It has been a hectic month for many clubs in the SPFL this January as it wrapped up last night when the window slammed shut at midnight. Shouts from the terraces demanding biscuit tins to be broken into by the board and “save our season” cries have been in full force for the past few weeks resulting in a few eye-catching deals going through. Veterans, such as Davis and Defoe, have checked into the Scottish game as well as exciting youngsters breaking out of youth football to ply their trade in the senior ranks, like Rangers-kid, Andy Dallas moving to Cappielow. This article will feature five signings across the leagues who have already caught the eye and are worth keeping a close tabs on over the next six months to see how they fare at their new clubs.
Aberdeen – Greg Stewart
Probably the most controversial bit of dealings this month was Greg Stewart’s return to Pittodrie on loan from Birmingham. The attacker had been in fine form for Steve Clarke’s Kilmarnock in the first half of the season, scoring eight goals in sixteen outings, and Clarke was keen and confident of holding onto Stewart. However, there was a twist in the tale when Birmingham sent him back to Aberdeen, where he spent last season on loan scoring just three goals. There is always two sides to every story but from McInnes’s claims, it seems it was Stewart’s decision to jump ship to Premiership rivals, Aberdeen. With a point to prove and a possible contract to win at the end of the year, it will be intriguing to see how this one pans out. Stewart grabbed his first goal since returning against Stenhousemuir this week.
Celtic – Oliver Burke
Brendan Rodgers has been busy in the market strengthening his attacking options and although this isn’t his big money move, Burke’s switch to Parkhead is one to keep an eye on. Burke has played the majority of his career in England with Nottingham Forrest and now West Brom, where he is on loan from just now. The winger broke the transfer record fee for a Scottish player with his £13 million move to Leipzig in 2016 and then broke it again by returning to the Premier League with West Brom paying £15 million. Since that move, Burke has fallen out of favour at club and international level and Scottish fans hailing him as the next big thing seems a distant memory. A move to Scotland could potentially resurrect his career on all fronts and he has already started in frighteningly good fashion. Playing as an out-and-out striker, Burke has picked up a few goals and even admitted he hasn’t written off a permanent move to the Champions.
Hibernian – Ryan Gauld
The past week may have been disastrous for the Edinburgh side, however, it all looked very rosey while the team were out training in Dubai. Neil Lennon made a move for Sporting playmaker, Ryan Gauld, on loan for the remainder of the campaign. Once hailed as the “Scottish Messi” whilst playing for Dundee United, Gauld signed for the Portuguese side for £3 million in 2014. Following his departure from Scotland he has enjoyed some time out of the limelight gaining vital experience out on loan in the Portuguese lower leagues. Gauld admitted he was surprised at the pace of his first league game back in Scotland in his team’s defeat to Motherwell. However, there is no more time for the midfielder to adjust with Hib’s in desperate need of some positivity following the questionable departure of Neil Lennon. Time will tell if he can showcase the skill that saw him secure his big move back in 2014 in the coming months with big games against Aberdeen and Celtic coming up in the next week.
Dundee United – Osman Sow
With the Championship hotting up and looking set for a dramatic second half of the season, Dundee United have been busy freshening up their side this month. One of the more notable signings is the late move for former-Hearts striker, Osman Sow. Robbie Neilson, who previously worked with Sow at MK Dons, left United fans constantly refreshing their Twitter feed late into the hours of deadline day hoping to see the hitman confirmed. They weren’t disappointed, however, when the deal was confirmed at two minutes to midnight, topping off a productive transfer window for the Arabs. Having already played and won this league, in a season where he also earned a place in the Championship Team of the Year, Sow will be hoping to hit the ground running immediately at his new club and rediscover the goal scoring heights that saw him earn his big money move to China 2016.
Peterhead – Shane Sutherland
Moving into the League 2 title race for the final one to watch is Peterhead’s signing of Elgin striker, Shane Sutherland. With the Blue Toon sitting a point behind league leaders, Edinburgh City, Jim McInally has moved for the former striker on a 18-month deal. Sutherland is one of the most clinical lower league strikers in recent times sitting on seventy goals since moving to Elgin in 2012. He will no doubt form a partnership with SPFL all-time top goalscorer, Rory McAllister, making them statistically the most lethal strike force in the country. This signing could be the difference in the title race and will no doubt have defenders having nightmares about the thought of marking these two at a windy, cold Balmoor Park. No big money involved here like the others but plenty, plenty goals.