The extra cushion and depth for a smooth finish to the end of the season seemed to be a stereotype this window as relatively few clubs put pen to paper. Financial restraints have accounted for teams to sell players rather than sign, but a few kept themselves busy on deadline day based on their progress levels in their respective championship campaigns.
We list down the top five transfers done this January window in the top-flight English football division.
Martin Odegaard to Arsenal (Loan)
Out with the Ö, in with the Ø. Arsenal might have found the perfect replacement for Mesut Ozil. Short term, but this deal could prove efficient.
The term ‘next big thing’ is quite often used in modern times. When the then-16-year old made his debut in the La Liga, he was tagged ‘the next big thing’ and rightly so. The Norwegian kid came with expectations when he signed for Real Madrid in 2015. Since then, he has been spending loan spells with various clubs and getting game time. Just 22 years old but already very well known in the industry.
Odegaard signed about a week ago, and it didn’t take him long for his Gunners debut. The attacking player, given the number 11 jersey, was introduced for a brief period in Arsenal’s 0-0 draw with Manchester United at the Emirates on Saturday.
Mikel Arteta was excited about roping in the midfielder and expressed his desires to include him in his plan till May. The 2003 champions had a horror start to the campaign but are slowly picking up pace. Their lack of scoring goals could be resolved by the creative partnership of Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard.
Takumi Minamino to Southampton (Loan)
The Southampton-Liverpool affair continues in the English Premier League. This time, it was the former with the beneficiary. With no rumors happening throughout the month, the Japanese deal came as a surprise to most. Having inquired about the recruit on Monday morning, the officials were able to complete the medicals on Monday evening. This was the Saints’ lone incoming deal this window.
Is it a good move for both parties? Minamino joined the Anfield based club in December 2019 but hasn’t got enough game time. He scored his first Premier League goal against Crystal Palace this season but took the field for just 6 minutes since then. From a Pool point of view, he could get adjusted to the league and gain some experience.
On the flip side, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side might be a tad late to get him ready for the meeting with Manchester United on Tuesday but he will be part of his system for the rest of the six months. Southampton does not have an option to buy him permanently but could use the 26-year old player to replicate the Saints’ start at the beginning of the season.
Moises Caicedo to Brighton (£4m)
Brighton and Hove Albion have beaten Manchester United and other premium clubs for Moises Caicedo’s signature. The Seagulls finally secured him on deadline day for £4m in a four and a half year deal and could be one of their best deals in the market.
Graham Potter’s men have been long admirers of the youngster and are now pleased with his arrival. Caicedo was signed from an Ecuadorian side Independiente del Valle, and it will be the first time he leaves his hometown. The central midfielder, blessed with extraordinary box-to-box abilities, has already debuted for his national team and will look to help Brighton avoid relegation.
Amad Diallo to Manchester United (£40m)
Manchester United’s only inclusion this window came early in January when they secured Amad Diallo. The British media reported that they had to pay an initial fee of £21 million and £19 million later as add-ons. Will this prove to be a bargain in the coming future is left to see.
In October 2020, the Red Devils agreed to a four-and-half-year deal with Atlanta, with an option to extend another year. The 18-year old was brought into the club as a future asset but could find his name in any matchday squad. The Ivorian player made his first game in a United thread against Liverpool in the U-23 game. He opened the scoring early on and scored a panenka penalty, later auditioning for the first-team role.
Having watched him personally, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a lot of faith in the winger and is hopeful he shines bright.
Willian Jose to Wolverhampton (Loan)
Another loan deal and an important one for the club is Wolves’ transfer of striker Willian Jose. The Brazalian completed his loan move from Real Sociedad with an option to make it permanent in the summer.
The 29-year old was Sociedad’s top scorer last season and will look to solve the Midlands club goal-scoring drought. Since Raul Jiminez’s injury in November, Nuno Espirito’s side have won just a single game to slip into the bottom half of the points table. Record signing Fabio Silva has failed to deliver so far, and thus, the boss believes that he will turn things around.
Nuno praised Jose for his talent and experience, and says he can hold the ball while playing on a high line. The Portuguese coach gave the Brazilian a feel of English football with a start against Chelsea, and his first full game in a Wolves shirt in the 0-1 loss at Crystal Palace. While he is yet to find the back of the net, Wolves fans will pray he comes good and offers much more than just goals.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Shaun Botterill