Players in from the cold on free transfers and tentative loan deals have been the flavour of the month in the January transfer window so far, with a couple of English Premier League ‘old boys’ returning to reasonably familiar surroundings. Further afield in China PR, clubs have been splashing the cash ahead of their respective Chinese Super League and AFC Champions League campaigns beginning in earnest in the coming months. wraps up the latest transfer business from planet football.

Africans and old boys
A trio of faces from the mother continent have caught the eye in the last week of transfer activity in England, with Ghanaian Daniel Amartey (to Leicester City from Copenhagen), Ivorian Lamine Kone (to Sunderland from Lorient) and Togolese Emmanuel Adebayor (to Crystal Palace) all donning fresh jerseys this month. The latter joins former Newcastle United goalkeeper Steve Harper in a return to the Premier League after a period without a club, with the veteran custodian joining the Magpies’ bitter rivals Sunderland. Harper’s former side continue to splash the cash, after the arrival of Jonjo Shelvey and Henri Saivet, by bringing in England winger Andros Townsend from Tottenham Hotspur, with the club adopting a creative hashtag to welcome the wideman to ‘the Toon’.

Italian loan rangers
Former Lazio and Inter forward Mauro Zarate headed away from England, and back to Italy, sealing a permanent move to Fiorentina from West Ham United. Florence was also a destination for one of a number of loans across the country, and indeed the continent, with Cristian Tello (to Fiorentina from Barcelona), Andrea Ranocchia (to Sampdoria from Inter Milan), Stephan El Shaarawy (to Roma from AC Milan) and Jonathan de Guzman (to Carpi from Napoli) all sealing temporary deals. There was deemed to be no place for the latter in Naples thanks, in part, to the arrival of Alberto Grassi, who headed to the San Paolo from Atalanta in one of the bigger-value transfers in Italy.

Germany, Spain and France remain quiet
Another Italian on the move was Giulio Donati, with the former Azzurri youth international switching Bayer Leverkusen for Mainz in the German Bundesliga. Werder Bremen were among the most active sides in Germany, bringing in Sambou Yatabare from Olympiacos and Gerhard Tremmel on loan from Swansea City. Other former English Premier League players Giuseppe Rossi and Christian Atsu made temporary moves to Levante from Fiorentina and to Malaga from Chelsea respectively. Two African frontmen were the most notable movers in France this week, with Ivorian Ismael Diomande (to Caen from Saint-Etienne) and Congolese forward Thievy Bifouma (to Reims from Espanyol) making loan switches – the latter hoping to carry his crucial goalscoring exploits from FIFA World Cup™ qualifying into French Ligue 1.

Chinese clubs flexing their muscles
Outside the ‘big five’ European leagues, World Cup winner Victor Valdes’ loan move to Standard Liege ended his unhappy time at Manchester United, while across the Low Countries in the Netherlands, Renato Tapia’s permanent switch from Twente to Feyenoord was the most eye-catching Dutch deal of the window so far.

Over in Asia, China PR’s Super League may not begin for a couple of months, but that has not stopped the clubs opening their wallets to bring in talent from some European heavyweights. A trio of players who starred for their respective countries at Brazil 2014, namely Ivorian Gervinho (HB China Fortune from Roma), Colombian Fredy Guarin (to Shanghai Shenhua from Inter Milan) and Brazilian Ramires (to Jiangsu Suning from Chelsea) all made big money moves to the Chinese Super League, displaying the newfound draw of China PR’s top flight. The Côte d’Ivoire winger’s former Roma team-mate Ashley Cole was also on the move, signing for a club on the other side of the Pacific. He put pen to paper on a deal with LA Galaxy, where he will link up with former England colleague Steven Gerrard and fellow new signing, Belgian defender Jelle Van Damme.