Toronto FC led yet another shopping spree designed to pack the league with players capable of lifting the standard heading into 2015. The overpriced arrivals of Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco at Toronto FC drew top billing, but the recent moves for Juan Agudelo (New England), Benoit Cheyrou (Toronto FC), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls) and Innocent Emeghara (San Jose) also spark some intrigue, too. The best part for MLS clubs: the transfer window in the United States remains wide open.
Toronto Star via Getty ImagesVince Talotta
Borussia Dortmund’s collapses leaves room at the top of the Bundesliga. Wolfsburg appears destined to take full advantage after a bumper weekend. The Volkswagen-backed club brushed aside Bayern Munich on Friday and subsequently signed Germany forward Andre Schurrle from Chelsea before the window closed on Monday. Those two positive developments leave Wolfsburg with the inside track for second place and a potential return to the UEFA Champions League next year.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesAlexander Hassenstein
Winner: Chelsea and Manchester City
The two Premier League title chasers reinforced the gulf with the rest of the league with smart business during the window. City plumped for Swansea City forward Wilfried Bony to address a lack of options up front, while Chelsea essentially swapped Andre Schurrle (sold to Wolfsburg) for Juan Cuadrado (bought from Fiorentina with Mohamed Salah shipped to Italy on loan) to freshen the choices out wide. Both moves look like savvy, if expensive, pieces of business to strengthen the sides for the home stretch.
Winner: Jermain Defoe
Life as a goalscorer offers a fair share of perks. Defoe waded through a host of offers this month before opting to join Sunderland. He lost little, if any, money or security by swapping Ontario for Wearside. The final outcome looked improbable at the outset of the month, but Defoe once again proved there is always a robust market for someone capable of scoring goals.
AFP/Getty ImagesIAN MACNICOL
Winner: Crystal Palace
As relegation-threatened clubs across the country scraped around for deals, Crystal Palace found solace in the work already accomplished. The appointment of Alan Pardew and the subsequent incoming traffic strengthened the club’s bid for a third consecutive Premier League campaign. Wilfried Zaha completed his permanent move from Manchester United to punctuate an encouraging month for the previously adrift side.
Getty ImagesPaul Gilham
Remember when managers overpaid and players changed clubs at a drop of a hat during the January window? Oh, those were the days. Financial Fair Play -- plus a renewed emphasis on making careful plans instead of splurging desperately -- ended those halcyon times. There is still money to be made, of course. It just requires a bit more hustle now.
AFP/Getty ImagesPATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA
Loser: Jim White
Sky Sports took away the farce of unruly fans by placing their reporters inside the safe havens provided by Premier League clubs. Those same clubs then stripped away much of the fun of the ticking clock by failing to make big moves. White huffed and puffed in a bid to inject the usual excitement, but even he could not transform this modest Monday into a day to remember.
Action ImagesJohn Sibley
Loser: Real Sociedad
Sociedad manager David Moyes promised incoming traffic during January. He pleaded with the board to complete a deal or two. He swung and missed on Joel Campbell and watched other targets slip away. Now the window is shut and Moyes must make due without the desired reinforcements. The recent knee injury to Carlos Vela only exacerbates the disappointment.
Getty ImagesDenis Doyle
Loser: AC Milan
Scan the Serie A table to find the Rossoneri. It’ll take a moment, but the perennial contenders eventually pop up in eighth place, squeezed between Palermo and Genoa. In headier times, Milan might have splashed the cash to rectify the situation. No more. Recent austerity measures left Milan to fend for scraps and wonder how to pull the club back up the table with this mish-mash of a squad.
Getty ImagesMarco Luzzani
Loser: FC Basel
There is inevitably pressure for clubs outside the top European leagues to sell. Wages are higher elsewhere. Players want to test themselves. But Basel may live to lament the repercussions of their decision to sell midfield fixtures Marcelo Diaz (Hamburger SV) and Serey Die (VfB Stuttgart) ahead of the winnable UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie against FC Porto later this month.