Matt Stanger looks back at the worst transfers from 2012/13, with Brendan Rodgers spending big on Fabio Borini and Joe Allen, and QPR throwing money away...
From a great 'what if' to an attention-seeking arse to Rafa Benitez, there are many figures that fiercely divide opinion in our game. Nick Miller picks out ten of them...
10. John Guidetti To A Premier League Club
It took Guidetti only nine minutes to score in his first City appearance for 18 months as the young forward helped the club's Elite Development Squad to a 3-1 win over Reading on Monday. Guidetti has been out with a knee injury for the past nine months, but the Sweden international has returned at the right time to earn a mid-season loan move. The 20-year-old notched 20 goals in 23 appearances for Feyenoord last season, which suggests he can offer something to a struggling Premier League club. Fulham's form has slumped recently and it would be good to see Guidetti given an opportunity to boost his rehabilitation and prove himself in a temporary switch.
9. Gary Medel To Manchester United
In an attacking sense, United's midfield has performed well this season and Tom Cleverley's return from injury has granted more freedom to Michael Carrick to control the tempo of matches. But it's still clear the league leaders miss a bit of steel in the middle and Medel could have made the difference in the defeats to Everton, Spurs and Norwich. It's thought the Chilean international is available for a cut-price fee this month as Sevilla look to alleviate their financial problems and, although he's nowhere near a complete midfielder, the 25-year-old does what he's asked to do and would provide a quick and affordable fix to a long-standing problem at Old Trafford. With a nickname like 'The Pitbull', it isn't a surprise to learn that Medel has a few disciplinary issues, but there is potential for Sir Alex Ferguson to help the midfielder develop his game.
8. Darren Bent On Loan To Everton
Paul Lambert has made it clear that Bent is no longer needed at Aston Villa and the striker must be desperate to leave the club this month in search of regular football and a chance to revive his England career. It's unlikely anyone will match Villa's asking price for a player they paid £18million for just two years ago, but a loan move for a small fee could suit both club and player as Lambert seeks to bring in his own targets. Everton have been remarkably profligate of late and could benefit from a bid for a finisher of Bent's calibre as they did last season when Nikica Jelavic arrived from Rangers.
7. Wilfried Zaha To Manchester United
When was the last time United signed the hottest prospect in English football? You could argue that Phil Jones falls into that bracket, but other than a deal for the former Blackburn defender in 2011, you would have to go all the way back to the transfer of Wayne Rooney in 2004. Both Arsenal and Spurs have also expressed a keen interest in Zaha but, after missing out on Eden Hazard in the summer, United are thought to be leading the race for the young England international's signature. Although Crystal Palace apparently want Zaha to return on loan if he leaves this month, Sir Alex Ferguson may have other plans. As I said in Winners and Losers, the wings have been a problem area for the manager recently - with Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young both in poor form - and the arrival of an exciting young talent would add another option to the squad and perhaps force others to raise their game.
6. Diego To Liverpool
Diego has become something of a journeyman after moving to Porto from Santos in 2004. The Brazil international has played for five clubs in the last six years, with an impressive spell at Werder Bremen followed by mixed form at Juventus, Wolfsburg and Atletico Madrid. The 27-year-old is back at Wolfsburg this season and has shown glimpses of his immense talent, but would surely be open to another move to avoid a relegation battle in the Bundesliga. Liverpool could certainly benefit from a player of Diego's skill and experience and there would be potential for the playmaker to strike up a good understanding with Luis Suarez in the Reds' attack. At the moment, there is no obvious candidate to play behind Suarez in the centre, and Diego would be perfect for the role.
5. Mario Balotelli In Exchange For Edinson Cavani
That should probably be Mario Balotelli and a sack of cash for Edinson Cavani. Considering Balotelli's form this season (the striker has scored only once in the Premier League) City would need to twist Napoli's arm to take the Italy international and part with Cavani - and we all know the Neapolitans don't take kindly to coercion. But Napoli have hinted at an interest in Balotelli, and City certainly have the funds to put a package together for Cavani if Sheikh Mansour so wishes. The Uruguayan has scored 23 goals in only 22 matches this season and City could kill two birds with one stone by shipping out Balotelli and replacing him with a striker at the top of his game.
4. Isco To A Premier League Club
Isco was a key player for Malaga last season as the Andalusian club qualified for the Champions League for the first time and the 20-year-old has continued his impressive rise in the current campaign, despite Malaga's troubles. The attacking midfielder, who can also play on the left, displays a maturity that belies his years and there has been talk of a call-up to Vicente del Bosque's forthcoming Spain squad for the friendly with Uruguay. There are only four or five clubs in the Premier League who can afford Isco's reported €20million release clause and aside from Chelsea (who are already well-stocked with number 10s) any of the clubs in the top four, plus Arsenal, should be eyeing a player of his wonderful talent.
3. Lars Bender To Arsenal
Either of the Bender twins would be an excellent acquisition for Arsenal, but Lars would perhaps be a more plausible option than his brother Sven, who is in the middle of an impressive Champions League campaign with Borussia Dortmund. Lars has been a key player for Bayer Leverkusen this season (who currently sit in second, one place above Dortmund) and the midfielder's impressive form over the past two years has seen him earn 11 caps for Germany. That Bender averages 4.3 tackles per game - the joint-fourth most in the Bundesliga - illustrates his combative style and why he would be an excellent addition to an Arsenal side lacking a solid spine. Arsene Wenger should have found a replacement for Alex Song in the summer, but the manager has a chance to make amends this month and should pursue a move for Bender now Mikel Arteta has been ruled out.
2. Willian To Spurs
Shakhtar have been one of the most enjoyable teams to watch in the Champions League this year and Willian was a key influence in their progression from the group stage at Chelsea's expense. The playmaker drifts effortlessly between the lines and popped up to score two goals in Shakhtar's undeserved 3-2 defeat at Stamford Bridge. There has been plenty of talk about Willian joining Chelsea in the past, but a move to Spurs would help to improve the competition at the top of the table and Andre Villas-Boas has hinted at the club's interest. It's highly unlikely the Brazilian would leave the Ukrainian Champions before their Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund, but Spurs need a replacement for Emmanuel Adebayor, who will miss a month and maybe more with fatigue following the Africa Cup of Nations.
1. Daniele De Rossi To Manchester City
There's an outside chance this move could happen in January, with De Rossi enduring a frustrating season in Serie A (summed up by this incident) despite pledging his future to Roma in the summer. "Me at Manchester City? (Roma president) James Pallotta said I'm not on the market," responded De Rossi when asked about transfer rumours in December. But the Italy international has been left on the bench several times by coach Zdenek Zeman (including the recent defeats to Catania and Chievo) and may be tempted to move for another shot at the Champions League. It goes without saying that City could have done with a player of De Rossi's quality in their miserable European campaign and the acquisition of the midfielder would put the champions in a good position to retain their title.
Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.