Clubs in the bottom half had a busy January as they attempted to sign the players capable of keeping them out of the bottom three in May, and before we hammered Newcastle yet again (had to get that in there) there was the small matter of deadline day to deal with. So which clubs were able to bring in the players they needed, and which clubs face a long second half of the season?
Palace were the busiest on deadline day, tying up all five of their January signings on the final day. The standout two are Tom Ince, loaned in from Blackpool, and Joe Ledley, whose Celtic contract expires in the summer. Scott Dann was also brought in from Blackburn, while Jason Puncheon made his loan deal permanent. Palace’s three new guys will be looking to slot straight into the starting eleven, and will be looking to carry on the turnaround under Tony Pulis. Wayne Hennessey will offer competition for Julian Speroni, but isn’t too much of an improvement in my opinion. Despite this, Palace undoubtedly had a good deadline and look in a decent position to avoid the drop now.
The weekend’s results saw Fulham drop to the bottom of the league, but after a busy window, can they turn it around? Bryan Ruiz was one of the first to leave, followed by Aaron Hughes who was replaced by Johnny Heitinga from Everton. Philippe Senderos, very much a liability this season in the Fulham defence, also left, as did star man Dimitar Berbatov on loan. Clint Dempsey is back for the briefest of loan spells, but Fulham did impress me with three late signings. William Kvist will look to calm the midfield, while big money was spent to snatch Mitroglou from under the noses of West Ham. The loan signing of Lewis Holtby though may turn out to be one of the deals of the window. The 23-year-old will look to bounce back to his best and will play a huge role if Fulham survive this year.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær brought six new players into Cardiff this January, but only Kenwyne Jones is a Premier League regular. Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Mats Daehli and Jo Inge Berget all followed Solskjær from Molde, while Fabio and Wilfred Zaha (loan) joined from Manchester United. Zaha made an instant impact, changing the game as Cardiff came from behind to beat Norwich at the weekend, but with Norwich also struggling, things will get harder for Cardiff, but could just keep their head above water if Zaha and Jones find their best form.
Swansea undoubtedly have the talent to survive, but will struggle after a disappointing window. While no players left, strikers David Ngog and Marvin Emnes arrived from Championship sides Bolton and Middlesbrough respectively, with neither’s form particularly warranting another chance in the Premiership.
One good and one bad for Villa, as Ryan Bertrand will look to fight for a seat on the plane to Brazil after joining on loan from Chelsea, while Grant Holt, who had one good season for Norwich in the top flight, arrives from Wigan, where he only managed two goals all season. Although likely to struggle in the second half of the year, they may just be too high up the table to fall into the drop zone.
Serie A trio Antonio Nocerino, Marco Borriello and Pablo Armero arrived to strengthen the Hammers, who shipped out Maiga to QPR after a disappointing season. Relegation king Roger Johnson, down twice in two years with Wolves, is the surprising one however and appears to seriously lack the quality for the Premier League.
Whatever you think about Steve Bruce, he does know a good striker. The money was spent on Shane Long, £6million from West Brom, and Nikica Jelavic, £7million from Everton. Compared to Danny Graham, who managed one goal for the tigers all year, and it’s a huge improvement, and one likely to fire Hull to the safety of midtable.
After the drama of the deadline day chase for Lee Cattermole, the only thing Stoke could celebrate was the Pizza arriving. They were, however, able to bring in John Guidetti, who has criticised Mark Hughes already for keeping him on the bench, and Peter Odemwingie, who could be the man to start scoring for the Potters. However, to me Stoke stay one of the favourites to go down.
West Brom & Norwich;
The quietest clubs in January were West Brom and Norwich, both bringing in one player. Jonas Guitierrez left Newcastle to join Norwich, while Thievy Bifouma joins West Brom on loan, who lost Shane Long to Hull. Along with Stoke, both these clubs needed to greatly improve the squad, and the failure to do so will leave them struggling for the points to survive come the end of the season.
Piece by Reece Hanson (@RGHanson93)