Stuart Holden – Houston Dynamo to Bolton Wanderers (Free Transfer)- January 2010 - Not many people know Holden was born in Scotland and his American accent still has a very faint Aberdeenshire twang. Initially flew over to join Burnley but was left in limbo as Owen Coyle moved across Lancashire. Followed his fellow Scot to the Reebok and despite getting a serious injury in his first term, Holden has been impressive in an expansive Bolton side this season and has already signed a contract extension keeping him at the club until the summer of 2013.
Ryan Nelsen – DC United to Blackburn Rovers (Free Transfer) – January 2005 - Another MLS import, Nelsen has been the rock at the heart of the Blackburn defence since he was snapped up by then manager Mark Hughes on a free transfer. Commanding centre back, has captained Blackburn and made over 150 league appearances for the club. His amiable personality coupled with his determined style has made him a cult hero at Ewood Park. Captained New Zealand in their remarkable 2010 World Cup campaign where they remained the only unbeaten side in the competition.
Brede Hangeland – FC Copenhagen to Fulham (£3.7m) – January 2008 - The Copenhagen Air Force was signed in the 2008 window by Roy Hodgson with the club embroiled in a relegation scrap. Proved to be an immediate success and played a central role in what was a miraculous escape and became a fan’s favourite with his trademark aerial dominance. Hangeland’s excellent form continued as Fulham performed strongly in the league the following season to qualify for Europe. Was a towering figure in Fulham’s run to the Europa Cup final and his performances earned him a nomination for UEFA Defender of the Year. Bought for just £3.7m, he has been linked to Arsenal and a host of other top European clubs and if Fulham were to cash in they could expect a transfer fee in the region of £15m.
Kevin Campbell – Everton to West Brom (Free transfer) – January 2005 - West Brom’s escape from relegation in 2005/06 marked the first – and still the only – time a club has stayed up after being bottom at Christmas. 35 year old Campbell was signed in January from Everton and was immediately made club captain. Although not as mobile as his early Arsenal days, Kev led the line superbly and his experience was crucial to West Brom’s survival. Also makes the list for being the only January signing to set up his own record label with jailed rapper Mark Morrison – 2 Wikid.
Christophe Dugarry – Bordeaux to Birmingham (Loan) – January 2003 - Having played for Marseille, Milan and Barcelona and won the World Cup and European Championship with France, you could have been forgiven for wondering what motivated Dugarry to swap life in Bordeaux for St Andrews – which is essentially a shithole. Birmingham were in dire straits in January but somehow found inspiration in the flowing Gallic locks of their new centre forward. Dugarry was pedestrian by this stage in his career but was arguably the best player in the league after his arrival and with genuine flair and creativity, Zidane’s best mate almost single handedly led the Blues to survival with goals, assists and no little panache.
Julius Aghahowa – Shakhtar Donetsk to Wigan Athletic (Undisclosed) – January 2007 - Steve Bruce has a mixed record with bringing in foreign imports in the January transfer window and while he should take enormous credit for signing Dugarry he also signed Julius Aghahowa for Wigan in 2007. The striker came with a strong reputation for pace and scoring ability and was given a long term contract. After 20 appearances and no goals Bruce was forced to ship the Nigerian to Turkey in 2008. “Julius is a lovely guy”, Bruce said at the time.
Benni McCarthy – Blackburn Rovers to West Ham (Undisclosed) – January 2010 - It’s probably harsh to have Benni on this list considering he is a former Champions League winner and has had a successful career in Europe. However, the South African makes the list on the basis of being ludicrously given a two and a half year contract, not scoring a goal, ballooning up in weight and missing the World Cup on home soil as a result, before becoming the first player in memory to be fined for being too fat. Can now be found loitering on the bench at Upton Park with a conspicuous Winston Bogardesque look on his face.
Jean-Alain Boumsong – Rangers to Newcastle (8m) – January 2005 - The French international made his debut for the Toon in the FA Cup Third Round against Hayes & Yeading where a young DJ Campbell gave him a torrid afternoon which was to set the tone for his career in England. Formed a chucklebrother partnership at centre back with Titus Bramble and never came close to justifying his huge transfer fee. Boumsong left in 2006 and Newcastle lost £5m.
Savio Nzereko – Brescia to West Ham (9m) – January 2009 - If you are wondering who an earth Savio Nsereko is, I don’t blame you. However, as recently as January 2009 West Ham supporters were drooling over the prospect of one of the brightest - and most expensive -young talents in Europe lighting up East London. Gianfranco Zola even claimed at the time that his latest recruit would end up being as good as he was.
Given a lucrative four and a half year contract despite having only made a handful of appearances for Bresica, Savio has actually not scored a professional goal in the two years since he joined West Ham. Apart from a promising debut, he only made 9 further appearances for the Hammers before being sold to Fiorentina in the summer of 2009. West Ham reportedly lost a huge chunk of their outlay. Has made two appearances on loan for 1860 Munich this season but his ambition is undimmed. “My dream is to play for Arsenal one day”, Savio told the Ugandan press in December.
Jimmy Bullard – Fulham to Hull (£5m) – January 2009 - Hull City gambled on survival in January 2009 by breaking their transfer record fee for the likeable Bullard. Signed to a four and a half year contract with wages reported to be around £75,000 a week, the huge outlay was seen as an acceptable risk if Jimmy could reproduce the form which got him an England call up and a starring role in a Wash & Go advert. Things didn’t quite work out as planned. He shattered his knee on debut and missed the rest of the season.
Hull did avoid relegation that season but went down the following season with Bullard missing games through injuries, missing a crucial penalty at Sunderland and being jeered by his own fans for being symptomatic of the club’s financial problems. Has been widely lampooned for not being able to agree personal terms with Celtic and suffered the embarrassment of initially not even being given a squad number at the start of this season.
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