Winners And Losers From The Scottish Transfer Window



With few, if any, sides in a position to embark on an elaborate winter spending spree, success, or lack of it, in the Scottish Premiership should probably be judged on retention rather than acquisition.

The January sales may appeal to many, with those south of the border seemingly unaffected by the global credit crunch.

Austerity measures are in place on the other side of Hadrian’s Wall, though, as managers have to put a little more thought into recruitment drives while keeping at least one eye on the exit door.

In many ways, this is how squad assembly should be – with greater emphasis placed on scouting networks and academy systems.

There are hidden gems out there and the production of home-grown talent is to everyone’s benefit in the long run. Indeed, vital funds are saved, players that care are brought through the ranks and national team coach Gordon Strachan is presented with a deeper pool from which to select.

Celtic are the only side that might be tempted to splash the cash before the deadline passes, but even Ronny Deila may struggle to convince his board that a ‘speculate to accumulate’ approach is the best way forward. Although they’ve just had a bid turned down for Dundee United’s Stuart Armstrong.

Instead, the Hoops will consider the window to have been a success if they finish it as strong as they started it.

Admiring glances are reported to have been shot in the direction of Parkhead from the English Premier League, with Virgil van Dijk heavily linked with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United. Both are sides in need of defensive reinforcement.

The Dutchman remains in Glasgow for now, though, as does Kris Commons (Who has been heavily linked with Bolton Wanderers).

It is difficult to comprehend why Celtic have allowed the latter’s future to be called into question, given that he is the reigning PFA Scotland Player of the Year and arguably their most creative option.

There has been an apparent reluctance to put fresh terms in place, with an Arsenal-esque approach taken in discussions. That means any player over the age of 30 is suddenly only worthy of a 12-month deal.

Were Celtic to allow Commons to move on, which they insist they will not, then they would start to drift towards the losers camp and may lengthen in football betting markets as punters favour rivals in the battle for domestic supremacy.

If he is retained, Van Dijk stays put, no interest is shown in loan star Jason Denayer and a permanent deal is put in place for Manchester City striker John Guidetti, then there is no questioning that Deila’s men will be the big winners – despite making no alterations to their ranks.

The side pushing them closest at present in the title race can also be considered winter victors, with Aberdeen having worked hard to ensure that January at Pittodrie passes without drama. They have moved to retain the services of important figures – Adam Rooney, Niall McGinn and David Goodwillie – prior to the window opening and can now sit back and put their faith in those already at their disposal ending a 30-year wait for title glory.

Dundee United, meanwhile, have brought in a couple of international performers – Ryan McGowan and Henri Anier – to aid their cause, but find themselves in a similar boat to Celtic when it comes to passing judgement on the success or failure of their business.

They are already resigned to losing Gary Mackay-Steven, who has a pre-contract agreement in place with Celtic, but unless the Glasgow club come up with £250k he will be sticking around until the end of the season before packing his bags.

The problem for United is that, with that deal sewn up, attention can now be shifted to Nadir Ciftci and Stuart Armstrong – two players who are also said to be interesting Celtic as part of their stick to those on your own doorstep policy, as well as clubs in England. If they do go, on the back of summer deals for Andy Robertson and Ryan Gauld, Jackie McNamara will feel as though he is fighting a losing battle.

Elsewhere, Motherwell will hope that the re-signing of experienced midfielder Stephen Pearson proves to be a shrewd move in their battle to avoid the drop, while fellow strugglers St Mirren have taken Yoann Arquin following the expiration of his deal at rock-bottom Ross County – a side that have acquired promise in the form of Australian defender Cameron Burgess on loan from Fulham and Scotland U21 international Marcus Fraser from Celtic and will hope to see that deliver an immediate return.

There is, however, little to choose between those at the top and bottom, with it clear that the dividing line between success and failure in Scotland is a fine one and that determining onto which side of that divide any given side falls is difficult until all deals have been completed on February 2nd.

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