January transfer window, good or bad?

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There has been lots of talk over the last few seasons about the Transfer Windows. Are they a good idea? Or should teams be able to sign players throughout the year up until about March like they used to? I know for West Ham United that the January transfer window has seen some highs and lows.


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The summer transfer window is always quite good fun, and gives teams 3 months to sort out their business, which in my opinion, is plenty of time. The window slams shut on 31stAugust – and that’s when the reality hits home that you’ve either been really successful, or you’re stuck with what you’ve got.


The window that causes more talking points is the January window. This is when you know if your team is satisfied or not. Generally, the bigger teams, like Man United, Manchetser City and Arsenal don’t need to make many changes, due to the fact they have higher quality players, and squads which could put out 2 or 3 teams worthy of beating anyone in the Premier League. But for the teams near the bottom, it’s a chance for them to make a few signings which could prove to be the difference between staying in the league or relegation.


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I will look at West Hams transfer dealings over the last couple of January transfer windows. In 2010/11, under Avram Grant, we signed 4 players – Demba Ba, Robbie Keane, Wayne Bridge and Gary O’Neil. 2 were loan deals, the other 2 were undisclosed. Demba Ba proved to be the only real good signing from that 4, although Gary O’Neil is a good squad player. The players who were there originally were obviously not good enough, but not even Demba Ba’s goals were enough to save us, and we were relegated.


However, in the 2011/12 season, our fortunes were different, and the January transfer window helped us regain promotion to the Premier League. This was due to the signing of a very key player in the second half of the season, in Ricardo Vaz Te. For the £500k we paid Barnsley for his services, his goal in the Play-off Final capped a number of superb displays, and it proved to be a key piece of business. This shows how vital this window was to a team like West Ham, and being able to add a few players who end up being match winners and are the difference between playing in the Premier League or the Championship this season.


So, what about the current January Transfer Window? Well with it only being a few days in, West Ham have already signed 3 players, Sean Maguire, Marouane Chamakh and of course, Joe Cole (perhaps 4 if Wellington Paulista is done by the time you read this). We haven’t spent a penny on transfer fees, and for me, two of the three could be vital to us finishing in mid/top half of the table. Chamakh was brought in to cover Modibo Maiga and Andy Carroll in their absence, but he clearly has goals in him. He hasn’t had a chance at Arsenal, but I am happy to give him a chance, and will be behind him when he plays. But the final mention is about the homecoming of a former fans favourite, and academy graduate – Joe Cole.


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Cole is a creative player who we will hopefully see the best of as he winds down his career at West Ham. He is a playing who we desperately needed in the final third to give us a cutting edge. He is lacking fitness and match practice, but give him time, and he will be an awesome signing. He is in an environment which he enjoys, with fans who are behind him and love him. I think this will allow us to not only secure the 40 point target in plenty of time for us to enjoy the end of the season, but also to push on next season with attracting more top players, and adding to our squad.

I am very optimistic at the moment, and I’m sure the rest of you are too.

Chelmo Hammer

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