The January transfer window concluded on Feb 2 and saw the Barclays Premier League (BPL) teams spend £130 million pounds (S$266 million), the same amount as last year’s. A mixture of top class players and rising stars was acquired by the teams and our sports reporter YOGARAJ PANDITURAI will be looking at the five players that will likely have an immediate impact on their new clubs.
1. Juan Cuadrado – Fiorentina to Chelsea
The biggest deadline day signing this window, Chelsea forked out £23.3 million (S$47.6 million) for the Colombian winger. Juan Cuadrado inked a four-and-a-half-year deal and will wear the number 23 jersey for the Blues.
Cuadrado impressed at the World Cup last year and played a vital role in bringing his home nation to the quarterfinals. He ended his campaign with four assists, tying with World Cup winner Toni Kroos with the most amount of assists.
Pacy and agile, Cuadrado adds another dimension of flair and purposeful attack while possessing an eye for the spectacular. He certainly is a different type of a player compared to Willian. Cuadrado offers more skills and efficiency in the final third while Willian is more about the unrelenting work rate.
2. Wilfried Bony – Swansea City to Manchester City
A proven goal-scorer in the league, Wilfried Bony was poached by Manchester City for £28 million (S$57.1 million). Bony put pen to paper on a four-and-a-half-year deal and he will wear the number 14 shirt.
The powerful Ivorian scored the most Premier League goals in 2014 with his total of 20 – higher than Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, Wayne Rooney and Edin Dzeko. Having made a name for himself in the BPL, Bony adds physicality and strength to a lethal Man City attack.
Expect him to lead the City strike force alongside Aguero, with Dzeko not likely to get more playing time and Stevan Jovetic’s poor form.
3. Gabriel – Villarreal to Arsenal
Not much is known about the Gunners’ new number 5. Gabriel joins Arsenal for a rumoured fee of about £11.3 million (S$23 million) on a long-term contract.
Standing at 1.85m, the Brazilian can also play at left back or right back due to being ambidextrous. He was ever-present in a Villareal side that conceded just 17 goals in their first 19 La Liga matches and has gone 18 games unbeaten.
He will provide competition for the regular centre back pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. Gabriel looks to fill the void left by former captain Thomas Vermaelen.
Arsene Wenger is known to unearth gems and this Brazilian might just be one of them.
4. Jermain Defoe – Toronto to Sunderland
The 32-year-old pint-sized Englishman made his return to the BPL after leaving just a year ago. Sunderland signed Jermain Defoe for an undisclosed fee and he joined on a three-and-a-half-year deal.
The prolific hitman has scored over 120 goals during spells with West Ham United, Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur. Donning the number 28 kit, Defoe has already made an impact with his new club by scoring on his home debut against Burnley.
The Black Cats are hoping to count on the seasoned striker’s experience as they look to avoid the drop this season. Defoe has been known to score vital goals and he will be looking to lead Sunderland to safety.
5. Andrej Kramaric – HNK Rijeka to Leicester City
Leicester City’s club record signing, Andrej Kramaric joined the club for £9 million (S$18.3 million) on a three-and-a-half-year contract. Wearing the number 40, Kramaric comes into the BPL with high credentials back in his native of Croatia.
He started his football career in his hometown club Dinamo Zagreb, holding the record as the top youth goalscorer in club history and was regarded as one of the club’s biggest talents. Kramaric moved to Rijeka after a dispute with the Dinamo Zagreb board, banging in 37 goals in 42 league games.
Leicester will be expecting their new striker to continue his excellent form in England in order to lift them off the bottom of the league table.