Deadline Day Wrap: Stoke, Everton and Middlesbrough flex muscle
Two pieces of news, namely a managerial announcement and a player NOT moving clubs, best summed up how quiet the deadline day of the 2015/16 winter transfer window was.
Pep Guardiola’s pending switch from Bayern Munich to Manchester City and Saido Berahino’s continued employment by West Bromich Albion dominated the headlines, but there were a smattering of signings that briefly lit up the general tedium.
The most costly of those saw Stoke continue their new policy of raiding Champions League clubs’ cupboards, by bringing in FC Porto central midfielder Giannelli Imbula for a reported £18m fee.
Imbula is widely seen by experts to be the replacement for Steven N’Zonzi that Stoke have sorely missed this term, despite impressing through the hipster-quartet of Marko Arnautovic, Ibrahim Afellay, Xherdan Shaqiri and Bojan Krkic.
Elsewhere in the Premier League’s midriff, Everton spent £13.5m on Oumar Niasse from Lokomotiv Moscow.
The forward has 13 goals and 10 assists in 23 all-competition appearances for the Russian outfit this term and should provide a dose of excitement to Toffees fans enduring a poor run of form at the moment.
Ironically, as many of the top-flight’s title and top-four chasers remained quiet, one of the other big deals to go through came from a club trying to reach the Premier League.
Middlesbrough’s courtship of Blackburn’s Jordan Rhodes was quite public. In fact, the Scotland international could have been a Boro player 24 hours earlier.
He finally made the initial £9m switch to the Riverside on deadline day after seeing the move collapse the day before.
After announcing that one of the best managers on the planet was going to take over next season, City were never likely to be active in the transfer market. Perhaps Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Leicester and Tottenham fans expected more from their clubs.
That wasn’t to be though, as the league’s middle-band continued their efforts to make the league even more competitive.
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