January is a crucial time for Championship clubs as they sign players to boost their promotion push or aid in their fight for survival.
The biggest transfer of the window was Blackburn Rovers striker Jordan Rhodes joining Middlesbrough for £9m. The former Huddersfield striker has been chased for some time by Boro and his addition boosts a frontline that has been lacking at times this season. As well as Rhodes, they also secured the services of Gaston Ramirez on loan from Southampton. The Uruguayan international has yet to prove his worth in English football but some time in the second-tier could see him finally unlock his potential, perhaps in a similar way to his compatriot Abel Hernandez.
For 2nd-place Hull there was just one permanent signing in Legia Warsaw goalkeeper Dusan Kuciak. Their big capture however is Nick Powell on loan from Manchester United. The youngster has yet to have a fair chance at United and his arrival at Hull provides him with an excellent opportunity to show exactly why Manchester United bought him. In the coming months, Hull will need a creative spark and Powell could provide just that.
Sitting just behind Boro and Hull are Burnley and Brighton. Burnley have just made the one major addition in defender James Tarkowski from Brentford. Despite being aged just 23, Tarkowski already has huge amounts of experience and has been involved in a promotion from League One as well as a playoff defeat to Middlesbrough last season.
Brighton have ensured their promotion push does not slip with some impressive signings. Liam Ridgewell has arrived from Portland to improve the backline which was the Achilles heel during the Christmas period. Steve Sidwell on loan from Stoke City again adds some much needed experience to the midfield. Perhaps the most impressive of the three they signed was the signing of Anthony Knockaert from Standard Liege. The Frenchman was one of the Championship’s star performers a few seasons ago and he again showed just why he is worth the hype with an impressive performance in last Friday’s 3-0 win over Brentford.
Looking further down the table, January signings will play a pivotal role in the battle for the playoff places. Sheffield Wednesday have improved their stock by bringing in Irish winger Aidan McGeady on loan from Everton. The former Spartak Moscow man has the ability to create a goal from nothing and similarly to Knockaert, he could be the difference going forward.
Birmingham City have also looked to improve their attack with the addition of Diego Fabbrini from Watford for a bargain price of just £1.5m. The Italian is a familiar face to St Andrews after ending last season on loan there. The Blues had looked to bring him in during the summer but he opted to join Middlesbrough’s promotion push. At Boro he showed glimpses of his ability but in the end it was not quite the perfect fit. At Birmingham he’ll have much more of a chance to be the leading light going forward and that will suit him to a tee.
Such is the tightness in and around the relegation places, January signings will be the difference between survival and relegation. Bottom-club Charlton have brought in two interesting loans in striker Yaya Sanogo from Arsenal and Rod Fanni from Al-Arabi. Sanogo still has a lot to prove after failing to build on some decent form a few seasons ago, while Fanni has the experience and ability but playing in Qatar may have affected his game.
Out of the clubs struggling near the bottom Bristol City have made the most stirring signings in Lee Tomlin on loan from Bournemouth, Ben Gladwin on loan from QPR, Alex Pearce on loan from Derby and Scott Golbourne on a permanent deal from Wolves. It may not have worked out for him at Bournemouth but Tomlin has already impressed at City with a good performance in his debut at Charlton. The former Peterborough United man won his side a penalty and scored it in a vital 1-0 win.
Elsewhere in the relegation zone, Rotherham United have boosted their attempts to survive by bringing in Chris Burke on loan from Nottingham Forest and Andrew Shinnie on loan from Birmingham City. MK Dons have made additions to their frontline with Alex Revell arriving on a free and Jay Emmanuel Thomas on loan from QPR.