Friday Football Feature: January transfer market heats up for South West London clubs


Chelsea have brought in Gary Cahill while Fulham have added Jack Grimmer and QPR have loaned striker Federico Macheda from Manchester United.


By Jamie Dickenson

We are now over half-way through the January transfer window and up until now movements from the Premier League’s south west London clubs has been minimal.

That is not to say it has been completely non-existent, though. Chelsea have brought in English centre back Gary Cahill for £7million, Fulham have added young Scottish prospect Jack Grimmer and QPR have loaned striker Federico Macheda from Manchester United.

It seems that the often ignored January market is slowly starting to offer some action. In the last 48 hours AC Milan’s Taye Taiwo has agreed a loan deal with Mark Hughes’ new club. The Nigerian international is an adventurous left-back with continental pedigree, having recently interested Champions League participants Arsenal.

The Loftus Road club have reportedly handed Hughes a hefty transfer budget, and he has set his sights on strengthening the entirety of his squad, with Manchester City’s defender Nedum Onuoha close to sealing a £2million move.

Speculation is rife that the R’s are looking at potential swoops for Tottenham creator Niko Kranjcar, Blackburn stopper Chris Samba and an audacious raid for Brazilian ball player Henrique.

Bids for South African duo Steven Pienaar and his international compatriot Daylon Claasen have been made, and the club are close to signing Chelsea’s Brazilian defender Alex, although negotiations are ongoing.

Strikers Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell have rejected the notion of leaving the Premier League newcomers, whilst rumours persist that Hughes is in the market for a striker.

Over at Stamford Bridge, boss Andre Villas-Boas has made his first move in combating the defensive frailties that his Chelsea side have shown so far this season with the addition of Gary Cahill. £7million seems decent value for an England international whose contract ran out with the Lancashire club in the summer.

Most of The Blues transfer activity this month has revolved around players departing the club. Promising midfielder Josh McEachran took the advice of colleague Frank Lampard and went out to Swansea on loan in search of playing opportunities, as did youngsters Gael Kakuta and Patrick Van Aarnholt to Dijon and Vitesse respectively.

The Premier League 2008/09 season’s top goalscorer Nicholas Anelka decided his chances of regular football were better served in China, transferring to Shanghai Shenhua on a free transfer for a basic salary of nearly £175,000 a week.

Since Anelka’s departure, the rumour-mill insists that Didier Drogba is set to follow his former strike partner to China, although player and club have claimed a move away for the Ivorian will not happen until the summer.

Down the road at Craven Cottage, ins and outs so far this month have been kept to a minimum, with just Jack Grimmer moving south of the border from Aberdeen. The transfer has rankled the Dons’ manager Craig Brown, who spoke out damning the Scottish youth system to allow 17-year-old starlet like Grimmer to fall into the clutches of an English club for as little as £200,000.

The teenage midfielder’s contract was due to run out at the end of the season, and having rejected an opportunity to sign on at Pittodrie, Grimmer decided that it was in the best interests for his career to move to Fulham.

The Cottagers strike force has itself been the subject of transfer talk, with Steve Kean recently confirming that Blackburn have made a move for Andrew Johnson. In-form Bobby Zamora has also been linked with a move away from south west London, perhaps down being his fractious relationship with manager Martin Jol.

Fulham themselves have failed to land Catania’s Argentine forward Maxi Lopez on loan, with the Serie A outfit maintaining they need to receive a transfer fee to allow Lopez his move to London.

As for signatures secured, Jol has seen veteran keeper Mark Schwarzer pen a new deal at the club for another 18 months. The Australian custodian faces tough competition as current incumbent David Stockdale has impressed during recent displays, and a healthy battle should play out for the number one spot during the rest of the campaign.

With three weeks of transfer chess played out by Premier League clubs, it seems that the market is finally starting to stimulate. QPR, Chelsea and Fulham fans will be hoping their team is boosted with new signings whilst worrying that they can hang on to their top stars.

Much has been made of this January transfer market having the lowest expenditure of top flight clubs in years, but with 10 days to go until the window slams shut the comings and goings in south west London and across the nation look set to hot up.

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