The offices of most European football clubs stayed open way past regular on deadline day of the winter transfer window, with many footballers making last ditch moves all across the continent. The biggest movers this January were Erling Haaland who moved from RB Salzburg to Borussia Dortmund, Yannick Carrasco who moved from China to Atletico Madrid and Emre Can, who got his desired move out of Juventus back to his native Germany.
While a few of these transfers were premeditated and went as per plan, the winter transfer window sprang up a few surprises. Here are five transfer that one couldn’t have seen coming this January.
Christian Eriksen to Inter Milan
With just six months left on his contract, it was no surprise that the Danish playmaker moved out of Tottenham Hotspur, but signing for Inter Milan came as a surprise to many. Still only 27, Eriksen is in the prime of his career and had interest from Barcelona, Real Madrid and many more top clubs if rumours were to be believed. Despite those interests, it was Europa League side Inter Milan who secured his services with a 20m bid. The move is all the more surprising since Eriksen has seldom played in a three-man defensive setup, the one preferred by Inter manager Antonio Conte.
Odion Ighalo to Manchester United
The Nigerian forward was the talk of the town in the Premier League in 2015 when he scored goals week in week out for Watford, forming a stellar partnership with club captain Troy Deeney. A couple of seasons later, his scoring tenacity wasn’t the same anymore and he was shipped off to Chinese Super League. Ighalo would have expected to retire in the oblivion of east Asia, but as fate may have it, he will now be leading the line for his dream club, Manchester United. What was surprising this deadline day transfer is how little was reported on this deal till the final few hours of the transfer window.
Ashley Young to Inter Milan
The 34-year-old winger had six months to go on his Manchester United contract, and Inter Milan swooped in with a 1.5 million offer to sign the Englishman. Manchester United however may end up on the wrong side of this deal as their defenders have been struggling with injuries throughout this season. The left back position in general has been a concern for the Reds, with Luke Shaw struggling with fitness and Brandon Williams unable to make that spot his own. Young was still a regular starter for Manchester United, but despite that he was allowed to leave on a meagre transfer sum, making this one of the surprise moves of the winter.
🗣 "I love Newcastle. I love the people. I love northerners!"— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) January 31, 2020
Danny Rose on making the move back up north. #NUFC
Danny Rose to Newcastle
The English left-back’s loan move to Newcastle United also raised eyebrows amongst a few, since Spurs haven’t nailed on a replacement. Rose and Ben Davies used to alternate in that left-back role for the London side, but now the responsibility falls solely on the Welshman, which could be daunting considering his team still are playing in three competitions. For Rose however, a move to Newcastle almost guarantees him a starting place and augment his chances of making the cut for the Euros squad for the Three Lions.
Ryan Bennett to Leicester City
This transfer also caught most of the British media off guard, as there was little to no reporting on this prior to a confirmation from the Foxes. The move however raises more questions than answers, as Bennett was a sure starter for Wolverhampton Wanderers, and was crucial to their plans with Willy Boly and Ruben Vinagre still struggling for fitness. Bennett joining Leicester also seems a surprise, with Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu their established first choice defenders, with Wes Morgan still an able deputy for the duo.
Feature image: AFP/ Oli Scarff