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Chelsea’s midfield enforcer proving January IS great time to buy

| 25.02.2014

The January transfer window has its detractors, but for a selection of clubs each year their mid-winter imports have a really positive impact on the rest of their season.

Players such as Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse (remember him) are poster boys for the pantheon of great January transfers past, whose collection of goals-of-the-season helped the Magpies to a fifth-place finish in 2011/12.

But here and now we’ve picked out three more of this season’s cohort who look set to drive their clubs onto big things before the summer recess.

Nemanja Matic – Chelsea to win the Premier League @ 13/10

It quickly became abundantly clear that the player Chelsea had let go all those years ago was in fact a monster of a midfielder after all.

The Benfica import took precisely no time to adapt to the frenetic pace of the Premier League, playing a pivotal role in Chelsea’s brilliant and potentially decisive win over Manchester City at the Etihad.

The Serbian looks like he could be the salami in a title-winning sandwich for the Blues.

Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic – Hull to finish in top 10 @ 4/1

What an inspired pair of signings from Steve Bruce, whose Tigers were in serious need of sharpening their goal-scoring claws but now look like mauling any foe with Long and Jelavic up front.

Having scored five goals between them in four Premier League games as a combination, Hull are now one point and one place from the top half and looking up rather than down.

Liam Bridcutt – Sunderland to win Capital One Cup @ 9/2

The least high profile of the signings, but Gus Poyet clearly knew exactly what he was going to get from his former Brighton player.

Composed on the ball and tenacious in the tackle, the Scotland international slotted seamlessly into the ferocious surrounds of the Tyne/Wear derby on debut to help inspire a 3-0 win at St James’ Park.

At 24, Bridcutt looks like he’ll be a fixture in the Black Cats’ midfield for some time to come.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.