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Rediff.com  » Sports » Beckham tops list of high-profile winter signings

Beckham tops list of high-profile winter signings

Last updated on: February 4, 2013 09:19 IST

Brand Beckham will bolster PSG's revenue

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Bikash Mohapatra looks some high-profile football transfers last month.

Before all you football aficionados jump the gun, we do admit that Pep Guardiola's move to the Bundesliga was the most high-profile deal in the January window.

The former Barcelona coach snubbed the high profile English Premier League to join Bayern Munich, the club that has dominated German domestic football not only this season but since inception.

However, the fact Spaniard will join the German giants only in the next season – coincidentally compatriot Fernando Llorente also leaves Athletic Bilbao to join Italian giants Juventus at the same time – gives us the opportunity to look at a few high-profile transfers in the last month even as window closed on Thursday.

David Beckham (Paris-Saint Germain)

It's without doubt the most high-profile signing in January, and probably the most surprising.

David Beckham, having helped Los Angeles Galaxy to a second successive MLS Cup title in December, ended his five-year stint in North America. Despite many offers from across the globe, the Briton was undecided regarding his future.

However, the fact that PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti (in 2009) and director Leonardo (in 2010) were Milan coaches when Beckham spent his two six-month periods on loan there, made it easier for him to head towards France.

The 37-year-old inked a five-month deal with PSG on deadline day in what can be considered a marquee signing for the Paris club. Despite investing millions in acquiring the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ezequiel Lavezzi, PSG are yet to start getting dividends from their investments.

Brand Beckham, would without doubt, bolster their revenues. In fact it already has. Hours after he signed the deal, Beckahm's No.32 shirt was put up for sale and we needn't say what happened thereafter.


Image: David Beckham poses with his PSG Football shirt after his PSG signature at Parc des Princes
Photographs: Marc Piasecki/Getty Images

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Sneijder left Italy for Turkey

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Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray) 

One of the biggest stars of the 2010 World Cup, Wesley Sneijder also played a crucial role in Inter Milan's treble – Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League – winning campaign that season.

The Nerazzuri have fallen from that pedestal since and the Dutchman's refusal to take a pay cut ensured he didn't take to the field since September last year.

After a prolonged sage, with the 28-year-old desperately attempting to join a Premier League club keeping the lone interested party at bay, Sneijder eventually agreed upon a move to Turkish champions Galatasaray SK.

The Dutch midfielder signed a 10 million euros deal until June 2016 in what is arguably the most high profile signing by the Istanbul club.

Sneijder may be out of form but regular first team football at Istanbul will definitely help him get his groove back. 


Image: Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder talks to the media after signing a contract with Turkish club Galatasaray in Istanbul
Photographs: REUTERS/Osman Orsal

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The addition of Drogba makes Galatasaray a club to watch out for

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Didier Drogba (Galatasaray)

If Sneijder wasn't enough, Galatasaray proceeded to announce their second high profile signing in the winter transfer window.

It was Didier Drogba, the man who single-handedly led Chelsea to their maiden Champions League title last year, before opting for a lucrative deal in China (with Shanghai Shenhua).

Though he earned handsomely in China, and performed admirably as well, the lure of European football made Drogba sign with the Istanbul club.

Currently representing Cote d'Ivoire at the Africa Cup of Nations, Drogba will collect a fee of four million euros, besides the club paying his tax bill.

With the likes of Milan Baros, Hamit Altintop, Felip Melo, Fernando Muslera and Emmanuel Eboue already in the squad, the addition of Sneijder and Drogba makes Galatasaray a club to watch out for. 


Image: Didier Drogba during the 2013 African Cup of Nations match between Algeria and Ivory Coast at Royal Bafokeng Stadium
Photographs: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images

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Balotelli is back in Milan

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Mario Balotelli (AC Milan)

Talented and temperamental, Mario Balotelli has thus far made the headlines more for the latter attribute, the recent bust up with compatriot and Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini at the club's training ground being the last of the many incidents involving him.

The 22-year-old's talent albeit is unquestionable. Having made an impact early on in his career with Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan, Balotelli played a key role in City's maiden Premier League title last year.

However, having managed only three goals in 20 matches this season, he found himself behind the likes of Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero in the pecking order.

AC Milan, having lost Zlatan Ibrahimovic (to PSG) and Alexander Pato (to Corinthians), were quick to seize the opportunity and eke out 19 million pounds – spread over four years - deal.

Balotelli, therefore, is back to the San Siro having scored 30 goals in 80 appearances for Man City.


Image: Italy's Mario Balotelli, newly signed player for AC Milan, poses for a photo with his jersey at the San Siro stadium in Milan
Photographs: Getty Images

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Demba Ba made an immediate impact at Chelsea

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Demba Ba (Chelsea)

The Senegalese striker impressed in Newcastle colours at the start of the season before taking advantage of a seven million pounds release clause in his contract to make his way out of St James' Park.

Chelsea signed him on a three-and-half-year contract, and Demba Ba made an immediate impact at Stamford Bridge, scoring in both his League and Cup debuts – Southampton being the club at the receiving end on both occasions.

However, his return to Newcastle for Chelsea's Premier League game on Saturday saw Ba getting a broken nose by a high kick to the head from former teammate Fabricio Coloccini.

It is unclear how many matches this injury will make him miss. But with Fernando Torres misfiring Chelsea would want him back sooner than later. 


Image: Demba Ba of Chelsea
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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