It’s 29th January, and you’re Konstantinos Mitroglou sat outside a lovely brasserie on the harbour in Marseille. Your phone buzzes against the warm bowl of bouillabaisse on the table in front of you. It’s an English number; a number that you know belongs to Reinhard ‘René’ Meulensteen. You click the button on the side of your phone twice, pop another mussel in your gob and look forward to spring. Provence is lovely in the spring.
Whoever and wherever you are: January is a slippery, slippery git. If you’re one of those clubs outside the bottom six treading water in a murky pool of negative goal difference, you need that man to make the difference. If you’re one of those clubs doggy paddling in a murky pool of positive goal difference behind Manchester City, you need that man to make the difference. If you’re Manchester City, you should probably go to Provence. Provence is lovely in the spring.
We’ve had them all though, haven’t we? For every Luis bastard Suárez tying you up in laces, there’s a couple of Afonso Alveses falling over their laces. For every Nemanja Vidić nullifying your attacks, there’s a Christopher Samba enhancing them. IT IS A VERY DIFFICULT MARKET, we hear them say, and really—maybe this time we should believe them. You know, them, the men in charge.
Or maybe instead, we should believe bwin, who have created this very swish infographic for us to get stuck into. The clever boys and girls over there have analysed over 2,500 winter signings from the last ten seasons to identify who to target and who to avoid this window for top-flight clubs.
If you’re one of them top six high-fliers, then Ligue 1 is the most reliable source of talent, with 43.8% of signings resulting in more goals for the buying club in the second half of the season. Essentially, it’s more about Malcom than Rodrigo.
If you’re currently one of them bottom of the pond amoebas, then an older Spanish or Italian gentlemen is the one for you. A striker aged 30 or over makes the difference, with 73.8% of them making a positive difference to a struggling club. It’s all about Fabio Quagliarella and less about Wesley Saïd.
And, if you’re Konstantinos Mitroglou. Stay in Marseille. London is proper naff this time of year.