The January transfer window is upon us, and many clubs in the Premier League will be looking to strengthen their squads to take them to the next level in a bid to reach their season goals. But, as always, this particular window is far more complicated than the one in the summer. This is because deals become a lot more complicated to complete due to in most cases, clubs will want to have a replacement in before parting with a player – which creates a vicious and time-consuming cycle.
Nonetheless, Premier League clubs have never struggled to bring in an abundance of talent, and a lot of January signings have gone on to make a mark on English football. Here is The Sportman’s Premier League January signings XI.
GK – Martin Dubravka
The Newcastle United shot-stopper graced the Premier League in 2018 on an initial loan deal from Sparta Prague, before signing permanently in the following summer. He had an instant impact on the Magpies with his impressive reflexes and saves. The Slovakian international has so far kept 30 clean sheets in 108 Premier League matches.
RB – Branislav Ivanovic
This former Chelsea defender turned out to be one hell of a signing when he joined in 2008 from Lokomotiv Moscow. Not only was the Serbian a solid defender, but he also had a talent for contributing at the other end of the pitch for goals and assists, which of course is very common in the modern day full-back. Ivanovic had a very fruitful spell in west London, winning: three Premier Leagues, three FA Cups, one EFL Cup, one FA Community Shield, one Champions League and one Europa League.
CB – Virgil van Dijk
We have just passed the four-year anniversary of Liverpool announcing that they had agreed a deal to sign the Dutchman from Southampton. Van Dijk has been integral to all the good things happening at Anfield in the last few years and has established himself as one of the best defenders in the world. He may have cost a staggering £75million fee but everyone can safely agree he has so far been worth every penny. He so far has a Premier League title, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup to his name. Not a bad four years at all.
CB – Nemanja Vidic
This former Manchester United defender was effectively a pillar of the backline under Sir Alex Ferguson. He was an unknown entity when he joined in 2006 from Spartak Moscow in a £7million deal – an absolute steal. A 24-year-old with a lot to prove at one of the biggest clubs in the world. Not only did he exceed expectations, he became one of the best defenders in the world and one of the very best the top-flight of English football has ever seen. The Serbian had a very enjoyable eight-and-a-half-year spell at Old Trafford, winning: five Premier League titles, five FA Community Shields, three EFL Cups, one Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup.
LB – Patrice Evra
A fellow United star and a teammate of Vidic, Frenchman Evra was another shrewd January capture in 2006 by Ferguson and the Red Devils. He joined from Monaco in a £5.5million deal – we just don’t get many deals like this anymore. Evra had a slow start to life in Manchester, but when he came to life, he was a key cog in the machine and helped United to 15 trophies.
CDM – Javier Mascherano
This Argentine midfield warrior first came to the Premier League via West Ham United, but it was his move to Liverpool that earned him a place in this glamorous XI. He joined the club on an 18-month loan deal in 2007 before moving permanently in 2008. Nicknamed “El Jefecito” (“The Little Chief”), the Argentine was a tactically astound footballer who read the game impeccably. His vision and passing range were to be admired, and he was well known for his tackling abilities too. He may not have won any silverware at Anfield, but his three years there were quite memorable.
CM – Bruno Fernandes
Another Man United player makes the cut, and for good reason. The Portuguese playmaker moved to Old Trafford in January 2020 for a £47million fee, and it was worth every penny. He had an instant impact on the Red Devils with his creative abilities and eye for goal, and has been the catalyst for their recent revival. He has already become the first player to win the Premier League Player of the Month award four times in the same calendar year and although his form may have tailed off this campaign, on his day he’s impossible to play against.
CM – Youri Tielemans
One of Leicester City’s best pieces of business in their recent history, the Belgian midfielder has all the attributes of any great midfielder. He is just as effective defensively as he is at going forward and his impressive form for the Foxes has had his name floated around for a move to one of the Premier League giants or even to one of the big boys abroad. He has become a firm fan-favourite at Leicester and gave them another glorious moment in their recent history with the goal that won them the 2021 FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.
The Emirates FA Cup Final, 2021.
RW – Coutinho
It may be easy to forget how good this man was with how his career has nose-dived since switching Liverpool for Barcelona, but Coutinho was one of the greatest assets in the Premier League who was integral for the Reds since his transfer from Inter Milan in 2012 for £8.5million. In 152 appearances, the Brazilian scored 41 goals and provided 35 assists. He was a joy to watch and it is a real shame that things have gone sour for him since he left the club in 2018.
ST – Luis Suarez
The Uruguayan striker was an outstanding player for Liverpool between 2011 and 2014, developing into one of the most clinical forwards in the world. Suarez showcased the traits of the modern centre-forward, who could not only score goals but create as well. He was magic with the ball at his feet and with 69 goals and 23 assists in 110 appearances, he was a great loss to English football after his whole biting escapade at the 2014 World Cup which coincided with a move to Barcelona, where he won the Champions League.
LW – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Things may not look good for the former Arsenal captain at the moment, but when he joined the club in 2018 it was a real signal of intent from the Gunners as he joined from Borussia Dortmund in a then-club record fee of £56million. His pace has always been one of his greatest strengths, which has seen him torment Premier League defenders just through sprinting. But to add to that, he is clever with the ball at his feet and can create chances just as well as finishing them off. You won’t find many better goalscorers signed in January than this man. He fired the Gunners to FA Cup glory in 2020, while also claiming the FA Community shield the same year.