Time To Grade The January Transfers

With the January Premiership Transfer window a thing of the past, and a few days under our belt to evaluate the various fatal errors of judgment our clubs made, we thought it a good time to start telling the professionals what they did wrong. Below is a full list of all the Ins and Outs of January along with our opinions and a very unscientific and grading system. And remember, a “C” is “average” not “crap” as you were told in school.

And, of course, we want your opinion:

1) Club you support

2) How did your club do this window?

3) What grade would you give your club?

In: Anthony Stokes (Falkirk, loan return)Out: Anthony Stokes (Sunderland, £2million), Lauren (Portsmouth, undisclosed), Alexandre Song (Charlton Athletic, loan), Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham City, £1million)Rumours of Jan 31st panic buying proved unfounded, so kudos to Wenger for that. But while everything looks rosy up front these days, it wouldn’t have hurt to bring in an extra defender. But we’re going to assume Wenger just has some world class 15 year old he’s ready to put in the first eleven.

Aston Villa
In: Phil Bardsley (Manchester United, loan), John Carew (Lyon, undisclosed), Ashley Young (Watford, £9.65million), Shaun Maloney (Celtic, £1million)Out: Peter Whittingham (Cardiff City, undisclosed), Didier Agathe (released), Eric Djemba-Djemba (Burnley, loan), Milan Baros (Lyon, undisclosed), Lee Hendrie (Stoke, loan)Bad players out, good players in. Seems Martin O’Neill knows what to do with a transfer window. Young might be overpriced but he was hot property this January and already looks his Watford form was no small club syndrome, giving Martin the extra pace out wide that he lost when Luke Moore got injured. And the best bit of business was shipping out Milan “where’s the goal?” Baros and getting 6’10 John “there’s the goal” Carew in exchange. That Gerard Houllier must be a nutter.
Grade: B+

Blackburn Rovers
In: David Dunn (Birmingham City, undisclosed), Stephen Warnock (Liverpool, undisclosed), Bruno Berner (FC Basle, nominal fee), Christopher Samba (Hertha Berlin, undisclosed), Tony Kane (Cercle Brugge, loan)Out: Dominic Matteo (Stoke City, free), Joe Garner (Carlisle United, loan), Lucas Neill (West Ham United, undisclosed), James McEveley (Derby County, £600,000)Stephen Warnock nearly dribbled through the entire Chelsea team on Wednesday and looks a great buy, but it all depends how big a number that increasingly ubiquitous “undisclosed” is hiding. Ditto the David Dunn signing, which also depends on whether he brought his injury problems with him from the West Midlands. And while Lucas Neill chose West Ham over Liverpool not for the money, but because he wanted first team football (wasn’t he getting that at Blackburn???) the foolishly facial haired full back has picked up his first paycheck and planted himself firmly on the injury table next to Harry Kewell. But with so many secret fees it’s hard to say whether Mark Hughes is the new Harry Redknapp or the new David O’Leary.
Grade: undisclosed (let’s see how they like it)

Bolton Wanderers
In: Lubomir Michalik (FC Senec, undisclosed), Zoltan Harsanyi (FC Senec, loan), David
Thompson (Portsmouth, nominal fee)Out: Johann Smith (Carlisle United, loan)Not a lot of movement, but why rock a winning boat? David Thompson has always looked like he had something extra in his locker, maybe Big Sam can find out what it is. Or not. And since we have no idea who those other blokes are (they’re not even in FM2007) it’s hard to say what’s going on. Best move of all was the one they didn’t make, somehow telling Chelsea their bid for Ben Haim was insufficient.
Grade: C+

Charlton Athletic
In: Zheng Zhi (Shandong Luneng, loan), Ben Thatcher (Manchester City, £500,000), Madjid Bougherra (Sheffield Wednesday, £2.5million), Alexandre Song (Arsenal, loan)Out: Stephan Andersen (Brondby, undisclosed), Djimi Traore (Portsmouth, £1million), Simon Walton (Cardiff, loan), Jonathan Fortune (Stoke, loan)While he didn’t have a fortune to spend (thanks to holding onto Bent, which gets him points), Pardew has done what needed doing and strengthened Charlton’s laughable defence. Pards should get an A just for offloading Djimi Traore and his comedy defending. What Portsmouth plan to do with him is anyone’s guess, but we suspect it involves slicing oranges. Getting the Chinese captain on loan could work out, but they can always send him back if not. Thatcher is a tough defender (just ask Pedro Mendes) and Madjid Bougherra has dominated Championship forwards. Which will come in handy next season because Charlton are still going down.
Grade: B

In: None.Out: NoneWhether it’s because Abramovich finally opened his credit card statements, Mourinho’s pocket money has been cut off. Chelsea needed an extra defender or two this January. The failure to make even a modest capture like Tal Ben Haim means January has been an absolute disaster at Stamford Bridge simply because of how much Mourinho has moaned about needing more players.
Grade: F

In: Manuel Fernandes (Benfica, loan)Out: David Weir (Rangers, loan), Simon Davies (Fulham, undisclosed), Mark Hughes (Northampton, undisclosed)David Weir seems determined not to retire, but probably best if he does that in Scotland now. And good work getting Manuel Fernandes in Mr. Moyes, we just hope you got a more sensible deal than Pompey did. Nothing major then, but a slight improvement (including somehow getting a fee for Simon Davies in excess of “helping you move”).
Grade: B-

In: Tony Warner (Leeds, loan return), Vincenzo Montella (Roma, loan), Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution, £2million), Simon Davies (Everton, undisclosed), Alexei Smertin (Dynamo Moscow, undisclosed)Out: Luis Boa Morte (West Ham United, undisclosed), Niclas Jensen (FC Copenhagen, undisclosed), Gabriel Zakuani (Stoke, loan)Vincenzo Montella is looking like a masterstroke on par with Henrik Larsson. Simon Davies hasn’t looked good since he jumped out of Champ Man and into real life, Alexi Smertin has always looked solid and our American postal worker friend Stars&Stripes says Clint Dempsey is first class and also likes to punch his team mates. Smertin is hideous but looked a solid player while at Chelsea and then Charlton. Losing Boa Morte is technically a blow, but if they got the rumoured £5million from West Ham for wantaway player, then not too shabby.
Grade: B

In: Emiliano Insua (CA Boca Juniors, Loan), Daniele Padelli (Sampdoria, loan), Jordy Brouwer (Ajax, undisclosed), Alvaro Arbeloa Coca (Deportivo La Coruna, £2.5million), Francis Duran (Malaga, undisclosed)Out: Darren Potter (Wolves, £200,000), Adam Hammill (Dunfermline, loan), Stephen Warnock (Blackburn Rovers, undisclosed), Salif Diao (Stoke City, free)Should Rafa have offered Lucas Neill some extra cash? And who are these young guys he’s signed? We’re not sure adding to Anfield’s Spanish language contingent is necessarily the best idea, and suspect this is Rafa’s too little too late stopgap reaction to getting mauled by Wenger’s youngsters. We’ll have to wait and see how they pan out, so we’ll give him a passing grade for now because we’re either not going to see these players for a long time, if at all.
Grade: C+

Manchester City
In: Djamel Abdoun (AC Ajaccio, loan), Michael Ball (PSV Eindhoven, undisclosedOut: Ben Thatcher (Charlton Athletic, £500,000), Kasper Schmeichel (Falkirk, loan), Kelvin Etuhu (Rochdale, loan), Claudio Reyna (New York Red Bulls, released)Claudio Reyna was past it, no question. And Ben Thatcher is a thug. But Man City could really have done with a striker and there’s speculation that had Psycho not been messing about with the FA he could have completed the Mido deal in time. Bit of a gamble bringing Ball back to England too, will be interesting to see if he deserved that one England cap.
Grade: D

Manchester UnitedIn: Henrik Larsson (Helsingborgs, loan)Out: David Jones (Derby County, £1million), Jonny Evans (Sunderland, loan), Phillip Bardsley (Aston Villa, loan), Guiseppe Rossi (Parma, loan), Lee Martin (Stoke City, loan)

Larsson is easily the best signing in the whole window. Easily. Not only because United needed him, not only because he’s a top striker, but mostly because no one else thought to ask. Fergie loses a point for bidding 20 million on Overrated Hargreaves (United need to fire all their scouts if they can’t find a player to do dirty work for less than 20 million), but gains a point for not increasing the bid when it was rejected.
Grade: B+

MiddlesbroughIn: Lee Dong-Gook (Pohang Steelers, free)Out: Kevin Burgess (Darlington, free), Ugo Ehiogu (Rangers, released), Ray Parlour (released), Massimo Maccarone (Siena, free)

Bit of a dead wood clear out at Boro this January, with Ugo Ehiogu and the Romford Pele both being cut loose, and Massimo “most disappointing striker named after a pasta shape” Maccarone going on an all expenses paid one way trip to Siena. Mathematically that’s a bad deal, as he cost £8million plus all those years of wages and Boro get nothing in return. But his departures could be a symbolic end to Boro’s bad old ways where they overpaid for second-rate stars.
Grade: C

Newcastle UnitedIn: Oguchi Onyewu (Standard Liege, loan)Out: Giuseppe Rossi (Manchester United, end of loan)

It’s easy to look at the Toon’s current team and think it needs strengthening but that’s forgetting they have an entire teams worth of players nursing injuries. Giuseppe Rossi never really got a chance so probably best for everyone that he was on his way (Man Utd have now loaned him out to Parma). Oguchi Onyewu is exactly the sort of big no-nonsense central defender Newcastle have needed for, ooh, about ten years now. He’s sort of like an American Sol Campbell, only without all the mental problems and sillier hair.
Grade: B

PortsmouthIn: Svetoslav Todorov (Wigan Athletic, loan return), Djimi Traore (Charlton Athletic, £1million), Arnold Mvuemba (Rennes, loan), Lauren (Arsenal, undisclosed)Out: Manuel Fernandes (Benfica, end of loan), Andy Griffin (Stoke City, loan), Dean Kiely (West Bromwich Albion, free), David Thompson (Bolton, nominal fee)

Harry Redknapp’s always been good at getting himself out of trouble with the transfer window (remember last season?) but what to do when his team are already flying high? Fernandes had to go thanks to his insane loan deal, but there was still time to add some extra quality and ensure Pompey qualify for Europe. But who to sign? Why, Djimi Traore of course! Wait, that can’t be right… The loss of Fernandes and the addition of Traore mean Portsmouth have a worse squad in February than they did in January. In fact, signing Djimi Traore should guarantee any transfer window a big fat “F”. So here it is.
Grade: F

ReadingIn: Simon Cox (Brentford, loan return), Mikkel Andersen (AB Copenhagen, undisclosed), Viktor Illugason (UBK Kopavogur, undisclosed), Oliver Bozanic (unattached), Alan Bennett (Cork City, undisclosed), Greg Halford (Colchester United, undisclosed), Michael Duberry (Stoke City, undisclosed)Out: Jonathan Hayes (MK Dons, loan)

No harm in going back to unofficial feeder club Cork City one more time for Alan Bennett, and we’ve heard Greg Halford is decent. Not sure if Michael Duberry’s got what it takes any more, but Steve Coppell’s no fool. Since everyone’s unproven, Reading get a shrug of the shoulders and an ‘eh…’.

Sheffield UnitedIn: Matthew Kilgallon (Leeds Utd, £1.75 million), Jon Stead (Sunderland, £750,000), Mamadou Seck (Le Havre, free transfer), Luton Shelton (Helsingborgs IF, Undisclosed), Ahmed Fathi (Ismaily, £700,000)Out: Ade Akinbiyi (Burnley £1.125million), David Unsworth (Wigan Athletic, free), Paul Ifill (Crystal Palace, £750,000), Steve Kabba (Watford, £500,000), Jordan Robertson (Northampton, loan), Geoff Horsfield (Leicester, loan)

Busy busy busy. Warnock has cleared out the Championship players who couldn’t cut in the Prem, and replaced them with Championship players who may or may not be able to cut it in the Prem. Only time will tell, but we suspect Stead’s glut of goals for Blackburn were a fluke.
Grade: C+

Tottenham HotspurIn: Adel Taarabt (Lens, loan), Ben Alnwick (Sunderland, undisclosed fee plus player exchange), Mark Yeates (Hull City, loan return), Ricardo Rocha (Benfica, undisclosed)Out: Marton Fulop (Sunderland, player exchange), Calum Davenport (West Ham United, undisclosed), Edgar Davids (Ajax, undisclosed), Reto Ziegler (Sampdoria, loan), Mark Yeates (Leicester, loan)

For the 900th window in a row, Spurs don’t bother with that left winger. The list of players leaving is better than the list of players coming in, so regardless of who Tottenham still have their squad is weaker.
Grade: C-

WatfordIn: Moses Ashikodi (Rangers, nominal fee), Lee Williamson, Will Hoskins (both Rotherham Utd, £1million), Steve Kabba (Sheffield United, £500,000), Gareth Williams (Leicester City, undisclosed), Douglas Rinaldi (Veranopolis EC, loan), Cedric Avinel (Creteil, undisclosed)Out: Matthew Spring (Luton, £200,000), Ashley Young (Aston Villa, £9.65million)

We’re going to look at this as meaning Watford are resigned to going down. That in mind, auctioning Ashley Young off for £9.65million is good business. But without him, and with Marlon King injured and no quality strikers brought in (all respect to Steve Kabba), all hope is lost.
Grade: C

West Ham UnitedIn: Luis Boa Morte (Fulham, undisclosed), Nigel Quashie (West Bromwich Albion, £1.5million), Calum Davenport (Tottenham Hotspur, undisclosed), Lucas Neill (Blackburn Rovers, undisclosed), Kepa Blanco (Sevilla, loan), Matthew Upson (Birmingham, £6million)Out: Javier Mascherano (Liverpool)

Well, the squad needed freshening up, and Curbs has definitely done that. But in hindsight the signings have two distinct odours. There’s definitely an air of “this is the first time I’ve had money to spend” about the way Curbs threw cash at a greedy Lucas Neill, and a distinct stench of panic buying about paying big money for Matthew Upson just before the window closed. So he gets an A for the players that have joined to help stave off relegation, but loses points for the lack of savvy with which the window was conducted – including that rumoured 18 million bid for Bent.
Grade: A-

Wigan AthleticIn: Kristofer Haestad (IK Start, loan), Andreas Granqvist (Helsingborgs IF, loan), David Unsworth (Sheffield United, free), Caleb Folan (Chesterfield, undisclosed), Julius Aghahowa (Shakhtar Donetsk, undisclosed)Out: Svetoslav Todorov (Portsmouth, end of loan), Gary Teale (Derby, £ 600,000), Mike Pollitt (Burnley, loan), David Wright (Ipswich Town, undisclosed), Gary Teale (Derby County, £600,000), Andy Webster (Rangers, loan)

Wigan are in trouble, no doubt about that. Emile Heskey just doesn’t have the firepower to stave off relegation, but Julius Agahowa and his superfast piston legs might just have what it takes. He also joins fellow Nigerian Obafemi Martins as the two Oldest Young Men in the league, if Agahowa turns out anywhere near as good Wigan might just stay up after all.
Grade: C+

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