In what has been a relatively dull month as far as Premier League spending sprees and big name signings go, this year’s January transfer window has nevertheless had its fare share of excitement and drama. In this article, we name the top five transfers of 2012 so far.
Thierry Henry – New York Red Bulls to Arsenal (Loan)
…met with rapturous applaud…
Kicking off with the talismanic figure that is Thierry Henry, his arrival was met with rapturous applaud from players and pundits alike. In spite of the fact that his move is only a two month loan deal from the New York Red Bulls, it really wouldn’t be right to exclude Arsenal’s all time top goal scorer and Premiership legend from the list. Picking up where he left off, Henry’s emphatic finishing gave Arsenal a 1-0 win over Leeds in his second debut for the club. With little doubt over the Frenchman’s talent, Wenger enlisted the now ageing Gunners’ icon to bring a much needed morale boost to the waning Emirates crowd. In what is arguably the most exciting move of the January transfer window, Henry’s return has not only buoyed the North London faithful, but the rest of English football. Memories of the Invincibles and Arsenal’s glory days are very much synonymous with the Parisian striker, but the question remains, will the Gunners’ golden boy be able to replicate any of his previous form for the club?
Bobby Zamora – Fulham to QPR (Transfer – £5.8m)
…undoubtedly reinforce the no-nonsense style…
For a modest fee of £5.8 million, Fulham’s Bobby Zamora has made the contentious switch across London’s White City to join QPR. Set to play alongside the likes of veteran forward Djibril Cisse and the Malian powerhouse that is Samba Diakité, Zamora’s arrival will undoubtedly reinforce the no-nonsense style of football played by Joey Barton & co. The former West Ham trainee’s pace and physical stature will fit nicely into a team that is probably more suited to the rigours of Championship football than the finesse and delicacy of the Premier League. This is a mantle, however, that Hughes’ men will be eager to discard in light of their season-long struggle to stay out of the relegation zone. Time will tell whether Zamora can help save the struggling Rangers, but don’t be surprised if he’s a Championship player next season.
Jelavic – Rangers to Everton (Transfer – £5.5m)
…rally the Toffee’s disillusioned fanbase.
Unveiled to a Goodison crowd last Tuesday, the hotly tipped frontman scored an eyecatching 30 goals in 45 games for former club Rangers, a feat that will no doubt rally the Toffee’s disillusioned fanbase. So, with the blue half of Liverpool incessantly angered by Kenwright’s haphazard management of the club, Moyes’ signing of Jelavic could be the silver lining to a season plagued by a lack of options upfront. Saha’s departure will not be mourned, with the 26 year old Croatian poised to join teammates Drenthe and Stracqualursi in an offensive partnership that looks highly promising for the Merseysiders. Such haughty spending (by Everton’s standards at least) could breath new life into the Blues’ languishing campaign, a season which has seen them perpetually trapped in the Quagmire that is middle of the table. Who knows? Perhaps Everton’s season has some life in it yet. Whatever the case, Jelavic‘s transfer could be the start of a Goodison revolution.
Gary Cahill – Bolton to Chelsea (Transfer – £7m)
…never in the running to draw his gaze…
After months of deliberation and agonising, it seems as if Gary Cahill‘s future lies firmly at Stamford Bridge. The former Bolton centre back receives the number 24, slotting into a back four in which John Terry, Branislav Ivanović and David Luiz will also be vying for a place. His move, however, comes as no shock to Bolton fans and players alike, who were never in the running to draw his gaze away from Chelsea‘s gleaming trophy cabinet. Yet nearing the twilight of his career, it is England caps that seem to have motivated such a long awaited, yet relatively low-profile transfer. Only Villas Boas will know whether he is a first team player or merely back up for the real thing, but his total absence against QPR will do little to ease Cahill’s mind.
Image courtesy of David Holloway