One of the most exciting times of the Barclays Premier League season is the conclusion of the January Transfer Window.
All 20 top-flight sides looked to either bolster their roster for the second-half of the season, or let go of some players to make a quick profit. I decided to make my picks for the three winners of the window based on the transactions that were made.
Crystal Palace F.C.: Grade A-
Sam Allardyce was brought in to turn the tide at Crystal Palace, after Alan Pardew was sacked near the end of December. First off, his side got an important league win on Tuesday, winning 2-0 at Bournemouth. They made some key signings in different positions, which should help bolster their chances of staving off a relegation fight. Patrick van Aanholt was the top signing, joining from Sunderland for £14.0 million. He is a young, attacking wing-back that should do wonders for Palace. Tonight’s win was his first appearance for the club. Midfielder Jeffrey Schlupp joined from Leicester for £12.5 million earlier this month, which was good for both sides.
Schlupp was lacking game time at Leicester, even with the reigning champs struggling near the bottom. Despite being injured against Manchester City in F.A. Cup duty last weekend, Schlupp should provide some needed insurance. Forward Arouna Kone also joined on loan from Everton, while a last-minute deal for Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho was also completed. The French defender was signed on-loan for the remainder of the season. Olympiakos midfielder Luka Milivojevic was signed for an undisclosed fee as well, giving Allardyce a player with Champions League experience.
Burnley F.C.: Grade B+
Sean Dyche‘s Clarets have been a surprise story in the Premier League this season, sitting in the top-half. A 1-0 home win over Leicester today continued their strong home form this season. The Clarets bolstered their squad by making two underrated signings today as January concluded. Robbie Brady was signed from Norwich for £16.0 million making him the club’s record signing. The Republic of Ireland 25-year-old had four goals and four assists in 22 appearances for the Canaries in the EFL Championship. He still has a lot of untapped potential, and could do well with a smaller club like Burnley. Look to either see Brady in midfield, or even out on the left-wing.
Their impressive day continued when they brought in former Aston Villa midfielder Ashley Westwood to Turf Moor for £5 million. He featured in 23 of their 27 league fixtures so far this season, while also playing in over 150 top-flight fixtures for Villa from 2012-2016. The 26-year-old will look to take the spot of the injured Dean Marney, who will be out for the remainder of the season. The arrival of Joey Barton earlier this month brings back some aggressiveness and physicality in midfield. Barton is in his second stint with the club after previously being with Scottish giants Rangers earlier this season. The team also sold reserve forward Lukas Jutkiewicz to Birmingham City, while loaning midfielder Michael Kightly to Burton Albion.
Everton F.C.: Grade B
Ronald Koeman made some small moves but was able to get rid of some fringe players to create some space. The Toffees best signing was Morgan Schneiderlin from Manchester United for £26 million. The former Southampton midfielder, found it tough to play at Old Trafford and this move should see him starting more under Koeman. Youngster Ademola Lookman joined earlier this month from Charlton Athletic, and looks like a nice talent for the future. The main positive for Everton was getting rid of six players, mainly all on loan.
Tom Cleverley joined Watford, Arouna Kone joined Crystal Palace, Oumar Niasse joined Hull, Gerard Deulofeu joined A.C. Milan, while Brian Oviedo and Darren Gibson joined Sunderland. Out of the six, Deulofeu will be missed the most due to his creation on the wing. But at times, the Spaniard didn’t produce enough for what was expected of him. Overall, a solid window for the Merseyside club.
Will these moves pay off for Burnley, Crystal Palace, and Everton in the long run? Time will tell as the Barclays Premier League rolls on for the second half.
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