For any football fan, the most exciting time of the year comes on August 31st, then January 31st. Yep, transfer deadline day is a wonderful excuse to put your feet up and watch Sky Sports News all day guilt free. However, most people (and indeed clubs!) forget there is a whole window of opportunity before this date, though this year there seems to have been more deals put in place earlier than usual. Here are the Top 10 potential deals of the January transfer window:
1. Thierry Henry – New York Red Bulls to Arsenal
When I first heard this one thrown around, I just assumed it was tabloid rumour mongering putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 36 or something. However, there is a first time for everything and it appears that unbelievably 2 and 2 might actually equal 4 as Arsene Wenger now believes a deal is ‘certain’ once insurance is sorted out. It’s difficult to know what to make of this signing; Henry will join on loan for 2 months and will hopefully fill a few gaps left by the players going to the African Cup of Nations, whilst recreating that magical relationship he had with fans first time round. However, I have a nagging feeling about this one. It’s like going back to an ex-girlfriend; it’s just never the same. Thierry is now 34 and that sparkling pace that made him such a threat has diminished somewhat. We can only hope the legend that is Thierry Henry isn’t ruined by the man himself.
2. Gary Cahill – Bolton to Chelsea
Another one that looks a done deal for a rumoured figure of £7million. Given Bolton rejected Arsenal’s £6million offer in the summer as ‘derisory,’ it’s hard to see what good Bolton have got out of this. But contracts talk these days and Cahill’s runs out in the summer. He hasn’t exactly shone this season either, as Bolton languish in 19th with an awful defensive record. England wise however, his performances have been superb and this move to Chelsea will set him on the way to Poland and Ukraine this summer, whilst exposing him to Champions League football. Chelsea get a good deal too, a rugged replacement for Alex who can step into the first team in place of David ‘The Playstation’ Luiz. And £7million is good value as well.
3. Rory Donnelly – Cliftonville to Swansea
This young Northern Irish striker has been the talk of the transfer window so far. Just 19, he has scored 17 goals already this season and looks to be a real talent.Swansea got in early with a £100,000 bid but Donnelly has since spoken to Everton and Liverpool. Surprisingly though, he seems set for South Wales, having been impressed by Brendan Rodgers and his attractive Swans side this season. This represents good value, the lad looks a real talent and for six figures is worth a punt if he turns out to be hopeless. Watch out for his name further on in 2012.
4. Scott Allan – Dundee United to West Brom
Scottish midfielders have been somewhat of a hit in the Premiership in recent years. Charlie Adam, Darren Fletcher and Barry Ferguson have more than held their own down in England and West Brom have seen promise in 20 year-old star Scott Allan. A fee of £300,000 is believed to have been agreed and despite making just 7 first team appearances, he is a Scotland u21 regular and Roy Hodgson will relish the chance to bring through another talented youngster.
5. Carlos Tevez – Man City to AC Milan
The one deal everyone in England is praying will go through. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. Man City get rid of their troublesome striker who is a damaging influence on team spirit. AC Milan get an undoubtedly world class striker on his day, capable of brilliance. Carlos gets to be nearer to his family (sort of.) And we, the fans, get shut of Carlos’s constant bleeting and whining about our country. So for the sake of everyone involved, let’s hope City and AC iron out the differences between the loan move or permanent deal and get shot of the Argentinean. I’ll even pay his airfare.
6. Hulk – Porto to Chelsea
For shirt sales alone, this could be a decent fit as far as January signings go. I think Hulk would leap at the chance to be reunited with his former manager and test himself in England, whilst Chelsea would like to replace the ageing Didier Drogba and hapless Fernando Torres. However, his staggering £83.5million release clause is a stumbling block, that would be an astonishing fee to pay even by Chelsea’s standards and with mega-rich PSG now interested, it seems this deal might be on ice for the moment.
7. Nicky Maynard – Bristol City to Everton
David Moyes has an excellent record shopping in the Championship, indeed he has plucked players like Tim Cahill, Phil Jagielka and Joleon Lescott out of the lower divisions. So don’t be surprised to see him dip in once more to solve his goalscoring crisis and Nicky Maynard may be that man. Out of contract in the summer and reluctant to sign a new one, his finishing ability has made him a target for bigger clubs. He wouldn’t command much of a fee, given that he will be a summer Bosman and Bristol City are struggling this season. Watch this space for another astute Moyes deal.
8. Josh McEachran – Chelsea to Aston Villa/Bolton
Whilst Daniel Sturridge may have grasped his first team chance with both hands, the same cannot be said for fellow England prodigy McEachran. Many expected 2012 to be the year the young Chelsea midfielder hit the big time, but he has so far failed to work his way into the picture after the arrival of Raul Meireles and Oriol Romeu. He is still only 18 though and a spell elsewhere in the Premiership is the next step in his development, at either Villa or Bolton. If I was Villas Boas, Bolton would be my choice; Sturridge went there and came back a different player and fellow English sensation Jack Wilshere cut his teeth under Coyle’s tutelage.
9. Bobby Zamora – Fulham to Sunderland
Whilst Zamora’s goal scoring record has never been the best, he has still worked his way into England contention for EURO 2012 as a viable target man. However, a fall out with Martin Jol at Fulham is hampering his chances and it could be a move away from Craven Cottage is the only solution. Fulham fans would loath to lose their talisman of a front man, but Sunderland are in desperate need of a front man and Martin O’Neill could well tempt Bobby to move north.
10. Darren Bent – Aston Villa to QPR
A barmy one to finish on, but strong rumours have linked Villa’s record signing with a return to London. He hasn’t hit the straps following his £24million move from Sunderland, but to be fair, he was immediately robbed of his supply line when Ashley Young and Stewart Downing moved to pastures new. QPR have money to spent and need goals to ensure Premier League survival, so who better to grab than Bent? His record in front of goal is well publicised and he still looks set to lead England line in Rooney’s absence this summer. This could be crazy, but a bid at a similar price to what Villa paid and you just never know…