Halfway through the January transfer window, the Premier League is still waiting for a major deal to be sealed, the sort of transfer with enough X-factor to resemble a belated Christmas present for the fans welcoming a new arrival at their club.
As Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll have largely and extensively proved over the last 24 months, however, forking out a large fee in January doesn’t always translate into the hoped step up in quality and, often, it’s the transfers found at the bargain end of the window that prove to be crucial.
Here’s five January signings who could have a big impact over the next couple of months.
1) Aiden McGeady
An Irishman in Moscow sounds more like the title of a James Joyce play than a line one would expect to read in the football section of a newspaper, and McGeady’s adventure in the Russian capital was definitely the sort of topsy-turvy affair that would have made Joyce proud.
The 27-year-old became Scottish football’s most expensive export when he left Celtic Park for Moscow in August 2010 for a fee of £9.5m but played only 74 games over four seasons with Spartak Moscow, lacking the consistency he needed to establish himself as a regular.
The former Celtic man, however, could prove to be yet another inspired purchase by Roberto Martinez, with the Irishman’s ability to play through the middle as well as out wide likely to offer Everton more attacking options.
Getting into the side ahead of Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu won’t be easy, but the man who’s returned from the cold could have a big impact in the second half of the season.
2) John Guidetti
The Swedish striker has been hailed as the next big thing since joining Manchester City but while the talent is there for all to see, getting into the side ahead of Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo isn’t exactly easy.
Stoke might not have struggled in front of goal as they had in previous seasons – six teams have scored less than the Potters – but they’ve been over-reliant on their midfielders to come up with the goods in front of goal – Peter Crouch has scored just four goals this season.
Guidetti’s arrival should provide Mark Hughes with a new dimension up-front, while the Swede should be desperate to prove that he has what it takes to cut it in the Premier League, after scoring 20 in 23 games when on loan at Feyenoord three seasons ago.
3) Grant Holt
Having been staked a strong claim for an England call-up in the 2011-12 season when he scored more Premier League goals than any other Englishman, Holt’s fall from grace has been rather swift.
A troubled season at Carrow Road last year saw him score just eight goals, before Chris Hughton opted to revamp his striking options and shipped the striker to Wigan, where Holt scored just twice in 16 Championship games.
A striker who hasn’t scored since August hardly sounds like the sort of man Villa needed to save their campaign, given that Christian Benteke only ended his goal drought on Monday, but Holt has played the best football of his career under Paul Lambert and will provide the sort of experience Villa young squad desperately needs.
4) Mats Moller Daehli
The second player to arrive in the Welsh capital from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s former club Molde, Daehli could prove to be a superb signing for the Bluebirds.
The 18-year-old was widely regarded as one of United’s most promising prospects, before he was inexplicably let go last season and seized his opportunity by impressing in his first season back in Norway.
The diminutive midfielder can play pretty much anywhere in the middle of the park and can score as well as create chances, characteristics that had put the Norwegian on Malky Mackay’s radar.
United had the option to bring Daehli back to Old Trafford, but the 18-year-old chose Cardiff and Bluebirds fans will hope he’ll have the same impact as Paul Pogba, another player United let go too soon.
5) Nikica Jelavic
Hull must be hoping Jelavic’s second January move in three seasons will have the same impact as the first, for that would ensure an extremely serene second half of the season for Steve Bruce’s men.
Jelavic arrived to Everton from Rangers two years ago and netted 12 goals in 15 games in all competitions, before going terribly off the boil over the last 18 months and losing his place in the starting XI.
Much like Stoke, Hull have over-relied on their midfielders to score goals, with Robbie Brady the team’s top scorer with a grand total of three goals. In that scenario and with a World Cup around the corner, Jelavic seems the perfect choice for the Tigers.
On the other hand, failure to hit the ground running could pile further pressure on a man who hasn’t scored a Premier League goal in 17 games.