3 January signings who have had an instant impact
- The Coronavirus has not given a chance to European clubs January signings to have an impact yet.
- However, three signings did not need time and hit the ground running immediately.
The second half of the 2019-20 footballing season around Europe and most of the world came to a halt after the outbreak of the Coronavirus. We have still seen some amazing matches and individual performances over the last two months before the shutdown. This season's winter transfer window saw several top players switch clubs with the likes of Christian Eriksen, Steven Bergwijn, Suso, Bruno Fernandes, Krzysztof Piatek, Emre Can and a few others more moving on.
However, with just over two months of football being played, most of the players never got a chance to settle in at their new clubs. But a few players had an excellent start to life at their new club. Here is a look at three players who have had an instant impact after switching clubs during the winter transfer window:
#1 Sander Berge (Sheffield United)
Sander Berge was an in-demand player over the summer and winter transfer windows and for Sheffield United to sign him despite the likes of Napoli, Sevilla, and Manchester United chasing him shows the level of expectations at Bramall Lane right now.
The Blades paid a whopping £20 million to sign the Norweigan from Genk. Had it not been for the unexpected halt in the season, he could have been the extra steel Sheffield needed to push for European qualification in their very first season back in top-flight.
In the 5 games played Berge is yet to lose one with Sheffield. He seems to have settled well in the midfield. If these games are anything indication to go by, then he is only going to make his team more competitive and dangerous.
Berge's former manager Kjetil Rekdal believes we will all see the best of him next season. The Norwegian manager said:
"But you will see him on a high-level next season. Having some games under his belt and then coming back for next season, knowing what the Premier League is all about, you will see Sander Berge at another level to now. He has all of the things important about the Premier League. He has speed, he has strength, he is smart, he can still progress on a few things, such as his left foot and scoring goals, but he will grow further."
#2 Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
Bruno Fernandes was linked with a move to Manchester United over the summer. However, things only worked out during the winter transfer window when the Portuguese signed for the Red Devils for £60 million and things have changed for the good at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær's men are yet to lose a match since Fernandes made his debut with United - winning 6 and drawing 3, scoring 22 and conceding just 2 goals in the process. The Portuguese's arrival has given Manchester United that much-needed spark they were lacking in the mid-field, something that Paul Pogba was supposed to provide. Since Fernandes' arrival, the Frenchman seems like a forgotten figure at the club.
Fernandes has scored 3 and assisted 4 goals from his first 9 appearances as a United player and he has lived up to all the hype. After winning the Premier League player of the month for February, it is clear that he has already established himself at the heart of this team.
A mid-field partnership alongside Pogba next season would certainly be deadly. While Pogba's future is still uncertain, one thing for clear - Manchester United have finally found their mid-field maestro.
#3 Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
Erling Haaland was one of the most sought after strikers in the world this season after his sudden rise to fame while playing for Red Bull Salzburg. The Norwegian left the Austrian club with a total of just 27 appearances but he had 29 goals and 7 assists to his name.
It was clear that he would be leaving Salzburg in the winter transfer window. Many expected him to join Manchester United because of his countryman Solskjær, but he ended up joining Borussia Dortmund, which is the perfect club for a young rising player like Haaland to develop.
Over the years, Dortmund has churned out several footballing stars like Mario Gotze, Ilkay Gundogan, Mats Hummels, Christian Pulisic, Ousmane Dembele due to their superb scouting system and they have once again won the jackpot by getting Haaland.
The 19-year old's excellent goal scoring record continued after his move to Dortmund as he notched up 12 goals from just 11 appearances. He is certain to follow in the steps of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Robert Lewandowski and become another Borussia Dortmund great.
His former manager Jesse Marsch labeled him as being one of the top talents in world football right now. The Red Bull Salzburg manager said:
"He's a special personality. He's an incredible talent. I mean, his athleticism, his speed, it right away put him in the upper echelon of talents in our sport. And then you add his desire to be successful, his mentality every day, the way he works at his technical ability, the way he works at his finishing every day, how much he puts into trying to be the best footballer he can be every day."Published 23 Mar 2020, 09:59 IST