|Milan's "brief" entry into the January Market.|
In Spain, three years after paying €20 million for Simao Sabrosa, the Athelteico Madrid winger was Besiktas bound for a reunion with fellow countrymen Hugo Almedia and Ricardo Quaresma. All for less than a quarter paid by Los Rojiblancos in 2007. But the Red and White men of Madrid managed to add to their squad with the signings of former Real Madrid and Osasuna winger Junafran, and Elias, the Corinthian’s playmaker.
On the other side of the city, Real did little other than temporarily tease former striker Ruud van Nistelrooy with the prospect of a return, before eventually securing the services of City forward Emanual Adebayor until the end of the season. Runaway league leaders Barce’ did little also. They didn’t need to. A cut price €3 Million for Ibrahim Affelay enough to see the Dutchman part company with PSV and conclude the Champion elect’s spending.
Elsewhere, small fees were paid for Sunderland failure Paulo Da Silva by Zaragoza, and Brazilian hit man Jonas Goncalves, switched from Gremio to Valencia. Tottenham let former-Barce’ wonder kid Giovani dos Santos return to Spain via a loan deal to Racing Santander. With Newcaslte following suit by sending Xisco to Deportivo. Sevilla also dipped a toe in the market by securing the signings of highly-regarded Gary Medel from Boca, and Swiss midfielder Ivan Rakitic from Schalke.
The most active team in La Liga was the newly enriched Malaga. Sheikh Abdullah toed the line of rich new chairmen at “small clubs” by attempting to sign David Beckham and Ronaldinho before eventually settling for six lower-key signatures, but don’t let Julio Baptista or Martin Demichelis hear you say that.
A grand total of €28 Million was spent throughout January in Spain, unbelievably, three times that of the year before.
Over the Med in Italy, things were a little busier.
Much busier in fact at Bari, Genoa, and Sampdoria: who between them brought in a staggering twenty-five new players. Highlights including former Fulham loanee Stephano Okaka, once again on loan from Roma, joining Bari. Genoa ending Argentine, Mauro Boselli’s, baron spell at Wigan, and Sampdoria acquiring Manchester United youngster Federico Macheda on loan until the end of the season. Former Middlesbrough striker, Massimo Maccarone also joined Sampdoria from Palermo.
Over in Milan spending was clearly divided in the San Siro. Now five points clear at the top of the table, AC played their cards to close to their chest, much like Barce’ at the top of La Liga. The exciting signing of Antonio Cassano for a nominal fee, enough to please the fans, alongside the free signature of Mark van Bommel from Bayern. 34 year old centre half Nicola Legrottaglie also signed for the Rossoneri on a free from Juve’ until the end of the season.
Currently ten points behind their biggest rivals, Inter brought in five new faces throughout January. Sampdoria’s Giampaolo Pazzini at €12 Million, plus Ludovic Biabiany, the most high profile of any move in Italy, and with 36 in 75 for his former club, perhaps the biggest hope for Internazionale. The most expensive of their acquisitions, the buy-out of Genoa’s 50% share of Andrea Ranocchia, the highly rated centre half, for €15 Million.
Away from the region of Lombardy, Juventus acquired World-Cup winning journeyman Luca Toni from Genoa on a free, and convinced Cagliari to part company with Alessandro Matri, the one in three strike rate to cost them €15.5 Million at the end of the season. All of which paved the way for the Brazilian Amauri to join Parma on loan.
More active than La Liga, but no Premier League.
Closer to home and the most exciting move in Deutschland, for Get the Mott and Buckett anyway, was undeniably that of Rohan Ricketts. Having parted company with Moldovan club, FC Dacia Chişinău, Ricketts spent three months prior to Christmas touring the Fatherland looking for a contract. Eventually, the former Arsenal, Spurs, and Toronto forward found one at SV Wilhelmshaven, the team currently lying 12th in the northern section of Germany’s fourth tier.
A few divisions up, and the biggest fee paid was that for Hoffenheim’s Luiz Gustavo, a tidy €17 Million from Bayern’s chequebook. €6.8 Million of which went on Liverpool’s Ryan Babel.
By far the busiest club was Wolfsburg. Funded by the £27 Million sale of Edin Dzeko, in total they acquired six new players, including Bayer Leverkusen’s Patrick Helmes for €5 Million and Stoke City’s Sanli Tuncay for around the same fee.
A grand total of €57 Million was spent throughout the Budesliga this January, roughly the same amount Chelsea spent on one player, but almost three and a half times what was spent this time last year.
Closer to home, and France’s Ligue1 activity was minimal to say the least. Stephane Sessegnon and Jean Makoun both left for the Premier League, from PSG and Lyon respectively. But nothing was done by either club to replace their losses, and neither did Marseille or Lille see fit to step into the market.
Away from the “big clubs”, Monaco were the biggest movers and shakers, bringing Mahamadou Diarra back to France, alongside five other arrivals. Sitting in 19th, Les Rouge et Blanc will be hoping the former Real Madrid man will be able to drag them up the table as we enter the business end of the season, or la fin d'affaires de la saison, if you will.
Of all European nations, the least interested in January business. Trust the French.