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January Transfer Window: SLAMMED SHUT!!

Many thanks to the team from @FourFourTweet for submitting this great review of the January Transfer Window

Guest Post by @jonnywarburton

Premier League clubs contemplate future as January Transfer Window concludes.

Deadline day has been and gone with plenty of deals that will impact clubs seasons across the Premier League.

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The toughest time to chop and change your squad is in January but many Premier League mangers use this window to bring in extra depth to depleted squads and to find that hidden bargain that can change a season’s fortune. Plenty of teams have been busy over the last couple of weeks and here is the summary of the key ins and outs at every Premier League side.

Arsenal

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Current League Position 6th

Arsenal failed to bring in more than one senior player despite persistent links with Barcelona striker David Villa. Nacho Monreal was added late on in the window to provide significant quality at the LB position. Arsenal fans have been crying out for several new signings that will help lift the gunners into the champions league places. Arsene Wenger’s reluctance to spend significantly signals a very frustrating end to the January transfer window.

Verdict

They needed a couple of quality players and to ship out the dead wood from years ago, Monreal is a nice pick up and should adapt to the Premier League well.

5/10

Players IN: Nacho Monreal (10m)

Players OUT: Johan Djourou (Loan), Marouane Chamakh (Loan), Chuks Aneke (Loan), Emmanuel Frimpong (Loan)

Aston Villa

Current League Position 19th

Villa failed to strengthen an inexperienced squad with only one senior signing through Ligue 2 forward Sylla. It is tough to see the Villa staying up with such little experience throughout the spine of the squad. Premier League experience was a must as other relegation candidates spend the cash in a bid to stay up

Verdict

Failed to address the need for experienced players which could cost them their place in the Premier League. Defensive and Midfield quality was a must but instead an unproven Frenchman fits the bill.

1/10

Players IN: Yacouba Sylla (2m) Simon Dawkins (Loan)

Players OUT: Stephen Warnock

Chelsea

demba

Current League Position 3rd

The signing of Demba Ba from Newcastle United was the main signing for the European champions who replace outgoing Daniel Sturridge. Ba proved to be a hit on Tyneside and the talented Senegalese international will be looking to compete with out of sorts Fernando Torres for a regular spot in the Chelsea line up.

Verdict

With Benitez only seen as ‘Interim’ manager, there wasn’t much surprise that the blues didn’t bring in more players to complement their squad.

5/10

Players IN: Demba Ba (7m)

Players OUT: Lucas Piazon (Loan), Sam Walker (Loan)  Billy Clifford (Loan)  Todd Kane (Loan)  Daniel Sturridge 12m, Patrick Bamford (Loan)

Everton

Current League Position 5th

The toffees took the approach of if it’s not broke don’t fix it. They managed to keep hold of key players Baines and Fellaini which will be vital in their push for a European campaign next season. There only addition of the window was young Barnsley defender Stones, who they pipped Wigan Athletic for his signature – one for the future.

Verdict

Quiet window for Everton, which will suit David Moyes down to the ground by keeping his core together.

5/10

Players IN: John Stones (£3m)

Players OUT:  Ross Barkley (Loan) Anton Forrester, Magaye Gueye (Loan)

Fulham

Current League Position 12th

The oldest average aged squad in the league have added younger talents to their side through Frimpong and Emanuelson both on loan. The former Ajax prodigy adds significant experience alongside the midfield powerhouse that is Frimpong. Emanuelson had a OK time in Milan and will be hoping this loan move reignites his career with Fulham. Manolev will offer international experience and is a solid pick up from Holland.

Verdict

Like there two midfield signings in particular and will help bolster the ageing midfield.

6/10

Players IN: Chris David , Emmanuel Frimpong (Loan)  , Urby Emanuelson (Loan) , Stanislav Manolev (Loan)  , Eyong Enoh [loan from Ajax]

Players OUT: David Stockdale (Loan) Stephen Kelly (Loan), Richard Peniket [loan to AFC Telford]

Liverpool

Current League Position 7th

Liverpool splashed the cash for another transfer window with a double swoop of Sturridge and Coutinho. Two quality signings with real technical skill that will be on show for years to come at Anfield. The two young players are the only real business the Reds side have completed despite reported links that Tom Ince was due a return to the club.

Verdict

Spent a lot of money again so it will be interesting to see if it is money well spent, face value looks good.

7/10

Players IN: Daniel Sturridge (£12m), Philippe Coutinho (£8m)

Players OUT: Danny Wilson (Loan), Nuri Sahin , Joe Cole , Adam Morgan (Loan)  , Alexander Doni, Michael Ngoo (Loan)

Manchester City

Current League Position 2nd

 

With no real additions to the Man City squad it is difficult to see City really giving Man Utd something to think about in the final few months of the season. The sale of Mario Balotelli to AC Milan has been met with split views as the hot headed Italian has undeniable talent but an attitude that offers anything from bizarre to crazy just wouldn’t cut it any longer.

Verdict

Relatively quiet month for the club, splashing the cash on a new striker should have been the main focus for the champions to provide significant competition for Tevez, Aguero and Dzeko.

4/10

 

Players IN: Godsway Donyoh

Players OUT: Mario Balotelli (19m) Alex Nimely (Loan)  Godsway Donyoh (Loan) Jeremy Helan (Loan)  Reece Wabara (Loan)

Manchester United

Current League Position 1st

 

The Red Devils sign and loan back Wilfried Zaha to Crystal Palace after beating many top flight clubs for the England internationals signature. The technical winger will become an instant hit at Old Trafford next season with the basis to learn from one of the best managers in the game, the potential is there for Zaha to become a real hit in the North West.

Verdict

Would of liked to of seen a centre midfielder come in to strengthen the squad however the signing of Zaha will prove to be a gamble worth taking.

6/10

Players IN: Wilfried Zaha (£15m)

Players OUT: Davide Petrucci (Loan)  Scott Wootton (Loan)  Robbie Brady, Angelo Henriquez (Loan)  Josh King , Luke McCullough (Loan)  Wilfried Zaha (Loan) Federico Macheda (Loan)

Newcastle

Sissoko

Current League Position 15th

Alan Pardew brought in five senior signings from Ligue 1 which has prompted the call of a French revolution. The signings of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Moussa Sissoko will be key as both have international pedigree that will emulate the North East club in the coming months. The first French signing of the window was Debuchy from Lille who is well known to be good friends with Yohan Cabaye. A successful window for the magpies as they conclude their business early on.

Verdict

Strengthened squad with real quality players in key areas of the pitch. The bargain of Moussa Sissoko will be the January signing of the window for the Toon – great signing.

9/10

Players IN: Mathieu Debuchy (5m) Kevin Mbabu,  Moussa Sissoko, Massadio Haidara,  Yoan Gouffran , Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (6.7m)

Players OUT: Demba Ba (7m) Conor Newton (Loan)  Xisco, Mehdi Abeid (Loan) Bradden Inman (Loan)

Norwich

Current League Position 14th

Norwich head back to Leeds for another signing with Luciano Becchio the latest export from Elland Road. The Argentine scored a lot of goals in the championship and will prove to be a steady signing for the canaries in an effort to avoid the drop zone.

Verdict

Like the Becchio signing and will be interesting to see how he fairs against top class defenders. Steady Window

5/10

Players IN: Luciano Becchio, Kei Kamara (Loan)

Players OUT: Jacob Butterfield (Loan) Elliott Ward (Loan), Steve Morison, Declan Rudd (Loan), Tom Adeyemi (Loan)

QPR

Current League Position 20th

Rangers add defensive steel through the signing of Chris Samba from money bags Anzhi Makhachkala. The powerful Congo international will prove to be a fantastic purchase in QPR’s bid to avoid relegation. The signing of Samba was prompted due to the retirement of Ryan Nelsen who takes up management with MLS side Toronto FC. Loic Remy swapped the south of France for West London in an £8m move that will provide a genuine goal threat in firing the hoops to safety.

Verdict

Added much needed defensive help which was key to QPR’s transfer window and the experienced Samba will prove to be vital in both penalty areas as the London club attempt to stay up

7/10

Players IN: Loic Remy (8m) Tal Ben Haim, Christopher Samba (12.5) Yun Suk-young, Jermaine Jenas, Andros Townsend (Loan)

Players OUT: Djibril Cisse (Loan)  Frankie Sutherland (Loan)  Michael Harriman (Loan)  Alejandro Faurlin [loan to Palermo], Michael Doughty (Loan)  Anton Ferdinand (Loan)  Jordan Gibbons (Loan)  Rob Hulse (Loan)

Reading

Current League Position 17th

The Royals lie in a delicate position in the table and this has led the club to bring in four players to their first team squad. Reading looked to the lower leagues for the majority of their signings by securing Akpan and Blackman from Crawley and Sheff United respectively. Kelly will add great depth and experience throughout the Reading ranks.

Verdict

Some decent business in this window for the club, still remain to see whether it is will be enough come May.

5/10

Players IN: Daniel Carrico , Stephen Kelly . Hope Akpan , Nick Blackman

Players OUT: Gozie Ugwu (Loan)  Dominic Samuel (Loan)  Jordan Obita (Loan) Michael Hector (Loan)

Southampton

Current League Position 16th

The Saints brought in only one player to help strengthen the defence during the window. Vegard Forren was a man in high demand with Liverpool closely watching the former Molde man. After the departure of Nigel Adkins earlier in the window, it was expected that Pochettino would bring in some of his own players.

Verdict

Expected the new Saints manager to bring in a couple of players but failed dramatically. Will be interesting to see if they have enough in the second part of the season.

3/10

Players IN: Vegard Forren

Players OUT: Dan Seaborne (Loan)  Ryan Dickson (Loan), Sam Hoskins (Loan)  Jonathan Forte (Loan), Steve de Ridder (Loan) Ben Reeves (Loan)

Stoke

Current League Position 10th

The Potters didn’t have too much business to do during January, however the deadline day signing of Birmingham City’s goalkeeper Jack Butland will be a shrewd move. The England international has been in hot demand from the majority of Premier League sides and it was confirmed that he turned down Chelsea. USA international Shea will provide competition down the left hand side of the pitch as the MLS product will look to make his mark.

Verdict

Solid bit of business as Butland will become an International regular for years to come.

6/10

Players IN: Jack Butland (3.5m)  Brek Shea (2.5m)

Players OUT: Michael Tonge, Danny Higginbotham, Rory Delap (Loan) Ryan Brunt, Jack Butland (Loan)  Matthew Upson (Loan)

Sunderland

Current League Position 11th

The Black Cats had a three in three out policy this window with Danny Graham headlining the Sunderland imports. The goal scorer was desperate for a move back to the north east and the signing may highlight a need to help Steven Fletcher out in the goal scoring department.

Verdict

Graham will be a good signing and N’Diaye will provide a dominace in midfield that is much needed for the club.

6/10

Players IN: Kader Mangane (Loan) Alfred N’Diaye, Danny Graham (5m)

Players OUT: Blair Adams, David Meyler (1.5) Ahmed Elmohamady (Loan) Jonny Maddison (Loan) Fraizer Campbell (600k)

Swansea

Current League Position 8th

Swansea City did not bring any players in during the January window however they decided to sell Danny Graham to Sunderland for £5m. Michu still leads the line for the Swans and this was important for Swansea to keep hold of their talisman going into the final months of the season.

Verdict

They have allowed fringe players, to leave, so no major cause for concern.  The Swans just need to keep Michu, injury free, however, the Home fans I am sure would have been hopeful to see an attacking addition to replace Graham and keep Michu company.

4/10

Players IN: N/A

Players OUT: Jamie Proctor,  Danny Graham (5m) Curtis Obeng (Loan) Leroy Lita (Loan), Ashley Richards (Loan), Gwion Edwards (Loan)

Tottenham

 

holtby

 

 Current League Position 4th

AVB beat off competition from many top clubs across the continent by signing German international Lewis Holtby from Schalke 04. English speaking Holtby will offer craft and guile which will provide an added dimension for a loaded squad of attacking talent. A quiet month for Spurs despite their persistent approach for Leandro Damiao that inevitably proved inconclusive in a bizarre transfer saga.

Verdict

Love the Holtby signing but another striker to keep Defoe and Adebayor on their toes would have made it a fantastic window.

8/10

Players IN: Lewis Holtby (1.5m) Zeki Fryers (3m)

Players OUT: Heurelho Gomes (Loan)  Alex Pritchard (Loan)   Jermaine Jenas , Andros Townsend (Loan)  , Tomislav Gomelt (Loan) Simon Dawkins (Loan) , Ryan Mason (Loan)

 West Brom

Current League Position 9th

Very quiet window for West Brom as they held off late interest for want away striker Peter Odemwingie. Sitting steady in mid table, the baggies will look to bolster their squad in the summer.

Verdict

Sold Chris Wood to Leicester but there wasn’t much need to buy after a good start to the season.

4/10

Players IN: Roland Lamah (Loan)

Players OUT: Sam Mantom, Gonzalo Jara, Chris Wood (1m) Dawson (Loan)

West Ham

Current League Position 13th

The Hammers made a couple of signings throughout January and took to the loan market to bolster their squad. West Ham brought Joe Cole back to the club where he made his name. Cole has had a stellar career and the chance to return back to Upton Park proved too much to turn down. Big tackler Pogatetz on loan from Hannover will be a welcome addition to an injury hit defence.

Verdict

Steady if unspectacular business from West Ham, shouldn’t add too much quality to their squad. Cole will be a welcomed signing amongst fans.

4/10

Players IN: Wellington Paulista (Loan) Marouane Chamakh (Loan) Joe Cole, Sean Maguire

Players OUT: Alou Diarra (Loan)  , Stephen Henderson (Loan)

Wigan Athletic

Current League Position 18th

A busy month for Wigan who brought back Paul Scharner on loan from German side Hamburg. The second spell at the DW stadium will prove to be an astute piece of business as they bring in defensive cover for an injury prone defence. The signing of Honduran winger Roger Espinoza from MLS side Sporting Kansas will be a very clever move as a need as he will provide an immediate impact for Roberto Martinez’s side.

Verdict

Small but important business for Wigan who only tinker with their squad over January, add defensive depth which is essential for staying in the division

7/10

Players IN: Angelo Henriquez (Loan), Roger Espinoza (Free), Joel Robles (Loan), Paul Scharner (Loan)

Players OUT: Mauro Boselli (Loan) Rob Kiernan (Loan)

Don’t forget to check out the official FantasyYIRMA preview also available now “GW25 Gareth Bale to sting the Hawthorns”

Guest Post: JANUARY WILDCARD by @FPL_mentor

Many thanks to @FPL_Mentor for providing this guest post! You can view more of his work at http://fantasyfootballmentor.blogspot.co.uk 

Excellent resource and well worth a follow.

If you would like to feature an article on Fantasy Yirma email Ryan at FantasyYirma@hotmail.com or contact us via the website/twitter

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January is almost upon us (or already is depending where you are right now!). A time of new hope, new promises and new starts. I’m not talking about New Year resolutions, I’m talking about the January wildcard.

Back in September I wrote a general article about when to play your wildcard which can be found on the Strategy Articles page, or by clicking here. But I think the January wildcard is a different beast to the wildcard that can be used at any time, and not just for the obvious reason that it can only be used within a certain time frame. For anyone wondering, it can be used for GW22, so after GW21 has started (from 11:31 GMT on 1 January 2013) up until, and including using it for GW25 (11:30 GMT on 2 February 2013).
So even though it’s the January wildcard, it can’t be used until after GW21 has been locked in, which is the first GW in January, and it can still be used in February. This is because GW24 ends on 30 January and so there’s still some January left over, so it can still be used for GW25. The wording on the FPL site might be a misleading to some as it states the wildcard is available “until Gameweek 24 ends”, in other words “until GW25 starts”. Hopefully everyone is clear about that.
So as I was saying, a different beast to the standard wildcard, and very much so. Hence a whole new article rather than changing a few things from my original. I’ve given it a lot of thought and in my opinion there are 4 important things to consider when deciding when to use it:
  1. Player values
  2. The double Gameweek (DGW) in GW23 for Arsenal and West Ham
  3. African Cup of Nations
  4. Transfers that Premier League clubs will make in January
I’ve listed them in order of importance but I think there’s very little between the top 2. Player values has to shade it though because it will have a lasting impact on your side, while a DGW provides the opportunity of a one-off spike in your scores.
Ok so let’s have a look at these 4 one-by-one then.
Player Values
This is fairly obvious, but hugely significant. If you play your wildcard at 11:31 GMT on 1 January ready for GW22, chances are you’re going to save a whole bunch of cash. Barring any 3-match suspensions or long-term injuries to big-name players that you want to bring in, the likelihood is that their price will rise before now and the end of January.
Let’s have a quick look at some examples by assuming you don’t have, but intend to buy RVP, Ba, Mata & Michu – four of the most popular and highest scoring FPL players so far this season. Unlikely yes, but for example I don’t have 3 of these players, so not impossible. We’ll look at the difference in their values from GW17 to GW20, i.e. 4 GWs – the lifespan of the January wildcard:
GW17 Value
GW20 Value
Difference
Robin Van Persie
13.8
14.0
+0.2
Demba Ba
8.2
8.3
+0.1
Juan Mata
9.5
9.8
+0.3
Michu
8.0
8.3
+0.3
Totals
39.5
40.4
+0.9
All I’ve done there is pick 4 popular FPL players at random. The first 2 strikers, and first 2 midfielders that came into my head to be honest. A difference of +0.9 is huge, and that’s only with 4 players don’t forget. Yes they’re “big” players in FPL terms, but if you wanted you could change 15 players with your wildcard. Of course that’s an extreme, but if that was the case you could easily be looking at a saving of 2-3m if you play your wildcard early for GW22 rather than late for GW25.
It’s something which should be at the top of your list of things to consider as it could be the difference between having a midfielder or a striker worth 8.0 or 9.0 as opposed to one worth 5.0 or 6.0 and you don’t need me to tell you the sort of difference that can make to your team.
I mentioned a suspension or long-term injury affecting things. Well to give you an idea, Marouane Fellaini ‘s price hit 8.0 right before his recent 3-match ban. At the time of writing he is priced at just 7.4 – a huge drop of 0.6 in a short space of time. It’s worth remembering though that he was one of the most owned FPL players, so masses of people transferred him out causing his price to tumble. Just shows you that it can happen though. But on the whole, prices will continue to rise, they’re much more volatile this season.
(Double) Gameweek 23
Double Gameweeks are my favourite things in Fantasy Football. Maybe because I like the forward thinking and planning they require in order to be exploited to their full potential. Couple that with the balancing act of trying to ensure that you don’t have too many players from a team which you wouldn’t normally have in the following normal GW (Sunderland & Reading players from GW16, anyone?) and you have a great little mini-game within FPL. Who doesn’t like games, right?
GW23 is different though. The wildcard gives you a safety net. Now you wouldn’t normally use a wildcard solely to build around a DGW, at least I wouldn’t recommend it under normal circumstances, but here you can. You have a limited time to use this wildcard so if you’re not planning any drastic changes you can use it to exploit GW23.
So how should you go about this?
Well there’s 2 ways. Arsenal and West Ham are the 2 teams in question. Arsenal visit Chelsea while West Ham host QPR before both teams meet at the Emirates. The usual FPL advice for a DGW is not to overcrowd your team with the affected players, but you can this time. Sort of.
The 2 ways of doing it are to use the wildcard immediately before GW23 or immediately afterwards. Fairly obviously. You could use it to fill up with Arsenal and West Ham players effectively giving you a maximum of 17 players in your starting XI. Chances are this will potentially give you a points spike but then you’re lumbered with 6 players from just 2 teams, not something I’m keen on. If they both have bad weeks during the next GW then that could be over half of your team not delivering.
I much prefer the idea of using your wildcard after GW23. We have 3 GWs yet before we reach it, that’s potentially 3 free transfers of Arsenal or West Ham players if you wanted. You might already have 1 or 2 in anyway so it gives you a chance to get a total of 3 or 4 DGW players in your team. Then once GW23 is over, it’s wildcard time! A bit like a get out of jail free card.
I quite like that idea and originally that was my plan. Yet after playing around with how my team could potentially end up looking, I’m now leaning towards an early wildcard due to reason number 1 in my list.

 

African Cup of Nations
The African Cup of Nations (ACoN) runs from 19 January until 10 February 2013. If I remember correctly, players will be expected to be released from their clubs 2 weeks before the tournament, but it usually ends up being a week as a compromise between nations and Premier League clubs. Nations can put their foot down about this though if they so wish, and doubtless some will do just that. But that 2 weeks is just from memory, don’t quote me on it.
There’s 2 things to bear in mind here. One is obvious, the other less so. Firstly don’t be bringing in any players who will be on another continent for potentially the best part of 5 weeks. I don’t think any more needs to be said about that. Simples.
What you should be thinking about is who will come into replace those players at their clubs. It’s likely that the ACoN will throw up some unexpected FPL bargains with some fringe players getting game time they wouldn’t normally get, or playing in positions that they wouldn’t normally play in. This aspect is less to do with the wildcard, that’s more to do with the obvious part of avoiding the likes of Yaya Toure when playing yours. But this is something that can put you one step ahead of everyone else if you pay attention closely enough.
January Transfers (real ones)
Thinking back to the last January transfer window, Everton and Newcastle made 2 stunning acquisitions, bringing in Nikica Jelavic and Papiss Cisse respectively. So sometimes there are some excellent FPL players bought into the Premier League in January, or even bought within the league itself, with players moving from one Premier League club to another. Demba Ba could be one of those…
If you already have a great team which has a nice balance to it, then you might not be too bothered about using a wildcard in January. If that’s the case then it might be worth saving until the transfer window closes just in case there’s any spectacular late buys that require a little reshuffle. Falcao? David Villa? You never know!
Should this happen then you’re in a lovely position. Whereas others might have to spend points to get new, shiny, big names into their teams, you’ll be able to play your wildcard just before it expires, comfortably swap around 2 or 3 players and look very smug.
Summary
In conclusion, there’s plenty of options available to you when it comes to how and when to play your wildcard then. It all depends on your current situation, your current squad and how happy or unhappy you are with your side.
Of course, there are other things which may come into play – your side might be ravaged with injuries and suspensions, forcing you into using your wildcard as soon as possible just so that you can field 11 players. If that’s the case then that’s desperately unlucky, you poor sod.
But in general, if you’re in half-decent shape then the 4 things I listed should form the backbone of your decision making. If you take them all into account and make a balanced decision based on which ones you feel you should give more weight to given your FPL circumstances, then you should benefit quite handsomely in comparison with those who will just use a wildcard for the sake of it. 

WILDCARD! YEAH! FREE TRANSFERS BABY!

 

Don’t be one of those people and you’ll be fine 🙂

One final point. Do use your wildcard. Even if it’s just to save taking a -4 or -8 point hit. That’s also what it’s there for if your side doesn’t need a radical overhaul.
I think that’s everything. Hopefully this will have been some use and given you something to ponder which you might not have thought about previously.
I’m just left to wish you all a Happy New Year and all the best for 2013. Thanks very much for reading, it’s never taken for granted, I genuinely appreciate it.
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