Supporters of many clubs tuned into Sky Sports News to listen to the insane, irritable ramblings of the insufferable Jim White, Niall Quinn and the irrevent Simon Jordan, in the faint hope of their respective clubs making a signing on deadline day. However, for United fans, deadline day and the January transfer window in general are often a bit of an anti-climax.
Despite major transfer activity seemingly being more than unlikely at United, that didn’t stop many a journalist on Fleet Street and Sky’s “mystery sources” linking the club with reams of players including Victor Wanyama, Hector Herrera, Kevin Strootman and Yann M’Vila.
Wilfried Zaha was the only arrival at Old Trafford in the window for a reported £15 million. As part of the deal, the winger will remain at Crystal Palace this season and it will be interesting to see how he fares with a noticeable dip in the 20-year-old’s performances since the rumour mill grinded into action in mid-December.
United have potentially pulled off a fantastic deal for Zaha who has great feet, plenty of pace and above all, the necessary attitude required to succeed at the top-level. I am fairly confident that I’m not the only United fan who is more than gutted that the England international will remain in the Championship until the summer but it will improve him as a player, especially if Crystal Palace can gain promotion
Of course, the winter transfer window is typically synonymous with a bit of a mid-season clear out of players the club believes are unlikely to make the grade and this year was no different. United bid farewell to a number of players permanently on loan with Joshua King and Robbie Brady joining Blackburn and Hull respectively. While they have been tipped for big things in the past, a move to the Championship for both players could prove fruitful as regular first-team football is necessary at this stage of their development. Needless to say, we wish them luck.
As well as two permanent departures, United opted to send a number of players out on loan. Scott Wootton and the highly rated Davide Petrucci joined Championship side Peterborough till the summer. This is reserve team captain Petrucci’s first loan move while Wootton has been on loan to Peterborough and Nottingham Forest previously, and both are certainly good enough to make a decent impact at this level.
Chilean teenage sensation Angelo Henriquez moved to Wigan early in the window, and has already scored for the Latics. Under Roberto Martinez, he has the opportunity to learn the Premier League ropes in a team that play an attractive style of football. A move to Wigan did Tom Cleverley a lot of good two seasons ago and it is hoped that Henriquez can have a similar impact.
Luke McCullough joined League Two side Cheltenham on loan while Federico Macheda has gone to VFB Stuttgart until the summer with a move to a permanent deal expected.
Stepping away from the world of Manchester United, there have been some rather interesting deals concluded this window. There have been some moments of brilliance like Newcastle landing Moussa Sissoko at just £2 million, who looks a real steal, as well as some absolutely ludicrous moments like Peter Odemwingie’s insane Carlos Tevez going AWOL tribute act.
One transfer that could have an impact on the title race is the departure of Mario Balotelli to A.C Milan. The deal was a surprising one for me as it happened so late in the window that there was hardly any time for City to sign a quality replacement. With the promising John Guidetti currently side-lined, it leaves the noisy neighbours with just Tevez, Aguero and Dzeko for the remainder of the season, until they inevitably sign Cavani in the summer.
In Balotelli, City have lost a player with the undoubted quality to destroy any defence on the planet on his day but a player who seemed more likely to destroy squad morale than the opposition.
Elsewhere, Arsenal left it late before signing highly-rated fullback Nacho Monreal from Malaga, Newcastle went all continental signing a number of French players including Mathieu Debuchy as well as Sissoko, which could be considered daylight robbery. Not bad for a wee club, eh?
Speaking of wee clubs, wheeler-dealer Harry Redknapp pulled off a couple of surprise signings splashing plenty of cash on Chris Samba and Loic Remy. Whether either player is worth the money is questionable but if QPR stay up, then the money spent will be considered a drop in the ocean with a large TV deal coming in next year, meaning there is more riding on Premier League survival than ever.
Liverpool made two signings. Daniel Sturridge, who has started well for his new club, and Philipe Coutinho who never really cut it at Inter Milan but does look a decent prospect nonetheless.
United can be reasonably pleased with their business in the window. Zaha will no doubt turn in to a great player in the coming seasons and those who were looking unlikely to cut it were moved on while players who needed games were sent out on loan. So, a satisfying January as the rumour mill grinds back into action, with a busy summer looking likely.