Rangers to Everton, £5.5m
Goal-getter Nikica Jelavic made one of the most high-profile switches of the January window’s closing day.
Before sealing a move to Goodison Park, the Croatian had attracted the attention of numerous scouts, after netting 30 goals in just 45 games for Rangers.
The 26-year-old drew comparisons to club legend Shota Arveladze, during his time north of the border. Much like Arveladze, Jelavic’s goalscoring ratio and impressive workrate served to establish him as the marquee player of the Scottish Premier League.
Everton manager David Moyes has achieved legendary status as a shrewd financial manager, and, at a fee of just £5.5m, the capture of Jelavic could prove to be one of the bargains of the season.
It’s interesting to note that, under Glaswegian Moyes, Everton employ a not-dissimilar playing style to Rangers. Jelavic should settle quickly into the Toffees’ system and his 18 months in Scotland will have acclimatised him to the British way of life.
Stuttgart to Fulham, £3m
Putter-footed Muscovite, Pavel Pogrebnyak, has joined underachieving Fulham.
The 28-year-old tap-in merchant possesses an enviable goalscoring record, at both club and international level. The man, bizarrely, nicknamed “The Cellar” has, previously, stamped his authority not only on his native league but also on the highly competitive German Bundesliga. Cottagers manager Martin Jol knows the latter division well, from his time at Hamburg.
Aside from Pogrebnyak’s obvious talent, one intriguing aspect of this move is the potential risk that’s associated with bringing any Russian player to the Premier League.
Many of Pogrebnyak’s countrymen have struggled to adapt to the extreme cultural differences between England and their home land. The list includes but isn’t limited to; Andrei Arshavin, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Roman Pavlyuchenko.
The forlorn Messrs. Pavlyuchenko and Bilyaletdinov returned to Russia, during this window, and Arshavin is strongly rumoured to be following suit, before the end of the Russian deadline.
Whether Pogrebnyak can buck this worrying trend is open for debate but, either way, a £3m transfer fee shouldn’t hit Mohamed Al Fayed’s debit card too hard.
Man. United to West Ham, £650k+
As a rumoured member of Manchester’s notorious Longsight Crew, trouble loves Ravel Morrison.
A natural talent, originally expected to be United’s long-term replacement for Paul Scholes, Morrison drew praise and derision, in equal measure, from his fellow Old Trafford employees. Physically powerful, elegant and skillful on the field; physically violent, edgy and scarfaced off it; this real-life gangster pushed the Red Devils’ hierarchy to their collective wit’s end, as he seemed determined to squander his world-class levels of potential.
Once you get on the wrong side of Sir Alex Ferguson, typically, there’s no going back. This difficult teenager has, as such, been palmed off to West Ham, at a firesale pricepoint. By way of comparison, the initial £650k fee is less than the £800k that AFC Bournemouth paid for Crawley Town striker Matt Tubbs, just a few days ago.
For the record, the remainder of the Ravel deal is made up of £1.5m-worth of incentivised payments. However, both clubs know that the unpredictable Morrison might never hit the targets set by this arrangement.
On a positive note, a move away from his Mancunian entourage could benefit the 18-year-old. West Ham are a club with a strong track record of developing youngsters and the Hammers family has also been known to embrace spicy players.
Ultimately, new manager Sam Allardyce will be praying that Morrison can realise even half of the potential that his former employers saw in him.
Ricardo Vaz Te
Barnsley to West Ham, Undisclosed
Another addition to the Upton Park artillery is, former Portuguese U-21 international, Ricardo Vaz Te.
The striker was originally brought into British football by Sam Allardyce, who was, at the time, the manager of Bolton. A brief spell in Greece aside, Vaz Te has been plying his trade in the U.K. for eight years.
Stops at Hull and Hibernian would come, before the much-maligned Vaz Te found his level, in the Championship, with Barnsley. After bagging 10 goals in 22 games for the Yorkshire outfit, the Lisbon native attracted the attention of his former boss once more. He will follow four fellow former Bolton players; Kevin Nolan, Matt Taylor, Joey O’Brien and Adboulaye Faye; into the West Ham set-up.
The 25-year-old will further swell West Ham’s already enviable attacking ranks. He joins Sam Baldock, Carlton Cole, John Carew, Freddie Sears, Frank Nouble, Brian Montenegro, Frederic Piquionne, Dylan Tombides, Robert Hall and Nicky Maynard; in the Irons’ big budget first-team squad.
If Vaz Te can carry his performance level, from the opening half of this season, into the second, he could well find himself making a top flight return, come August.
Lazio to QPR, £4m
Bringing some much-needed personality back into the pasteurised Premier League, this kaleidoscopic Frenchman will aim to form a potent bi-pronged attack with, fellow Hoops newboy, Bobby Zamora.
It goes without saying that QPR will need a reliable goalscorer, or two, if they wish to retain their top-tier status. Wasting no time in adopting this mantle, the impactful ‘Lord of the Manor of Frodsham’ had already netted for his new club, before I even had chance to finish this article.
Indeed, ever since emerging from the renowned Auxerre academy, Cisse has been a prolific marksman. The six-foot-tall natural athlete has found success in a number of European leagues. His career did, however, hit a recent sticky patch, at Lazio. The Italian side looked to capitalise on his electric pace, by asking him to operate in unfamiliar wide areas, to little success.
Frustrated, the 30-year-old began to seek a move back to the country in which he met his wife – Cisse had previous spells at Liverpool and Sunderland. Ultimately, the bright lights of London were enough to persuade this flamboyant individual to join Queen’s Park Rangers.
It’s fair to say that this adventurous club’s dressing room has, of late, become a haven for rare breeds but, even by Loftus Road standards, the headline-grabbing Cisse is a clockwork orange of a player.