The transfer window during January is usually dwarfed in comparison to the summer season, but this January has seen clubs open up their purses for key players in record signings. The Premier League has registered its second-highest January in history, with clubs spending £295 million – a clear sign that the pandemic’s impact on the sport is now behind it. Tottenham Hotspur were the most active club during the window in England, while Juventus hogged the spotlight for their record signing of Dusan Vlahovic.
As the January transfer window comes to a close and four months of non-stop football action ahead of us, we take a look at the top transfer hits and misses made by the clubs across Europe, with focus on the deadline day:
DUSAN VLAHOVIC TO JUVENTUS
Duhan Vlahovic’s decision to move to Juventus from Fiorentina is the most valuable transfer of the January transfer window. The 22-year old striker’s rejection of offers from both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur has raised eyebrows from everyone, but the Serbian star is confident of his future with The Old Lady.
Vlahovic will have a three-year contract for $90 million at the club, and the youngster is seen as the potential successor to Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin. Juventus have fallen out of form in Serie A over the past two seasons, and are currently sitting fifth in a tournament that they have dominated for long. Massimiliano Allegri will be making Vlahovic the focal point of his attack from now on, and the youngster’s career trajectory will be keenly watched by everyone.
FERRAN TORRES TO BARCELONA
Barcelona will be happy with their signings during the transfer window, as they signed two strikers to join the squad at Camp Nou. The Catalan club’s attack has been blunt during the first half of the season, mainly due to the untimely retirement of Sergio Aguero and injuries to Ansu Fati and Martin Braithwaite. To bolster his team’s quest for a turnaround in fortunes and a Champions League spot, Xavi has convinced the board to splurge, mainly to acquire Manchester City’s Ferran Torres.
Barca’s financial troubles continued to trouble them, with Samuel Umtiti taking a pay cut to allow the £46.7 million transfer to happen. The 21-year-old Spaniard was able to integrate well at the Etihad, but a stint at Camp Nou could see him become a regular player at the front.
AUBAMEYANG JOINS BARCA ON A FREE TRANSFER
Amid all the financial troubles that are plaguing Barcelona, they received a blessing on the final day of the transfer window. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be joining the Blaugrana on a free transfer and has reportedly agreed to take a pay cut with his new team. The addition of Aubameyang will allow Xavi to have a plethora of strikers to choose from, so he can manage injuries and suspensions with much more ease.
The deal is a sour one for Arsenal, as Aubameyang has been a key part of the squad for years. The 32-year-old has scored 92 goals in 163 games for the Gunners but was stripped of the captaincy after disciplinary issues surfaced in December. While Arsenal will be making huge savings of around £25 million from the wages, Mikel Arteta will be left with just two strikers to finish the rest of the season.
LUIS DIAZ TO LIVERPOOL
Liverpool had an eventful day on the final day of the transfer window, with the club outflanking the Spurs to sign Luis Diaz but failing to complete the transfer for Fulham’s Fabio Carvalho. Jurgen Klopp wanted to sign Cravalho and loan him back to Fulham for the rest of the season, but the deal failed to go through in time. With their intent clear, the Reds are likely to finish the signing during the summer transfer season.
Porto winger Luis Diaz will join Liverpool on a five-and-a-half-year deal, with Jurgen Klopp managing to convince Porto to let the star go for less than the release clause. The deal is worth £49 million with all the add-ons and is by any means a potential steal for the Reds. The competition from Spurs only added to the drama, with Antonio Conte ready to pay up to £46 million.
Along with Diogo Jota, who joined the club in the summer, Liverpool have steadily strengthened their attacking lineup this season. They will now hope to catch up to the relentless Manchester City machine and try their fortunes at the continental stage with a world-class attacking lineup.
OTHER PREMIER LEAGUE TRANSFERS
Premier League clubs had an action-packed final day, with a total of 12 transfers taking place across England on January 31st. Tottenham managed to finish the signings of Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski from Juventus, while Newcastle signed Dan Burn for £13m. Manchester City signed Julian Alvarez but loaned him back to River Plate for the rest of the season.
Brentford, meanwhile, have signed Christian Eriksen on a free transfer. Dele Alli joins Everton from Tottenham, while Ousmane Dembele will remain with Barcelona for now, as Chelsea were not willing to spend heavy sums of money on the winger despite their interest in him.
LEEDS MAKE NO NEW SIGNINGS
Marcelo Bielsa has not made any new additions to his squad at Elland Road. The Whites are suffering from an injury crisis and poor form, and it was expected that they will bring in fresh talent to bounce back in the second half of the season. Bielsa is very particular about bringing in newcomers to the team, given his unique philosophy of football. The only reported offer was for Brenden Aaronson, but the deal fell through as Red Bull Salzburg were unwilling to let the youngster leave. With no new signings, Leeds United will have to rely on their existing talent to climb their way up to the top half of the table.
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