This year’s January transfer market has been one of the most entertaining in years with a whole host of players moving clubs in the hope of writing a new chapter in their careers.
As the month draws to a close, we look back at the top five transfers to have happened in this window.
5. Aymeric Laporte (Athletic Bilbao to Manchester City)
The Frenchman put pen to paper on a deal that is worth £57 million and brings Citys total spending on defence to £215.5 million this season alone. Upon signing for the Citizens, Laporte said:
“I am looking forward to working under manager Pep Guardiola and trying to help the club to achieve success”
With the World Cup just a few months away, Laporte is hoping that playing for City will boost his chances of being picked by Didier Deschamps.
Laporte is described as being both Guardiola and City’s dream player, with the ability to carry the ball from the centre of defence to midfield and has great ability in carrying the ball.
In the hopes of being picked for the French squad despite haven’t been given a cap yet.
Many believe that his partnership with John Stones will be key if City want to have a rock solid defence, with Laporte himself saying:
“I think I can help him with things and he also can help me with others things too. We will make each other better”.
4. Virgil van Dijk (Southampton to Liverpool)
The Reds have made no secret about wanting to sign Van Dijk and this wish finally came through when he signed from the Saints on a deal worth £75 million.
Upon signing him, Jurgen Klopp stated that he wants him to have a commanding role in the heart of Liverpool’s defence.
Van Dijk has become an instant hit with the Liverpool faithful, scoring the winning goal at Anfield against city rivals Everton in a 2-1 win.
With the Dutch international at the heart of the Liverpool defence, Liverpool fans can feel comfortable knowing that there is a world class defender in their ranks.
3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund to Arsenal)
Despite a poor run of results this month, which saw Arsenal being dumped out of the FA Cup by Nottingham Forrest, and recently suffering an embarrassing 3-1 defeat away to bottom side Swansea, and selling their best player to Manchester United, one thing you can’t deny about Wenger is his ability to still attract world class players.
Aubameyang, with 141 goals in 213 appearances for the German outfit, signed a long-term deal which sees him becomes the clubs record transfer after signing for £56 million.
However, German football expert Raphael Honigstein, believes that last season’s top scorer with 31 goals, is overlooked.
“I think he’s been criminally overlooked by some of the bigger clubs who might have wanted a more orthodox number nine.”
2. Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal to Manchester United)
The saga following Alexis Sanchez’s departure from Arsenal is one of the most followed stories of the 2018 January transfer window. Sanchez joined as part of a swap deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan going in the opposite direction.
Upon signing for the Red Devils, he was given the iconic number 7 shirt which was worn by the likes of George Best and Cristiano Ronaldo, which goes to show how the club view him.
Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho believes that the signing of Sanchez is key for the development of young players such as Marcus Rashford, as he told reporters:
“The kid is having a hell of an experience at every level so there is an amazing future waiting for him, and being surrounded by these players can only help him.”
The work rate, pace and pressing which Sanchez offers will be a huge plus for United if they are to pick up any silverware this season.
1. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool to Barcelona)
Without a doubt, the signing of the transfer market has been the signing of Philippe Coutinho by Barcelona for an eye-watering figure of £145 million.
At 25 years of age, the Brazilian international still has loads to offer on both the club and international stage.
With his pace, agility and dribbling ability, he is everything Barcelona want in a player and even more with his unquestionable work rate.
Coutinho has always been highly regarded in Spain while he was on loan with Espanyol from Inter Milan, where his then Espanyol manager, Mauricio Pochittino saying:
“He has a special magic in his feet”
After being out with a hamstring injury since signing from Liverpool, Coutinho finally made his Barcelona debut in a 2-0 win over former club Espanyol where he came on for club captain Andreas Iniesta.
With Inistea soon reaching the age of retirement, there is no doubt that Coutinho would be a suitable replacement for the club legend.
Luke Holmes, Pundit Arena