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January transfer window: Winners and losers

The January transfer window has slammed shut once more, leaving Premier League managers to work with the squads they have left for the rest of the season. Ultimately, only results over the next few months will prove whether teams had a good or a bad window, with deadline day seeing the usual chaos and some surprising late moves for players. Here is how the initial winners and losers look in the Premier League after a relatively quiet January window saw a handful of big transfers fail to come to fruition as time ticked away on Monday.

 

January transfer window: Winners and losers

 

Winners

 

Newcastle

It was a tricky transfer window for Newcastle, who either resisted the temptation to spend their new riches on blockbuster deals or were simply unable to persuade stars to join a fight against relegation. Defensive targets like Sven Botman and Diego Carlos could not be landed but La Liga winner and England right-back Kieran Trippier was a stunning first signing of the new era.

Eddie Howe’s other defensive reinforcements – Dan Burn from Brighton and Matt Targett from Aston Villa – are not exciting arrivals but represent upgrades on what Newcastle had already. Newcastle overpaid to sign Burnley striker Chris Wood, although weakening a relegation rival may prove priceless and a late move for Reims forward Hugo Ekitike fell through on deadline day. Interest in Jesse Lingard at Manchester United and Dele Alli at Tottenham also came to nothing before the window closed.

It is the capture of Bruno Guimaraes on a £35 million deal from Lyon that is the most exciting of the January transfer window for Newcastle, though. The midfielder might not live up to ambitious comparisons to Kevin De Bruyne but he is a player Howe can build a future team around. Whether or not a busy window, with spending totalling close to £100 million, can truly be called a hit or a miss will depend on whether Newcastle can climb away from the trap door, however.

 

Liverpool

Liverpool continue to operate cleverly in the market, swooping in to land Porto’s much-desired forward Luis Diaz, beating off competition from a host of other clubs.

Attacking reinforcements were needed at Anfield, especially with Mohamed Salah yet to put pen to paper on a new contract, and Diaz will help to freshen up what has become an ageing squad for Jurgen Klopp. A late attempt to snap up Fulham hotshot Fabio Carvalho ran out of time for the Reds, though.

 

Aston Villa

Arguably the best business of the January transfer window was done at Villa. Philippe Coutinho is one of the top stars to have moved in January, with the Brazilian willing to reunite with Steven Gerrard by ending what had become a nightmare spell at Barcelona, where he was unwanted due to his high wages.

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The draw of Gerrard cannot be understated and he also landed one of the best left-backs in the Premier League, Lucas Digne, who had dramatically fallen out with Rafael Benitez at Everton. That the Toffees sanctioned the sale of one of their best players, then sacked Benitez just days later, was a curious move. Calum Chambers adds defensive versatility and Robin Olsen is a solid understudy for Emiliano Martinez in goal. Villa now have the tools to challenge for Europe.

 

Losers

 

Arsenal

Mikel Arteta appears to have focused on trimming a highly bloated squad at Arsenal, who let Chambers and Sead Kolasinac leave on permanent deals and loaned out a host of fringe players, including England international Ainsley Maitland-Niles and striker Folarin Balogun.

Arsenal attempted to find a home for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the former club captain having been left in the cold by Arteta following disciplinary issues, with a rumoured move to Barcelona belatedly confirmed. Arsenal made no senior signings in the January transfer window but no longer have the Aubameyang issue to manage over the remaining weeks of what has been a difficult campaign.

 

Manchester United

Manchester United have also been weakened by their business over the window. Allowing Donny van de Beek to go out on loan makes sense but rejuvenating Anthony Martial should have been towards the top of Ralf Rangnick’s to-do list. With Martial allowed to join Sevilla on loan and Mason Greenwood’s future at the club in severe doubt, Rangnick’s attacking options now look much more limited.

The midfield signing fans hoped for also failed to arrive at United in a January transfer window to forget as they desperately try to secure Champions League football again next season.

Tottenham

It was a case of missed opportunities for Tottenham, whose head coach Antonio Conte must be tearing his hair out at the failure to land his top targets. A deal for Diaz appeared likely before Liverpool moved in, while Adama Traore opted for Barcelona over a move to north London.

Late deals for Juventus fringe duo Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski helped cushion the blow for Tottenham, who finally opted to give up on Dele Alli, who joined Everton, and also cut their losses on club record signing Tanguy Ndombele by allowing him to return to Lyon on loan.

Conte is a coach who makes strong demands of his chairman and it is likely he will be left very frustrated by Daniel Levy’s failure to bring in top-class additions to a squad light on quality.

 


 

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