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Indirect Kick: The Premier League’s transfer winners and losers

NewcastleUnited_ RichardHumphrey
St. James Park welcomed several new midfield faces over the winter transfer window. PHOTO COURTESY WIKIMEDIA

The winter transfer window has come and gone. While some clubs across the Barclays Premier League went into “carpe diem” mode once the calendar turned, others went into total shutdown. There were a few winners and some losers in this past transfer window.

Winner: Newcastle United

One of the biggest winners was Newcastle United. Perched precariously above the drop zone in 17th place, the Magpies needed to find a spark that could propel them up the table. And the January transfer window did just that.

Three midfield players made the switch to St. James Park last month: Jonjo Shelvey, Henri Saivet and Andros Townsend. Shelvey operates as a central midfielder and is one of the best in the league in terms of distribution. Saivet is a defensive midfielder and will likely provide supplementary support at the back, something Newcastle has lacked this season.

As for Townsend, the English winger bounced around the United Kingdom while on loan from the Tottenham Hotspurs, and his move to Newcastle could likely provide a more stable playing environment for a talented player. He had fallen out of favor with the Spurs, and could be a vital player for Newcastle. With the ability to make plays from the flanks, Townsend is very dangerous and will be a good fit with the Magpies.

And I haven’t even touched on the most exciting signing of the window, the loan of Seydou Doumbia from A.S. Roma to Newcastle. The Ivorian is one of the fastest in the game and has a scoring prowess that Premier League keepers should fear. His acquisition will ultimately be what cues the meteoric rise for Newcastle to keep them up in the top flight once again.

Loser: Aston Villa

From one relegation-threatened club to another, a big loser — not just for the season, but in the transfer window — was Aston Villa. One of seven clubs with the distinction of never being relegated from the Premier League, Villa’s time at the top looks to be coming to a rapid end.

The transfer window was no different for the cellar-dwellers. Villa cleaned house during the month of January, parting ways with Philippe Senderos and Joe Cole during that time, and getting nothing in return.

In addition to the departures, Aston Villa’s depth took a big hit during the window, as four players were loaned away. Those four players may not have been key contributors, but with so little wiggle room to change the squad, Villa now lacks much freedom to try new things with its lineup. This failure of a transfer window, if it wasn’t certain already, has essentially clinched relegation for Aston Villa.

Loser: Norwich City

How about one more relegation zone side? Norwich City was promoted only this season back to the top flight and may be heading out as quickly as it came back.

However, Norwich made some good signings throughout January, and is looking to take after Newcastle and rise up the standings.

With the underwhelming Gary Hooper off the Canaries’ payroll, Norwich brought in the likes of Steven Naismith, Matt Jarvis and Timm Klose. Naismith is an attacking midfielder who has been known to be an offensive spark plug. While goals aren’t as plentiful for the Scotsman, Naismith creates chances for everyone and his signing will only lead to goals. In just his first game with the Canaries, Naismith notched a goal.

Jarvis had been on loan with Norwich but was acquired permanently from West Ham this window. Klose, meanwhile, is one of the more interesting signings. Valued for his role as a depth player, he is a physical defender who will provide additional security at the back for Norwich.

Winner: Manchester City

But perhaps the biggest winner of the past January transfer window was Manchester City. Its wealthy owners only spent on one player: Anthony Cálceres. However, it was an executive move that made international headlines.

This summer, Man City will undergo a managerial change, as Pep Guardiola will become the new coach. This unprecedented signing will likely push the already talented Citizens to new heights.

Guardiola has one multiple league titles and trophies, and looks to add a few to Man City’s rapidly-filling trophy case. The aggressive nature of Guardiola coupled with Manchester City’s wealth could be dangerous for world football, in a good way.

With Yaya Toure set to leave in the summer, Guardiola is already looking for an even more talented player to fill the Ivorian’s shoes, and that’s far from easy.

City will reap the benefits of Pep in the coming years, and his move to England will likely change the Premier League as we know it.

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