We can now sit back and reflect on what has been a stressful and surprising month, we have ended the January window signing 4 players, which in the scheme of things seems to be a decent haul.
Our 1st signing came in the shape of Wayne Bridge, a decent left back who has spent most of the past 5 season struggling to stake a claim to the left back position at Chelsea. He has been up against Ashley Cole, who despite his personality, is a top class left back. Bridge hasn't had the best of starts, two slack defensive errors have led to goals. But, he is an improvement on the inexperienced Garrido and the below standard Michael Ball.
Next to join was the delightful journeyman striker Craig Bellamy from West Ham. Not being the most prolific, injury prone and ageing wasn't enough to put the determined Mark Hughes shelling out 10 million (at least) for the striker. He provides a drive and bite to the attack and pace with purpose, as opposed to Vassell. Bellamy scored on his debut a 1st for him, considering the amount of clubs he has played for. Again he has never lived up to the hype that once again, i often hear the phrase 'on his day' associated with him. I hope he has Lot's of these 'days' this season. Does he improve the side, probably yes, but I'm not sure he is the answer in a lone striker role.
Nigel De Jong made it three for Hughes, joining shortly after the Kaka deal collapsed. Nigel is a very disciplined defensive midfielder and his position really did need filling. He is the most promising from all the signings, as he is still pretty young, he has great potential and drive. He has to be the most pleasing capture more me during this window.
Finally Shay Given is our last piece of transfer business in to the club this January. He is an experienced Premier league goalkeeper and will provide more confidence and assurance in the back four. I don't agree with he statement that he is the best goalie in the league, it's simply not true, but he is a decent goalie. He does lack a bit of height and that may be noticeable in set pieces. But he will have more confidence and better judgment than the 21 year old hart.
With young Jo going out on loan to Everton, it will be a welcome chance for the lad who hasn't really been able to get used to the league under Hughes for whatever reason. I think Moyes will instill confidence in him and get him used to the league very quickly.
I, like many were hoping for a top quality player to be brought in, especially after all the talk about Kaka, villa and so on... But nothing really materialised and we ended up in a tedious war of attrition with Blackburn over a very over-rated striker. I am happy we didn't pay stupid money for Santa Cruz, to be honest anything over 8, to me is an aberration for Bayern flop. I hope Caicedo will get his chance along with Sturridge for the rest of the season. I would of been bitterly disappointed and angry if we would of let felipe go in exchange. He has great power, presence and ability, give him time and we may just have a top player in our hands.
So Hughes has now spent allot more money and has very much put his mark on the side. It is time to start performing. There now has to be a greater expectation from the club's owner that the team start performing and improve on 1 away win all season! A decent top half finish is a must, with a European place finish being pretty high on the agenda. Our form will have to improve radically if we are too do this. Losing the clubs like Stoke has to come to an end, Hughes has to eradicate what ever is diminishing the performances of the team away from home. We look like two completely different sides. Our next match is at home to Boro. It's on TV, which isn't great because expectation and pressure doesn't seem to do us any favours. It's a match i expect to win at home, a more assured back line, midfield and attack. Excuses have run out!