As 2017 comes to an exciting end, it is that time of the year again when transfer speculations start combining with concrete transfer offers. It will be the last opportunity for players hoping to catch the plane for Russia 2018 to get regular playtime elsewhere- be it on loan or on a permanent basis.
The transfer window provides the top teams with an opportunity to improve their squad depth in a bid to maintain their challenge for multiple honours. However, it is the teams at the bottom that benefit the most as they get an opportunity to add quality to the side in a bid to save themselves from relegation.
Since the inception of the January transfer window in 2003, teams have regularly dished out massive sums to buy players. This year seems no different. Thereby, we look at the record fees paid by each premier league club in January in an ascending order:
#20 Huddersfield Town (£1.62 million)
In January of 2014, Huddersfield signed Nahki Wells from Bradford City for a club record fee believed to be in the region of £1.62 million. The forward settled in quickly in the Championship as he netted 6 times in the second half of the season.
After settling in well, Wells subsequently hit double figures in all of the three full seasons since. Mainly playing on the wings, a return of 10 goals in the 2016/17 Championship fired Huddersfield to the play-off places, eventually reaching the Premier League by winning the playoffs.
Instead of extending his journey with the Terriers in the Premier League, Wells decided to move on to league rivals Burnley for £4.8 million, where he has found it hard to break into the side.
#19 Brighton (£3.15 million)
Anthony Knockaert (l) and Glenn Murray (r)
The tag for Brighton's record January signing is held by two players- French winger Anthony Knockaert and English striker Glen Murray. Both moved for undisclosed fees believed to be in the region of £3.15 million.
Primarily a right winger, Knockaert joined Brighton in the winter of 2016 as his 5 goals fired Brighton to the playoffs where they were left heartbroken by Sheffield Wednesday. Taking heart from the loss in the following season, the winger came back stronger as his 15 goals helped the Seagulls clinch promotion to the Premier League.
Another hero from Brighton’s promotion-winning campaign was striker Murray who joined the Seagulls in January 2017, making his loan deal permanent from Bournemouth. The striker netted 23 goals that season to take Brighton to the Premier League.
So far, Murray has had a good start to the Premier League as his 5 goals have helped Brighton stay away from the relegation zone. In both cases, money well spent.
#18 Swansea (£8.55 million)
Alberto Paloschi holds the record as Swansea’s most expensive January import as he cost the club £8.55 million from Chievo Verona in 2016.
A forgettable signing overall, the Milan youth academy graduate scored just twice all season as he was quickly shipped off to Atalanta at the end of the season, with the Welsh side accepting a loss to get the underperforming striker off their books.
With Swansea rooted to the bottom of the table this season, they might have to break their January transfer record to have any chance of survival.
#17 Watford (£9.4 million)
That transfer fee looks like an absolute bargain for this man
The Hornets signed Abdoulaye Doucoure from Rennes in 2016, shelling out a club record £9.4 million. The central midfielder from France could not settle in quickly as he had a forgettable 2nd half of the season, scoring just once in 20 games.
This season though, the highly-rated midfielder has been in stunning form, having already netted 6 goals from midfield helping the Hornets achieve a great start to their current Premier League campaign. With his box to box abilities, the midfielder now looks like a complete steal.
#16 West Brom (£10.2 million)
Next on the list is another Englishman who holds the record for the highest transfer fee in January for West Brom. The Baggies spent £10.2 million on Jake Livermore to sign him from Hull City in 2017.
With West Brom having an abundance of average central midfielders in their squad already, spending a club record fee on another midfielder seemed a bit puzzling.
But surprisingly, Livermore has held his own at the Hawthorns becoming an all-action midfielder that Tottenham hoped they unearthed. A Spurs academy graduate, Livermore has gone on to play 7 times for England, with 6 of his appearances coming after moving to the Hawthorns.
#15 West Ham (£10.65 Million)
West Ham’s biggest January layout on a single player came in 2017 when they spent £10.65 million on Hull City’s Robert Snodgrass. Another player to be a part of Hull City’s mass exodus, Snodgrass was their best player having single-handedly led the Tigers survival bid with 7 goals before January.
Hoping for more of the same, West Ham supporters were left disappointed as the Scottish midfielder provided zero goals in the second half of the season. In addition, Snodgrass’s low work-rate did not go down well with then manager Slaven Bilic, leading to even lesser game-time.
At the end of the season, Snodgrass was surplus to requirements. The Scotland International has since joined Championship side Aston Villa on a temporary deal for the entirety of the 2017/18 season.
#14 Bournemouth (£11.8 million)
A highly rated young English striker, Benik Afobe attracted a lot of interest before signing for Premier League new boys Bournemouth for a club record fee of £11.8 million in January 2016.
Before joining Eddie Howe’s team, Afobe did not part with his previous side on the best of terms and was criticised by Wolves' head of football development and recruitment, Kevin Thelwell for undermining the team harmony as they had no choice but to sell the player.
An Arsenal youth academy graduate, Afobe had proved himself to be a good striker in the championship as he racked up 22 goals in one and a half seasons at the Molineux.
However, the Premier League has proved too big a step too soon. The England under-19 striker has scored just 10 goals in over a couple of seasons. Afobe’s signing proves that doing business in January is a risky thing.
#13 Newcastle (£12 million)
In the 2015/16 Premier League season, Newcastle United were in a relegation dogfight to maintain their place in the league. As a result, Mike Ashley decided to splurge money in a bid to maintain Newcastle's Premier League status. In came Jonjo Shelvey from Swansea and Andres Townsend from Spurs for £12 million each, both club record fees.
The duo had patchy spells. Townsend's 4 goals managed to revitalise the Magpies, but it wasn’t enough to prevent them from going down. The Toon slipped to the Championship, Shelvey decided to stick with the club as they made a swift return to the Premier League.
Townsend, on the other hand, moved to Crystal Palace at the end of that season in a bid to save his England career. Newcastle’s January splurge proved that spending big in January doesn’t guarantee survival.
#12 Burnley (£13.40 million)
Burnley paid £13.4 million to Norwich City for midfielder Robbie Brady in January 2017.
Linking up with international team-mates Jeff Hendrick and Stephen Ward, Brady provided the much-needed creative spark to Sean Dyche’s well-drilled side. Somewhat of a cult hero with the international team, Brady, a former Manchester United academy graduate has a wonderful left foot with a natural tendency to score from dead ball situations.
It was an expensive gamble nonetheless but one which Burnley had to make in order to establish themselves as Premier League regulars. Brady, who had been in terrific form till November, unfortunately, is out for a substantial period due to a nasty knee injury he suffered against Leicester in December.
#11 Crystal Palace (£13.59 million)
Palace’s record January arrival is Luka Milivojevic, as Palace spent £13.59 million to bring the tough-tackling midfielder from Olympiacos. Along with Sakho’s loan move, Milivojevic provided Sam Allardyce’s team with the necessary defensive solidity as the Eagles avoided the drop, finishing in 14th place.
Milivojevic is a very good penalty taker as his 100% record in the current season indicates. The Serbian international has already played under three managers since moving to Selhurst Park almost a year ago.
As expensive as he seemed, the Serbian international has been one of Palace’s best players.
#10 Tottenham (£14.76 million)
In 8th place are Tottenham Hotspur who spent £14.76 million to buy back Jermain Defoe in 2009 from Portsmouth. That same window, Spurs also brought back Robbie Keane from Liverpool for £12 million, making them one of January 2009’s highest spenders.
Defoe returned to Spurs just two years after leaving the club and the following season, scored 18 times in the league, his best ever tally in the Premier League.
The English striker went on to have five successful seasons at White Hart Lane proving Spurs got a great return from their record January signing.
#9 Southampton (£15 million)
Italian striker Manolo Gabbiadini broke Southampton’s January record when he arrived from Napoli in 2017. There are conflicting reports on the fee, but it is believed to be in the region of £15 million.
The Italian hitman immediately hit the ground running as he became the first Saints player to score in each of his first four games for the club. After this initial burst, the striker hit a rough patch as he failed to score for the rest of the season.
Currently, Gabbiadini is struggling to get first team action even though Charlie Austin is injured, showing why Napoli were willing to let him go.
#8 Arsenal (£15 million)
Arsenal’s record January signing came way back in 2009, showing Arsene Wenger's reluctance to spend in January.
During the 2008/09 season, as Arsenal struggled in the league, Wenger had no choice but to splash £15 million on Andrey Arshavin in January 2009. The Russian superstar settled in quickly at the Emirates with his best moment coming against Liverpool at Anfield as he netted 4 times in the famous 4-4 draw.
Sadly, the winger could not reach those dizzying heights again as he returned to Zenit in 2013.
#7 Leicester City (£15.6 million)
After winning the Premiership in the 2015/16 season, it was always going to be a tough ask to keep their best players from being poached by bigger clubs. With N’Golo Kante moving to Chelsea in the 2016/17 season, Leicester had had their driving force taken away from them.
It took the foxes until January to find a close enough replacement as Wilfred Ndidi arrived from Genk for a club record £15.6 million. The Nigerian youngster was being tracked by many of Europe’s top clubs, however, it was the foxes who managed to outfox everyone and win his signature.
The youngster has been a good signing for Leicester, though he has lacked the consistency in his game.
#6 Stoke City (£19.4 million)
Stoke City’s most expensive January import is Giannelli Imbula who arrived from Porto for £19.4 million in 2016.
The highly-rated French midfielder's price was expected to be a bargain in the coming years but instead became one of the worst transfers ever. Though Imbula started well after arriving from the Portuguese club, his poor performances during his first full season at the club meant that Imbula was dropped from the side by Mark Hughes.
In fact, his performances, as well as attitude, were been so bad that Imbula was sent to play with the under-23s. At the start of the 2017/18 season, Imbula was put up for sale before moving to Toulouse on a temporary deal.
#5 Everton (£20.3 million)
5th on the list are Everton, who under the ownership of Businessman Farhad Moshiri splashed out £20.3 million on French defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin. The Frenchman ended a miserable two-year spell at Old Trafford as he sought a new beginning at Goodison Park.
Hoping to recapture the Southampton form that saw United splash out the cash, Schneiderlin got straight back into the groove, performing well alongside Idrissa Gueye. This season, however, hasn’t been all that rosy for the midfielder as a lack of form has seen him being dropped from first-team action.
#4 Manchester City (£27 million)
Surprisingly low on this list are Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City who in recent years have preferred to spend much of their wealth during the summer. This may change though in the coming weeks as Guardiola seeks to improve his already talented squad.
It doesn’t mean that City don’t spend in January, with two strikers namely Edin Dzeko and Gabriel Jesus holding their January transfer record, both arriving for £27 million each.
Dzeko, who initially struggled at the Etihad, played a crucial role in both of City’s title triumphs. Now with Roma, the Bosnian enjoyed his best season last term having scored 39 goals in all competitions.
Gabriel Jesus, on the other hand, has proved to be an even better signing simply due to his greater adaptability after arriving in Manchester from Brazil. The Brazilian scored 7 times in 10 Premier League games after arriving from Palmeiras last January and has already given lead striker Sergio Aguero a run for his money.
#3 Manchester United (£37.1 million)
With David Moyes missing out on all his primary targets in the summer of 2013, he was on a lookout for a marquee signing during January. In January 2014, the former Everton manager land Juan Mata from Chelsea for a club record £37.1 million.
The Spaniard, who was surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge, joined the Red Devils in a bid to save United’s poor season. The midfielder was in terrific form during the second half of the season but could not help United from missing out on a top-4 finish.
#2 Chelsea (£50 million)
The Premier League’s most expensive transfer during January was held by Fernando Torres up until recently. He could not replicate his Liverpool form which saw Chelsea pay £50 million for him in 2011, though.
Torres was no longer the striker he once was at Liverpool having lost a yard of pace after suffering a terrible knee injury.
The World Cup winner, however, was quite successful in filling up his trophy cabinet as he played a crucial part in Chelsea’s only Champions League triumph till date having scored that famous goal at Camp Nou.
The Spaniard currently plies his trade with his hometown club Atletico Madrid.
#1 Liverpool (£75 million)
The biggest transfer in January comes from Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool who recently confirmed the transfer of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton for £75 million.
Having continually raided Southampton for players, this undoubtedly is the biggest of them all. It makes Van Dijk the most expensive defender ever, eclipsing the £54 million Man City paid for Kyle Walker in 2017.
Liverpool fans have finally got their wish as they signed a defender for their much-maligned defence. Van Dijk's transfer also eclipsed the £35 million Liverpool paid for Andy Carroll in 2011.