Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe 3 best buys this window - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The 3 best buys this window - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The 3 best buys this window

As the January window draws to an end, the big money transfers of Daniel Sturridge, Loïc Remy and Demba Ba will command the headlines, however here are several other shrewd moves that have snuck below the radar that could prove excellent business.

Fraizer Campbell – Sunderland to Cardiff City – £650,000

Former Manchester United youth product Campbell endured a nightmare injury run on Weirside, missing the best part of two seasons after suffering two cruciate ligament injuries to the same knee.  Campbell was restricted to just 58 appearances during his four years at the Stadium of Light having enjoyed successful spells Royal Antwerp and Hull City having graduated through the Manchester United academy.

A real livewire with an eye for goal, Campbell has already enjoyed success at Championship level, scoring 15 goals for Hull City in the 2007-08 season, culminating in promotion to the Premier League via the play offs.  Campbell struggled to get his career with the black cats back on track following his horrific luck with injuries, this coupled with the form of summer signing Steven Fletcher has meant Campbell has found regular football hard to come by.

Having missed so much football, Campbell would be considered a risk by many.  However, the former England International has been injury free for the past year and could help fire Cardiff City into the Premier League if he can match the form he showed at Hull City, prompting then manager Phil Brown to bid a reported £7m for his services.

Chris Wood – West Brom to Leicester City – £1m

21-year-old Wood has enjoyed a prolific season thus far, making him one of the most feared marksmen outside of the Premier League.  Wood, a New Zealand International, began this season being loaned out by West Brom to Millwall.  Wood made a name for himself at The New Den, scoring 11 goals in just 19 appearances as Kenny Jackett’s side were knocking on the door of the play offs by Christmas.

It was this form that persuaded Nigel Pearson to part with £1m to bring the 6ft 3in front man to the King Power Stadium at the start of January after West Brom accepted offers from Leicester and Millwall.  Since opting for Leicester, Wood has maintained his prolific form, scoring 5 goals already in his first month with the foxes.  In the process, Leicester are one of the Championship’s form teams and sit in 2nd place going into the second half of the season.  Leicester look like a side with enough quality to avoid slipping out of the play off shake up come the end of the season, but could Chris Wood be the difference between automatic promotion or an end of season play off campaign?

Leon Clarke – Charlton Athletic to Coventry City – FREE

When David McGoldrick opted to move on loan to championship Ipswich in January, rather than stay on loan at Coventry City where he was the top goal scorer in League One with 17 goals, Coventry manager Mark Robins faced a tough task in replacing the goals that would almost certainly dry up following such a significant departure.  However Robins may well have pulled a rabbit out of the hat with the capture of journeyman forward Leon Clarke.

Clarke endured a tough time at The Valley, failing to settle quickly in a team that was breaking records on their way to the 2011-12 League One title, resulting in a number of loan moves away from the club.  One of Clarke’s many career loan moves (10 in total) was to Scunthorpe United at the start of the 2012-13 season.  Clarke scored 11 goals in 15 appearances at Glanford Park but the club were unable to sign him on a permanent basis.  Proven goals at League One level made him an ideal candidate for Robins to bring to the Ricoh Arena initially on loan, making the move permanent on 7th January.  Since joining the sky blues, Clarke has averaged a goal every other game as his team continue their steady rise up the table.  Could Clarke’s goals make the early season efforts of McGoldrick a distant memory and give the sky blues a chance at an instant return to the Championship?

The January transfer window is often described as ‘silly season’ and a time of year often berated by managers.  However, smart business such as these examples in January can freshen up a squad and make all the difference to where a team can end the season come May.

Aaron Sharp