With the January transfer window now shut until the summer, we take a look at 10 deals, permanent transfers or loans, which represented pretty good business.
Do you agree with our selections?
BORUSSIA DORTMUND TO REAL BETIS
An excellent piece of work by the Andalusian side, with Bartra at 27, surely about to reach his peak as a centre-back. The Spaniard had, for whatever reasons, slipped down the pecking order at Dortmund but has excellent pedigree and should still feature in Spain’s World Cup squad for Russia.
Bartra is hungry for first-team football and was desperate to return to Spain, where he previously played for boyhood club Barcelona – winning six La Liga titles and one Champions League crown in six seasons there.
Some may say he never really proved himself as a Blaugrana star and they are right to a large extent, but Bartra will see this as a second-coming to showcase his talent as one of the league’s best defenders for a Betis side very much on the up. After he was caught up in the ugly attack on the Dortmund team bus last April, he may well feel a fresh start was what he needed all round.
LIVERPOOL TO WEST BROM
FEE: LOAN UNTIL END OF SEASON
It was a move which made sense for all parties and even when you factor in the 28-year-old’s woeful injury record, Sturridge has goals in him, when fit, and is a proven Premier League striker. With West Brom rock-bottom in the league and struggling for firepower, the former Chelsea and Manchester City man can benefit from being a mainstay in a struggling Baggies side and a change of scenery should do him the world of good.
Strurridge has that ability to pinch vital goals and perhaps he can have a similar kind of effect to that of Jermain Defoe when his goals single-handedly kept Sunderland in the top-flight in 2015 and 2016. Signing the forward was a win-win for West Brom given the fact that Sturridge still harbours international ambitions and knows his only chance of going to the World Cup with England is playing regularly and scoring frequently. Alongside Salomon Rondon, he should be able to fire enough goals to keep Alan Pardew’s side up.
ARSENAL TO EVERTON
It’s quite easy to include the ex-Gunner in this list after he scored a brace (those two goals coming in Everton’s 2-1 victory over Leicester on Wednesday night) – but genuinely – his switch to Goodison Park could prove to be an excellent bit of business by a club which has overspent on talent in the past year and not had much of a return bar the form of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Similarly to Sturridge, Walcott needed a fresh start and regular first-team football – and brings valuable experience and excellent professionalism to the ranks at a decent price.
Blues boss Sam Allardyce rates the 28-year-old highly and this move should help Walcott reignite a career that had gone cold this season. The question over whether he has or will ever fulfill his full potential hangs over the ex-Southampton prodigy, but he has a good chance to prove the doubters wrong now.
SCHALKE TO BAYERN MUNICH
The German giants are renowned for getting first dibs on the best young talent around and wrapping up deals before anyone else. Bayern displayed their predatory instincts once again in the transfer window by securing the signing of the Schalke vice-captain on a pre-agreement, with the 22-year-old heading to the Allianz Arena at the end of the season.
Chased by Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and Juventus, among others, Goretzka is billed as one of the most promising talents in world football but he is very much delivering now. Glittering displays in the top-flight and an explosive start to his career as an international midfielder (six goals in nine appearances last year for Germany), should mean he has the world at his feet come this summer’s World Cup.
BARCELONA TO WATFORD
FEE: LOAN UNTIL END OF SEASON
Just a handful of months after finally securing his dream return to the Camp Nou, Deulofeu could be forgiven for thinking he had just woken up from a bad dream when he donned the yellow of Watford for the first time this week.
That’s not necessarily a dig at the Hornets, but for a player who had longed to become a Blaugrana first-team regular, it must be hard to take that he has had to switch clubs again and has ultimately been deemed not good enough for Barca. However, Watford have benefited from his inability to fire consistently for the Spanish giants.
Indeed, the former Everton man is very much an impact player, a January-type signing if you like, and is someone who has the ability to change a game and conjure up a bit of magic. There was a period during the first-half of Roberto Martinez’s last season at Goodison (2015-16) where he looked like he was finally coming of age and there’s no doubt he has that in his locker.
Take his all too brief stint with AC Milan, for instance. Deulofeu is a snip as a loan buy and having Javi Gracia’s support should help the Premier League strugglers get the best out of him.
PALMEIRAS TO BARCELONA
In today’s world of over-inflated prices, the Catalan giants actually got Mina on the cheap. While the Colombian may not have been widely known before Barca’s interest, the 23-year-old powerhouse is a signing for now, the future and he should slot in alongside the experienced Gerard Pique.
With doubts over the future of Samuel Umtiti and Javier Mascherano’s departure, Ernesto Valverde’s men cleverly scouted the defender and given how affordable he was, Mina’s acquisition is a good signing. Pace, power and comfortable on the ball, he fits the Barcelona mould and can very much go about his work without the pressure of a huge price tag hanging over him.
EVERTON TO RB LEIPZIG
FEE: LOAN UNTIL END OF SEASON
Prior to Everton’s home clash with Leicester, Allardyce said the 20-year-old prospect would not be leaving the club. But, in fairness to Lookman – a kid desperate for game time – he forced through a loan move out of Goodison Park. And, what an opportunity he now has to experience a new league, a new country and truly find himself as a player.
There’s an element of mystery surrounding the England under-21 attacker who has made just seven Premier League appearances – with only one coming from the start – since joining from Charlton for £11m in January 2017.
Is it his attitude in training? Is he too raw? Is he just a winger or can he play up top? These questions have been raised but Lookman is a young man with great potential and talent and just needs to be given a go regularly.
Clearly neither Ronald Koeman or Allardyce entrusted just that in him so it is somewhat of a coup from Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men to secure his signature. Again, it’s another move which is very much a win-win for all involved.
BARCELONA TO INTER MILAN
Another case of a player in need of a fresh start. Rafinha’s career had gone completely stale at the Camp Nou with the Brazilian surplus to requirements and wondering where he was heading. But, given the fact he is only 24, the dynamic midfielder – brother of Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara – still has time on his side to prove his worth.
Inter Milan is a great switch for him. Rafinha is used to being around a big club and he’s really got a chance to show what he is made of at the Nerazzurri – and if he impresses – there’s plenty of reasons why his loan can be turned into a permanent deal. The key for the La Masia youth graduate will be staying fit and ensuring he is always available for selection – something that has been far from a given over the past two seasons.
GENOA TO MONACO
Buying in the January transfer window is usually all about impulse – bringing in personnel to make a difference there and then. But, sometimes, you have to look to the future. Monaco, who have had to do their fair share of selling over the past 12 months, are known for buying youth and turning them into stars so this deal fits their policy.
16-year-old Pellegri is raw but has bags of potential and has already been scoring in Serie A. It’s a huge move for the promising Italian and it will be difficult for the Genoa-born man to adapt initially and fulfill the large expectations placed on his shoulders at the Stade Louis II. There’s no hiding from that fact given the fee involved was a world record for someone of his age.
PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN TO TOTTENHAM
By no means least on this list, the new Whites signing can rejuvenate his career with Mauricio Pochettino’s outfit and is an exciting signing. The Brazilian was unlucky the high-profile arrivals of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe brought to an end what had been a stellar few seasons for the 25-year-old at PSG but Moura will be chomping at the bit to have a clean slate with Spurs.
He can deliver goals and assists by the bucket-load and will offer a new dimension of pace and width on either flank. While a return to the Brazilian international fold won’t be at the forefront of his mind, Moura has plenty more to give and is available for the second round Champions League clash against Juventus.
Manchester City may be running away with the Premier League title and are still on course for an unprecedented quadruple, but that didn’t stop Pep Guardiola attempting to boost his squad with his pursuit of Riyad Mahrez.
Leicester City didn’t make it easy for the league leaders though, quoting a £95million asking price for the Algerian.
While City reportedly balked at that fee, they did offer a player plus cash deal in response.
Ultimately, the money wasn’t enough to persuade Leicester to sell but there’s been some speculation over which City player was offered in the proposal.
Here’s a look at three players who could’ve been offered as a makeweight in the bid, and could yet be used in a potential summer move as Guardiola has hinted at trying to sign the midfielder for a third time then.
Everton secured the loan signing of Eliaquim Mangala in the closing hours of the transfer window but the Frenchman could well have been offered to Leicester prior to that.
With Aymeric Laporte’s arrival and immediate induction into the first eleven, Mangala dropped further down the pecking order. Leicester could do with a boost in central defence as well with Wes Morgan pushing on at 34 now and only Harry Maguire proving to be a mainstay in that role.
However, The Foxes may have been in the hunt for a midfielder to help fill the void Mahrez’s departure would’ve left. Ultimately, a loan to the Toffees may have been the defender’s preferred option as well, one where he joins other high-profile acquisitions at Goodison Park and wouldn’t have to take a pay-cut.
After being the colossal figure in midfield that ushered City into the Premier League’s elite alongside the likes of David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure has been confined to the fringes of the first-team ever since Guardiola’s arrival.
He’s made only 11 appearances this season and just five in the league. While the 34-year-old is past his prime, he still has plenty to offer a mid-table side like Leicester and brings with him a wealth of experience as well.
There’s no doubt the veteran would have improved Leicester and Toure himself has been chasing more game time considering his decision to come out of international retirement. The main stumbling block over a potential switch, however, would have been his wage demands.
With first-team opportunities limited at the Etihad Stadium, Tosin Adarabioyo would’ve been keen on a move away. The 20-year-old has made a handful of impressive appearances for the Citizens this season, one of them in the Carabao Cup win over the Foxes in December.
Adarabioyo would’ve offered Claude Puel’s side a solid option in defence and potentially been a fixture in their team for years to come. While his wages would fall more kindly within Leicester’s budget, his lack of experience would certainly have been a drawback.
Arsenal offered just £12 million for West Brom defender Jonny Evans in a late failed bid, according to reports. Albion had valued Evans at £30million in the last window and it would have taken a bid of over £20million to even bring them to the table this time.
The Daily Telegraph reports that both Manchester City and Everton were rumoured to be eyeing up the Northen Ireland international as well, but the 30-year-old will be staying at The Hawthorns until the summer at least.
Sky Sports reports that the Gunners may not have been able to spend more due to the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s £56million price tag. Should Evans go in the summer he may cost a new side just £3million due to a reported relegation release clause in his contract.
Wantaway Leicester playmaker Riyad Mahrez is said to have been left “depressed” after Man City walked away from a deal, having been quoted a price of £95million for the Algeria international, according to reports. Sky Sports reports a friend of the 26-year-old commented: “By my calculations, Leicester would have made £59.8million profit on the player they bought from Le Havre for £350,000.”
Pep Guardiola was said to have earmarked Mahrez as a potential late target for the Premier League leaders after the blow of losing Leroy Sane to injury. City made bids of £50million and £60million, but the Foxes bosses would not budge, according to The Sun.
Manchester United defender Daley Blind saw his hopes of a move to Roma scuppered after Reds bosses demanded a permanent deal, the Daily Express reports. The Serie A side were reportedly only prepared to take the 27-year-old on Holland international on loan. Roma ultimately went for Sporting Lisbon’s Argentinian left-back Jonathan Silva, 23, who will be in Italy for the rest of season.
Crystal Palace offered Lille up to £16m for captain Ibrahim Amadou, although the French side pulled the defender off the market, Sky Sports said. Amadou, 24, was reportedly keen to move to Selhurst Park, where bosses had offered to take him on loan until the end of the season for an initial £2m fee, with a £14m obligation to buy at the end of the campaign.
Mesut Ozil is said to have turned down a £435,000-a-week contract with a Chinese club before signing a new deal with Arsenal, The Sun reports. The Germany midifielder, 29, is rumoured to have been a target for Guangzhou Evergrande, who were prepared to pay him around £22m-per-year. The deal would have far exceeded his new contract at the Emirates said to be worth £350k-a-week.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jack Harrison: The 21-year-old was a Stoke target before signing with Manchester City from sister club New York City of Major League soccer. The midfielder has been loaned to Middlesborough.
Bryan Cristante: The 22-year-old Italy midfielder, currently on loan to Atalanta, would like to test himself in the Premier League, goal.com reports.