With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move to Barcelona belatedly set to go through, transfer business in Europe’s top five leagues is now over until the end of the season.
Not every leading club traded in January – Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and, not for want of trying, Milan were all quiet – but there were plenty of deals done that may yet alter the landscape of this campaign.
So, who boosted their title bid or European push? And whose hopes took a hit after failing to make the most of the past month?
Stats Perform picks out the winners and losers of the transfer window, starting with the biggest move of all…
This has been another tough season for Juve, who enter February on the outside looking in at Serie A’s top-four race. But they could have done little more in the window to address their issues, plugging the hole left in their attack by first Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure and then Federico Chiesa’s injury by bringing in Dusan Vlahovic, Serie A’s leading marksman, for €75million – the biggest buy of 2022 so far.
There were departures, but Dejan Kulusevski has hardly been a key man and Rodrigo Bentancur’s exit was offset by the bargain capture of Denis Zakaria, while the Bianconeri will no doubt be grateful to get at least part of Aaron Ramsey’s salary off the books.
134 – Denis Zakaria won possession 134 times in the current Bundesliga season, as often as no other player at Borussia Mönchengladbach and 12th-most league-wide. Conqueror. #DeadlineDay pic.twitter.com/qQmx37yfnY
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) January 31, 2022
Another struggling European Super League advocate, Barcelona’s finances are tighter than Juve’s, but they got creative to bolster a squad still coming to terms with Lionel Messi’s absence. Ferran Torres appeared to be the replacement for the retired Sergio Aguero, only for Aubameyang to also arrive right at the last (barring any unexpected twists), surely bringing to an end Luuk de Jong’s short, unsuccessful stint as the Blaugrana’s leading man.
Dani Alves and Adama Traore each returned to Camp Nou, too, as Philippe Coutinho and a chunk of his wages headed out on loan.
Coutinho may have been unwanted at Barca, but his signing represented a major coup for former team-mate Steven Gerrard at Villa. A goal on his debut against Manchester United suggested the one-time Liverpool superstar may yet have what it takes to shine in the Premier League.
Lucas Digne’s arrival at left-back significantly upgraded that position, meanwhile, and ensures Villa are looking up the table, not down. Although this feels a little like a lost season – 12 points from the top four, 11 from the bottom three – two eye-catching deals should at least give fans plenty to shout about.
If Villa lack any obvious short-term objective, the same is not true of Sevilla. Julen Lopetegui’s men are second in LaLiga, firmly in a title fight with Madrid, and targeting a Europa League final at their home stadium. Persistent talk of a departure for defender Diego Carlos, targeted by Newcastle United, therefore represented a concern, but director of football Monchi stood firm – and then landed a stunning signing, too.
Anthony Martial blew hot and cold at Manchester United but should be the main man in Spain, where he offers far more than Sevilla’s other striking options. With his goals at one end and Diego Carlos’ enduring partnership with Jules Kounde at the other, this could yet be a sensational season.
82 – Anthony Martial has been directly involved in 82 goals in 175 Premier League appearances (56 goals and 26 assists), surpassed only by Marcus Rashford among Manchester United players in the competition since 2015/16 (90 in 192 apps – 59 goals and 31 assists). Dream. pic.twitter.com/RQTWxKVYY4
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 24, 2022
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool could easily have let January pass without doing business, having no real need to improve their side in the short term. But then Tottenham agreed a deal with Porto for Luis Diaz, and the Reds sensed an opportunity, swooping in to secure his £33.3m signing. Liverpool have the luxury of not needing Diaz to hit the ground running, with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah soon returning from international duty, yet he appears an ideal long-term replacement in one of the attacking positions.
Mikel Arteta must fear Arsenal’s momentum has been lost. The Gunners headed into January on a five-match winning run in all competitions, only to fail to add another victory in five games before February, crashing out of both domestic cups and falling out of the top four. New signings could have righted the ship, yet Arsenal ended the month with Colorado Rapids defender Auston Trusty – loaned back to MLS – as their only done deal.
A move for Vlahovic was dismissed by the player and trumped by Juve, while long-standing interest in Bruno Guimaraes did not materialise into a transfer, as the Brazil midfielder instead joined Newcastle. Arteta trimmed the squad in securing temporary and permanent departures for Aubameyang, Calum Chambers, Sead Kolasinac, Pablo Mari, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Folarin Balogun, but Arsenal did not raise a fee for any of them.
30+ – There are four players with 30+ tackles, 30+ dribbles completed and 30+ chances created in open play in Europe’s big five leagues this season:
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 30, 2022
Flush with cash and without the serious threat of losing star performer Declan Rice, January brought opportunity for West Ham, joining modest spenders Arsenal, United and Tottenham in a top-four tussle. However, despite reports of increasingly wild big-money bids, the Hammers did not make a single recruit.
Interest in Leeds United pair Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha seemed optimistic at best, but failing to land either was not as costly as the inability to provide competition up front. Although Hugo Ekitike and Darwin Nunez were both discussed, the club remain a Michail Antonio injury away from a crisis.