With the early January transfer rush now over, clubs everywhere appear to be weighing up their options and playing the waiting game ahead of the usual flurry of activity before the window slams shut again. Despite the relative calm, however, a number of deals have caught the eye in the last week, as FIFA.com now recaps.
Feared by their continental rivals as the countdown to the 2012 CAF Africa Cup of Nations intensifies, Senegal’s players are currently in major demand across Europe. Newcastle United have been boosted by the prolificacy of Demba Ba this season, and they have now added his international team-mate Papiss Cisse, who racked up more goals than any other African player in a single Bundesliga campaign for Freiburg in 2010/11.
Top scorer in Ligue 1 last term, Moussa Sow is another Senegalese striker on the move, having made the switch from Lille to Fenerbahce, where he will fill the spot left vacant by his compatriot Mamadou Niang earlier this term. Spanish outfit Sevilla have got in on the act as well, luring Senegalese forward Baba Diawara following his ten goals in 15 matches for Portuguese side Maritimo in the first half of 2011/12.
To compensate for those departures, Lille have swooped for Brest’s Nolan Roux, one of the revelations of last season, and Freiburg have opted for Cologne’s Sebastian Freis. The Bundesliga club have likewise recruited Karim Guede, a Germany-born defender with Togolese roots who has represented Slovakia at international level, having joined Artmedia Bratislava in 2006 before more recently turning out for Slovan Bratislava.
Returning to England, Chelsea have reinforced their rearguard with highly rated England centre-back Gary Cahill, who had served Bolton Wanderers with distinction from 2008. In contrast, young duo Patrick van Aanholt and Josh McEachran have left Stamford Bridge for the rest of the season, agreeing respective loan deals with Dutch side Vitesse and Premier League surprise package Swansea City. For their part, Blackburn Rovers have loaned French forward Anthony Modeste from Bordeaux in a bid to maintain their top-flight status, a goal shared by Queens Park Rangers, who have snared Brazilian marksman Henrique, adidas Golden Ball and adidas Golden Boot winner at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011.
That tournament similarly showcased the abilities of Cameroonian defender Banana Yaya, and the CAF Champions League winner with Esperance is set to try his luck in Europe with Sochaux, where he will be joined by Ivorian midfielder Thierry Doubai after his loan move from Udinese. Elsewhere in Italy, Genoa have brought on board Andy Polo from Universitario, the 17-year-old Peruvian striker bolstering ranks already swelled by the arrivals of Alberto Gilardino (Fiorentina), Davide Biondini (Cesena), Cesare Bovo (Palermo) and Giuseppe Sculli (Lazio).
As for Parma, they have also turned to South America by taking Brazilian defender Jonathan on loan from Inter Milan, whose arch-rivals AC Milan have welcomed promising German midfielder Alexander Merkel back from Genoa following a similar agreement and have picked up Algerian international defender Djamel Mesbah from Lecce. Bologna have completed the loan capture of Frederik Sorensen, meanwhile, and the Danish right-back will be looking for more regular playing time than he has enjoyed at Juventus of late, despite making 18 appearances for I Bianconeri at the age of 18 in his debut season last term.
Further north, Twente have their hearts set on winning silverware this season, having sealed the Eredivisie title in 2009/10 and finished runners-up in 2000/01. Currently third, the Enschede outfit will therefore be expecting big things from Cluj’s Portuguese goalkeeper Daniel Fernandes, Sparta Rotterdam’s Dutch forward Joshua John and Chilean defender Juan Abarca, a recent Copa Sudamericana winner with Universidad de Chile.
Heading in almost the opposite direction, Uruguayan fullback Jorge Fucile has swapped Europe for South America, ending his Porto spell on a high after last season’s achievements to join Copa Libertadores champions Santos. Sao Paulo have bolstered their ranks too, bringing international Jadson home to end a stint with Shakhtar Donetsk that began in 2005. Also capped by Brazil, Thiago Neves is back at Fluminense following the completion of his loan spell with their fierce rivals Flamengo.
Elsewhere, Vasco da Gama have added experience to their forward line in the shape of 32-year-old Ecuadorian international Carlos Tenorio, scorer of 12 goals in 51 outings for his country and attached to Al Nasr in the United Arab Emirates since 2009. Lastly, striker Ernesto Farias has returned to his native Argentina after signing for Independiente, four and a half years after departing River Plate for spells with Porto and Cruzeiro.