AFC Bournemouth flying, West Brom slipping? Transfer business of Sheffield United's promotion rivals assessed

The January transfer window has closed, with some Championship clubs in the promotion hunt enjoying a more fruitful month than others.

Tuesday, 1st February 2022, 1:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st February 2022, 1:18 pm

Sheffield United ultimately got what boss Paul Heckingbottom wanted: more defensive cover should the Blades be struck down by illness or injury, as well as a new goalkeeper to replace Robin Olsen, whose loan spell was cut short early.

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United were also able to offload some of their fringe players and recalled exciting young striker Daniel Jebbison from his loan spell at League One side Burton Albion to provide cover and competition up front as they eye a play-off charge in the second half of the campaign.

AFC Bournemouth have signed Todd Cantwell from Norwich City (photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images).

Here, The Star looks at the winners and losers among their potential promotion rivals and where their business leaves them in the race to reach the promised land.

Fulham

The best news Fulham fans could have wished for in January is that Fabio Carvalho would still be their player come February 1, which he is.

A potential transfer to Liverpool would have seen him spend the rest of the season in West London regardless.

Jeff Hendrick of Newcastle United has joined QPR (photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images).

Elsewhere, the reliable Denis Odoi left the club and has been replaced by Wales international Neco Williams, who appears to be a good replacement on paper.

A solid, if unspectacular, window but no major surgery was needed anyway.

AFC Bournemouth

Wow. Just wow. The Cherries added seven new faces in January, including five of the most gifted players at this level on deadline day.

Kieffer Moore, Todd Cantwell, Freddie Woodman and Nat Phillips could walk into the starting XI of any second-tier side and possibly one or two Premier League teams.

Siriki Dembele is also a handful for any Championship defence.

Expect them to push even harder for automatic promotion.

Blackburn Rovers

Ben Brereton Díaz is still a Rovers player, for now, which is great news for their promotion push. His strike partner Sam Gallagher has also signed a new deal.

Winger Ryan Giles – a deadline day loan signing from Wolves - is the pick of their five January additions and will provide further goalscoring opportunities for Díaz and Gallagher.

QPR

Jeff Hendrick’s arrival could be a masterstroke, while young defender Dion Sanderson impressed on loan at Birmingham City earlier this season and was thought to have been a target for Sheffield United.

West Brom

Valérien Ismaël must have thought his side’s problems in attack were solved when he was reunited with former Barnsley loanee Daryl Dike on New Year’s Day, which appeared to be a great bit of early business. But the USA international picked up a hamstring injury and is set to miss two months of action.

That forced Albion back into the market, with Andy Carroll brought in on a free transfer from Reading.

His debut ended in defeat and all is not well in the West Midlands.

Middlesbrough

Chris Wilder got his business done early, bringing in four new faces, including former Blades target Folarin Balogun. Several players also departed.

Boro were also reportedly keen on Newcastle defender Ciaran Clark, but a deal could not be done.

Huddersfield Town

Three in on deadline day, including ex-Sheffield United loanee Jamal Blackman.

Another new face, Chelsea forward Tino Anjorin, has been described as a ‘top, top talent’ by Leigh Bromby, who is now Town’s head of football operations.

Midfielder Carel Eiting also impressed during a loan spell in West Yorkshire last season and has joined until the end of the season.

Coventry City

Just one in for the Sky Blues – Swansea defender Jake Bidwell – and a new contract for Callum O'Hare.

Coventry chief executive Dave Boddy insisted the priority this window was to keep the squad together ‘which brings a vital and continued stability’.

A sensible approach, but one that is unlikely to bring Premier League football in 2022.

Nottingham Forest

More reunions for Steve Cooper on deadline day as he signed England Under-21 defender Jonathan Panzo and Sam Surridge, who he managed at Swansea.

Lewis Grabban's goals will be a big miss, however – he could be injured until mid-March - and neither Surridge or earlier January arrival Keinan Davis are prolific.

Stoke City

Six in for the Potters throughout January, and like United they will surely be eyeing a late charge up the table.

Josh Maja’s goals could be key and several defensive arrivals, including that of experienced pair Phil Jagielka and Liam Moore, could help Stoke keep them out at the other end and grasp the consistency needed to make up the gap to the play-offs.