Kostas Mitroglou

Transfer window: Biggest winners, losers in Premier League


The January transfer window is shut.

Take a deep breath after what has been a whirlwind day of deals around the Premier League.

Dollar signs and contracts terms are floating around the heads of many fans, players, managers and chairman after crucial deals have been pushed through in the final few hours of the deadline.

RECAP: All the deals on deadline day

Now it’s time to break down the big winners and losers from the window, as certain clubs have definitely fared better than others in the transfer window.We’ve had panic buys, loan deal, multi-million dollar signings and some will turn out better deals than others.

That’s the beauty of it. Leaving it so late in the window to do your business is risky and some clubs will get their fingers burnt.

Let’s analyze who stood out with their business acumen and we will simply pick out three Premier League teams that did the best business… then we will lambast another three who should’ve done better business.



This was massively needed in the window, Fulham have overhauled their roster and finally spent some big cash to get guys in that they really wanted. On deadline day they first brought in Lewis Holtby from Tottenham on loan, and the little man is a terrific workhorse in the middle and exactly what Fulham needed at the point in midfield. Then the big signing came as Greek international striker Kostas Mitroglou signed for $18 million from Olympiakos. He swapped the UEFA Champions League for a relegation battle, this guys is a top class striker who scores boat loads of goals. Best signing of the day. Hands down. Great buys from Rene Meulensteen and American owner Shadid Khan. They’ve also added John Heitinga from Everton, who is a terrific Dutch center back that will stop the Cottagers leaking goals. Great window.

source: Getty Images
Can Zaha kick-start his career on loan at Cardiff?


Ole Gunnar Solksjaer has made plenty of bold moves in the window, and I like what he’s doing. The Bluebirds needed some fresh legs and new faces around the place, because let’s face it, despite all their grit and determination they aren’t getting it done in the PL. Norwegian trio Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Mats Moller Daehli and Jo Inge Berget have arrived,  as well as Stoke City striker Kenwyne Jones. But the most significant signings could be Wilfried Zaha and Fabio from Manchester United. Zaha is on loan and has something to prove, which means the England international could be the difference between Cardiff staying up or going down.

Crystal Palace

Jason Puncheon, Wayne Hennessey and Scott Dann all arrived on deadline day, with deals for Thomas Ince and Joe Ledley being pushed over the line as the window slammed shut. If they do get those five players, Palace have a tremendous chance of staying in the Premier League this season. Tricky attackers, solid midfielders, a good ‘keeper and a solid center back. The spine of their entire squad now looks incredibly strong. Tony Pulis is the master of deadline day deals, he proved that at Stoke. He’s done it again for the Eagles.



The Gunners had a big chance to bring in a top striker to challenge for their first title in almost 10 years. But they blew it. With just Oivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner as recognized strikers, Arsene Wenger somehow moved for Spartak Moscow midfielder Kim Kallstrom instead of getting a forward in. With a few midfield injuries, you can see why Wenger’s done it. But Arsenal fans were just hoping for a big-time striker to arrive as they desperately seek some silverware after an eight-year drought. No such luck. Opportunity missed.


source: AP
If Liverpool would’ve sealed the deal for Konoplyanka, it would salvage their transfer window. But they struck out.

For so long the Reds looked like they were about to seal a $22 million deal for Yevhen Konoplyanka but it looked like it all fell apart at the end. I really hoped Brendan Rodgers would go out and spend some big money on another good defender as well as the Ukrainian winger. I think that Liverpool’s squad isn’t quite strong enough, and they may now miss out on fourth place due to a bit of laziness in the window. I hope I’m proved wrong, because this is a good side. Sometimes you have to buy big when you’re on the edge of becoming a great team. You can’t stand still.

Stoke City

The Potters big transfer target was Lee Cattermole… No disrespect, but that says it all really. A holding midfielder, of which Stoke have a plethora of, should not have been the priority for a Stoke side dropping alarmingly down the table. They can’t score goals. They needed to bring in a top striker and they grabbed Peter Odemwingie and John Guidetti, while getting ride of Kenwyne Jones. I think Mark Hughes’ side are going to struggle for the rest of the season, they really needed some new additions in this window.

“Sorry to kill your stories”: Klopp not seeking new Liverpool GK

during the UEFA Europa League Group B match between Liverpool FC and FC Girondins de Bordeaux at Anfield on November 26, 2015 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.
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The topic of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is a lightning rod for a certain subset of Liverpool fans, but you can count Jurgen Klopp in the group that likes him just fine, thank you.

[ MORE: USMNT back Alvarado on Club America’s transfer list? ]

The 27-year-old Belgian has been the man between the sticks for Klopp since the manager took over at Anfield, and Klopp is already tiring of the rumors that he’s looking for better in the goalkeeping department.

From the BBC:

“I’m absolutely satisfied with our goalkeeper situation.

“I’m sorry to kill your stories about German goalkeepers and different goalkeepers from Stoke – we are not looking for another goalkeeper.”

Pretty clear cut there. Jack Butland would be nice and all, but Klopp’s fine with Mignolet and ex-Bolton man Adam Bogdan.

Do you think they need better?

Klinsmann backs Altidore ahead of busy 2016; USMNT star “back on board”

Jurgen Klinsmann, Jozy Altidore
AP Photo/Matt Dunham
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Jurgen Klinsmann thinks Jozy Altidore‘s tumultuous year ended on an upswing, and expects it to continued into an important 2016.

The Toronto FC hitman had plenty of ups and downs for club, and just as many for country. Whether injuries or form, Altidore wasn’t often the player USMNT fans remember from years past.

[ MORE: USMNT back Alvarado on Club America’s transfer list? ]

But the recently-turned 26-year-old scored six times in his last nine games with TFC to give him 13 on the season, and Klinsmann seems to think his big striker is out of the woods.

From US Soccer:

“Everybody saw that 2015 for Jozy Altidore has been very difficult, a tricky year, but it has become a year toward the end of it where it got stronger and stronger. He had some injury issues and some fitness issues in the beginning of the year. Obviously we had the episode in the Gold Cup where he was not in the shape he needed to be. In then towards July, August, September, he got more and more into the flow. He started to score goals for Toronto, and he got stronger and stronger for the national team as well. This is a very positive sign for us to have Jozy back on board, to plan with Jozy into a very busy 2016, obviously the biggest highlight is the Copa America in June.”

It’s great for the coach to have faith in the United States’ fourth all-time leading scorer, who should catch Eric Wynalda for third this season. Whether Klinsmann will be rewarded for his faith in the striker is another thing altogether, especially in that pivotal, U.S. hosted tournament this summer.

The tricky thing for Altidore, in the run up to the 2018 World Cup, will be for him to prove his merit if players like Bobby Wood, Aron Johannsson and Jordan Morris continue their rises as scoring options.

Manchester City defeat a “cruel” reminder for Hull City’s Bruce

BRISTOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Hull City Manager Steve Bruce during the Sky Bet Championship match between Bristol City and Hull City at Ashton Gate on November 21, 2015 in Bristol, England.  (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)
Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images
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For nearly 90 percent of Hull City’s League Cup quarterfinal against Manchester City, the Tigers hung tough.

A 1-0 deficit made dreams of an Etihad equalizer far from absurd, and Hull had to be thinking about the possibility of another extended Cup run after making it to the 2014 FA Cup Final.

[ MORE: League Cup roundup sees Man City, Stoke, Everton advance ]

Then, the 80th minute hit Hull. Seven minutes later, it was 4-0 Man City. Boom. It finished 4-1.

From the BBC:

“If we needed a reminder how cruel it was to play against the big boys, we just had one.

“After 80 minutes we just had our best spell of the match and after 87 minutes it was 4-0. It was never a 4-1.”

Hull is three points off the lead in the Championship after being relegated from the Premier League last season. Their only loss since Sept. 12 came Saturday against Derby County, so the gifts of Man City were likely a surprise.

With loads of genuine respect to Bruce and complete understanding of what he’s inferring, it did feel more like a 4-1 than the 1-0 his Tigers faced for 68 minutes after Wilfried Bony‘s 12th minute tally.

What would it mean for MLS if Portland wins it all on Sunday?

Fanendo Adi, Portland Timbers
AP Photo/The Oregonian, Randy Rasmussen
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It’s a tricky question, isn’t it? Would there be an underlying thread, a lesson, or a copycat inspiration inside of Portland scoring a minor upset of Columbus at MAPFRE Stadium on Sunday?

Here are some thoughts on the storylines from a post-Timbers title.

1) Stick with the boss

Caleb Porter’s reputation is rather “hate or love”, and people (including this “perhaps still bitter from the Olympics” writer) were expecting his days to be numbered after a rough start to this season.

In his first year in PDX, Porter engineered a 20-point upgrade to the West’s No. 1 slot, but Year Two featured no playoffs and it looked headed that way for much of this year.

[ MORE: USMNT back Alvarado on Club America’s transfer list? ]

But after leaping into control of its playoff destiny with a game to play, Porter now has a Conference Final and an MLS Cup Final (at least) on his resume inside of three seasons.

Where other teams have gone through coaches like candy, Portland keeps going with Porter. Perhaps there’s a lesson there, as in 102 games he’s posted 41 wins and 36 draws to go with just 25 losses (and he was missing Will Johnson and Diego Valeri for the critical moments of his bum season).

2) Spend* at the back, and spread it out

Portland spent the league’s 10th highest total dollars on players when including Designated Players, but that total leaps to sixth if you discount the big money guys (Liam Ridgewell, Lucas Melano, Diego Valeri).

You have to get to 19th on the list of top MLS salaries to find Portland’s first entrant (Ridgewell), and you don’t hit another until No. 33 (Fanendo Adi).

[ MLS: Impact to sign 96-times capped Ivorian defender? ]

But Portland has six players in the Top 100, compared to Columbus’ four. High-end spenders NYC (five players), Toronto (four), and L.A. (four) all don’t hit that figure inside of the Top 100 (and to be specific, Portland does in 98).

They also rank ninth in spending on forwards, 14th on midfielders, and third in defenders. Of the 15 players making more than 100k in base salary, four are defenders and one is goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey.

All numbers come from Spotrac*

3) Get Darlington Nagbe

This will be harder to copycat, seeing as there’s only one Darlington Nagbe, but the Timbers’ midfielder is versatile and helps Porter challenge opposing coaches because of the unpredictable nature of how he can be deployed on the pitch.

In fact, when you run numbers on advanced statistics site Squawka, you’ll see something quite interesting. Among players who hit the pitch in at least 2/3 of their teams’ games this season, Nagbe is fourth in MLS in combined score. More intriguing? Besides Michael Bradley, he’s the most complete contributor (offense, defense, possession) of any top scorer.

[ MORE:  Who is the favorite for MLS Cup 2015? ]

Nagbe stats4) Parity continues to reign

For the same reason people barely celebrate the NHL’s Presidents Trophy, the MLS Supporters Shield is a bit of a fallback party for fan bases who fail to capitalize on a season’s worth of solid play.

In much of world soccer, the season-long title matter more than a tournament, but North America is about the playoffs. The fact of the matter is that only one team in MLS this season finished more than four wins out of a playoff spot (Chicago), and most teams that missed the playoffs by a bunch (New York City, Colorado, Real Salt Lake, Houston), earned their gaps off the playoff pace by losing a lot once they were officially eliminated.

Even Chicago, who was awful, had a shot at the playoffs when August ended, only to lose seven of eight to finish the season. MLS, for better or worse, literally is anyone’s ball game at nearly any time.