The biggest Winners And Losers of the January 2020 transfer window from the Premier League
As the January transfer window is a notoriously difficult time to do good business, this is the time when superior footballing knowledge comes to the fore. Making the right moves can salvage a season that seemed certain to end in failure, while one wrong decision can send your season off the rails. As is often the case, this past month has seen some Premier League clubs involved in wheeling and dealing throughout January, others getting their business done quickly and efficiently at the start of the month, and some even choosing not to get involved at all.
With the window now shut, some players, coaches, directors, and fans are smugly celebrating some astute deals while others are nervously looking forward to an uncertain future. There is nothing left to do now than to see whether their transfer activity (or inactivity, in some cases) pays off in the second half of the season. And while only time will tell who made the best deals and who had a month to forget, here’s a list of the biggest winners and losers (on paper, at least) of the January 2020 transfer window from the Premier League.
1. Newcastle United
Despite not completing a single permanent deal Newcastle United have quietly gone about their business, retaining their best players and strengthening in key areas by bringing in good options on loan. Even though Steve Bruce teased the Geordie faithful with the prospect of a ‘mystery midfielder’ who didn’t end up joining (later identified as Lille’s Boubakary Soumare) the addition of Nabil Bentaleb adds some quality to central midfield along with Premier League experience from his time at Spurs.
Valentino Lazaro is a similarly exciting addition, having racked up plenty of assists in the Bundesliga before his move to Inter. The Magpies have even managed to replace the injured Jetro Willems by bringing in Danny Rose from Spurs, another indication of them thoughtfully addressing actual needs rather than panic-buying, and will most likely be better for it come the end of the season.
2. Sheffield United
Sheffield United have already become the success story of the 2019-20 Premier League season, and their reputation has only been enhanced with some shrewd moves in January. While most newly-promoted clubs might have been content with retaining what they had, Chris Wilder’s men seem to be gearing up for a European push with a couple of eye-catching signings. Chief among them is the arrival of the highly-rated 21-year-old midfielder Sander Berge, signed for £22 million from Genk.
6’4” and excellent on the ball to boot, the young Norwegian seems well-equipped to thrive in a free-flowing Blades side as well as deal with the physicality of the Premier League. The arrivals of Jack Rodwell on a free and Jack Robinson from Nottingham Forest can also prove to be smart back-up signings, while departure of Callum Robinson (on loan to West Brom) just six months after his arrival for a then club-record fee shows a ruthlessness that should set the Blades up for a lengthy stay in the English top flight.
3. Jose Mourinho
Mourinho has just overseen his first transfer window since been appointed Spurs manager and has taken several steps towards shaping the team in his own way. Gedson Fernandes arrived on an 18-month loan deal to bolster the midfield ranks, with the highly-rated Dutch attacker Steven Bergwijn following soon after. Jose has also started pruning the squad he inherited - Toby Alderweireld has signed a new contract while want-away stars Danny Rose and Christian Eriksen have been shown the door.
In fact, getting £17.5m for Eriksen instead of losing him for free in the summer is a major win, even more so since the bulk of that money has gone towards filling the void left by the Dane by making Giovani Lo Celso’s loan move permanent. Although Jose would have loved to sign a striker as backup for his injured talisman Harry Kane, coaxing all this transfer activity out of the notoriously spendthrift Daniel Levy is a huge success.
Much was made of the fact that Chelsea’s transfer ban had been lifted ahead of the January transfer window, and the question was always who, rather than if, they would add to their squad. Just one league win from four in January and injuries to key players seemed to suggest reinforcements were needed, even though Chelsea sat comfortably in fourth place. However, things didn’t turn out like Frank Lampard would have hoped, and the Blues failed to make a single signing in January. Despite Lampard making it clear that they wanted to bring players in, Chelsea failed in their pursuits of Dries Mertens and Edinson Cavani and are now left with the squad they started the season with.
What makes matters worse is that they also lost Tariq Lamptey and Clinton Mola, two academy players they were desperate to retain, prompting Lampard to remark that his side were now "underdogs" in the battle for fourth despite their seemingly secure league position. Making more signings with the transfer ban in effect (the deal for Christian Pulisic had been agreed before the ban was imposed) than with it not in place cannot be classified as anything but a big loss.
2. Crystal Palace
A January transfer window that started so positively for Crystal Palace eventually ended in a damp squib, with the Eagles losing out on a couple of transfer targets for various reasons. The arrival and subsequent impact of Cenk Tosun is a minor success, but failed moves for West Brom’s teenage full-back Nathan Ferguson (a belated replacement for Aaron Wan-Bissaka) and Hull City’s highly-rated attacker Jarrod Bowen (who ended up going to West Ham) will leave Palace fans wondering what might have been. While Hodgson’s men have done an admirable job till now of allaying any relegation fears, they would now be hoping for an uneventful and injury-free second half of the season.
3. Olivier Giroud
The transfer window could scarcely have gone worse for Olivier Giroud, with the French striker stuck at Stamford Bridge despite not being part of Frank Lampard’s plans. There seemed to be a whole host of suitors for the World Cup winner throughout January, both in England and abroad, but a move away failed to materialise.
Words of praise from his manager on how he had handled the tumultuous situation will be scant consolation for the 33-year-old Giroud, who will now be hoping to feature more regularly for the Blues as the Euros loom large on the horizon.
Published 02 Feb 2020, 19:28 IST