January Transfer Window Review
The January Transfer Window is over for another season and it’s safe to say that it didn’t make too many big headlines. The current global pandemic has had an enormous effect on club finances across the world and the Premier League has been no exception. At the close of the window, Premier League clubs had collectively spent a total of £70 million in transfer fees. Nearly a third of that total being the £25 million fee to make Said Benrahma’s loan to West Ham permanent. The £70 million spent is the lowest total spend in January since 2012. Not exactly a wealth of activity to review right?
Not necessarily. There were still plenty of deals done. Plenty of loan deals in particular. There were still a number of clubs who needed to make important acquisitions last month and did so. So, who managed to strengthen in key areas? Let’s take a look at all the major headlines from a very un-major January. Here is the January Transfer Window Review.
Arteta bolsters his squad
Where else do you start a January Transfer Window Review? Arsenal were always going to be one of the more active clubs in the market this winter. As we’ve explored before, Mikel Arteta came into January with plenty of things to think about. In truth, the Spaniard’s hands were tied financially before Mesut Ozil’s departure. The 32 year old midfielder eventually agreed to mutually terminate his contract with Arsenal and left to play in Turkey. With that, the German was off the wage bill, and being the highest earner at the club, freeing up some finances for the Gunners to act.
Ozil was not the only player to have left the North London club this month. Central defenders, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, were also released ending up in Germany and Greece respectively. There were also loan deals for some of the younger players. Joe Willock heading to Newcastle United and West Brom fighting off Leicester City and Southampton to secure Ainsley Maitland-Niles on the final day of the window.
As well as outgoings, Arsenal were one of the more active clubs in terms of brining players in. Despite the recent improvement in form and the emergence of Emile Smith-Rowe as an important creative player, a central attacking midfielder was a top priority for Arteta. The signing of Real Madrid youngster Martin Odegaard on loan until the end of the season could prove to be a shrewd move. There is no doubting the talent of the 22 year old Norwegian and he certainly has a point to prove to his parent club. Elsewhere, Matt Ryan was signed from Brighton as a back up goalkeeper to Berdt Leno. A signing that could prove be instantly important after Leno’s red card against Wolves and current suspension.
— Gurjit (@GurjitAFC) January 29, 2021
Liverpool attempt to patch up the defense
It’s an understatement to say that Liverpool’s defensive injury list looks bleak. Joel Matip recently joining Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez as long term absentees, although he is currently the only one who has been officially ruled out for the rest of the season. It goes without saying then, that Klopp had one real area of concern this January.
The injuries have recently seen captain Jordan Henderson and Fabinho (until he got injured too) moved from midfield to central defense. This has not only weakened the defense but also removed two important players from the centre of the pitch; no doubt part of the reason Liverpool have struggled attacking wise recently.
After Matip was officially ruled out for the rest of the season late in the window, the club was left with little choice but to act quickly. Signing Ozan Kabak from struggling Schalke on loan until the end of the season and securing the permanent transfer of Ben Davis from Championship side Preston. Neither player promises to light up the league. Neither cost that much either but Liverpool do now have two recognised Centre-backs. They will now hope to finally move at least one their important midfielders further up the pitch.
Manchester United continue building
Across the M62 in Manchester, the red half of the city have been quietly doing business all January. It was never really going to be possible to top last year’s winter window with Bruno Fernandes having been nothing short of a revelation since signing from Sporting Lisbon. This time around, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s business can be split into three categories: Trimming his squad, Loaning out young players and Ahmad Diallo.
First of all, the signing of Diallo from Atalanta was originally agreed in the summer and completed early last month. The 19 year old has since gone straight into first team training and has played two games for the under 23’s. Scoring 3 goals and 3 assists against Liverpool and Blackburn. The right sided Winger has wasted no time in impressing Solskjaer, who has himself suggested it won’t be “too long” until we see Diallo making his first team debut.
In terms of outgoings, talented youngsters James Garner and Tahith Chong been brought back and re-sent on loan to Nottingham Forest and Club Brugge. MK Dons have secured the services of right back Ethan Laird. While summer signing Facundo Pellistri will continue his development at Deportivo Alaves. Meanwhile, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Marcos Rojo have left the club on permanent deals earlier in the window.
Amad Diallo has been directly involved in 6 goals [3G & 3A] in 2 appearances for Man Utd U23s
Unbelievable start to life in Manchester. 🇨🇮 pic.twitter.com/z8YyVSyCd3
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 5, 2021
Wolves get some firepower
Similarly to Liverpool, a very serious injury to an crucial first team player has had a very big effect on the Midlands club. The head injury sustained by Raul Jimenez against Arsenal earlier in the season, saw Wolves lose their first-choice striker. Jimenez, last season’s top scorer for Wolves in the Premier League and all competitions, left a void up front.
With 18 year old Fabio Silva unable to reach similar heights, Wolves have been struggling to score this season. Even forcing Nuno Espirito Santo to tamper with his formation several times, with little success. As the club lingers in the bottom half of the table with a -8 goal difference, a striker was the top priority.
Hopefully for them, the signing of Willian Jose, on loan from Real Sociedad, can fire them up the table. The 29 year old already had 4 goals for the Spanish club this season and Wolves have an option to buy the Brazilian at the end of the season. Similar to Arsenal’s signing of Odegaard, the lack of funds spent means there is little risk in bringing him him. The club also has everything to gain and will hope the striker can have an instant impact.
First official Wolves photoshoot 🙌
— Wolves (@Wolves) February 4, 2021
Aston Villa, Everton and West Ham make notable additions
Elsewhere, Aston Villa, Everton and West Ham made notable additions to their squads. All three clubs have made impressive starts to the season and it seems they’re all intent on continuing their marches up the table.
Aston Villa took advantage of a “strategic opportunity” to complete the £14 million signing of Morgan Sanson from Marseille. The club believing that the current financial crisis has allowed them to sign the target for a much lower price. Chief Executive Christian Purslow stating that:
“…we probably got a player a little bit earlier than we might have budgeted, that’s brilliant for Dean because it gives him a little bit more depth and quality in the midfield areas, it’s great for Morgan because he gets to settle into life in England, life in the Premier League and life at Aston Villa.”
Meanwhile, Everton sealed a deadline day deal for Bournemouth striker and former Manchester United target Josh King. King, who signed a six month contract with the Toffees, could prove a useful back up option to Dominic Calvert-Lewin. With Carlo Ancelotti commenting recently that King will “complete” his current squad as he can “cover all positions up front”.
Lastly, along with making Benrahma’s move from Brentford permanent, David Moyes also added Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard to his West Ham Squad. The London club recently saw their latest addition score twice in their 3-1 win over Aston Villa. Increasing the optimism going into the final third of the season. Paul Merson recently suggesting that West Ham could have themselves a “diamond” if everything works out.
We hope you enjoyed this January Transfer Window Review. Which transfer do you think will be the most important by the end of the season? Will any of them have a major impact on their club?
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