Ever since its "debut" in January 2003, the January transfer window has been a chance for clubs to find that ever-elusive 'missing piece' that they need to stage a title charge -- or stay out of the relegation zone. Here are 25 of the biggest January transfers in the history of English Premier League. It's hard to believe that the biggest deal of the inaugural January transfer window was for �9 million. That is how much Newcastle paid for defender Jonathan Woodgate. Woodgate excelled at St. James' Park but less than two years later he was sold to Real Madrid for �13.4 million.
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2004: Louis Saha
The Red Devils made waves with their January 2004 signing of striker Louis Saha, The Frenchman scored seven goals for his new team that year, but it was not enough, as the defending Premier League champions still only finished in third place that season. Saha struggled with injuries during his time at Old Trafford and was dealt to Everton after the 2007-08 season.
3 of 25 Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
2004: Scott Parker
Chelsea bought the hard-tackling, 23-year-old midfielder from Charlton Athletic but rarely sent him on to the pitch. Despite his limited playing opportunities at Stamford Bridge, Parker was named the PFA Young Player of the Year at the end of the 2003-04 season. He was sold to Newcastle in July 2005 for �6.5 million.
4 of 25 Ian Walton/Getty Images
2004: Jose Antonio Reyes
It would be years before another January transfer came with a fee this large. Reyes joined a soon-to-be storied team -- Arsenal's "Invincibles" -- midway through the season, but contributed little to the Gunners' success that year. Reyes had an impressive 2004-05 campaign, scoring nine goals and amassing 10 assists, but the following season his goal production was nearly halved. Reyes was loaned out to Real Madrid in 2006 and sold to Atletico Madrid in 2007 for a loss.
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2005: Jean-Alain Boumsong
Jean-Alain Boumsong had only played for Rangers for six months before Newcastle swooped in and bought him for an �8 million fee. Big mistake. Boumsong signed a 5 1?2-year deal, but after a number of defensive errors the Frenchman was sold to Juventus in 2006 for about �3 million.
6 of 25 Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
2006: Nemanja Vidic
Nemanja Vidic's signature was one of Sir Alex Ferguson's biggest coups, as the Serbian defender has gone on to be an icon for the franchise. Besides his consistency in defense, Vidic has also used his strength in the air to be a goal-scoring threat as well.
7 of 25 Clive Mason/Getty Images
2006: Emmanuel Adebayor
Although Arsenal fans may now hate current Spurs frontman Emmanuel Adebayor, they cannot deny that he was an effective signing. In his second season with the Gunners, Adebayor exploded for 24 goals. A year later he was then sent to Manchester City, with the Gunners making a hefty profit in the process.
8 of 25 Paul Gilham/Getty Images
2006: Dean Ashton
After having signed Dean Ashton from Crewe Alexandra for �3 million, Norwich City made a hefty profit when they sold him to West Ham a year later. Ashton made just 46 PL appearances for the Hammers before abruptly retiring in December 2009.
9 of 25Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images
2007: Clint Dempsey
In one of the best moves in the history of the Januarytransfer window, Dempsey went on to be one of Fulham's stars, helping the club avoid relegation and finish in the top half of the Premier League for three of the past four seasons. By the time he was sold to Tottenham in August 2012 for _6 million, he had scored 58 goals for Fulham in all competitions.
10 of 25 Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
2007: Ashley Young
Young was one of the rising stars behind Watford's rise to the Premier League in 2006. Midway through Watford's first season in the top flight since 2000, the Hornets sold Young to Aston Villa for �9.65m. Young went on to play at Villa Park for four-and-a-half seasons before being sold to Manchester United for a fee believed to be more than double what Villa paid in 2007.
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2008: Nicolas Anelka
When Nicolas Anelka signed with Chelsea in 2008, it was the eighth team he had played for since making his debut for PSG in 1996. His stint at Chelsea would go on to be the longest of his career, as he scored 59 goals for them in all competitions before signing with Shanghai Shenhua in January 2012.
12 of 25 ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images
2008: Branislav Ivanovic
Ivanovic's move to Chelsea was the largest in the history of the Russian Premier League. And despite the fact that he did not play for the Blues until the next season, Ivanovic has since become Chelsea's first-choice right back.
13 of 25 Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images
2009: Jermaine Defoe
Having just sold Defoe to Portsmouth the previous January for �6m, Tottenham found itself once again in need of the striker's services. Spurs gave Pompey a much-needed �15 million payday, and Defoe has been in North London ever since.
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2009: Robbie Keane
Robbie Keane's departure to Liverpool was undoubtedly a flop. After paying Tottenham about �20 million for Keane's services in July 2008, Keane scored just five goals and was back at White Hart Lane by the end of January 2009. Liverpool took a loss on the sale, with Spurs buying Keane back for _12 million plus add-ons.
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2009: Nigel De Jong
For two-and-a-half years after signing with Manchester City, Nigel De Jong was a fixture in the City lineup, starting 30 games in both the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. His contributions decreased the following year, and the defensive midfielder was sent to AC Milan for �3.5 million in August 2012.
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2011: Fernando Torres
Torres had been struggling during the first half of the 2010-11 season, but Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich must have thought that that was an aberration. Unfortunately for Abramovich, he was wrong. Torres went on to score one goal for Chelsa that year and just six Premier League goals during the 2011-12 season. Torres' form has improved this season, but there is no doubt that Abramovich overpaid for the Spaniard.
17 of 25 Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
2011: Andy Carroll
Somehow the Fernando Torres signing was not the biggest mistake of January 31, 2011. That award surely goes to Liverpool, who signed Carroll for �35 million. Carroll went on to score just six PL goals for the Reds and has since been sent on loan to West Ham.
18 of 25 John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
2011: Luis Suarez
Whereas the Carroll deal was bad business, the Luis Suarez deal was not -- at least from a soccer standpoint. The Uruguayan striker has since scored 40 goals for Liverpool in all competitions. Still, the club must wonder if he has been with the trouble, with Suarez having been accused of racism and constant diving.
19 of 25Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images
2011: Edin Dzeko
When Manchester City opened up its pocketbook and shelled out �27 million for Edin Dzeko, the Bosnian striker was heralded as being the catalyst that the Sky Blues needed for their title push. It wasn't, as Manchester City finished third. In the two years that have followed his signing, Dzeko has had his ups and downs at City, but Dzeko's 90th-minute goal in May 2012 against QPR may have made it all worth it -- if only because of Sergio Aguero's follow-up minutes later.
20 of 25 Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images
2011: David Luiz
The fact that David Luiz's �21.3 million move to Chelsea was only the fifth most expensive move of the January 2011 window gives you a sense of just how wild that month was. Chelsea bought the Brazilian left back from Benfica and earlier this season the 25-year-old signed a new five-year deal with the Blues.
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2011: Darren Bent
Just two years ago, Darren Bent was seen as the future of Aston Villa Football Club. Bent asked out of the Sunderland squad in January 2011 and could be dealt this transfer window after having allegedly clashedwith manager Paul Lambert. Bent recorded nine Premier League goals in his first half-season with Villa, but he has scored only 11 more times since.
22 of 25 Julian Finney/Getty Images
2012: Papiss Cisse
For five months, Papiss Cisse looked to have been one of the best January signings in Premier League history, as the Senegalese forward scored 13 goals in 14 games and helped Newcastle finish fifth in just theirsecond year back in the top flight. Since then, though, Cisse's production has been lacking. He has scored four goals in 21 games and Newcastle is suddenly hovering above the relegation zone.
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2013: Demba Ba
It turns out that a �7m-ratedstriker may in fact be better than a �50m-rated one. Since Demba Ba joined Chelsea from Newcastle, the striker has been one of the few highlights for the Blues' supporters this season, scoring three goals in four appearances and pushing Fernando Torres to the bench.
24 of 25Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
2013: Loic Remy
If QPR does in fact get relegated, fans won't be able to blame it on stinginess from the front office. With the Hoops sitting at thebottom of the table in mid-January, highly touted striker Loic Remy joined Harry Redknapp's squad from Marseille.
25 of 25Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
2013: Daniel Sturridge
The 2012-13 season was supposed to be the year Daniel Sturridge cemented place at Chelsea. After all, he had scored 11 PL goals for the Blues the season before. Instead, though, Sturridge started just one Premier League game this season and was sold to Liverpool for �12m.
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