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Dundee United transfer window rated: 2 arrive, defender wait continues and Mark Birighitti pay-off talks fail

The Tangerines secured Premiership pedigree in David Wotherspoon and Alex Greive.

Mark Birighitti, David Wotherspoon, Jim Goodwin, Alex Greive of Dundee United left to right
Dundee United had a solid window, but unspectacular deadline day. Images: SNS

Deadline day drama was in short supply at Dundee United.

While Jim Goodwin’s pursuit of a centre-back went to the wire – and will continue into this month – there were no incomings at Tannadice.

Mark Birighitti turned down a loan offer from Crewe Alexandra and exotic interest in Kieran Freeman failed to become a concrete proposal.

Nevertheless, United did secure a couple of new faces with ample Premiership pedigree in the form of Alex Greive and David Wotherspoon earlier in January, in sharp contrast to their passive approach 12 months prior.

St Johnstone legend David Wotherspoon in the colours of Dundee United
Wotherspoon was United’s marquee signing this month. Image: Richard Wiseman / Dundee United FC

Courier Sport rates the Tangerines’ winter window business.


United’s first arrival was St Mirren striker Greive.

The New Zealand international brings pace and versatility to Jim Goodwin’s attacking pool.

He can play in attack, offering a decent foil for Tony Watt or Louis Moult, or can operate on the wing, bringing a more direct threat cutting inside.

Greive has already made two appearances for the Tangerines and illustrated that he will be a bright, energetic addition, even if he has not been prolific in Scottish football to date.

Dundee United forward Alex Greive
Greive, pictured, and Wotherspoon have arrived this January. Image: Richard Wiseman / Dundee United FC

Wotherspoon was snapped up immediately following the expiry of his short-term deal with Inverness – a stint in the Highlands that saw him notch three goals.

He was also named Championship player of the month for November as the St Johnstone legend showcased his quality and answered any questions regarding his fitness.

Wotherspoon will bring guile and nous to central areas for the Terrors.

But United failed in their search for a right-sided centre-back to compete with Declan Gallagher, Kevin Holt and Ross Graham, preferably one with the capacity to cover at right-back.

However, Goodwin will seek to secure that signing this month, with clubs below the Premiership able to pursue loan deals until the end of February, and free agents still available.

Should it be the latter, then United are likely to target a player released during January, rather than one who has been without a club for months and would effectively require their own “pre-season”.


United had no consequential departures.

Ollie Denham returned to Cardiff City and, given the young defender only played two games for United, the decision to cut that loan deal short was undeniably best for all parties.

Flynn Duffy and Ruairidh Adams were farmed out on loan to Peterhead and Edinburgh City, respectively, and will benefit from regular football.

Dundee United youngster Ruairidh Adams
Ruairidh Adams is relishing the chance to be an SPFL No.1 at Edinburgh City. Image: SNS

Robbie Neilson’s Tampa Bay Rowdies had an interest in Freeman but the dominoes required to fall at the American club’s end to make that deal possible did not come to fruition.

The likes of Freeman and Declan Glass – or any other player for whom opportunities begin to look scarce – could still be farmed out on a domestic loan below the Premiership until the end of February.


Birighitti’s availabilty was no secret throughout the January window.

Mark Birighitti playing for Dundee United
Birighitti in action for United. Image: SNS

With the former Central Coast Mariners stopper frozen out of the United first-team, on a Premiership salary and in the final months of his contract, Goodwin stated that it would be best for all parties if he was to depart.

And there was tangible interest in the 32-year-old, with Birighitti turning down the opportunity to join Crewe Alexandra in League Two on deadline day.

Potential switches to Bolton Wanderers and Hapoel Petach-Tivka also fell by the wayside during the prior transfer window.

Courier Sport understands United held talks with a view to annulling Birighitti’s contract on TWO occasions – once last summer and again in January – but an agreement could not be reached.

Verdict: B+

If United had secured a centre-back equipped to aid their push for promotion, then it would be an “A” window.

Likewise, Birighitti’s decision to see out his contract at United –  as is entirely his right – will ensure the Australia international remains a costly misstep.

A frustrated Jim Goodwin
Jim Goodwin believes he has the strongest squad in the Championship. Image: SNS

However, United did manage to snap up one of the Championship’s top performers between October and December, in Wotherspoon. And Greive brings a different dimension to the Tangerines attack.

With those bits of business done in the first half of the window, it afforded the duo plenty of time to bed in and get up to speed.

All told, another solid – albeit, in keeping with most Championship clubs, unspectacular – window for the Tannadice club and one that will cement their status as title favourites.