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The January Transfer Window ! Saints Hits And Misses
Thursday, 3rd Dec 2020 11:00

With the January Transfer window looming take a look at Saints dabbling's over the past years in the Premier League and decide who were the good signings and who were the flops, see if you agree with our opinions and give your thoughts below.

We start our review back in January 2003, the first season that transfer windows were brought into force.

Saints made 2 signings on the final day of the first January transfer window, Danny Higginbotham & David Prutton.

Danny Higginbotham arrived from Derby County for £1.5 million, the then 25 year old had a decent career for Saints in his 3 1/2 seasons with the club, starting 84 League games plus another 10 as sub, in truth his problem here was his versatility, he could play at full back as well as in the centre of defence and he found that he was often pressed into emergency roles and the emergence of Michael Svensson and Claus Lundekvam as the preferred choice did not help, when Harry Redknapp arrived he preferred to play the likes of Andreas Jakobson & loanee Callum Davenport in the centre of defence, neither were a patch on Higginbotham who went on to have a succesful career in the Premier League after leaving St Mary's .

Verdict - Hit, good value at £1.5 million but could have been much better given the chance.

There were high hopes for David Prutton when he arrived from Nottingham Forest, but he never quite reached the heights that we all hoped for, at times he could be brilliant, at others frustrating, he left the club in August 2007 having started only 65 League games plus another 17 as sub in 4 1/2 seasons, barely half the number of games he could have played in.

It would be hard to classify him as a hit, but then again just as hard to call him a miss, but at £2.5 million a substantial sum for Saints in 2003, it has to veer towards the latter I'm afraid, his commitment was always there, but truthfully it didn't happen often enough, although there were mitigating circumstances .

Verdict - Tough call but for the transfer fee and the fact he left on a free transfer still aged only 26 it has to be Miss.

In January 2004 Saints made a couple of signings, Paul Smith & Stephen Crainey.

Paul Smith was a keeper signed for £500,000 as back up, he would play just six games in the Premier League, one of them as a 6th minute sub for Antti Niemi, for a grand total 14 League appearances and 2 more as sub, we sold him to Nottingham Forest in August for what we paid for him.

Verdict - Never let anyone down. but was never going to be first choice, from this perspective he isn't a miss, he did the job he came for so a hit.

January 2005 was truly the silliest season ever for Saints in the transfer window, with Harry Redknapp in charge it was never going to be any different and always end in tears.

Harry's son Jamie Redknapp came on a free transfer and was a crock - Miss

Nigel Quashie came from Pompey for £2.1 million, he at least had a bit of fight in him, but we sold him a year later for half the price. - Miss

Olivier Bernard cost £400,000 , never convincing and left in August on a free - Miss

Callum Davenport came on loan, played 5 games plus 2 as sub, disaster - Miss

Henri Camara also came on loan, scored 3 goals in his first 3 games then just 1in the next 10, but that is still a good ration so - Hit

We now fast forward 8 years to our next January transfer window in the premier League.

The only signing in January 2013, despite much boasting from our then Chairman was Vegard Forren at £3.5 million , report ably Forren's agent had pulled in a favour at Liverpool that his client could train at Liverpool for a week during the winter shutdown in Norway. Once Forren was booked into hishotel in Liverpool, the agent touted him to Nicola Cortese that Forren was being looked at by Liverpool and they were about to sign him, but he could be snatched if we were quick.

Cortese took the bait and paid the £3.5 million, Forren would never play a single first team game for the club and would be sold back to Molde six months later at a loss - Miss

In 2014 as Saints chased a top 10 place, the fans clamoured for a January signing, what we didn't know in the January was that Nicola Cortese was on the way out, he was talking the talk, but couldn't walk the walk as he didn't have the money coming in to the club either through sponsorship & merchandising or from the owner, so no signings in this January, strangely despite claims back then Cortese has not been headhunted for a club at any level since,strange eh !

2015 saw no new signings other than Filip Duricic a forward from Benfica, who would start only 3 games plus another 6 off the bench before going back to Benfica - Miss

The other signing made a little more impact Eljero Elia came on loan from Werder Bremen and scored two goals to give Saints victory at Newcastle United in one of his first games for the club, he would start 9 Premier League games plus another 7 as sub, it was s surprise that we didn't take up our option to buy him in the summer - Hit

January 2016 saw Charlie Austin come in for £4 million from QPR and his last minute goal after coming on as a sub at Old Trafford on his debut, gave us 2 extra points that ultimately moved us up to 6th and therefore he repaid half his fee with one header.

His reputation dropped in his last season with a section of the crowd getting on his back, but 16 goals in 34 starts plus another 37 as sub is still a healthy return and he scored some vital goals, his 85th minute winner against Arsenal in Ralph Hasenhuttl's first home game as Saints manager would be his last for the club, but he did his job in difficult times, he deserves more respect than he gets from some - Hit

2017 saw a very popular player arrive for £14.6 million, Manolo Gabbiadini was an instant hit , in his first 4 games for the club he scored in 3 Premier League game (4 goals ) plus 2 goals at Wembley in the League cup final, giving him instant hero status.

But in the remaining games of the season he would not score again and in the other 22 starts plus 26 as sub he would make he would score just 6 more goals one of which was a penalty.

Overall his goal scoring stats in the Premier League are worse than Charlie Austin's but he did have a knack of scoring some vital goals to help us escape relegation in 2017/18, not least at Burnley and Swansea away to give us points that ultimately kept us up.

In normal circumstances if we took away those first 4 games then his goal scoring record was appalling for us, and given we made a near £6 million loss on his transfer just under 2 years ago, there are grounds for making him a miss, but the truth is our style of play never suited him and of those last 6 Premier League goals everyone counted and were the difference between an extra point or 2.

So from that perspective although his reputation is bigger than his stats bear out, he is still a hit.

Now to perhaps the biggest January mistake of all, 2018 saw Guido Carrillo arrive for £20 million or thereabouts , in truth it is hard to make this anything other than a miss, but in mitigation I will say he played in a side that was awful and he was not the worst player in it, he didn't get much of a chance and he did have a couple of good games in which he contributed notably West Brom away and Burnley, 4 points that kept us up, so although he has to be a miss, he was a gamble to keep us up that season, we stayed up so from that perspective the gamble paid off and staying in the Premier League paid his transfer fee. But it still has to be a miss !

Two years ago Ralph Hasenhuttl's first January window brought no new signings, a sign that Saints had learnt their lesson and were not panic buying.

Back in January this year the only new signing was Kyle Walker Peters, on loan from Spurs he seemed to struggle to get in the team pre lockdown and initially it was thought that he would not be signed in the summer, but come the restart after being left out for the first game he prospered and was signed so Hit

Photo: Action Images

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TimSaint added 11:29 - Dec 3
Prutton deserves Massive Miss status - his red card v Arsenal and subsequent pushing of the ref got him a 10 match ban, just when we needed him for our survival bid that ultimately failed !!

Farlow added 17:29 - Dec 3
I,m surprised theres no mention of Dani Osvaldo who was a disaster.

NewburySaint added 10:27 - Dec 4
My top 3 misses:
1) Charlie Austin-you say he deserves more respect but if you know of him like I do he deserves no respect at all. Was never go to fit in at Saints....unless Redknapp came back to manage us.
2) Forren-have placed him ahead / worse than no.3 simply because he didn’t play for us.
3) Carillon-for obvious reasons, although may have been slightly unlucky in the situation he came to us in the fact how bad we were at the time, although he didn’t look great either.
But the worst of the lot has to be Davenport, just simply 1 of the worst players to pull on the red & white of SFC.
As for Gabbiadini, if he had been played in the correct manner after his initial burst, then after coming back from injury, he would have been an at least a 15 goal a season striker with the finishing ability he had.

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