5 Most successful January transfer signings in the Premier League

Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk
Deepungsu Pandit

The January transfer window is almost upon us. Traditionally the winter transfer window has served as an opportunity for clubs to make stop-gap purchases or address the glaring issues in the team that had surfaced in the first half of the season. As such, even though it has always lived under the shadow of its summer cousin, the importance of the winter transfer window cannot be ignored.

Also Read: Manchester United’s top 3 January signings

Open for just the month of January, the transfer market kicks off a frenzied 30 day period that has clubs scampering for players and pushing for deals. Even though the window now sees active participation from clubs of all sizes, that has not always been the case.

The big guns in the Premier League have previously preferred the summer window which has a more robust structure and also aids negotiations as it runs for a longer period of time too.

Despite that, some stellar names have made the move in January since the inception of the Premier League and many of them have proceeded to achieve legendary status for their clubs too. Today, we take a look at the 5 all-time most successful Premier League transfer signings to occur in January.

#5 Philippe Coutinho (Inter to Liverpool)

Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho

The Brazilian started his football career with Vasco da Gama, rising through the club’s youth academy and establishing himself as a regular member of the first team despite being just 18 years old.

He caught the eye of Inter Milan scouts and made the move to the Serie A side in the summer of 2010. Even though he arrived with a lot of promise, the Brazilian struggled to find his feet in Italy and was sent out to Espanyol on loan in his second season.

Coutinho stared at an uncertain future in his third season with Inter Milan, before he was subsequently signed by Liverpool in January 2013, for a transfer fee of £8.5m. He was handed the shirt number 10, taking over from Joe Cole and pretty soon became a force to reckon with in a red shirt.

The Brazilian improved with each game, his skill on the ball and his ability to score goals propelling him to stardom. He was a proper playmaker who was blessed with speed, pace and vision. Coutinho stayed at Anfield for almost 5 seasons, racking up 201 appearances and scoring 54 goals.

Barcelona ultimately came calling in the 2017/18 season and Coutinho subsequently made the move to the Camp Nou in January of 2018, for a whopping £142m. He is currently on loan at Bayern Munich until the end of the season.

Also check out: Premier League Premier League Table Champions League table

#4 Luis Suarez (Ajax to Liverpool)

Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez

The Uruguayan joined Liverpool from Ajax in January of 2011, for a transfer fee of £22.7m. Luis Suarez’s arrival was shadowed by Liverpool’s big-money move for Andy Carrol, but pretty soon, it was clear that the Ajax man was the real deal. He arrived at Anfield on the back of a superb season with the Dutch side, where he scored 49 goals from 48 games and had already managed 12 goals from 24 games in the 2010/11 season before his move.

Suarez managed 111 goals from 158 games with Ajax. At Liverpool, his start was a little slow. He finished the 2010/11 season with 4 goals from 13 games and struck 17 times from 39 games in the next season. The Uruguayan’s stocks were soon on the rise and it was clear that the striker was hitting peak form.

His ability to run at the defence and his presence of mind inside the penalty area were his biggest assets. Suarez was a natural goalscorer who thrived on the opponent’s weakness and wanted to win at any cost. In both his third and fourth season, Suarez managed to cross the 30 goal barrier before Barcelona came calling in the summer of 2014 and bought him for £75m.

The Uruguayan is currently at the Camp Nou, where he has won a host of trophies and established himself as a global name in the world of football.

#3 Patrice Evra (AS Monaco to Manchester United)

Patrice Evra
Patrice Evra

The Frenchman first started playing as a forward but was converted into a winger after he joined the Paris Saint-Germain academy. After failing to make it through at the Ligue 1 side, Patrice Evra had short stints in the academies of quite a few clubs. However, it was at Nice that he first played as a left-back.

After making the move to Monaco in the summer of 2002, he permanently shifted to the left-back role, at the advice of the then Monaco coach, Didier Deschamps. The Frenchman showed great promise during his three and a half year stint with the Ligue 1 side and eventually caught the eye of Sir Alex Ferguson.

The legendary Scot was searching for a left-back to bolster his defence and Evra fit the bill perfectly. Manchester United signed the Frenchman for £5.5m from Monaco in January 2006 and he was handed the No. 3 shirt. Initially, Evra struggled to adapt to the new league and could only manage 14 appearances in the second half of the 2005/06 season.

He continued to be in the fringes of the first team the following year but showed signs of improvement with every passing game. By the start of the 2007/08 season, he had laid a permanent claim to the left-back role and became an important member of the team as well due to his leadership qualities.

Evra went on to play for Manchester United until the end of the 2013/14 season before he departed for Juventus. By then, the Frenchman had won numerous trophies and had etched his name in the United folklore.

#2 Virgil van Dijk (Southampton to Liverpool)

Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk

Once in a while, a club signs a player who completely turns their fortunes around. For Liverpool, the signing of Virgil van Dijk in January of 2018, for a then world-record fee for a defender of £75m, would always be mentioned as one of the turning points in their history.

The Dutchman was the final piece of Jurgen Klopp’s jigsaw puzzle and van Dijk’s emergence in world football since that move has been nothing short of magical. He made the move to Anfield as a promising centre-back but soon turned into one of the best defenders in the world.

The Dutchman had an instant impact after joining the Reds, his commanding presence at the back a clear upgrade from Liverpool’s previous crop of defenders. Van Dijk was also extremely agile and dominant in the air, and brought a sense of calmness at the back. Liverpool was on the rise almost immediately but faced a setback in the final of the UEFA Champions League that season. However, they would not be denied the following year.

In the 2018/19 season, only an unbelievable Manchester City side stopped Liverpool from winning the league. Van Dijk grew in stature with every game and was almost unconquerable at times. The Dutchman ultimately helped his team win the UEFA Champions League by the end of the season.

He was adjudged the UEFA defender of the season as well as the UEFA Player of the Year for 2019. Van Dijk came second behind Lionel Messi in both the 2019 FIFA’s Best Award and the 2019 Ballon d’Or, but he has already shown the world that he is a force to reckon with.

#1 Nemanja Vidic (Spartak Moscow to Manchester United)

Nemanja Vidic
Nemanja Vidic

The Serbian is, without doubt, the most successful January signing in the Premier League to date. Nemanja Vidic joined Manchester United from Spartak Moscow for a transfer fee of £7m and soon became a cult figure at Old Trafford. He struggled during the initial stages of his move but adapted very well to the league.

He soon turned into an imposing figure in the heart of the United defence and became a fan favourite. Here was a defender who did not think twice before putting his body on the line for his team and with every passing game, it was clear that United had hit the jackpot. The Serbian also enjoyed tremendous success with the club, securing a cabinet full of trophies during his eight and a half year association.

Vidic went on to forge an impregnable partnership with Rio Ferdinand at the heart of the United defense. The two of them are also regarded as one of the best central defensive pairs in the Premier League era. The Serbian’s hardcore defending complemented the Englishman’s style of play and together they propelled the club to glory.

Vidic was particularly impressive during the 2008/09 season, where he was an omnipresent figure at the back as United managed 14 consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League.

By the 2010/11 season, Vidic had taken over as the skipper of the United team. He continued to be an indispensable part of the United team right until the end of the 2013/14 season before he left for Inter Milan in the summer of 2014.

Also Read: 3 fastest Manchester United players this season

Edited by Zaid Khan


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