15 Biggest Winners and Losers from January Transfer Window

Michael Cummings@MikeCummings37World Football Lead WriterFebruary 1, 2012

15 Biggest Winners and Losers from January Transfer Window

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    The winter transfer window is closed. Finally. Now it's time to sift through the wreckage.

    Everyone will have an opinion, but it's safe to say we can draw a few universal conclusions for what was actually a pretty tame transfer season.

    For instance, Carlos Tevez was a big loser. He's still stuck in Manchester with no end in sight. Everton, meanwhile, did very well for themselves on a tight budget.

    Down in the English capital, Arsene Wenger probably ticked off Arsenal's fans, but in some ways, the verdict is still out on his performance.

    Think we're crazy? Read on to find out why we're not.

Winners: Everton

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    Hard as it is to believe—probably most of all for their fans—Everton were probably the Premier League's biggest winners this winter.

    On the first day of the transfer window, manager David Moyes brought back USA international Landon Donovan on loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy. On deadline day, he signed Nikica Jelavic from Rangers and Steven Pienaar on loan from Tottenham and sold Louis Saha to Spurs.

    In between, Moyes bought Darron Gibson from Manchester Untied and sold Diniyar Bilyaletdinov to Spartak Moscow.

    In short, all of Moyes' moves addressed one of Everton's issues. Donovan has again played excellent football, providing perhaps the club's most consistent source of assists. Gibson has helped shore up the midfield. Bilyaletdinov, who was useless, is thankfully off the books.

    In Jelavic, Everton could have a potent goalscorer, while Pienaar could provide more assists and creativity once Donovan is back in L.A.

    Now all Moyes and Everton have to do is make everything work.

Loser: Carlos Tevez

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    Tevez, who captained Manchester City to FA Cup glory last spring, has not set foot on a pitch since his infamous (he would call it alleged) insubordination way back in September.

    In the months since that day, his transfer saga has dragged on and threatened to hold Manchester City hostage. It didn't work, as rumored moves to PSG, AC Milan, Inter Milan and, at the last minute, Liverpool all fell through.

    With the writing on the wall, Tevez took his most desperate step yet, launching a "last-ditch" appeal to the Premier League against the £1.2 million fine levied against him by Manchester City.

    Desperate times call for Tevez-ian measures, it seems.

Winner: Roberto Mancini

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    Tuesday's loss—and Mancini's self-flagellation—aside, the Manchester City manager went toe-to-toe with Carlos Tevez and his "advisor" Kia Joorabchian and won.

    Now all he has to do is repeat the feat against Sir Alex Ferguson in the title run-in.

Losers: Rangers

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    The sale of Nikica Jelavic to Everton won't have much effect on the English title race. On the other hand, it all but handed the Scottish title to Celtic.

    With Jelavic off the books at Rangers, it's hard to see where the defending champions will find goals. And without goals, it's hard to see how Rangers will overtake their hated rivals.

Winners: Spurs

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    The signing of 33-year-old striker Louis Saha is a gamble, as is that of injury-prone defender Ryan Nelsen. Both, however, could turn into transfer coups under the right—read: injury-free—circumstances.

    Before offloading Roman Pavlyuchenko, manager Harry Redknapp reportedly missed out narrowly on signing Milos Krasic from Juventus. Had he done so, Spurs might have found themselves right back in the title race (if they ever left it).

    Still, despite Redknapp's admittedly questionable transfer logic, the Spurs boss pulled the trigger on a few bold moves that may or may not help his team down the stretch run. That's more than his North London rival can say.

Losers: Arsenal

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    The Gunners on deadline day signed 19-year-old midfielder Thomas Eisfeld from Borussia Dortmund's academy. The move is vintage Arsene Wenger: forward-thinking, unexpected and almost totally devoid of value in the present tense.

    In another forward-thinking move, Wenger sent out Emmanuel Frimpong to Wolves on loan. And to balance that with the present, Wenger brought back Thierry Henry on loan early in the month. His tally of one goal has been both expected and acceptable.

    But for a club that supposedly has money to spend and for a fanbase fed up with fourth-place finishes, the above transfer dossier simply isn't good enough. The routine is starting to wear thin, even with some of the club's legends.

Winner: Arsene Wenger

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    Spending was down this transfer window. Way down.

    Some have argued it is a result of UEFA's oncoming Financial Fair Play regulations. That seems likely, but this is certain: After Premier League clubs spent 70 percent less this January than last year, Arsene Wenger no longer lives alone on the island of transfer-window thriftiness.

Loser: Arsene Wenger

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    And yet, Wenger also came off as a loser this January. The Gunners lost three straight matches, the fans turned on him and a controversy nearly erupted between him and his captain.

    Crucially, though, Wenger held onto (for now, at least) Russian midfielder Andrei Arshavin—a player who, in the red half of North London, has become less popular than Gareth Bale. If that wasn't enough to turn most fans off, Wenger's proclamation of love for Arshavin probably was.

    Selling Arshavin would go some way towards healing the rift between Wenger and Arsenal's fans. But there would still be miles to go.

Winner: Handcuff Guy

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    During Everton's victory over Manchester City on Tuesday, a pitch invader chained himself to City keeper Joe Hart's goalpost. Not much is known about the man except that his name is apparently John and that he was apparently protesting the recruitment practices of discount airline Ryan Air.

    Whoever he is, he'll live on in Premiership lore from now on as handcuff guy—and as a guy who provided some much-needed comic relief during the madness of transfer deadline day.

Loser: Ravel Morrison

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    The talent was there. Fame, fortune and trophies awaited Ravel Morrison at Manchester United, if only he could have behaved himself—and kept his mouth shut.

    Instead, after his cut-rate move to West Ham United on deadline day, Morrison is now more likely to end up as the new Jermaine Pennant.

    Granted, that's only conjecture. Morrison could yet become the star his talent suggests he could be. But if he couldn't get his off-the-pitch act together under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, it's doubtful Morrison will do so anywhere else.

Winners: Newcastle

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    Hailed in some quarters as the "window's biggest signing" and praised by one new teammate as a "proper striker," Papiss Cisse will certainly be one to watch in the second half of the season. The Senegalese forward, who cost £10 million from Freiburg, is expected to strike up a potent partnership with countryman Demba Ba in Newcastle's front line.

    But while Cisse's signing could prove valuable, Ba is already a safe bet. The 26-year-old netted 15 goals before heading for international duty last month, and with rumored interest from Liverpool and others officially rebuffed, Newcastle have managed to hold onto their most valuable star for at least a few more months.

    That might have been their best piece of business this winter.

Losers: Liverpool

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    Manager Kenny Dalglish went into deadline day with the knowledge that "money is not an issue." At least that's what Liverpool's managing director said.

    All that endless money resulted in zero deadline-day deals, and in all of January, Liverpool's only signing was Welsh Under-19 goalkeeper Danny Ward. The move could pay off handsomely in the future, but for now, Dalglish must make do with a squad that has been good enough only for fifth place so far in the league.

    Last weekend's win over Manchester United in the FA Cup was nice (as was Tuesday's rout of Wolves), but it's hard to see Liverpool competing on multiple fronts this spring without reinforcements.

Winner: Andy Carroll

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    Andy Carroll scored in the league for the first time in three months. He also managed to stick around Anfield for a little longer.

    All in all, that amounts to a dream month for Liverpool's £35 million man.

Loser: Wayne Bridge

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    The last time Wayne Bridge played a competitive top-flight match, Margaret Thatcher resided at 10 Downing Street.

    OK, so maybe it only feels that way. But it has been ages since Wayne Bridge did anything useful to justify his exorbitant salary of £90,000 per week at Manchester City.

    Now that he has signed for Sunderland, he'll actually have to earn it. Not that Sunderland are footing the whole bill.

Winners: QPR

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    On deadline day, manager Mark Hughes bought Djibril Cisse from Lazio and Bobby Zamora from Fulham. Both strikers are the wrong side of 30, but both should help QPR improve on their haul of 22 goals in 22 league matches so far this term.

    Earlier, Hughes had signed Nedum Onuoha from Manchester City and lured Federico Macheda (Manchester United) and Taye Taiwo (AC Milan) to West London on loan. All in all, the deals made QPR the Premiership's biggest spenders.

    That's no money-back guarantee of success. But it is an excellent warranty.

Winner: Bobby Zamora

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    England international striker Bobby Zamora, 31, didn't double his £45,000-per-week wages, but the £50k he reportedly settled for still represented a raise.

    Plus, he was reunited with QPR boss Mark Hughes, his manager at Fulham from 2010-11.

    QPR are certainly a club that are looking to go forward, Zamora said. That's something that I'm looking forward to being a part of. I got on really well with the manager at Fulham. We all grew to like Mark. I think that will be the case here. He's looking to take the club forward.

Loser: Andrei Arshavin

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    We've already mentioned the fans' distaste for Arshavin, but there's another aspect to his sharp fall from grace at Arsenal.

    Arshavin is the captain of Russia's national team, and at 30 (he turns 31 in May), Arshavin knows this summer's Euro 2012 is his last chance at international glory. Yet it's unlikely he'll ever be a regular starter with Arsenal again. That can only hurt his international form.

    Thankfully for Arshavin, the Russian transfer window remains open until Feb. 24, and Anzhi Makhachkala have reportedly shown interest. His agent has reportedly said Arshavin won't leave, and if true, that's a shame.

    Arshavin's time as a contributor in North London is over. The longer he takes to accept it, the worse off he'll be.

Winner: Gary Cahill

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    Gary Cahill improved his lot twice over this winter by moving from Bolton to Chelsea.

    At the club level, the 26-year-old central defender traded a relegation fight for Champions League football this season and the campaign to re-qualify for the next one. And on the international front, he helped his chances of being selected to England's Euro 2012 squad by joining one of the country's glamor teams.

    Indeed, Cahill might have been the biggest individual winner this winter.

Losers: Bayern Munich Fans

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    Last week, Bayern Munich said via the Internet that the club would shortly announce the arrival of a "bomb" striker.

    It turned out to be a publicity stunt. Bayern apologized and made no major signings.

Winner: Twitter

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    Twitter is nothing new. Football is no stranger to tweets.

    But on this deadline day, Twitter was bigger and more ubiquitous than ever. Nearly six years after its launch, the social networking site has become the go-to spot for football rumors and up-to-the-second news on done deals.

Losers: Ajax

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    First, Ajax failed to sign a badly-needed winger when a potential move for Heerenveen's Luciano Narsingh broke down.

    Then, they couldn't sell Mounir El Hamdaoui to Fiorentina.

    Finally, rising star Ouasim Bouy left for Juventus.

Loser: Jimmy Jump

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    The world-famous pitch invader was trending on Twitter on Tuesday evening, but not because of anything he was doing. Initially, some thought Jimmy Jump was the man responsible with the handcuffs at the Everton-Man City match.

    Instead, it was someone else—someone who stole Mr. Jump's thunder.

Winners: MK Dons

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    Late Tuesday evening, a rumor spread around Twitter that former Arsenal star Fredrik Ljungberg was on the verge of signing with MK Dons.

    We shouldn't have to tell you that Ljungberg, who currently plays for Shimizu S-Pulse in Japan, didn't sign for MK Dons. The rumor was clearly rubbish.

    But that was the first time MK Dons have been in the spotlight in, well, ever. Fake transfer rumor or not, publicity—especially for a lower-league club—is rarely bad.

Losers: Villarreal

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    Currently in La Liga's relegation zone, Villarreal started the season in the Champions League group stage. An injury to star striker Giuseppe Rossi meant the Yellow Submarine needed reinforcements up top.

    Villarreal reportedly tried to sign Mexican international Giovani Dos Santos, who can do things like this. But instead, they had to settle for Alejandro Martinuccio.

Winners: PSG

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    The signing of Thiago Motta from Inter Milan was one of the best moves any European club made this winter. The 29-year-old midfielder had been one of Inter's best players this season, and with a price tag of £8.4 million, he should provide good value in PSG's push for the Ligue 1 title.

    PSG also snared Brazilian defender Alex from Chelsea for £4 million. A misfit in London, Alex could turn his fortunes around in the French capital.

Losers: Lazio

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    For one thing, Lazio failed to sign Japanese midfielder Keisuke Honda from CSKA Moscow. Then, they missed out on Nilmar.

    So, after not strengthening their attack with new signings, Lazio allowed Djibril Cisse to leave for England.

Winner: Andre Villas-Boas

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    He apparently wants nothing to do with the Kevin De Bruyne deal, but January for the most part saw Andre Villas-Boas start to put his stamp on Chelsea.

    Gary Cahill joined. Alex and Nicolas Anelka departed. More faces figure to be heading each direction in the summer.

    The Villas-Boas revolution started last summer. It picked up steam this winter. With Chelsea's money at his disposal, it could hit fever pitch next summer.

Loser: Keisuke Honda

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    Like the club he reportedly wanted to join, Keisuke Honda was hurt by the winter transfer window.

    The Japanese midfielder, who has reportedly drawn interest from elite clubs around Europe, will have to spend at least a few more months in the Russian capital.

Winners: On-Loan MLS Players

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    Landon Donovan has shown himself up to the challenge once again with Everton.

    Thierry Henry scored a match-winner for Arsenal.

    Robbie Keane has starred for Aston Villa, sparking speculation over a permanent deal.

    It's been a good winter for on-loan MLS players.

Losers: Olympique Marseille

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    Follow the trail.

    Marseille sold Lucho Gonzalez to Porto. That meant Porto could sell Fredy Guarin to Inter Milan. That meant Inter could sell Thiago Motta to PSG.

    Marseille are fifth in Ligue 1, nine points behind leaders PSG.

    Nice work, guys. Why not just pay half of Thiago's wages and be done with it?

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