SCOTTISH Premiership clubs began acquiring reinforcements early into this transfer window and Aberdeen’s signing of Adam Rooney yesterday indicates that they are not ready to stop just yet.
January is traditionally a difficult time of year for teams in the Scottish Premiership to obtain talented players on a permanent basis. The lacks of funds able for transfer fees usually results in manager’s taking a chance on someone else’s castaways, while loan deals are generally just a short-term solution.
Of course, there are some exceptions to the rule.
The team behind the Terrace Scottish Football Podcast have scoured over the past five years and put together the best five permanent signings made by Scottish Premiership clubs within the January transfer window. Special mention to the loan deals of Aaron Doran, Mark Reynolds and Connor Newton who didn’t qualify, while current Premiership players Kris Doolan and Michael Tidser were once excellent January addition for lower league sides.
Richie Foran – Southend United to Inverness CT (Jan 2009)
Inverness were actually relegated at the conclusion of this campaign following Foran’s mid-season return from south of the border. In fairness, they were well adrift at Christmas and the addition of the former Motherwell attacker, along with an overall improvement in the squad after Terry Butcher took over, enabled them to bring the relegation battle down to the season’s final day.
The following term the player starred in a potent three man attack alongside Adam Rooney and Johnny Hayes as Caley Thistle started slow before storming to the First Division title. Made club captain during that campaign, he has continued to impress since the team’s return to the top flight, most notably during the current campaign when he took on a new role of defensive midfielder and excelled so much that he was granted August’s Player of the Month award.
Ki Sung Yueng – FC Seoul to Celtic (Jan 2010)
The 21-year old Korean was brought to Parkhead for a fee of £2.1 million during Tony Mowbray’s disastrous one-year spell in charge of the club. After receiving the man-of-the-match award on his debut he failed to make much of an impact the rest of the season as his boss desperately switched the side around looking for a winning formula.
It would be the next season where the player would establish himself as an indispensable first team member, winning a Player of the Month award, consistently performing to a high standard throughout and netting Celtic’s first goal in their Scottish Cup Final victory over Motherwell. The following term he would play a key role to help Celtic lift their first title trophy in four years.
His ability to run games from midfield with a terrific blend of passing, technique, vision and composure alerted a number of big clubs. In the end it was Swansea who managed to land the player, spending £6 million and trebling Celtic’s investment after two-and-a-half years of excellence.
Kris Commons – Derby County to Celtic (Jan 2011)
The Scottish international from Mansfield entered the country’s football for the first time after a £300,000 deal was struck to bring him to Parkhead. Having netted 13 goals in a half season in the Championship it was no surprise when he hit the ground running in the SPL, netting 11 times in 14 league games. He certainly bolstered the squad during the first few months but could not stop Celtic losing out on the championship on the season’s final day.
He then suffered through a dreadful first full season where he netted only once in 33 appearances, but he’s since put that spell behind him to become one of Neil Lennon’s start performers at home and in Europe over the last year-and-a-half. Currently one of the overwhelming favourites to receive this season’s player of the year award, he is also in the hunt for the league’s top goalscorer despite not being an out-and-out striker.
Considering his club spent £1.8 million and £2.2 million on Amido Balde and Teemu Pukki, respectively, it is an absolute steal that they were able to secure Commons for less than half a million. If these five selections were to be ranked the attacker would be a certainty for number one.
Henrik Ojamaa – RoPS to Motherwell (Jan 2012)
The international became the first Estonian to ever play in Scotland after impressing Stuart McCall in a trial with the Lanarkshire club. His impact in the first-team would be immediate. What was supposed to be a short-term deal until the end of the season was quickly turned into a two-and-a-half year contract after the second striker scored four goals in his first five games. His presence in the team gave Motherwell an extra spark in attack and he was a huge reason why the team was able to pull away from the chasing pack and secure a third place finish.
His goal tally dropped off in his second campaign, but he still finished top of the assists chart table and Motherwell had another successful year, finishing second behind Celtic. With a number of top players leaving for nothing in the summer, Motherwell decided that this was one asset they were willing to cash in on and agreed an undisclosed fee with Legia Warsaw (believed to be around £350,000) for the attacker. The money and his return on the field certainly made the acquisition a positive one, particularly for a player that required two separate trials in the first place.
He then aided his former club further by recommending Henri Anier to the club and selling Fir Park life to the striker.
Russell Anderson – Derby County to Aberdeen (Jan 2012)
A hero in his initial spell with the club, Anderson returned from a five year stint in England to re-sign for his boyhood team after being allowed to leave Derby County. The first half-season, along with the next full one, may not have produced the type of results the player was looking for, but if there was a problem with the Aberdeen team it certainly wasn’t the defence. The skipper was a steadying influence on his teammates on and off the park.
Even this season at the ripe old age of 35 the Aberdeen leader is still going strong. It’s clear that his powers have diminished somewhat with time, but he’s still more than good enough to perform at this level and he has helped lead the team on a vastly improved campaign where they are currently in the hunt for a return to European football and potentially their first runners-up spot since 1994.
• Article courtesy of terracepodcast.net - ‘an alternative look at the country’s beautiful game’ covering all four Scottish divisions. You can also follow @terracepodcast on Twitter.