AMID a record-breaking splurge by the Premier League clubs on January transfers, the final few hours of the window saw several Yorkshire clubs strike a series of much more modest, yet potentially season-defining, deals.
Hull City and Barnsley, both battling against the drop into League One, were the busiest of the White Rose outfits as the clock ticked towards 11pm.
Angus MacDonald moved from Oakwell to the KCOM Stadium early evening to kick-start a flurry of late moves involving the two clubs that also saw Nigel Adkins sign Liverpool winger Harry Wilson on loan.
The final minutes of the window, however, were anxiously spent trying to fight off an attempt by Nottingham Forest to prise captain Michael Dawson away from the KCOM Stadium with the offer of a two-and-a-half contract. The 34-year-old’s City deal expires in the summer.
Rivalling Hull in terms of frantic deadline day activity was Barnsley, who captured Admira Wacker midfielder Christoph Knasmullner and Forest defender Matt Matt Mills.
Swansea City striker Oli McBurnie also sealed a loan move to Oakwell – five months after a similar move collapsed after the paperwork was not completed in time. Sunderland had also wanted the striker, who has made 12 appearances for the Welsh club this season.
Nationally, the biggest deal yesterday saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund for £56m, followed by Tottenham Hotspur’s capture of Lucas Moura from Paris St Germain for £23m.
Leaving the Emirates Stadium, meanwhile, was Olivier Giroud in an £18m switch to Chelsea as Andre Ayew moved from West Ham to Swabsea City for the same fee. These deals helped Premier League spending for the month to £383m – comfortably eclipsing the previous highest January outlay by England’s top flight clubs of £225m in 2011.
Fernando Torres’ £50m switch to Chelsea played a massive part in inflating the previous record figure, as did Liverpool using £35m of that income to buy Andy Carroll.
In the six intervening years, the trend had been towards conservatism in January but that was shattered early in the month by Liverpool’s £75m capture of Virgil van Dijk.
Total spending for the season by clubs in the English top flight stood at £2bn, easily eclipsing last year’s previous record of £1.38bn.
Huddersfield Town, Yorkshire’s sole representative in the top flight, were responsible for around £50m of that outlay.
As David Wagner made clear a couple of weeks ago, Alex Pritchard’s £10m switch from Norwich City concluded the club’s incomings but Joe Lolley last night joined Nottingham Forest for an undisclosed fee. Martin Cranie secured a move to Middlesbrough as the window cl0sed.
Leeds United pushed through a £2.5m deal to sign West Bromwich Albion forward Tyler Roberts, who has signed a four-and-a-half year contract.
The 19-year-old spent the first half of the season on loan at Walsall, his third temporary stint away from the Hawthorns, and is a Wales Under-21s international.
One expected departure from Elland Road that did not materialise was that of Andy Lonergan to Sunderland, despite the 34-year-old goalkeeper travelling to the Stadium of Light for talks. Former Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic also briefly appeared on the North East club’s radar
Chris Coleman, the Black Cats chief, is also understood to have contacted Sheffield Wednesday about the availability of Jordan Rhodes and Atdhe Nuhiu before attempting to sign Ashley Fletcher, the Middlesbrough striker who spent time on loan at Barnsley a couple of seasons ago.
McBurnie’s switch to Oakwell from Swansea means a cash bonus for Bradford City, courtesy of a 15 per cent sell-on clause in his 2015 switch to the Liberty Stadium, at the end of an otherwise frustrating day for the League One club.
The Bantams missed out on long-time target, Kristian Dennis, from Chesterfield after the League Two strugglers had initially given the £175,000 move the green light. The 27-year-old travelled to Valley Parade and underwent a medical only for the Spireites to have a late change of heart after failing in their quest to bring in Rotherham United’s Jonson Clarke-Harris as a replacement. Clarke-Harris later moved on loan to Coventry City, effectively ending the one-time rcord signing’s stint at the New York Stadium due to his contract expiring in the summer.
Elsewhere in League One, Doncaster Rovers brought in Burnley defender Tom Anderson on loan. He was the second defensive addition in as many days after Andy Boyle joined from Preston North End on Tuesday, Darren Ferguson needing reinforcements due to captain Andy Butler, who has signed a one-year contract extension, facing a lengthy absence with a medial ligament injury.