Football: January transfer day closes with little drama; Chelsea the busiest on final day

Premier League leaders Chelsea spent 35 million euros (S$53.7 million) to bring Colombian Juan Cuadrado to Stamford Bridge, but Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal did no significant late business at the closing of the January transfer win
Premier League leaders Chelsea spent 35 million euros (S$53.7 million) to bring Colombian Juan Cuadrado to Stamford Bridge, but Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal did no significant late business at the closing of the January transfer window on Feb 2. -- PHOTO: EPA

LONDON (REUTERS) - The last-minute shopping spree often associated with the closing of the January transfer window failed to materialise on Monday as Europe's top clubs largely kept their powder dry.

Even in England, where the 20 Premier League can usually be relied upon to splash some of the cash they earn from a mega TV deal, trading was unusually light, leaving presenters of Sky Sports News' much-hyped deadline day coverage desperately searching for something to talk about.

Leaders Chelsea spent 35 million euros (S$53.7 million) to bring Colombian Juan Cuadrado to Stamford Bridge, recouping most of that by selling Andre Schuerrle to Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg.

But Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal did no significant late business.

English champions City signed Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony from Swansea City last month for 25 million pounds ($50.8 million) while United's only arrival of note was former Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes on a free transfer.

While a few late deals could push the total January spend in the Premier League past the £100 million mark, the head-spinning transfer frenzy, for now at least, appears to have been replaced by a calmer, more measured approach.

UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules have made it less likely that clubs sign players without first off-loading some of their squad, stalling the usual merry-go-round.

Transfers of players from the Premier League to other European leagues is also hindered by the huge salaries. The reluctance of club managers to part with players at such a delicate phase of the season has also become an increasing factor in the mid-season window.

Liverpool, chasing a top-four finish in the Premier League, failed to add to their squad in January, while Arsenal limited their activity to Legia Warsaw youngster Krystian Bielik and Gabriel from Villarreal.

Loan deals such as former England winger Aaron Lennon joining Everton from Tottenham Hotspur and high-flying Southampton taking Serbia's Filip Djuricic from Benfica and Eljero Elia from Werder Bremen caught the eye.

However, managers of the clubs battling against relegation were left frustrated in their attempts to strengthen. None more so than Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp, one of England's most adept deadline day dealers. Apart from Mauro Zarate from West Ham United, Redknapp failed to bolster QPR's squad, having tried and failed with a late attempt to sign striker Emmanuel Adebayor from Tottenham.