Irish stars make their move
The January transfer window was packed with drama,with Premier League clubs spending over £200 million in a frenetic month of activity. While the Torres and Carroll transfers hogged the headlines, it was also an important period for a number of Irish players who changed scenery in deals that involved large amounts of money. Soccer Correspondent Daniel McDonnell gives his verdict on the seven most significant Irish moves
1. Robbie Keane: From Spurs to West Ham, Old Salary: £65,000 a week
New Salary: £65,000 a week (loan -- wages paid by West Ham)
Why did he move? Stuck in the background and unwanted at Spurs, who were keen to get him off the wage bill. For all that Keane takes his fair share of criticism, he's not a 'Winston Bogarde' -- a tribute to the ex-Chelsea defender who was happy to collect his wages and sit out a contract instead of playing.
Pros: A move which means that if West Ham go down, he'll be free to seek other employment in the summer. But, if they stay up, then he can enter next season with likely hero status and the security of a contract to prolong his Premier League existence.
Cons: The situation at Upton Park is still unstable and, while the owners insist they will stick with Avram Grant for the remainder of the campaign, you can never quite be sure what is around the corner. Mind you, there's no suggestion that Grant was the driving force in Keane's signing.
Verdict: West Ham may be a bit of a basketcase club, but if they can stay up and Keane can ensure regular football for the rest of 2011, then it's good news for Giovanni Trapattoni. He remains Ireland's most potent top-flight performer.
From Hull to Huddersfield
Old Salary: £13,000
New Salary: £13,000 (loan move -- wages paid by Huddersfield)
Why did he move? Kilbane was in and out of the team at Hull but enjoys a good relationship with the club hierarchy. It was decided that, at this stage of his career, they would help facilitate a move elsewhere on a temporary basis.
Pros: The switch to Huddersfield has started well, and Kilbane is back in his favoured central midfield role. Also a nice confidence boost from entering a level where he is a stand- out performer.
Cons: A drop to the third tier of the English football and a move away from left-back duties on a weekly basis lessen his case for continued involvement with Ireland.
Verdict: A good move for Kilbane's own sake, but hastens Trapattoni's need to find a replacement in the Ireland defence.
From Aston Villa to Newcastle
Old Salary: £65,000
New Salary £65,000 (loan -- Aston Villa paying £15,000 approx)
Why did he move? Failed to settle at Aston Villa and his relationship with manager Gerard Houllier deteriorated after the Frenchman publicly suggested that the player needed to work much harder.
Pros: Newcastle fended off interest from other clubs to land his signature and Alan Pardew appears to have given assurances of regular football and deployment in his favoured midfield role.
Cons: It is still only a loan switch and Newcastle's future is a bit unsure after the loss of Andy Carroll. Newcastle may be a difficult environment to rebuild his reputation if results deteriorate.
Verdict: After a bruising 18 months for his reputation, Ireland had to escape Aston Villa, but needs to hit the ground running at St James' Park or else the slide will continue.
4 Andy Reid
From Sunderland to Blackpool
Old Salary: £25,000
New Salary: £10,000 + bonuses
Why did he move? Was surplus to requirements at Sunderland and this move offered slightly more than another stint on loan in the Championship -- after starting the season there with Sheffield United.
Pros: Premier League football, and the chance to work with a manager who favours a style of play that should showcase his talents. Encouraging that he went straight into starting XI for his debut.
Cons: The initial deal is understood to be only until the end of the season, with an extension if all parties satisfied. That is a motivation to work hard, but if club lose relegation fight, then he faces limbo again.
Verdict: After an injury-interrupted 18 months, this is probably the best move Reid could have hoped for. A drop to the Championship seemed inevitable.
5 Andy O'Brien
From Bolton to Leeds
Old Salary: £20,000
New Salary: £15,000
Why did he move? Was out of the team at Bolton, and Owen Coyle made it quite clear that the experienced defender was no longer in his plans.
Pros: For a player of his age, a lucrative contract at a big club.
Cons: None spring to mind
Verdict: A good move that offers stability. O'Brien says he is open to international return but it's unlikely Trapattoni will go down that route.
From Wolves to Bristol City
Old Salary: £22,000
New Salary: £22,000 (Bristol City paying £10,000 approx)
Why did he move? Wolves sent him on loan to Cardiff in August, yet he failed to make an impact and, with no future at Molineux, the Dubliner was dispatched once more.
Pros: The alternative to moving was sitting on the bench or in the stands at his parent club. A no-brainer.
Cons: Bristol City is a step down from Cardiff, a club with promotion ambitions that might have appealed as another route back to top flight.
Verdict: The 24-year-old is approaching a career crossroads. Really needs to fire at Ashton Gate -- his position in the Irish set-up is increasingly vulnerable.
From Kilmarnock to Wigan
Old Salary: £1,200 approx
New Salary: £10,000 + bonuses
Why did he move? Rich run of form with Kilmarnock and no rush to sign a new deal. With his stock so high, it was natural time to capitalise.
Pros: Turned down Scunthorpe because he feared dropping to League One, but the move to Wigan guarantees that he will operate at a higher level, with the facilities to improve. And a 10-fold pay-rise helps.
Cons: A slight fear that he might lose his momentum by joining a club where he is likely to be rotated in the coming months, especially with pressure of relegation battle.
Verdict: A remarkable opportunity for Sammon. Too good to turn down, but he will have to learn fast. Life-changing switch in financial terms.
all the Irish transfer window switches
Robbie Keane -- Spurs-West Ham (loan)
Kevin Kilbane -- Hull-Huddersfield (loan)
Stephen Ireland -- Aston Villa-Newcastle (loan)
Andy Keogh -- Wolves-Bristol City (loan)
Andy Reid -- Sunderland-Blackpool (undisclosed)
Conor Sammon -- Kilmarnock-Wigan (£600,000)
Paddy Madden -- Bohemians - Carlisle (£80,000)
Andy O'Brien -- Bolton-Leeds (Undisclosed) Liam Lawrence -- Stoke-Portsmouth (part exchange, loan move made permanent)
Aaron Doran -- Blackburn- Inverness (loan) Nick Colgan -- unattached-Huddersfield (free)
Jay O'Shea -- Birmingham-Port Vale (loan)
Paul Keegan -- Bohemians-Doncaster (free) James Chambers -- Shamrock Rovers-Hamilton (free)
Seamus Conneely -- Galway-Sheffield United (£60,000 )
David McAllister -- St Pat's-Sheffield United (undisclosed)
Eddie Nolan -- Preston-Scunthorpe (£250,000)
Alan Judge -- Blackburn-Notts County (undisclosed)
Conor Powell -- Bohemians-Colchester (free)