Tactics could hinder Higuain but all good for Bournemouth and Newcastle

Every year the January window throws up plenty of drama and this year’s edition proved no different, with clubs around Europe working up until the deadline to get the necessary bodies in to improve their squads.

Chelsea were the big movers in England, but the early signs have proved somewhat inconclusive in regards to their hopes of kicking on.

Can Chelsea give Gonzalo enough chances?

The Blues kicked things off on January 2 by announcing the deal for Christian Pulisic but with him not arriving from Borussia Dortmund until the summer, the move for Gonzalo Higuain was their highlight.

Maurizio Sarri’s reluctance to trust Alvaro Morata led the Spaniard to Atletico Madrid and in came Higuain on loan from Chelsea. However, things have not worked out and he is yet to have a clear-cut chance in his two starts.

The Argentine cut a forlorn figure when subbed off on 65 minutes in Wednesday’s 4-0 defeat at Bournemouth. Sarri demanded Higuain be signed but whether he can find a way to integrate ‘El Pipita’ will effect whether they justify their 1.66 status to make the top four.

It may even prove that Higuain’s success is out of his hands. The 31-year-old once scored 36 goals in a single Serie A campaign and with one of Willian and Pedro likely to leave in the summer on the back of Pulisic’s arrival, their mood could affect the level of service he receives.

More of the same with Suarez

With injury issues piling up, Arsenal seemed to be screaming out for a defender but were perpetually linked with Barcelona’s Denis Suarez, and finally got their man on loan on deadline day.

The midfielder was part of Unai Emery’s Europa League winning side at Sevilla in 2014-15 and is a player the coach knows well.

Suarez will certainly add flair to a team of like-minded players, but whether his talent can compensate for the Gunners’ defensive shortcomings in their quest for a top-four place (3.25) looks uncertain.

Cherries made much-needed reinforcements

Bournemouth were mentioned earlier in this piece and look to have been one of the smartest spenders in this window.

Jermain Defoe went out on loan to Rangers, but it was their incomings who could pay dividends long-term. While Dominic Solanke and Chris Mepham may have to wait until next season for regular action, Nathaniel Clyne’s loan arrival from Liverpool looks inspired.

The 14-cap England international has had his injury issues, but already looks a natural in the Cherries back-line and shone in that 4-0 win over Chelsea.

That success moved them up to 10th and they are 1.71 for a top-half finish and Wednesday’s result means it would be no surprise if Eddie Howe’s reinvigorated squad justify their 2.35 favourite tag at Cardiff on Saturday evening.

Nice work by Newcastle

It took Newcastle 14 years to break their transfer record, but finally Mike Ashley put his hand in his pocket to sign Paraguayan playmaker Miguel Almiron for a reported £19m.

Defender Antonio Barreca will provide much needed cover at left-back but Almiron is the man the Toon Army are talking about, although work permit issues mean he will not feature on Saturday at Tottenham.

A two-time MLS All-Star, Almiron is expected to provide the magic that has been missing from the Magpies and after winning their last two, punters may be interested in the 19.00 on offer for a top-10 finish.

The 24-year-old is a versatile forward who Rafael Benitez has been keen on for some time and his signing may not just propel the club up the table, it could also persuade the Spanish coach to stay long-term.

PSG still short in the middle

Of the European teams who have been busy, Paris Saint-Germain only got one of the two midfielders they had hoped for.

Leandro Paredes was linked with Chelsea but instead arrived at the Parc des Princes, after 18 months in Russia with Zenit St Petersburg, and could prove a vital addition.

Defender Marquinhos has often been featured in midfield due to the lack of numbers and with Marco Verratti regularly injured and the uncertainty surrounding Adrien Rabiot’s future, signing someone like Paredes was a must.

Les Parisiens are 8.00 to realise their dream of winning the Champions League but without Neymar, could struggle against Manchester United in the last 16.

Having a specialist in Paredes in the middle of the park will help though, but the 24-year-old’s arrival may not be enough for Thomas Tuchel’s men to go all the way.

Whether the 24-year-old has enough to gear PSG through their Champions League last-16 tie against Manchester United, especially with Neymar out of both legs, could prove to be somewhat of a stretch.