The January transfer window didn't exactly go to plan for these player-seeking managers.
The January transfer window was supposed to be the manager’s trump card, an opportunity to plug the gaps and prepare their squad for a gruelling run-in.
Although it didn’t exactly work out this way for this exasperated quintet.
Sam Allardyce – Crystal Palace
Big frustration for Big Sam as Crystal Palace missed out on target after target in a January that does little to enhance their Premier League survival hopes. After links with Robbie Brady, Carl Jenkinson and co came to nothing, Allardyce publically admitted that The Eagles had taken to plumbing the depths of the market in desperation.
In the end, four players arrived; Leicester City outcast Jeffrey Schlupp, untested Olympiakos enforcer Luka Milivojevic, the equally-inspired, equally-error prone Mamadou Sakho, and Patrick Van Aanholt, the former Sunderland left-back electric in attack but a busted fuse at the back.
David Moyes – Sunderland
Downbeat Dave warned the Wearsiders that the chances of repeating last season’s January business were minimal at best with the club crippled by debt. After all, while Jan Kirchhoff, Wahbi Khazri and Lamine Kone saved Sunderland’s skin in 2015/16, few expect a motley trio of ex-Everton squad players to have the same effect.
Jolean Lescott, public enemy number one just a few months ago, joins perennial understudy Bryan Oviedo in a Championship worthy back four while Darron Gibson hasn’t played a Premier League game all season.
“I’d be kidding you on if I said the players we’re hoping to bring in this month are going to make a big difference,” Moyes said, as reported by The Guardian.
He wasn’t kidding.
It seems a long time since Wes Morgan was hoisting the Premier League trophy aloft to a soundtrack of Andrea Bocelli at a drizzle-soaked King Power. Leicester City’s dilly-ding has dilly-gone while three successive Premier League defeats, with an aggregate score of 0-7, leaves The Foxes on the verge of the drop zone.
20-year-old Wilfried Ndidi represents another attempt to replace the irreplaceable N’Golo Kante but, at £15 million, as reported by the Daily Mirror he has a lot to live up to. Meanwhile, Udinese loanee Molla Wague can’t perform any worse than Robert Huth or Wes Morgan but the spectre of Yohan Benaloune hangs above him.
It’s impossible not to feel a little sorry for Dean Smith. After all, few have endured a January quite so turbulent with the future of star striker and top scorer Scott Hogan up in the air from the 1st to the 31st.
An eventual deadline day move to Aston Villa left The Bees with no time at all to reinvest in the squad, meaning they’re facing up to the daunting prospect of three months without Hogan’s line leading excellence.
Lasse Vibe’s clinical double against Hogan’s new employers on deadline day offers a degree of positivity, however, while 2014/15 loan star Sergi Canos and former PSV winger Florian Jozefzoon should offer extra creativity in attack. Whether anyone can take advantage, however, is another matter.
In September 2008, Kevin Keegan resigned from his second spell in charge of Newcastle United after a galling transfer window undermined by Mike Ashley’s profit-seeking policy. And while we’re not expecting Rafa Benitez to repeat the trick, the Spaniard hardly hid his frustration after the owner reinstated his buy-low, sell-high approach.
Instead of Andros Townsend, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, James McCarthy, Scott Hogan or Ryad Boudebouz, Newcastle got, well nothing.
Which is far from ideal considering that a gruelling post-Christmas schedule highlighted a number of vulnerabilities in a hitherto fearsome squad.