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Robbie Fowler picks his Premier League winners and losers of the January transfer window – Robbie Fowler


Former Liverpool centre-forward Robbie Fowler has assessed a busy month of activity in the market to pick out his winners and losers from the January transfer window

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Every transfer deal done before the deadline

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It was fascinating to see what ­happened at the end of the transfer window and confirmation of ­something I’ve always thought – it’s only the teams in trouble who go big in January.

I guess it’s a kind of go big or go home situation… or rather, go into the Championship.

And you can understand it, that gamble on staying in the Premier League, with all the money at stake.

It is a gamble, though.

Any signing is a gamble these days, especially in the ­Premier League. Which is why I’m going to offer words of caution when I say who the winners and losers of the transfer window are.

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The reality is that we won’t know who wins until we see the table at the end of the season. If Newcastle are in the bottom three, then you’d have to say spending almost £100million on new players makes them the biggest losers.

Eddie Howe’s side spent nine figures during the January transfer window
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Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

For me, though, right now, they’re ­winners in the window. I’d qualify that by saying there’s no trophy for winning the transfer window! With that in mind, here are my January winners and losers.

Winners

Newcastle

As I said above, they have done some good business. Why? Well, yes they’ve spent a lot of money, but I reckon they’ve used it pretty wisely under the ­circumstances.

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They’ve tried not to gamble too much, bringing in players with real Premier League experience.

Again, that doesn’t always work, because players can go from one club to another and not fit in.

Chris Wood arrived to bolster Newcastle’s options in attack
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But I’d applaud Eddie Howe. It strikes me that he’s been pragmatic in this window. He could have gone and bought some big names, some flashy foreign signings who would excite the fans.

And he could have gone out and bought the typical player he produced at Bournemouth, to play a ­passing game based on patience and build-up. Let’s get real, though, they’re in a terrible position.

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And right now, Newcastle need players who can scrape out results. You look at the table and see they’ve only won two games this season – but they’ve drawn nine. Let me repeat that, NINE.

Highly-rated Brazilian Bruno Guimaraes joined from Lyon
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Too many. And if signing Chris Wood to create or nick a goal turns half of those into wins, then they’ll be safe.

Take another look at their record, and you’ll see they’ve only had two clean sheets as well. Again, not enough.

So if signing some defenders with real Premier League ­experience and a Brazil international ­defensive midfielder can change that, they’ll be safe, because they’ve only failed to score in five of their 21 matches.

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Everton

New Everton boss Frank Lampard got off to a winning start against Brentford on Saturday
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Like I said, every signing’s a gamble. So two new players who have been overlooked by a succession of managers for 18 months or more is a real gamble.

But they need quality in midfield ­because they need to exert more control on games from there. They’ve been too passive, and too inert. Both Donny van de Beek and Dele Alli will allow them to get on the ball more and try to dictate things more.

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I’ll be interested to see what Van de Beek does. He was excellent at Ajax, ­almost taking them to a Champions League final, but the manager who signed him didn’t play him at United, and then the manager they’ve brought in to sort out the squad and plan for the future has sent him out on loan without playing him.

That doesn’t bode well for his Old ­Trafford future ­as Ralf Rangnick will make big decisions on personnel when he goes upstairs in the summer.

He obviously doesn’t fancy him at all.

Dele Alli has been handed a lifeline after leaving Tottenham for Everton
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Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images))

But sometimes, that can produce a spark. Get players going. So he’s got to have the ­attitude of “I’ll prove you wrong!”. I’ve been in that position myself, it’s not great, but it can be a real motivation. Same with Dele Alli.

The biggest win, though, is Frank ­Lampard because if any club needed a new-manager bounce, it’s Everton.

He brings real positivity again, where there was only doom and gloom, and for that reason I think they’ll stay up.

Losers

Norwich

Dean Smith will have his work cut out to lead Norwich to Premier League survival
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Getty Images)

They’ve given themselves a chance with some great performances recently, but they signed no one and that will be dispiriting, for players, manager and fans. I can see them fading away.

Burnley

Just one signing, when they need something special. And, while I would trust in Sean Dyche, he’s not the ginger Jesus, he doesn’t quite do miracles. ­Despite games in hand, I think they’re too far behind.

Watford

Again, they needed a new-­manager bounce, and at least they’ve got ­someone who knows how to ­organise and scrap. But I was saying about signings being a gamble. Well, five new players from obscure European clubs is a helluva gamble… and one I can’t see paying off.

Brentford

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I love the fact they signed Christian Eriksen, but he can’t do it alone. They’ve played more games than the rest and have a huge February with tricky games. I see them getting dragged in.

Leeds

Marcelo Bielsa’s side have been badly struck by injuries this season
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Getty Images)

No signings when you have key players injured? You’re gambling on fitness, which is never wise. That could backfire.

My three to go down: Burnley, ­Norwich, Watford.

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Top of the table

As for the top of the table, the winners are surely Manchester City and ­Liverpool – because they’re the only ones to sign a player!

I’d make Liverpool ­winners, but not for their signings, simply because they’ve given themselves a voice in the race even without their two best players for the whole of ­January. Not that I’m ­betting against City, mind!

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