January Transfer Window: Top 5 transfers across Europe’s big leagues
The January transfer window is considered to be trickier than the summer window, but that didn’t stop a few clubs from getting their top targets
Newcastle United's acquisitions in the January transfer window
Despite being traditionally the quieter of the two windows, the 2021 winter transfer window was a particularly disappointing one, thanks to COVID-19.
The pandemic had a major impact on cashflow for the better part of the last two years, with clubs wary of big-money moves while they suffered losses due to lack of fan attendance.
Moreover, managers don’t like to part with their important players in the middle of the season, as they are left with finding a replacement with only a month to go.
That said, the 2022 version indicates a return to pre-pandemic level spending, thanks to some mega deals.
We have ranked five of the best transfers that we think can have a significant positive impact on their team and club, in both short term and long:-
5. LUCAS DIGNE TO ASTON VILLA
Let’s start off with what we think is a rather underrated transfer.
Aston Villa have gone about this window in a swift and efficient manner. The midlands club started off with an audacious loan move for Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona. Sweden no. 1 Robin Olsen was brought in as competition for Emi Martinez, and the addition of the versatile Calum Chambers from Arsenal could prove to be a shrewd move.
But it is the signing of Everton left-back Lucas Digne that improves Villa the most. A fullback’s importance in modern football cannot be overstated and Gerrard knows that if Villa want to qualify for Europe, he would need quality out wide.
The 28-year-old looked right at home during Villa’s draw against Manchester United, and even registered an assist in the win against his former club Everton. Digne is an improvement on 26-year-old Matt Targett, who has been loaned out to Newcastle United.
Villa are currently sitting in 11th place in the Premier League table, 11 points below 5th placed West Ham and Lucas Digne’s arrival is believed to be part of their long-term quest for European football.
4. BRUNO GUIMARAES TO NEWCASTLE UNITED
We knew it was only a matter of time before Newcastle raised eyebrows with their newfound financial might, but not many of us thought they could convince Lyon midfielder Bruno Guimaraes to move to St. James’ Park.
The Brazilian was the subject of interest from a few Premier League giants, most notably Arsenal, with Mikel Arteta keen to bolster quality in the middle of the park. Manchester United are also believed to have enquired about the 24-year-old.
After bringing in Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood early in January, the Magpies were getting priced out of subsequent deals and had to remain patient. But, it bore fruit in the end as they could get the deal over the line before the window closed.
While Tripper, Wood and deadline day signing Targett are important buys, the signing of Guimaraes can fuel the revival of Eddie Howe and Co. for the rest of the season.
Able to play as a deep-lying midfielder or a no. 8, Guimaraes is known for his progressive passing and excellent composure on the ball.
3. FERRAN TORRES TO BARCELONA
The Catalans have had to navigate troubled waters in recent times, with the economic crisis that engulfed the club ultimately resulting in talisman Lionel Messi’s departure to Paris. Things are yet to go back to normal but former player Xavi’s return as head coach has calmed some nerves temporarily as the youngest Barcelona team of recent years look to earn a place in the Champions League.
The timely acquisition of Ferran Torres from Premier League champions Manchester City could prove to be just the sort of addition the squad needs during this time. While only 21-years-old, the Spaniard comes back to a familiar league in La Liga, thanks to his time with Valencia.
Despite starting only 31 games for Man City, Torres’ quality shone through during his time in England. The Spain international also impressed in the Euro 2020, scoring twice and helping Luis Enrique’s young squad reach the semi-finals. The move also helps City make a profit on the player who they reportedly bought from Valencia for £20.8m.
The uncertainty around Ousmane Dembele’s contract means Xavi would already be looking to blood Torres into the squad alongside Fati and one of Depay or the latest incoming Aubameyang.
2. LUIS DIAZ TO LIVERPOOL
In second place is one of the surprise moves of the window. Liverpool had initially earmarked the Luis Diaz transfer as one for the summer, but, Tottenham’s interest in the player meant the Reds had a decision to make, and they didn’t have long.
The Colombian’s keenness to move to Anfield made it easier to get a deal done at a lower price than what Porto initially quoted. Liverpool’s transfer chiefs have rarely missed a trick when it comes to signing attacking players and the £37m initial fee could well end up looking like a bargain come next January.
The 25-year-old has been The Primeira Liga’s standout player this season and it will be interesting to see how he copes with the intensity and physicality of England.
The famous Reds front three are nearing the end of their contracts and so far, only Mohamed Salah is said to have been offered a new one. While it remains to be seen if the likes of Mane will be rewarded with an extension, Diaz’s emergence as a real option as his long-term replacement would make matters easier for the Anfield hierarchy.
Jurgen Klopp’s side still have all four competitions left to play for and Diaz is set to get enough opportunities to impress his manager.
Before moving on to the top signing of the January transfer window, here are a couple of good ones that barely missed out on our top 5 list but are certainly worth a shout.
DELE ALLI TO EVERTON
The Englishman who once took the Premier League by storm during Spurs’ Pochettino days found himself falling further away from the very high standards he set for himself. Naturally, the poor performances meant more appearances off the bench. The 25-year-old opted for a deadline day move to Merseyside outfit Everton which offers a chance to reignite his love for the game and help newly appointed manager Frank Lampard in his bid to ensure Premier League safety for the Blues.
Alli’s quality is unquestionable, and Lampard could prove to be the manager who helps the midfielder find his rhythm and form. A midfielder during his playing days himself, Lampard was renowned for his extraordinary ability to make runs into the box and the 43-year-old still remains Chelsea’s record goalscorer.
The fact that Everton have scored a measly 24 goals this season in the league suggests they could do with Dele Alli’s ability and eye for a goal.
CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN TO BRENTFORD
Eriksen’s return to football following the Euros incident is a beautiful sporting story. The Dane still remains a brilliant midfielder and a leader, which is why Brentford would’ve had no qualms about offering him a contract.
The former Spurs player returns to the league he knows oh so well to help Thomas Frank’s 14th placed side in their first-ever Premier League season. The Bees have had a superb debut season so far, with an opening day victory against Arsenal and a thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Klopp’s Liverpool being the stand out games.
The 29-year-old’s introduction would make Frank’s team even more threatening from set-pieces, thanks to Eriksen’s excellent dead-ball ability. Off-the-pitch, a player of Eriksen’s stature is a major coup in terms of marketing and visibility. Earlier this season, Brentford’s management became popular among their fanbase after announcing that the current home kit would roll over to next season as well, and in Eriksen, they now have a worthy name to have on the back of the shirt.
1. DUSAN VLAHOVIC TO JUVENTUS
While the previous month has been significant for a few clubs, it’s been nothing short of transformational for Juventus. Dusan Vlahovic’s arrival from Fiorentina could well change the fortunes of Allegri and Co. in a season that has been one to forget so far.
The Serb had a contract that ran till the summer, but Fiorentina were desperate to cash in on the league’s leading goalscorer as he had no intention to sign a new one. Fiorentina president Rocco Commisso recently let his displeasure be known at Vlahovic’s refusal to move to England despite receiving multiple offers and ultimately ending up at rivals Juventus.
Despite the hefty price tag of £66m, there are several reasons to believe Juve have struck gold here. To start with, Vlahovic is only 22. In fact, he completed his move to the Turin club on his birthday! There is always a high resale value when it comes to young players and if ever there is a parting of the ways, chances are it will probably come at a financial profit for Vecchia Signora.
It is huge for Vlahovic that he remains in Serie A - the league where he already has 44 goals to his name. Moving to another league involves challenges not just on the pitch, but also off it. The Serb is used to Italy and Italian football and it could help him start delivering sooner for Juve.
Furthermore, Vlahovic’s injury record is seriously impressive. He played 37 of the 38 games in the 2020-21 season and has started all 21 of Fiorentina’s matches in the Serie A this season so far. That said, how he copes with the additional pressures of European fixtures will be interesting to see.