The Best January Deals
Our Nick Hext looks at who turned out to be the best buys of the January transfer window.
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The day after the January transfer window shut we picked out our best deals from the top four divisions of English football.
Now with the season at an end - bar the play-offs - just who were the stellar signings of the mad month of movement.
Papiss Cisse (Freiburg to Newcastle, undisclosed)
The Senegal striker has become the latest much-loved Newcastle number nine after his barnstorming displays on Tyneside. Cisse bagged 13 goals following his move from Freiburg and his wonder strike in the 2-0 win at Chelsea will live long in the memory. Goalkeeper Tim Krul put it simply after the match when he said: "If you have a striker like Cisse in your team you'll win games. If you can keep a clean sheet he'll win you matches." The Magpies will hope there is more to come and a European campaign could well help the forward create a major legacy during his time with the club.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (Hoffenheim to Swansea, loan)
Sigurdsson has certainly seen his stock rise during his time at Swansea and it's no surprise to see plenty of clubs credited with an interest in the midfielder. Seven goals for the Swans helped Brendan Rodgers' men safely settle in mid-table and they gained plenty of admirers along the way with some classy displays. Rodgers has already spoken of his intent to work out a deal with Hoffenheim but you can be sure there will be other suitors waiting to pounce.
Nikica Jelavic (Rangers to Everton, undisclosed)
The January transfer window went very well for Everton with Jelavic, Steven Pienaar and Darron Gibson all making a big contribution in the remainder of the season. Croatian striker Jelavic is the pick for this list with his six goals in three games during April earning him the Premier League player of the month award. The forward's double at Manchester United helped change the destination of the Premier League title and there can be no doubt that he has proved his quality in the SPL can be transferred south with 11 goals so far during his time at Goodison.
Pavel Pogrebnyak (Stuttgart to Fulham, undisclosed)
The thought was that Fulham might struggle after Bobby Zamora departed for QPR on deadline day. That certainly proved not to be the case with Pogrebnyak plundering seven goals during the second half of the season to earn an extension to his stay at Craven Cottage. The 28-year-old is part of Russia's squad for Euro 2012 so he could make a few more headlines before the 2012/13 campaign starts.
Best of the rest: Steven Pienaar (Tottenham to Everton, loan); Darron Gibson (Manchester United to Everton, undisclosed); Keith Andrews (Blackburn to West Brom, free).
Jason Roberts (Blackburn to Reading, undisclosed)
The stats just don't lie. Won 14, drawn two, lost one. That is Reading's record with Roberts in the side since he made the move from Blackburn on January 26. There were other reasons for the Royals' astounding rise to Championship champions but the decision of Brian McDermott to sign the experienced forward has to be one of the main ones. He weighed in with six goals but his presence also helped bring the best out of his team-mates as Premier League status was secured.
Billy Sharp (Doncaster to Southampton, undisclosed)
Nigel Adkins knew just what he was getting when he signed Sharp from Doncaster. The striker was prolific during his time with Adkins at Scunthorpe and he more than did his bit in helping Saints get over the promotion line. Four goals in the final three games of the season were vital in securing the chance for the 26-year-old to shine in the top tier of English football for the first time. Now it will be interesting to see how he gets on as the Premier League returns to St Mary's.
Kieran Trippier (Manchester City to Burnley, undisclosed)
The full-back has been the major bright spark in a season of mid-table dwelling for Burnley and the decision to make his loan move permanent in January looks very wise. The 21-year-old left Manchester City for an undisclosed fee to stay at Turf Moor and more than justified the faith shown in him by winning the Clarets' player of the season award. More is to come with boss Eddie Howe calling Trippier a "great prospect and a terrific talent".
Ricardo Vaz Te (Barnsley to West Ham, undisclosed)
The expectation was that Nicky Maynard would be West Ham's main man in attack after his January move but Vaz Te has instead been the player to shine. The Portuguese ended the regular season on fire with six goals in six games during April to win the Championship's player of the month award. He also scored in the play-off victory over Cardiff and now the target is to fire the Hammers back to the Premier League with success against Blackpool at Wembley.
Best of the rest: Adlene Guedioura (Wolves to Nottingham Forest, loan); Andy Keogh (Wolves to Millwall, undisclosed); Oliver Norwood (Manchester United to Coventry, loan).
Luke Freeman (Arsenal to Stevenage, undisclosed)
The forward made his professional debut aged 15 years and 233 days for Gillingham in 2008 but it's now that his potential is starting to be fulfilled. A move to Arsenal didn't result in a long-term future at the Emirates but Stevenage boss Gary Smith is sure the 19-year-old can return to the big time. Freeman's lively displays were a key factor in Boro's run to the play-offs and there will be more to come at Broadhall Way next season as he benefits from first-team football.
Miguel Llera (Blackpool - Sheffield Wednesday, free)
The centre-half impressed at just the right time as he won League One's player of the month award for April after a surprise return of four goals in five games. A key cog in Wednesday's charge to finish above rivals Sheffield United, his team-mate Jose Semedo put it best when he described the Spaniard as simply "fantastic". The 32-year-old has plenty of experience of English football now during his time with MK Dons, Charlton, Blackpool, Brentford and Wednesday but don't expect his adventure to end just yet.
Florent Cuvelier (Stoke to Walsall, loan)
Walsall have only good things to say about the Belgium Under-19 international after some sterling displays helped them retain their League One status. The midfielder is now back at Stoke but another loan move looks in the offing next season and his performances are sure to have attracted the attention of clubs higher up the pyramid. Saddlers skipper Andy Butler is sure Cuvelier has a "massive future ahead of him" after the impressive 18-match spell at the Banks's Stadium so expect to hear plenty more about the youngster.
Alan Smith (Newcastle to MK Dons, loan)
The most eye-catching deal of the January transfer window worked out for the Dons. Smith's wealth of experience with Leeds, Manchester United and Newcastle provided extra quality to the ranks of the stadium:mk club and he was a big part in helping them consolidate their play-off place. His contract expires in the summer at Newcastle but a few clubs will be interested in acquiring his services after featuring regularly during the second half of the campaign.
Best of the rest: Liam Noble (Sunderland to Carlisle, free); Jon Parkin (Cardiff to Scunthorpe, loan); Jonathan Forte (Southampton to Notts County, loan).
Clarke Carlisle (Burnley to Northampton, loan)
The Professional Footballers' Association chairman is also known by the wider public for his performances on Question Time but he once again proved his credentials on the field in the second half of the season. Northampton manager Aidy Boothroyd moved to sign the 32-year-old on loan after his spell at Preston came to an end and our list will show that wasn't his only canny bit of business. Carlisle added nous and quality to the hearts of the Cobblers' defence and he was vital in the club's climb to safety.
Luke Guttridge (Aldershot to Northampton, free)
"He's a horrible, aggressive player." Words of praise from Aidy Boothroyd for his midfield lynchpin after the former Aldershot man did for Northampton's midfield what Clarke Carlisle did for the defence. The 30-year-old is proven in the lower leagues after spells with eight clubs and his influence was another massive factor in the Cobblers' massive upturn in fortunes. Expect his presence to be key next season as the club look to feature at the right end of the standings.
Darren Purse (Millwall to Plymouth, free)
The 35-year-old initially joined Argyle on loan in November and his deal was extended until the end of the season in January. That proved to be a very wise decision from boss Carl Fletcher with the former Cardiff and Birmingham man's experience proving absolutely vital at the heart of the defence. Plymouth's predicament looked pretty bleak after only one point from their opening 10 games but the outlook is now brighter at Home Park after plenty of battling displays secured Football League status.
Neal Kitson (Rochester Rhinos to Northampton, free)
Not too much many people noticed when Northampton signed a goalkeeper from American club Rochester Rhinos on the final day of the transfer window. The former Newark Ironbound Express shot-stopper started his time at Sixfields as understudy to Matt Duke but his chance to shine arrived. Duke returned to Bradford at the end of March and Kitson made his debut in the next game against Crewe. He made quite the impact by saving a penalty against the Alex and it didn't end there as he saved a spot-kick again in the next match against Oxford. He has now earned a contract offer for the new campaign.
Best of the rest: Michael Timlin (Swindon to Southend, undisclosed); Jermaine McGlashan (Aldershot to Cheltenham, undisclosed); Josh Payne (Oxford to Aldershot, free).