With the January transfer window open, here’s my column to sort through all of the good buys and bad buys in this calendar month as clubs across Europe attempt to add depth to their squad while others look for a way to offload excess weight or to make a sizable profit.
For this week’s column, I have two good buys and one bad buy.
Manchester City (£25 million from Swansea City, potentially rising to £28 million)
This might be the sexiest and highest-profile signing in Europe this window. It also could be one of the worst. A panic move by a Manchester City side that ill-advisedly let Alvaro Negredo leave in the summer, Bony might not be ready for a move to a big club. While at Swansea, Bony took several months to acclimate to Premier League life before becoming a deadly goal scorer in 2014. But nailing down a place and keeping form at a top club fighting on multiple fronts for trophies is a whole different ball of wax. With no summer training and preseason friendlies to blend into the squad, in addition to being away at the African Cup of Nations, this has all the makings of a panic move. You cannot also help but think that the Blues have overpaid for Bony who while a good striker, hasn’t established himself over a longer period of time in a top league. But perhaps the need to pip Chelsea and Liverpool to the player forced the high price.
Southampton (Loan from Werder Bremen)
The pacey Dutch winger hit a speed bump in his career when he was sold to Juventus in 2011. After excelling in Dutch league under Steve McClaren with FC Twente and a successful 2010 World Cup Elia was considered a rising star in World Football. But the disasterous time at Juve and bumps more recently at Bundesliga strugglers Werder Bremen allowed Louis van Gaal to drop Elia from the Dutch side. However, he should be able to slot in nicely to Ronald Koeman’s setup and already started the his first match with the club, the historic 1-0 victory at Old Trafford against Manchester United. If Southampton is to truly push for a top four position, improved play from the wide areas is critical. Ella can help provide that.
Burnley (Undisclosed from Manchester United after loan period)
Keane has proved to be a solid squad player for a Clarets side that has surprised observers with its cohesion and team spirit. Keane along with his brother Will are two of the better prospects produced in recent years by the Manchester United Academy. I long believed Keane had a future with the Red Devils especially given the shaky state of United’s backline, but manager Louis Van Gaal’s decision to sell Keane outright is a great break for Burnley. With a strict transfer spending limit and wage cap, the Clarets have to look for bargains in the market, and players who can produce without acclimation and Keane has proven to be both. Manager Sean Dyche continues to work wonders with this side, and Keane could be a key to the Clarets staying in the league come May.
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