time. He had repeatedly expressed his desire to find a new club where he would see regular action.
Bendtner is reuniting with Steve Bruce at Sunderland as he has signed a season-long loan deal from Arsenal. Bendtner previously played under Bruce while on loan at Birmingham City during the early part of his Arsenal career.
Bendtner is sure to see a lot more playing time for the Blackcats at the Stadium of Light.
Yossi Benayoun: Chelsea to Arsenal
Attacking midfielder Yossi Benayoun was a late addition by Arsene Wenger to Arsenal after losing both Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas during the transfer window.
After enjoying success with West Ham and then Liverpool, Benayoun signed a three-year deal with Chelsea in July 2010. Unfortunately, Benayoun ruptured his achilles and only made 10 appearances in a Chelsea shirt.
When new Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas made it clear to Benayoun that he was not a part of his plans, the Israeli international made it known on Twitter that he was looking for a new club.
Benayoun should get plenty of playing time with Arsenal as the team looks to strengthen its midfield.
David N'Gog: Liverpool to Bolton
French striker David N'Gog spent three seasons at Anfield but was unable to hold down a first-team place. Following the departure of Fernando Torres, manager Kenny Dalglish brought in Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez in this past January's transfer window.
Continuing in his role as a Liverpool sub, N'Gog sought first-team action.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle was looking for offense after the departure of strikers Johan Elmander to Galatasaray and Daniel Sturridge's return to Chelsea. This has opened the door for N'Gog, who signed a three-year deal to join Bolton.
Shaun Wright-Phillips: Manchester City to Queens Park Rangers
Shaun Wright-Phillips has been a permanent fixture in the EPL since his debut with Manchester City in 1998. He spent the first seven years of his career with City, making 153 appearances.
In July of 2005, Wright-Phillips transferred to Chelsea in a £21 million move where he spent three seasons. Having worked under several managers at Chelsea, Wright-Phillips found himself out of favor under Luiz Felipe Scolari.
This led to a return to Manchester City.
Once Roberto Mancini took over as City's manager, Wright-Phillips spent more time on the bench than on the pitch.
In joining newly promoted Queens Park Rangers on a three-year deal, Wright-Phillips is sure to see plenty of playing time as QPR tries to maintain their top-flight status.
Scott Dann: Birmingham City to Blackburn
24-year-old centre-back Scott Dann spent two seasons in the top flight with Birmingham City before being relegated with the squad at the end of last season.
He didn't remain out of the Premier League too long as he signed a four-year deal with Blackburn Rovers before the transfer deadline. Having been linked with Arsenal and Liverpool, Dann joined Rovers after assurances that defender Chris Samba would remain with the team.
Dann will be expected to fill the shoes of Phil Jones who left Rovers to sign with champions Manchester United.
Owen Hargreaves: Returning to the EPL with Manchester City
Former Bayern Munich and Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves has signed a one-year contract with Manchester City in his attempt to come back from a string of injuries.
Having barely played in the past two years, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson informed Hargreaves that he would not be offered a new contract. A number of teams expressed interest in Hargreaves, but City gives him the opportunity to play Champions League football.
Hargreaves is confident that he has returned to top form and will be relied upon to fill the role formerly held by retired midfielder Patrick Viera. Time will tell if Hargreaves' road back is successful.
Scott Parker: West Ham to Tottenham
England midfielder and veteran player Scott Parker was part of the West Ham United side that was relegated at the end of last season. After handing in a transfer request, he has joined up with Tottenham.
Parker had been a target of manager Harry Redknapp for some time.
Parker was voted The Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year last season for his efforts in trying to maintain West Ham's top-flight status.
He has represented England at every level and will be happy to be back in the Premier League with Tottenham this season.
Cameron Jerome: Birmingham City to Stoke
Striker Cameron Jerome spent the past five seasons with Birmingham City, making 181 appearances and scoring 37 goals.
The former England Under-21 was part of the Birmingham City side that won the Carling Cup last season yet ended up being relegated to the Championship.
Jerome signed a four-year deal with Stoke on the last day of the transfer window, bringing him back to top-flight football.
Armand Traore: Arsenal to Queens Park Rangers
Despite joining Arsenal in 2005 from Monaco, Traore rarely saw playing time with the first team. He went out on loan to Portsmouth in 2008-09 and Juventus last season.
Now 21, Traore finds himself behind Kieran Gibbs in the Arsenal back line and has made just one Premier League appearance for the Gunners in the past 15 months.
With limited opportunity at Arsenal, Traore has been guaranteed regular playing time with Neil Warnock's QPR side. He signed a three-year contract to join Rangers as they fight to remain in the Premier League.
Emmanuel Adebayor: From Manchester City to Tottenham
Striker Emmanuel Adebayor has moved so often in the past few seasons that he probably needs a GPS to know where to go.
Adebayor joined Manchester City from Arsenal in the summer of 2009 and, despite some controversy, he got off to a great start, scoring in each of his first four games for City.
As Manchester City continued to grow and pick up world-class players, Adebayor found himself behind Edin Dzeko, Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli.
Eventually, new coach Roberto Mancini made it clear that Adebayor was not a part of his plans.
Adebayor spent the second half of last season on loan with Real Madrid. Then this summer, he found himself left out of Man City's preseason tour of the USA and was insulted when asked to train with the reserves.
Harry Redknapp saw Adebayor as an option to help Tottenham's strike force and signed him on a season-long loan. How the Spurs fans will take to the formal Arsenal player remains to be seen, but with Tottenham, Adebayor has been handed a lifeline.
Mikel Arteta: From Everton to Arsenal
Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta started out as a trainee with FC Barcelona, but it was with Everton that he established himself as a top-class player.
He was awarded Everton's Top Player of the Season award for two consecutive campaigns between 2005-2007. He was also voted the Premiership's Midfielder of the Year by the readers of Sky Sports for the 2006-07 season. Then in 2008, he received the Liverpool Echo's Sports Personality of the Year award.
Arteta's last-minute signing of a four-year deal with Arsenal will leave many Everton fans feeling angry. However, despite getting good results from his players, manager David Moyes has not been given money to build upon his squad.
For Arteta, the move will give him the chance to play in the Champions League and perhaps catch the eye of the Spanish national team.
Joey Barton: Newcastle to Queens Park Rangers
Despite his reputation as a bad boy, Joey Barton is a good footballer.
Having spent the past four seasons at St. James' Park in Newcastle, it was a a bit surprising when Barton was transfer listed this offseason and would be allowed to leave on a free transfer despite having time remaining on his contract.
When newly promoted London outfit Queens Park Rangers expressed interest, Barton met with the team and eventually signed a four-year deal.
Meanwhile, Geordie fans and Barton himself continue to question owner Mike Ashley and his transfer policy. After receiving £35 million pounds for Andy Carroll last season and selling off players Kevin Nolan and Jose Enrique, Newcastle have brought in new players, but fans are asking whether the squad is any stronger now than before the recent player departures.
Not one to keep quiet, Barton took to Twitter to question his former club, "Nice to see MA and DL come through with their promise to reinvest AC money, 59m net profit from transfers in last 5 seasons.....ambition???"
Queens Park Rangers are sure to get real effort out of Barton as long as he can remain on the pitch.