By Ed Krarup
Many a wise man in football has claimed that the January transfer window is not the time to be buying top talent.
If they were that good, or so the logic goes, their current clubs would be fighting tooth and nail to keep them, not letting them go mid-season.
But certain winter window recruits have had a massive impact on the fortunes of their new teams, as these five examples demonstrate.
Gary Cahill – Bolton to Chelsea £7m (2012)
Cahill probably couldn’t believe his luck when Chelsea showed interest in his services at the start of 2012. With his Bolton side rooted to the bottom of the Premier League at the time, £7m persuaded Wanderers to part with the centre-back.
Five months later, he was lifting the Champions League trophy after resisting Bayern Munich’s attacking flair at the Allianz Arena for 120 minutes.
Cahill was an injury doubt for the final, having tweaked a hamstring in the semi-final second-leg against Barcelona.
But with skipper John Terry suspended for the European football’s showpiece occasion following his red card against Barca at the Nou Camp, Cahill shook off the knock and played a vital role in Chelsea’s defence on the big night.
Christophe Dugarry – Bordeaux to Birmingham Loan (2003)
Birmingham City were constantly flirting with the bottom three during the 2002-03 campaign. But with the help of Dugarry, they survived to play on for another season in England’s top flight.
Four goals in five matches from the former Bordeaux, Milan, Barcelona and Marseille striker helped to drag the Blues away from the drop zone, and they eventually finished comfortably in 13th place.
He joined Birmingham on a permanent basis the following season, but played only 15 more times for them. Despite this, Dugarry was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2010.
Robert Huth – Stoke to Leicester Initial Loan then £3m (2015)
When the giant German defender joined Premier League strugglers Leicester City on loan in January 2015, few could have predicted the incredible story that would follow.
The Foxes were in 20th position, and their prospects of staying up looked bleak. But Huth and skipper Wes Morgan turned Leicester into a tough team to beat. They conceded only 22 goals in the second half of the season, compared to the 33 before January.
Having looked dead and buried, Leicester ended the season in 14th thanks to a remarkable run of seven wins and only one defeat in their final nine matches.
Djibril Cissé – Lazio to QPR £4.4m (2012)
The controversial French striker certainly made an impact with QPR in the second half of the 2011-12 season, but didn’t get off to a flying start.
With his new team in serious trouble at the bottom of the Premier League, he received two straight red cards in his first five games. But Cissé went on to score six in eight matches, steering the Hoops to safety.
His most notable strike was surely his equaliser against Manchester City on a dramatic final day. QPR eventually lost, but results elsewhere ensured their survival.
Andrey Arshavin – Zenit to Arsenal £15m (2009)
Having set Euro 2008 alight, many top clubs were trying to sign the magical Russian, but it was Arsenal who managed to lure him to the Premier League.
Despite not winning any trophies, the impact of Arshavin in the six-month period after he joined in January 2009 was nuclear. Gunners fans still look back on his performance against Liverpool at Anfield with pure joy as he smashed in four goals to stun the Kop in a 4-4 draw.
And although he played in fewer than a quarter of Arsenal’s games that season, he still came second in the fans’ player of the season poll.