Some big names, including the Germany under-21 captain, two Italian internationals and the best player in the Championship over the last two seasons decided to join the relegation battle throughout the January transfer window.


Fulham signed Lewis Holtby, William Kvist and a big coup in Konstantinos Mitroglou. Tom Ince joined Crystal Palace on loan and West Ham decided to try and recreate the Italian job minus Michael Caine, with three signings from Serie A including two current Italian 

internationals Marco Borriello and Antonio Nocerino. The relegation battle just got interesting.


This season any one of the 11 teams could be dragged into the black hole that is the relegation zone and eventually into the 'endless maze' that is the Championship.

Despite the odd shock result week in week out, it has become evident that the top nine sides in the league beat sides 10th and below, and when teams go head-to-head every game it's a huge '6 pointer'.


Fulham have already lost 17 games this season and the omens aren't in their favour. Any club who have lost 16 of their opening 23 games have finished bottom and have subsequently been relegated.


With the threat of relegation looming over the club, new owner Shahid Khan decided to open the cheque book to the tune of £12 million on five players. Germany under-21 captain Lewis Holtby, Denmark international William Kvist and a Konstantinos Mitroglou all arrived on deadline day; Mitrogou swapped a last 16 Champions League tie with Manchester United for a relegation battle with Fulham. Clint Dempsey also re-signed for the club on loan from Seattle Sounders until the MLS season starts in March.


Dimitar Berbatov, who graced the league for six seasons left on loan for the glamour and celebrity playground of Monaco.  Could that turn-out to be a costly departure for Fulham?

Crystal Palace, one of the three newly promoted clubs, have an omen on their side as manager Tony Pulis replaced Ian Holloway half-way through the season and has never been relegated when he has managed a club in the Premier League.


They strengthened with five signings including Tom Ince, who was being chased by five Premier League sides, and former Blackburn captain Scott Dann, who before being relegated with Birmingham in 2011 whohad formed a Ferdinand/Vidic style partnership with Roger Johnson.


Cardiff, experiencing their first taste of Premier League football, have made more headlines off the field than actually on it. Vincent Tan has since calmed down and employed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the former Molde manager, who brought the Norwegian club their first league title in the club's history. Two of their six deadline day signings, Wifred Zaha  on loan from United and Kenwyne Jones, helped OGS to his first victory (2-1) in the Premier League over Norwich on Saturday.


West Ham fans would be forgiven to think that Big Sam had been watching Michael Caine in the Italian Job several times over the last month with no less than three signings coming from Serie A. Current Italian internationals Marco Borriello and Antonio Nocerino were loaned from AS Roma and AC Milan respectively, and the other left-back, Pablo Armero, will be at the World Cup this year with Columbia.


I expect these players, especially Borriello, to make a big impact in the next few months.


Other clubs to make signings to quell the worry of relegation included Sunderland, who strengthened with Liam Bridcutt, who signed from Brighton and Football Manager's favourite goalkeeper Oscar Ustari and central defender Santiago Vergini. Hull splashed 14 million on two new strikers in Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic, and Swansea ventured into the lower leagues with loans for David Ngog, Marvin Emnes and to Scotland for former Falkirk wonderkid Jay Fulton.


Midlands rivals Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion, who met in a stunning seven-goal thriller last week, signed three players between them: Grant Holt and Ryan Bertrand signed on loan for Villa and Pepe Mel brought in a player known to him from his time at Real Betis. Thievy Bifouma came in on loan from Espanyol.


Stoke and Norwich signed one player a piece, the exciting John Guidetti signed for Stoke on loan from Manchester City and Joseph Yobo signed on loan for Norwich.


This season's relegation battle is going to be one of the most exciting ever experienced in the Premier League's 22 year history.