The January transfer window always promises headline grabbing deals, but rarely delivers. Yet, while it’s rare to sign a club-changing player as Liverpool did with Luis Suarez in 2011, it would be foolish to ignore the impact some winter-market players have on their new teams.
Below are a few players that could play significant roles for their new teams, both in the short and long term futures.
Long Term Impact Signing:
Juan Mata (Manchester United)
Juan Mata’s sudden move to Manchester United was unquestionably January’s blockbuster transfer. Nevertheless, those who believe his arrival will immediately transform David Moyes’ recent fortunes are sorely mistaken. Chances are the Spaniard would never have been sold to United had that been the case.
Yes, his sale did do much to boost Chelsea’s coffers, and went a long way to assuaging the fears that UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations would hinder the club’s European exploits because of its indiscriminate spending. However, Jose Mourinho would hardly have sent the club’s two-time player of the year up north if he believed that in doing so, he would be providing Moyes with a quick fix.
Manchester United’s problems go beyond the need for a creative player, and there is the issue of finding a way to fit Mata into a scheme that already includes Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie. Moyes rarely deviates from some variation of a 4-4-2, which in all likelihood means that Mata will be pushed to the wings, where he is less influential, and where his defensive liabilities are highlighted.
Still, with the right signings, and with a system that is more fitted to Mata’s strengths – one that will require more defensively minded midfielders to line-up alongside him - there is little doubt that he can become the focal point of United’s future. The big question is whether Moyes will be the man to restructure the squad – and the tactics – accordingly.
The Azzurri watch continues to heat up with several fringe players really making a case for their spot in the squad headed to Brazil. The real competition seems to be for the spots up front as there is a plethora of options for head coach Cesare Prandelli to choose from. He has experienced veterans who have won the tournament like Alberto Gilardino, Francesco Totti, and Luca Toni he could choose, as well as promising youngsters like Ciro Immobile, Alessandro Florenzi, and Lorenzo Insigne he could go with. There has been lots of noise made this week by several strikers who could be in Brazil next year, including a return back to Serie A from one Italian international.
Pablo Daniel Osvaldo returns to Serie A only months after leaving it. The Argentine-born Italian international striker decided to join a very deep Juventus squad. The Bianconeri already have Carlos Tevez, Fernando Llorente, Sebastian Giovinco, Fabio Quagliarella, and Mirko Vucinic, but decided to bring in Osvaldo on a free loan anyways. Antonio Conte has always admired Osvaldo and this could be the striker's opportunity to impress Azzurri boss Cesare Prandelli ahead of the World Cup. Playing time will not be easy to come by, however, a strong performance for Juventus down the stretch, could guarantee the striker a spot in Brazil.
Ciro Immobile continued his run of fine form as he scored a brilliant goal during the past weekend against Milan. The youngster was seen as a long shot heading into the current campaign, and in many circles he is still considered one, but he has done everything in his power to prove his worth this season. Along with the Alessio Cerci, Immobile has given Torino a strong attack all season long and a current 7th place spot in the Serie A table. He could be set for a big transfer this offseason.
Giampaolo Pazzini got a start for Clarence Seedorf's Milan side at the weekend, as he has impressed since returning from injury. He missed the entire first half of the season and has been hoping to prove to Prandelli that he is good enough to be in the World Cup this summer. He did well to create several chances against Torino and nearly scored a spectacular goal.
Roma's match against Parma at the weekend was abandoned in the 9th minute due to heavy rain and a waterlogged pitch. The game will be postponed until a later date but the team should be in action on Wednesday in Coppa Italia action against Napoli. Both Francesco Totti and Alessandro Florenzi were in the starting XI for Roma and both have been linked with Brazil 2014 places. While Totti's case seems to be more of a dream for Azzurri fans, Florenzi is legitimately competing with several other young strikers for a spot in Prandelli's squad.
The ageless Luca Toni was also back at it this weekend as he scored the winning goal against Sassuolo on Sunday afternoon. It was the striker's 10th goal of the season as he continues to impress in the current campaign. He sits only 4 goals behind the league leader Giuseppe Rossi, and the 2006 World Cup winner could be a great veteran option for Prandelli to have coming off the bench. It is unlikely the big man will be in Brazil this summer, but he sure is making a convincing case as to why he should be going.
Prandelli has a plethora of options at his disposal when it comes to Brazil 2014. The aforementioned players are just those on the fringe of a spot in the World Cup that does not include guarantees like Mario Balotelli and Giuseppe Rossi (if healthy), as well as several other veteran strikers like Antonio Cassano, Alberto Gilardino, and Antonio Di Natale. Prandelli will have his hands full in selecting this lineup.
Southampton striker Dani Osvaldo signed for Juventus on Friday after successfully completing a medical with the Serie A giants. Osvaldo, who quit Roma last summer to sign for Southampton in a four-year deal worth a reported 15.8 million euros (£12.8 million, $21.2 million), joined the Italian champions on a free loan deal until the end of the season.
The deal with Southampton allows Juve the option to buy the player outright for 19m euros, payable over three years.
"Juventus Football Club can today confirm that terms have been agreed with Southampton Football Club on a free loan deal for Pablo Daniel Osvaldo," said an official club statement. The agreement also includes the option, to be exercised before 31 May 2014, for the purchase of the player's full registration rights at the price of 19m euros, to be paid over the course of three years."
Osvaldo's return to Serie A has come as little surprise, given the Argentinian-born Italian's turbulent season at the southern English club, for whom he has made only 12 appearances to date, scoring three goals. Southampton recently suspended him for two weeks following a training-ground clash with team-mate Jose Fonte, while he was given a three-match ban by the Football Association for his role in a brawl at Newcastle United last month.
When asked on Friday if Osvaldo could play for Southampton again after the incident with Fonte, manager Mauricio Pochettino said: "Your question answers itself, if you know what I mean; meaning no. It's clear."
Osvaldo will now feature for the champions in an anticipated scudetto battle with former side Roma, who are only six points off Juve in second place.
He told juventus.com: "I'm really happy, everything happened really quickly and I still can't believe it." Asked if he had missed Italian football, the Italy international added: "Honestly, yes. When I left I was happy because I wanted to experience English football but in the end I started to miss the game here. To be here is a dream come true."
Osvaldo's arrival has added to an already ample forward line which notably features Fernando Llorente, Carlos Tevez, Mirko Vucinic, Sebastian Giovinco and Fabio Quagliarella.
According to the latest reports, Juve are still trying to offload either Quagliarella, Giovinco or Vucinic -- or all three -- although Quagliarella and Giovinco are reported to have already turned down moves to Genoa. Vucinic has fallen out of favor lately and been linked to moves to Spain and France.
Southampton have suspended record signing Dani Osvaldo for two weeks after an incident at the club's training ground, the Premier League side announced Thursday.
The Saints did not disclose the details of the incident but Southampton's Southern Daily Echo newspaper reported Osvaldo had been involved in an incident with his team-mate, Jose Fonte, during a session at the club's Staplewood training ground on Wednesday.
No action is being taken against Fonte.
Earlier this month Osvaldo was suspended by the Football Association for three matches following his part in a touchline brawl at Newcastle on December 14.
A club statement issued Thursday said: "Southampton Football Club has today suspended striker Dani Osvaldo for two weeks, following an incident at the club's Staplewood training ground.
"The club has taken swift and proper action for what it considers a breach of the conduct expected of its players. Southampton will be making no further comment at this time."
The 28-year-old Argentina-born Italy international will now miss the FA Cup fourth-round tie with Yeovil, as well as league fixtures against Arsenal and Fulham.
Osvaldo, has scored four times for the Saints since his pre-season arrival from Roma for a Southampton record £12.8 million ($21.2 million, 15.8 million euros).
Southampton striker Dani Osvaldo was fined $65,000 and suspended for three matches on Friday for his part in a touchline brawl during an ill-tempered Premier League clash at Newcastle. Osvaldo, an Argentina-born Italy international, was watching from the sidelines after already being substituted during the 1-1 draw on December 14 when he reacted angrily to an aggressive tackle in stoppage-time.
The ugly scenes were sparked by Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin's yellow card for a late challenge on Newcastle defender Massadio Haidara. Staff and players from both benches became embroiled in a touchline ruckus, with referee Mike Jones sending Newcastle coach Andy Woodman and Saints back-room staff member Toni Jimenez to the stands.
Osvaldo's ban takes immediate effect after the charge of violent conduct was proved by an FA independent regulatory commission hearing.
The 27-year-old, who joined Southampton for a club record $21 million in August last year, is ruled out of Saturday's FA Cup third round tie against Burnley.
Newcastle coach Woodman has been fined $2,000 and warned as to his future conduct after he admitted a charge of improper conduct.
Osvaldo will miss the Burnley match and Premier League fixtures against West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland.
He will be free to play in Southampton's home Premier League fixture against Arsenal on January 28.
Southampton striker Dani Osvaldo's stunning equalizer ensured Manchester City's stuttering away form continued in a 1-1 draw at St Mary's on Saturday. Manuel Pellegrini's side were seeking only their third away win of the Premier League season following a victory at West Bromwich Albion in midweek. But City missed out on the chance to move to within three points of leaders Arsenal when injury-hit Southampton recovered after falling behind to Sergio Agüero's ninth minute opener.
Osvaldo's superb individual effort three minutes before the break secured a share of the spoils for the home side who recovered well after suffering three successive defeats. And City, now five points behind Arsenal who have a game in hand, can consider themselves fortunate to have escaped with a point after impressive Saints pressure almost brought a second half winner. Lifted by the news Manchester United had suffered a second successive home defeat, Pellegrini's men started the game clearly intent on taking full advantage of their rivals' slip.
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino had been forced to make changes to the side that unexpectedly lost at home to Aston Villa with Nathaniel Clyne and Victor Wanyama joining a growing injury list. And, initially at least, the home side's lack of cohesion was exposed by City. Álvaro Negredo should have put the visitors ahead after just five minutes when he broke free into the Southampton area after being released by an Agüero flick.
The opportunity was missed when the Spaniard's first touch allowed Paulo Gazzaniga -- standing in for regular Saints keeper Artur Boruc who broke his hand at Chelsea six days previously -- to smother. But Pellegrini's side didn't have to wait long before they got another clear sight of goal and this time Agüero finished with ease after Aleksandar Kolarov's low cross had been allowed to drift across the six yard box.
However, after withstanding heavy early pressure, Southampton began to exert some control and clawed their way back into the game. Adam Lallana, the Saints captain, was key to their revival with the England forward's confident forward running repeatedly unsettling the City defense. And they finally tested visiting keeper Costel Pantilimon in the 29th minute when Jack Cork drilled in a low shot that forced the Romania international into a sharp save.
Agüero, though, should have snuffed out the growing hope of a Southampton comeback two minutes later when he spurned a routine chance. Yaya Toure's searching cross field ball allowed Pablo Zabaleta to get in behind the Southampton defense and pull the ball back for his Argentina team-mate, only for Agüero to sky his attempt on goal from just 12 yards out.
That provided a reminder of City's threat, but the home were quickly back on the front foot, with left back Luke Shaw twice producing good crosses from the left flank, the second of which was headed narrowly wide by Calum Chambers. The pressure was building on City but the way in which Saints drew level could not have been anticipated.
Osvaldo's goal was a moment of high quality and created by the Italy international out of nothing after he ran from halfway. The forward first turned Vincent Kompany inside out and then did the same to Zabaleta before curling an angled shot over and beyond Pantilimon and into the top right hand corner of the net. The tempo of the game increased after the break with both teams creating a succession of half chances without managing to claim a winning goal. Southampton centre back Jose Fonte came closest, heading over from James Ward-Prowse's late free-kick.