David Walker completes his review of the January transfer window and how the moves will impact each team’s success, or survival at the end of the 2005/06 season.
If ever there was a manager who enjoyed a bit of business during the January transfer window it was Harry Redknapp. He is running out of time to form a team capable of keeping Pompey in the top flight after 34 players have come and gone this season.
He has brought in £4.1 million Auxerre striker Benjamin Mwaruwari to try and fill the void left by Yakubu while midfield steel and creativity should come in the form of Tottenham trio Pedro Mendes, Sean Davies and Wayne Routledge. Noe Pamarot, also of Spurs, Ognjen Koroman and goalkeeper Dean Kiely will assist defensive duties.
The most intriguing of Redknapp’s dealings is the loan capture of Andres D’Allesandro, once tipped to be the next big thing out of South America. However, his career stalled following a move to Wolfsburg two and a half years ago.
Pompey are second from bottom in the table and lie five points from safety. The bookmakers don’t fancy their chances of survival and quote 4/9 on relegation and 13/8 on staying up.
Sunderland are rooted firmly to the bottom of the table with just nine points from 23 matches and nine points adrift of nearest rivals Portsmouth.
The Black Cats are without a home win all season and have won just twice in their last 44 Premiership matches stretching back to a previous stint. Such dire form has made Mick McCarthy’s side a relegation certainty with odds of 1/1000 being offered.
However, if you believe in miracles, Sunderland are 100/1 to stage the comeback of all comebacks and remain in the Premiership for next season.
Spurs have been the surprise package of the season thus far and maintain their fourth place position in the Premiership despite a run of three matches without victory and an FA Cup exit at the hands of Leicester City.
Manager Martin Jol signed Egyptian midfielder Hossam Ghali from Feyenoord and Charlton Athletic’s Danny Murphy. Even though Spurs are four points and two places above North London rivals Arsenal the bookmakers do not rate them as highly in the «without Chelsea» market, pricing the White Hart Lane outfit up at 66/1.
West Bromwich Albion
West Brom are staring at a fight against relegation for the second successive season but have proved they have the stomach for the battle once before. Out of the bottom seven sides in the Premiership the Baggies have won the most home matches which will give manager Bryan Robson optimism.
Nigel Quashie arrived in a £1.5 million deal from Southampton while Jan Kozak and Williams Martinez joined on loan from Artmedia Bratislava and Defensor respectively. Last season’s top goalscorer Robert Earnshaw was allowed to leave for Norwich in a £3.5 million deal. The Baggies are available at 4/5 for relegation but a better bet may be for them to stay up at Evens.
West Ham United
The largest deal of the transfer window was Dean Ashton’s £7.25 million arrival from Norwich City. Following his seven goals last season for the Canaries, then fighting a losing battle against Premiership relegation, Ashton is seen as the man who can fire West Ham into Europe this term.
Another striker, Yaniv Katan, joined from Maccabi Haifa for £100,000 while Deportivo defender Lionel Scaloni has signed a loan deal with the club. If you are fond of speculative punts, striker Marlon Harewood, with six goals in his last 12 Premiership matches, is available at 40/1 to top the Premiership goal scoring charts at the end of the season.
Wigan have had a remarkable first season in the Premiership. They are fifth in the table, one place above former Champions Arsenal, just three points adrift of a Champions League spot and a place in the Carling Cup final secured.
Paul Jewell has worked wonders at the JJB Stadium and it is not surprising chairman Dave Whelan has sanctioned a £2 million move for Brann defender Paul Scharner, the free transfer of midfielder David Thompson and loan arrivals for Liverpool’s Neil Mellor and Tottenham Hotspur’s Reto Ziegler.
It would be foolish to bet against the Latics qualifying for Europe next season but at present they are the only side in the top 10 with a minus goal difference. They are 300/1 outsiders to win the Premiership in the «without Chelsea» market.
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