5 of the best January transfers in EPL history
The 2019 January transfer window has officially been open for the last six days, offering teams the opportunity to shop for players to help them continue their assault to achieve their season's objectives.
It also offers players the chance to move elsewhere in search of regular playing time, with the result being that the tabloids are always spinning in full circles with transfer speculations at this time of the year over who is going where and who is interested in who.
The timing of the winter window in mid-season means that there is an unspoken panic mode attached to most transfers, as some of the clubs who desperately seek out players are usually in dire need of them, handing all the cards to the selling team, who take advantage of the situation to hike the prices of their intended targets.
Another factor which comes into play is the fact that very rarely do clubs release their important players in January, as it could cause destability in the team, which has the potential to derail their season as replacing such important players are nigh impossible.
The results of these factors is that most January transfers are usually tagged as flops, as they are either ridiculously overpriced or substandard. There are numerous examples of January arrivals who fall into this category, but for every January transfer flop, there have been undeniable hits. In this piece, we take a look at five players who play(ed) with distinction despite being January arrivals at their respective clubs.
#5 Phillippe Coutinho
Inter Milan - Liverpool
Date of arrival - 30 January 2013
Transfer fee - £8.5m
Having failed to nail down a regular spot at Inter Milan, Phillippe Coutinho arrived Liverpool in January 2012 for a rather meager sum of £8.5m, and to say that the Brazilian made an impact at Anfield would be a massive understatement.
Over the next five years, the 26-year-old cemented his reputation as one of the best midfielders not just in the league, but also in the world, wowing fans with his exquisite array of tricks and close control, while also mastering the art of curling the ball into the back of the net from distance, scoring one screamer after another in this manner.
Coutinho firmly established himself in the Liverpool lineup and was an integral part of The Reds' side which entertained us massively over the last few years, proving a useful part of the Liverpool armoury with his vast array of flicks, tricks, close dribbling and wonderful technique.
Even though he might have fallen out with some fans of the club owing to the acrimonious nature in which he tried to force his Barcelona transfer, there would be no denying the fact that Coutinho was a massive hit for Liverpool.
#4 Virgil Van Dijk
Southampton - Liverpool
Date of arrival - 1 January 2018
Transfer fee - £75m
A lot of eyebrows were raised when Liverpool splashed out £75m in January 2018 to bring Van Dijk to Anfield, making him the most expensive defender in history, but the Dutch international has proved to be worth every penny.
Before his arrival, Liverpool had a joke for a defense, with numerous comical errors costing the team points and titles, but there has been a marked difference since his arrival at Melwood.
Van Dijk possesses an excellent ability to read games and is also adept at positioning himself so that he rarely has to make a tackle, while also bringing his leadership abilities to the fore in marshalling his fellow defenders.
The transformation at Liverpool has been massive since his arrival, as The Reds have been forged into a stable defensive unit. Under Van Dijk's watch, Liverpool have conceded just 10 goals in 21 PL matches this season, with only three of those coming at Anfield.
These are numbers which would scarcely have been believable less than a year ago and is the reason why Liverpool currently find themselves top of the league as they begin to dream of their first league title since 1989.
It is a well known fact that great defenses win titles and if Liverpool can maintain their standards and win the Premier League, then a lot of it would be down to the impact of the 26-year-old Van Dijk.
#3 Patrice Evra
AS Monaco - Manchester United
Date of arrival - 10 January 2006
Transfer fee - £5.5m
Patrice Evra gained widespread attention following his exploits as a left-back for Monaco, contributing immensely to the club's record breaking run to the Champions League final in 2004 which saw him named as Ligue 1's best Young Player of the Year.
He consequently moved on to Manchester United in January 2006 and went on to become arguably the best left-back in the world in his prime, being named into the PFA Team of the Year on three occasions, as well as making the FIFPro XI in 2009.
His eight-year career at Old Trafford saw him highly decorated, winning almost everything winnable at club level, including five Premier League titles, three League Cups, One Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup.
Evra cemented himself into United folklore with his world class performances for the club and would undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest left-backs in the club's illustrious history.
#2 Luis Suarez
Ajax - Liverpool
Date of arrival - 28 January 2011
Transfer fee - €26.5m
Having conquered the Dutch league with Ajax, where he scored 115 goals in 159 appearances, Liverpool paid the Dutch giants €26.5m to bring him to Anfield in preparation for Fernando Torres' departure to Chelsea.
With Liverpool, Suarez took his goalscoring exploits to even greater heights, banging in goals for fun in a manner not seen at the club since the days of Ian Rush, and in 2014 he was the driving force behind their unlikely but ultimately unsuccessful push for the Premier League trophy.
Suarez ended the 2013/2014 season with 31 goals from just 33 matches which was a joint-league record (since broken by Mo Salah) which saw him win both the EPL and European Golden Boot.
Luis Suarez is a prime goalscorer of the highest proportion, and is the only player in history to have won a Golden Boot in Netherlands, England and Spain (remarkably beating Ronaldo and Messi to the latter award) and for three-and-half years, Liverpool fans were treated to his magical displays.
#1 Nemanja Vidic
Spartak Moscow - Manchester United
Date of arrival - 5 January 2006
Transfer fee - £7m
Having been a part of the 'famous four' defense which conceded just one goal en-route Serbia's qualification for the 2006 World Cup, Nemanja Vidic earned himself a £7m transfer to Manchester United in January 2006, going on to form the best defensive partnership in Europe at the time with Rio Ferdinand.
The retired Serbian international earned widespread acclaim for his leadership, calmness, aerial ability as well as his positional awareness and was named club captain of The Red Devils at the start of the 2010/2011 season.
In his prime, Vidic was unarguably one of the best defenders in the world and his performances were rightly rewarded, with the 37-year-old being named into four PFA Teams of the Year (three consecutively), as well as winning the Premier League Player of the Season on two occasions (making him only the third player in history after Cristiano Ronaldo and Thierry Henry to achieve the feat, and first defender to do so).
Vidic had a highly successful eight-year spell at United, winning a total of 15 trophies including five Premier League titles (three consecutively), the Champions League and multiple League Cups as well as playing himself into the hearts of the United faithful.
Vidic departed Old Trafford for Inter Milan in 2014 (retiring two years later due to a hernia), and is one of the greatest defenders ever to pull on a United shirt due to his penchant for leaving everything out on the field and his never-say-die attitude.