Which Teams Won the 2014 January Transfer Window?
January has come and gone, and many professional soccer players in Europe have moved on from one club to another, seeking improved clubs, wages, and greener pastures. But now that the window has slammed close, and all the squads are set for the business end of the European soccer seasons, who came out on top of it all? For every player purchase there had to be a sale, but for those that were able to flex their financial might, the second half of the season looks awfully bright. Here are some of the big winners of the 2014 January transfer window:
Manchester United – The blame of their struggles this season have largely been placed upon their lack of creativity in the advanced midfield. While Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie can blast in goals from anywhere, their chances have been limited because no one can consistently get them the ball. Enter Juan Mata. Although Man U broke the bank with a £37million transfer fee, Mata will greatly improve the team’s midfield and keep the team more competitive in scoring goals. But while the team won their first outing with the new playmaker comfortably, this past weekend saw them slump to a 2-1 loss to Stoke City, despite Mata notching an assist. Clearly, no single player can save a season, but I suspect United will manage to snag a Champions League spot by this season’s end, thanks in large part to their big-money transfer last month.
AC Milan – Here was another European super-power club on the brink of panic. 10th place in Italy’s Serie A, this side needed a vast improvement! While many have criticized their current dilemma over a lack of defensive solidity (a rare problem for the Rossoneri!), the team went largely offensive in the January window. Their first big move was completed in the fall, with Japanese superstar Keisuke Honda arriving. A quick and talented winger with immense free kick skills, Honda should star for the club. Another interesting move was for the young Moroccan, Adel Taarabt. The quick and nifty winger will be just a loan move, but should help provide chances for their big striker Mario Balotelli. But I feel the best move for AC Milan was their acquiring of midfielder Michael Essien. A tough tackler, the player from Ghana should help the team defensively. Able to snuff out possession and keep his team in the attack, he should work wonders for the side. At age 31, he is still relatively young and should have several good years ahead of him. Expect AC Milan to have a resurgence in the second half of this season, though they may run out of time to earn a Champions League spot for next year.
And while those two clubs look to have secured the most help in January, loads of other players moved as well. Monaco looks to have reasonably replaced the injured Radamel Falcao with a loan move for Dimitar Berbatov. Chelsea has already spent all the money earned from Juan Mata on three players: Nemanja Matic, Mohamed Salah, and Kurt Zouma. While highly priced, these players are unproven so we’ll have to see how much they impact a team already stocked full of talent. Meanwhile, clubs like Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona, Manchester City, and Real Madrid all sat tight and barely made a move. Perhaps they are simply satisfied with the way the season is going and weren’t pushed into the type of panic buys that only a January transfer window can bring about!