Transfer deadline day passed with surprising little activity from the Premiership big guns with Chelsea’s signing of Juan Cuadrado being the highlight.
The Blues agreed a fee of £23.3m with Fiorentina for the Colombian World Cup star, a move largely funded by the sale of Andre Schurrle to German side Wolfsburg. Only Manchester City’s £28m striker Wilfried Bony cost more during the January transfer window as Premier League clubs matched last season’s £130m investment in new players.
Although there has not been a drop in spending, the January transfer window was relatively quiet compared to the summer spending. In 2011, £225m was spent on new players in January and that record was never under threat this year. The traditional last minute flurry of transfers failed to materialise with several managers expressing their dissatisfaction. The window was likened to a “cattle market” in some quarters and the Premiership clubs with limited spending power found themselves frozen out.
Cuadrado’s capture could yet prove a master stroke by Jose Mourinho who had previously expressed his wish to keep Schurrle. The German clearly felt that he was not going to gain a regular place in the Chelsea line-up and Cuadrado brings more flair to the club. He has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal and it will be interesting to see where he fits into Mourinho’s plans for the rest of the season.
Manchester City remain five points adrift of Chelsea after last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge. They will be keen to add Bony to their attacking options when he returns from International duty at the African Cup of Nations.
Arsenal have stepped up their challenge for a Champions League spot and added £13.5m defender Gabriel Paulista to their books. The 24-year-old joins the Gunners from Villarreal while Southampton has secured Ryan Bertrand on a permanent basis from Chelsea. Bertrand played in the 2012 Champions League final but failed to establish himself in the Chelsea first team.
Among the bargain basement signings, Darren Fletcher completed a free transfer from Manchester United to West Brom while the Red Devils acquired Spanish International goalkeeper Victor Valdes. He was out of contract at Barcelona and is seen as a possible successor to David De Gea who has been repeatedly linked with a move to Real Madrid next summer.
Everton ended an abysmal run of form with a victory at Crystal Palace last weekend and have secured Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon on loan until the end of the season. Spurs signed MK Dons midfielder Dele Alli but he has been immediately loaned back to the club until the summer. However, there was no move for out-of-favour striker Emmanuel Adebayor despite the interest of London rivals West Ham.