After lesser funds, caused by empty stadiums, and a lack of pre-season have seen some of the big clubs enduring a topsy-turvy first-half to their Premier League campaigns, this winter transfer window couldn't get any more important.
And despite the popular belief that the winter window comes with the scope of doing very little business, history is evident that Premier League clubs have managed some of their best imports in the mid-season window.
Here are five such examples:
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Arsenal (2018)
Before Nicolas Pepe’s €79 million transfer, Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang held the record as Arsenal’s most expensive club signing. A €63.75 million transfer from Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund in January 2018, Aubameyang’s move to north London is fondly remembered as the last transfer activity of Arsene Wenger’s reign.
Aubameyang scored 10 goals in 13 appearances in his debut campaign, and since then, he has become one of the most prolific strikers in the Premier League.
In his second season at the Emirates, the 31-year-old scored 22 goals to share the Golden Boot of the 2018-19 season with Liverpool pair Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane.
The 2019-20 season is perhaps Aubameyang’s best campaign in an Arsenal shirt, from scoring 22 goals to earning the club captaincy, and then leading the Gunners to a record 14th FA Cup title. In due process, Aubameyang became the first African player in the competition’s history to captain a side in triumph.
The Gabon international currently has netted three times in 15 games and the Arsenal faithful are hopeful their club talisman rediscovers his scoring instincts.
Luis Suarez to Liverpool (2011)
Luis Suarez’s €26.5 million from Ajax was perhaps a significant bargain, and the Uruguayan youngster wasted no time in announcing himself as a Liverpool player.
Close control and quick feet, Suarez gained Liverpool’s attention from his awe-inspiring 2010 World Cup campaign, and he finished his debut season with four goals in 13 games.
While his transfer deal was overshadowed by Fernando Torres’ €58.5 million move to Chelsea, Suarez made the most of his three-and-a-half-season spell at Anfield with 82 goals for the club in 133 appearances.
The Uruguayan won the Golden Boot Award in the 2013-14 season for scoring an incredible 31 goals in 33 games, whilst leading Liverpool to a second-place finish on the league table.
A two-time Liverpool's Player of the Season, Luis Suarez remains as one of the most gifted attackers to play for the club, and in the Premier League.
Nemanja Vidic to Manchester United (2006)
Sir Alex Ferguson had a keen eye for raw talents, and the €10.50 million signature of Nemanja Vidic from Spartak Moscow elevated the Scotsman’s business capabilities.
Vidic, then 24, partnered Rio Ferdinand, a one-time British record transfer holder, at the heart of the Manchester United defence from 2006 till 2014; and this pairing has gone down as the greatest defensive partnership in Premier League history.
In eight and a half years with the Red Devils, Vidic won 5 Premier League titles, 3 League Cups, the Champions League and the Club World Cup.
Bruno Fernandes to Manchester United (2020)
Another impactful January transfer for Manchester United is Bruno Fernandes. A recent recruit for the club, the Portuguese has changed the dynamics of the squad and has brought back the attacking brand of football that was missed at Old Trafford. United paid an overall deal of €68 million to Sporting CP for the 25-year old.
In 30 Premier League games for the 20-time champions, Bruno has contributed 19 goals and 14 assists. The only player in Premier League history to be involved in more goals in their first 30 games is United legend Andrew Cole (37).
What makes these numbers even special is that Bruno’s exploits have come in midfield. Fernandes has won the Player of the month award as many as six times in nine months, while being crowned the Premier League player of the month thrice.
Bruno Fernandes has been a catalyst for Manchester United’s forward push and is well-placed to turn Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Red Devils into title contenders once again.
Virgil Van Dijk to Liverpool (2018)
After a failed attempt in June 2017, Liverpool returned with a successful bid of €84.65m to sign Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton in 2018. Initially brushed off as a 'waste of money', the deal is now considered as a perfect marriage made in football.
Van Dijk has become a central core of Liverpool’s defence, and his 20 clean sheets in the 2018-19 Premier League campaign was a sheer display of his rock-solid demeanour.
The Dutchman’s ability to read the game and aerial threats during set-pieces has made him one of the top-ranked central defenders in the sporting world, and after leading Liverpool to the 2018-19 Champions League crown, his popularity skyrocketed when he and Liverpool ended their long wait for a Premier League title.
Van Dijk has also won a FIFA Club World Cup and a UEFA Super Cup.
Feature Image Courtesy: AFP / Shaun Botterill