10 of the best January transfers you've probably forgotten about
Paul Scharner (Brann to Wigan, 2006)
The versatile Austrian initially looked set to sign for Birmingham until Wigan gazumped them, as arguments over the transfer fee dragged on. Chairman Dave Whelan had no qualms about meeting Brann’s demands and a deal was struck for £2.5m. Scharner had a perfect introduction to English football, scoring the winner against Arsenal on his debut in the first leg of a League Cup semi-final.
He spent six years in England, becoming a cult hero at both Wigan and West Brom while making a name for himself as one of the Premier League’s quirkiest characters. Solid and dependable, he was able to fill a range of positions and finished his career back at the Latics, playing his part in that remarkable 2013 FA Cup win.
Ben Mee (Manchester City to Burnley, 2012)
Eddie Howe’s time in charge of Burnley, wedged between two spells at his beloved Bournemouth, is now largely forgotten. He failed to settle and replicate the success he’d achieved on the south coast, but did at least make some significant signings at Turf Moor. In January 2012, he transformed the Clarets’ defence for the foreseeable future as two youngsters joined from Manchester City.
Kieran Trippier and Ben Mee were both previously on loan at Burnley, and were added to the ranks on long-term deals. While Trippier has since left the club, Mee has stayed put.
Aerially dominant and utterly committed, he’s been at the heart of two promotion-winning teams and is an important factor in Sean Dyche’s side currently upsetting the odds to occupy a place in the top half of the Premier League.
Nigel Reo-Coker (Wimbledon to West Ham, 2004)
There were plenty of jokes about Tony Adams’s lack of imagination last year when one of his first acts as Granada manager was to offer trials to Kieran Richardson and Nigel Reo-Coker – but both players used to be taken rather more seriously. Admittedly, that was a while ago now.
Reo-Coker was once a dynamic box-to-box midfielder who made his breakthrough at Wimbledon. In January 2004, West Ham took advantage of the club’s financial plight to sign the England Under-21 international for a cut-price fee.
Despite his tender years, he was soon made captain by Alan Pardew and led his team back to the Premier League and to the 2006 FA Cup Final. After three years of impeccable service, he left for £8.5m to Aston Villa – but was never the same again.