Every time a transfer window closes the temptation is to review the business completed and draw up a list of winners and losers, imitating those graphics that appear after the Grand National to show who completed the course and where other runners and riders pulled up or parted company. The only problem with that approach is that in football's mid-season equivalent of a steeplechase cum lottery not everyone takes part. It is perfectly possible to opt out of the January sales, whether through lack of money - Aston Villa, Liverpool - or because you have so much - Manchester City - your summertime signings are still bedding in having taken the team to the top of the league. City engaged with the transfer window on the last day of trading, and then only to abandon their pursuit of Eliaquim Mangala for the time being, so in one sense they have done the best business of all. To be able to sit tight through January confident that nothing needs fixing is an achievement in itself. City have not spent a penny yet they remain favourites for the title. Of the Premier League clubs who have been buying and selling, Chelsea were by far the most impressive. Not only did they effortlessly raise pounds 55m through the sales of Juan Mata and Kevin de Bruyne , they pipped Liverpool for the services of Mohamed Salah , brought Nemanja Matic back from Benfica and secured a centre-back for the future in Kurt Zouma. That leaves them roughly pounds 10m up on the month, and while severe critics might point out that Matic at pounds 21m was a wholly unnecessary outlay considering the club let him go for next to nothing three years ago, Jose Mourinho had all the Mata money to play with and at least appears to have a firm plan in mind for the way he wants his team to operate. Whether Mata's purchasers can say the same thing is much more debatable. According to all sources Manchester United appear likely to be frantically busy in the next transfer window and possibly the one after that while it would not be the greatest surprise to find Mourinho just bringing in a striker in summer and looking to stay as aloof from the mid-season market as City. While Mourinho, like Moyes, has been in position for six months, the two managers have little else in common. The former deciding that Chelsea's player of the season for the past two years was surplus to requirements could have been matched as a bold calculation by the latter growing tired of Wayne Rooney's demands and flogging him to Chelsea, except Rooney got a pay rise instead. Moyes is naturally cautious, and Mourinho knows it. Piqued by being overlooked as a successor to Sir Alex Ferguson , Mourinho now seems to be enjoying showing United what a fearless and decisive manager they could have had. He arrived at Chelsea with some adjustments in mind, and not only did he lose no time in making them, he helpfully suggested a pounds 37.1m adjustment for Moyes to make. One that, even at that price, cannot play against Chelsea this season and must sit out United's Champions League games. The worry for United, no matter how useful Mata turns out to be, is that if Mourinho stays this far ahead of his Old Trafford counterpart, Moyes's wait for a first trophy could turn out to be a long one and Champions League games could soon be just a pleasant memory. Nothing else in the window matched Mata's move for drama or potential significance. Hull managing to land two strikers is a testament to Steve Bruce's powers of persuasion, Roberto Martinez and Sam Allardyce again proved adept at sourcing imaginative loans, Fulham broke their transfer record on the final day and Crystal Palace won the award for brinkmanship, though for the most part the January movement was what we have come to expect. January is about topping up resources rather than transformational captures. Liverpool and Arsenal are missing out on targets on such a regular basis that it inevitably attracts criticism of either their spending power or their negotiating skills, though at the top end the basic fact of life is the same as it ever was. City and Chelsea have the sort of budgets that render negotiating skills secondary. Chelsea spent close on pounds 50m and were involved in four of the five biggest transfers, but with Mourinho back the process is smoother and more controlled. If City are winning all the plaudits for their football at the moment, they will not have to look much further than their next fixture, Chelsea at home tomorrow, to work out which opponents are most likely to give them a run for their money.
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