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Sky Sports picks out some memorable winter transfers of years gone by as the latest window swings open
Speculation over which players might be on the move this month has been steadily building since the last window closed at the end of August, and a number of deals have already been finalised.
There are sure to be all manner of transfers before the deadline, whether they are high-profile switches that set new records for extravagant spending, money-saving loans or business that flies completely under the radar but turns out, in the course of time, to be remarkably astute.
It is therefore a good time for Sky Sports to pick out the top ten deals of years gone by, whether they are memorable for the right reasons or the wrong ones.
Fernando Torres to Chelsea
It is unusual for mega-money to be spent in January, with clubs careful not to panic buy and players reluctant to think about their futures until the summer, while many are still involved in Europe. That all changed in 2011, though, with a number of jaw-dropping moves taking place in the Premier League. Deadline day was particularly frantic, as Chelsea broke the bank, as well as the British transfer record, with a £50million swoop for Liverpool's Torres that was supposed to revitalise their title challenge or at least stand them in good stead for campaigns to come. Unfortunately, while it may have become the biggest ever winter deal, it has not turned out to be the best signing in history, with Torres a shadow of his former self and slipping down the pecking order under Andre Villas-Boas.
Luis Suarez to Liverpool
One of the men signed to replace Torres, Suarez arrived at Anfield with a reputation as one of the most exciting young strikers on the circuit following his exploits at Ajax. He still had a lot to prove, though, with many previous examples of players failing to translate their success in Dutch football to the Premier League. Suarez has not joined that list, however, after taking the English game by storm in his first 12 months. He may not have been so prolific in front of goal but he has produced some dazzling displays and has made a far greater contribution than fellow forward Andy Carroll, who has struggled since joining from Newcastle for £35million.
Darren Bent to Aston Villa
A move that created bad blood between Premier League rivals, Bent shocked Sunderland by handing in a transfer request before finalising a switch to Aston Villa for a club-record fee. The Black Cats were left feeling let down by the shock developments, with Bent in red-hot form during the first half of the season, while Villa angrily rejected reports that they had gone about their pursuit of the England striker in an unprofessional manner. Bent had an immediate impact in the Midlands but speculation has resurfaced this winter about another possible transfer.
Sol Campbell to Arsenal
It is not always necessary for a club to splash the cash to strengthen their squad, and Arsene Wenger has been willing to bring back former players on short-term deals to help him through the run-in. Jens Lehmann returned last year and there is currently excitement around Emirates Stadium about what Thierry Henry might offer during his second stint with the Gunners. Sol Campbell showed that he could do an effective job when he was re-signed in January 2010 after being left as a free agent following a blink-and-you-missed-it spell at Notts County. Campbell provided experience and cover in defence and he played an important role after injuries to the likes of Thomas Vermaelen and William Gallas.
Andrey Arshavin to Arsenal
Another winter move from Arsenal, and a saga that was concluded in snow-swept London as the Russian playmaker beat the weather, and the transfer deadline, to sign from Zenit St Petersburg before the cut-off point in 2009. Arshavin's star was on the rise following a series of blistering performances at the European Championship the previous summer and this was the move that would allow him to showcase his talent on a regular basis. He soon became a fans' favourite, memorably scoring all four goals in a draw against Liverpool, but has fallen away dramatically over the past couple of years.
Nicolas Anelka to Chelsea
The nomadic Anelka was snapped up in 2008 for around £15million, having got his career firmly back on track during an impressive stint with Bolton. He had previously been quite hit and miss with a reputation for being difficult, but at Chelsea he has proved to be a wonderful asset and played his part in a successful period for the club. He has scored crucial goals and adapted well to various systems, even though his future now lies in China.
Brede Hangeland to Fulham
Also in 2008, but not quite generating as many column inches as Anelka's switch to Stamford Bridge, was the deal struck by Fulham for Hangeland. Manager Roy Hodgson's knowledge of the Norwegian game allowed him to win the race for the centre-back, whose uncompromising approach has ideally suited the Premier League. His value has rocketed over the past few years and he has reportedly attracted interest from several rivals, showing that it is not always necessary to chase famous names.
Jermain Defoe to Tottenham
One of the most natural goalscorers in the Premier League, Defoe has often found himself on the move in January and reports have linked him with another change of direction in 2012. Tottenham have twice recruited the striker during the winter, first to lure him away from boyhood club West Ham in 2004 and then to re-sign him five years later. He has made an impression each time and remains a part of Harry Redknapp's title-challenging squad, but Spurs did allow him to leave for Portsmouth in 2008.
Nemanja Vidic to Man Utd
Battling to reclaim their status as the Premier League's top dogs after the emergence of Chelsea, Sir Alex Ferguson felt the need to reinforce his backline in January 2006. He moved quickly to agree a deal with Spartak Moscow for Vidic, but few could have envisaged then that the Serbian would go on to become one of the Premier League's all-time great defenders. Now captain at Old Trafford, Vidic has been instrumental in helping the Red Devils become the dominant force in English football once again and the nucleus of their defence contains another player signed at the same time, Patrice Evra.
Mikel Arteta to Everton
A relatively unheralded signing in January 2005, Arteta was brought in on loan from Real Sociedad with a view to a permanent deal. He quickly settled into the Premier League and helped Everton claim a fourth-placed finish, while he went from strength to strength after penning a long-term contract for just £2million. The gifted playmaker may have never represented Spain at senior international level but he has been one of English football's shining lights for the past few years, and joined Arsenal in the summer for around £10million.
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