Extortionate fees and eye-catching signings: an overview of the January transfer window.
Often portrayed as the more chaotic and unglamorous of the two windows, this January superseded the drama of the last few years. With a tendency to panic buy, top tier clubs ensured that their squads were bolstered and ludicrous price tags were met on deadline day. With fans steadily returning to stadiums and seasons reaching their pivotal and definitive hour, here are the new names to look out for.
The biggest transfer news hitting the SPFL on deadline day was most definitely Welsh international Aaron Ramsey joining Rangers on loan. Reports in Italy suggest Rangers would pay an initial fee of around £2 million to gain his services, but sporting director Ross Wilson has stated that the wage contribution that was agreed is well within the initial transfer and wage budget Rangers set out. It was understood that Juventus had several other deals agreed across Europe who would offer a greater financial contribution, but Ramsey’s preferred club was always Rangers. Ex Wales and Rangers performance director, Adam Owen stated that “he’s without a doubt the biggest player (to move to the SPFL) since Gazza” joined Rangers in 1995. Aside from his fitness problems, Ramsey was an elite attacking midfielder for Arsenal. He never seemed to fully find his feet at Juventus due to injury issues, but he does bring a certain quality to the Ibrox that all Rangers supporters are eagerly waiting to experience. Additionally, 27 January saw 19-year-old winger Amad Diallo join the Scottish outfit on a loan deal from Manchester United. He immediately marked his arrival by scoring just five minutes into his debut against Ross County. In addition to these marquee acquisitions, Van Bronckhorst strengthened his squad by signing James Sands from New York City FC on loan and Mateusz Zukowski on a permanent deal from Lechia Gdansk.
On the other side of Glasgow, Celtic have acquired five players for just over £5 million, finally proving that Postecoglou’s power is increasing, and his new seamless system is most certainly displaying title-challenging traits. New signings Reo Hatate joining from Kawasaki Frontale and Matt O’Riley from MK Dons are already thriving and enjoyed the bristling intensity of Wednesday night’s 2-1 win against Hearts. O’Riley was voted man of the match on his debut, marking the occasion with an assist. He admitted in his post-match interview that he had never experienced an atmosphere like it before and was an instant hit with the Celtic fanbase. Postecoglou also added important depth to his squad by acquiring Daizan Maeda from Yokohama F. Marinos, Yosuke Ideguchi from Gamba Osaka and Johnny Kenny from Sligo Rovers. As the old firm draws closer, both Celtic and Rangers’ new January acquisitions will be on display and eager to make their mark on derby day.
“O’Riley was voted man of the match on his debut, marking the occasion with an assist. He admitted in his post-match interview that he had never experienced an atmosphere like it before…”
Elsewhere, Christian Eriksen returned to the Premier League joining Brentford on a short-term deal. Eriksen had not played since suffering a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s match against Finland at Euro 2020. At Aston Villa Phillipe Coutinho was reunited with his old Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard. Lucas Digne was the other addition at Villa Park, already cementing his spot at left-back with an assist on his debut.
Newcastle, as expected, have had a truly tumultuous transfer window. Amongst hundreds of targets, the ceaseless pace of the transfer window was unrelenting for Eddie Howe’s side. £92 million was spent by the Magpies, more than their previous 14 January transfer windows combined. After many years of insufficient financial backing and their fanbase being grounded in a truly bitter reality, a chaos has finally come over the club. Newcastle were in for absolutely everyone. Their window began with Kieran Trippier arriving from Atletico Madrid, setting an immediate tone with this addition of quality to a team lacking motivation. Next came Chris Wood, the towering target man nabbed from Burnley. Following these two acquisitions Newcastle’s win at Leeds United not only boosted their survival bid but cranked up their recruitment drive too. Finally, deadline day saw Howe make his marquee move. Bruno Guimaraes was the riveting rumour turned calculated gamble that all fans had hoped would materialise. With all add-ons being met the club record fee could reach £42 million for the club’s new signing. Now with the midfield looking a little more convincing, Newcastle finally shored up their defence with two experienced names in Dan Burn from Brighton and Matthew Targett from Aston Villa. Now their bid for survival looks far more convincing, concluding their busiest month in recent years.
In London, Arsenal did not manage to add to their senior squad but did let go of Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang to Barcelona on a free transfer. Just down the road at Spurs, Conte sent Tanguy Ndombele to Lyon and confirmed the signings of Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus. Whether they will perform to the standards Spurs require remains to be seen. On Merseyside there was more action, with Liverpool spending £50 million on Porto winger Luis Diaz. The Reds also hoped to nab Fulham starlet Fabio Carvalho, yet the deal fell through despite both clubs agreeing on terms. Now to Everton. With their midfield lacking and their side depleted, Frank Lampard’s first task at the club was shoring up the middle of the pitch with the additions of Van de Beek on loan from Manchester United and Dele Alli on a permanent transfer. Anwar El Ghazi joined their ranks as well, truly bolstering the midfield position that Lampard knows so well.
Premier League clubs spent a total of £302.9 million on 30 permanent signings during the winter transfer window with total expenditure £218.7 million higher than last winter’s total. As always, deadline day was frantic, unrelenting and undeniably exciting as Europe’s top clubs went down to the wire to secure the best transfers of the January window.