Following my previous blog post about the implications of Arsenal’s spending on the future of manager Arsene Wenger, this post will deal with the effects the transfer window has had on some of the other teams and players in the Premier League. Like any transfer window whether its in summer or winter, there have been some big money moves, and some not-so big money moves, with plenty of loan deals thrown in for good measure as well. There are also deals which raise fans’ eyebrows and turn heads as they see players who they weren’t expecting to turn up at their training ground any time soon.
One of the most notable moves that failed to materialise was that of Riyad Mahrez, who was the subject of a deadline day approach from Manchester City. The Leicester City winger, who has been vying for a move ever since he extraordinarily won the Premier League with The Foxes two seasons ago, has since handed in two transfer requests in the hope of securing his move to a club who are actually supposed to win League titles. Leicester would not be forced into selling him however, even though City offered £65 million for him. Leicester justified rejecting this offer by pointing to the incredible fees clubs in the Premier League have been receiving for their top players recently, demanding instead a fee of around £80 million. This was somewhat fanciful for a player Leicester signed for £450,000 back in 2014, and so their decision to play hardball in negotiations for Mahrez who you can hardly blame for wanting to move to this seasons’ likely champions is one which will only have a negative impact on him for the rest of his season.
Undoubtedly Mahrez will eventually be sold in the summer, and you have to admire Leicester’s resolve in standing firm and not selling their star player midway through a season, but we have seen the effect of clubs not allowing their want-away stars to leave. Southampton experienced this with Virgil Van-Dijk, who after not getting the move to Liverpool he so desired in the summer, virtually went missing for The Saints during the first half of this season. They did manage to command an even higher fee of £70 million, to make it a world record fee for a defender, but at the same time from a footballing point of view they would have been better off selling him in the summer when they would have had more time to find a replacement.
As always in the January transfer window, there were lots of short-term loan deals which clubs use to find some of their fringe players more first team football, or even offloading underachieving players before they can sell them off permanently in the summer. One such deal that could fall under both categories would be striker Daniel Sturridge’s move from Liverpool to West Bromwich Albion, where he moved on loan until the rest of the season. This is what can only be described as a coup for West Brom, a team threatened with relegation who are on their second manager of the season after Tony Pulis was sacked, yet they have signed a forward who only a few seasons ago scored 21 league goals when Liverpool narrowly missed out on a league title. At the very least, this shows that there can be unexpected positive outcomes for some clubs during transfer windows.