7 Most Influential Premier League Transfers Last January
Christmas may have come and gone for another year, but soon is the time when football clubs across Europe get to treat themselves in the January sales.
The mid-season transfer window is when managers look to bolster their squads with new signings to help them achieve their respective aims, whether they be winning silverware, reaching Europe or avoiding relegation.
There is usually an element of risk involved in buying players midway through the campaign, but here are some examples of how they can be so effective if they work out.
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Perhaps the most talked-about player in the Premier League over the past 12 months, though, unfortunately, not always for his brilliance on the field.
Suarez arrived at Liverpool from Ajax with plenty of baggage—his infamous handball at the World Cup and penchant for biting opponents ensured he came to England with a reputation.
The Uruguay forward has not let that bother him. Perhaps he even thrives on it. In any case, his game, based on high energy and skill, has made him one of the most dangerous attackers in England. Just as well for Liverpool, who are still yet to see any significant return on the £35 million that Andy Carroll made at the same time.
With an eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra set to be served next year pending an appeal, Suarez's record as Liverpool's stand-out player in 2011 remains unblemished.
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The big Bosnian arrived from Wolfsburg for a cool £27 million with some reputation, forged as it was by his high-scoring exploits that won the Wolves the Bundesliga title.
However, Dzeko failed to settle into life at Manchester City, scoring just two league goals before the season was done.
Fast forward to this campaign, and it is a very different story. He scored four times in the drubbing of Tottenham that saw City announce their new attacking style, and his late brace at Old Trafford put the gloss on one of the most memorable results of recent years—the 6-1 demolition of Manchester United.
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After joining Birmingham from Rubin Kazan on deadline day, Martins made just six appearances for City over the course of five weeks in February and March.
So far, so insignificant. But when you consider that one of those appearances saw him score in the dying seconds of the Carling Cup final, with the match poised at 1-1, then it becomes apparent why he is included here.
For those pedants among you pointing out that the dramatic victory over Arsenal had no influence in the Premier League, consider the tailspin that the Gunners' season subsequently endured and the huge blow to morale sustained that saw three key first-team players leave the club that summer.
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Many people baulked at the £24-million fee shelled out by Aston Villa to sign Bent from Sunderland, but the decision of then-manager Gerard Houllier was soon vindicated.
Villa were in the bottom six and needed goals desperately, something which just so happened to be Bent's stock-in-trade. He scored the only goal on his Villa debut against Manchester City and went on to net nine times in 15 league appearances before the end of the season.
Bent's goals accounted directly for 11 points in the second half of the season, as Villa ended the campaign comfortably in mid-table while Sunderland plummeted.
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O'Hara did not make a single appearance in what proved to be his final year at boyhood-club Tottenham; he was left completely out of the picture by Harry Redknapp. Wolves manager Mick McCarthy was canny enough to seize the opportunity and brought the midfielder to Molineux on loan.
O'Hara quickly became an integral part of the team, adding a degree of technical craft to an otherwise willing but workmanlike midfield, not to mention his consistently useful array of set-piece deliveries. He even scored the odd cracker himself.
Wolves stayed up by the skin of their teeth, and O'Hara's contribution was rewarded with a permanent move to the Black Country. It is not too difficult to imagine Wolves as a championship side this season were it not for O'Hara.
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Despite failing to replace lame-duck manager Avram Grant, West Ham did make a couple of additions on the pitch at the turn of the year to try and stave off the fate of relegation, even though it seemed inevitable.
To that end, they signed Demba Ba from Hoffenheim, but the Senegal striker's seven goals in 12 league appearances were not enough to help rescue the Hammers from their certain fate.
Newcastle wasted no time in swooping in and grabbing the Senegal striker for themselves after Stoke City turned him down due to a failed medical. So far, the gamble has more than paid off—Ba has already scored 14 league goals this season, including two hat-tricks.
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Well, El Nino's record-breaking move from Liverpool certainly had an effect, didn't it?
For all the talk of the Spain striker being injury-plagued and a spent force, he still scored nine goals for the Reds in the first half of the season, including a well-taken match-winning brace against the Blues.
That was enough to tempt Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich into making a British record £50-million bid for Torres, which Liverpool's new owners gratefully accepted.
Sadly, his Chelsea debut against his former club set the tone for a torrid second half of the season. During that time he scored just one goal in 18 appearances and became a burden for Carlo Ancelotti, costing his team their hopes of silverware and the Italian his job.