Charlie Austin: The best January buy

Southampton’s capture of Charlie Austin has been the biggest business of this transfer window. The deal shows that there is always a good bargain in the January window. Playing in the Premiership will definitely increase Austin’s chances for the EUROs.

Charlie Austin scored against Manchester United on his Saints debut.   -  REUTERS

Crystal Palace offers Emmanuel Adebayor the last chance to impress at the top level.   -  REUTERS

Jonjo Shelvey (right) will be a perfect fit at Newcastle United.   -  REUTERS

Another winter transfer window has come to an end and there has been very little movement among the European elites. Top clubs, usually, don’t look for big buys in January as most of their priority deals are completed over the summer. But, the window, literally, offers a ‘window of opportunity’ for the lower clubs. They can bolster their squads; bring in the right reinforcements, in a bid to avoid the dreaded drop from the Top Tier.

 

There is currently a huge competition at the top of the English game and the top clubs in the country have some glairing deficiencies in key areas of their game, with a lot of room for improvement. But clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City or Liverpool will wait until the summer and the respective managers will play a big role in decision-making. We can expect a lot of managerial movement ahead of the next season with Manchester City already announcing the appointment of Pep Guardiola for the upcoming campaign.

Guus Hiddink, at Chelsea, is only a temporary appointment and his job is to just guide the team over the line. The defending champion is still languishing at the bottom half of the table. So, the Chelsea owner’s money will come at a later stage to restructure the squad. United, too, under Louis van Gaal, has been quite average.

The team needs to improve its attack and try to bring back the spirit of the club, which has always been known for its attacking prowess. Under the Dutchman, the team seems to only defend. Liverpool also needs more reinforcements and Jurgen Klopp will look to pick a few players of his choice to finally get his combination right, come this summer.

The runaway League leader, Leicester, has done well to secure the signing of the promising 19-year-old forward, Demarai Gray, and Ghanaian international Daniel Amartey from FC Copenhagen. Claudio Ranieri has a small squad at his disposal. His team is a genuine title contender now and the additions will help him to rotate his players and keep his top men fresh till the end of the campaign.

For me, Southampton’s capture of Charlie Austin has been the biggest business of this transfer window. The deal shows that there is always a good bargain in the January window. Playing in the Premiership will definitely increase Austin’s chances for the EUROs. As I had written earlier, the forward needs to play at the English top tier to get that much-needed experience.

Crystal Palace, under Alan Pardew, has struggled for goals and the move to pick Emmanuel Adebayor to answer that problem is an interesting one. The Togolese has had so many chances and although he is a good player he hasn’t quite hit the mark for me. It is frustrating, as he is blessed with immense talent. Pardew will give him his final chance and hopefully we will see a different side of his, where he will concentrate more on his game. Adebayor has great ability and it’s time for him to start performing and deliver on a regular basis. It’s, however, never easy for a player to come in and settle quickly after the winter window. There is very little time to adjust unlike a summer buy, who has the advantage of a long pre-season. But a good player can play in any team and the manager, here, plays a huge role. Any good man-manager will aid this assimilation process by finding out what makes the player tick, and will ease him in accordingly.

The lower rung teams, as expected, have brought in reinforcements. Bournemouth, an attacking team, has signed Benik Afobe, Lewis Grabban and Juan Iturbe and these players will bring in their explosive style to play. The team has a weak defence but it is trying to build up its game, which is a good attacking style — something that the fans always want to see.

It’s worrisome to see the sorry state of affairs at Aston Villa, which is a good 10-point away from the safety zone. Villa is a big brand so it will be upsetting for fans to see them get relegated. But they have to be realistic and start preparing for that possibility of playing in the Championship next season. The manager should give the younger players a chance and identify a squad for the future.

The capture of Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend by Newcastle United has been a smart piece of business. Shelvey has already started regaining the form, which earned him England call-ups at the beginning of the season. Newcastle is an attacking side and Townsend is an attacking player and should feel at home with the Magpies. Steve McClaren is quite good at bringing the best out of his players and the latest additions should do well under his tutelage.

The EPL, however, still needs to attract bigger talents. For example, a comeback of Luis Suarez will be a great spectacle. Players of his calibre bring magic to the game and that much-needed quality and commercialism as fans want to see good football when they pay hard-earned Pounds to come to a game.