Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Which were the four best signings during the January transfer window?

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The end of the January transfer window had several moves all over Europe, and some of the biggest clubs in the world added last-minute reinforcements to bolster their squads.

During the course of the month, we saw several quality moves. For instance, Tottenham signed Lucas Moura from PSG in a move that could bring back to life the Brazilian’s career. Henrikh Mkhitaryan left Manchester United to join Arsenal. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signed with The Gunners as well, and Olivier Giroud signed with Chelsea, as well as Emerson Palmieri. Manchester City acquired Aymeric Laporte, Liverpool completed a move for Virgil van Dijk, and both Cenk Tosun and Theo Walcott signed with Everton.

We would never end listing all the moves that we saw over the last 30 days. But we can certainly point out four of the most impressive ones. Or rather, the four transfers that will reap more rewards for the teams that acquired these players. Without further ado, here are the four best signings in Europe during the January transfer window.

Daniel Sturridge – West Bromwich Albion

West Bromwich sit at the bottom of the Premier League standings with 20 points, although they are not far away from the safety zone since the 17th-placed team, Huddersfield, has 24 points. One of the biggest problems for Albion has been their attack, however, since they have scored just 19 goals in 25 matches. The team needed a scoring punch if they want to avoid relegation, and they got their man in Daniel Sturridge.

The former England international had been linked with an exit from Liverpool during the entire January transfer window. Inter Milan was rumoured to be a possibility, but Sturridge chose to stay in the EPL, and he should be able to become Albion’s top reference on the attacking end. He can form a deadly partnership with Salomon Rondon, and it seems both parties can benefit from this reunion. West Bromwich got a prolific striker who can carry the offense, and Sturridge might gain enough playing time to put himself in the map to make the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Michy Batshuayi – Borussia Dortmund

Three of the best teams in Europe ended swapping their strikers without even knowing it. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moved to Arsenal, and his arrival sent Olivier Giroud to Chelsea. But the French’s arrival to The Blues meant there was no more room for Michy Batshuayi. As such, the Belgian elected to leave the side on a season-long loan… to Dortmund, where he is expected to become Aubameyang’s replacement.

Giroud has enough talent to thrive at Chelsea, and Aubameyang is set to become a star for The Gunners. But we can’t sell Batshuayi short here. The Belgian was one of the top strikers in Europe before joining Chelsea, and he has a decent track record featuring for The Blues if we consider his lack of playing time. He will now get the chance to prove his worth at Dortmund, and the Bundesliga should suit him quite well. He is a strong player that thrives when the attacking midfielders constantly feed him, meaning he will be at his best playing alongside the likes of Mario Gotze, Christian Pulisic, Maximilian Philipp, and others.

Batshuayi will get the chance he was looking for at Chelsea, and it depends on him to see whether he can take advantage of it or not. But with a potential World Cup squad spot on the line, we might be days away from watching the same Batshuayi that used to terrorise opposing defenses playing for Marseille.

Philippe Coutinho – FC Barcelona

Philippe Coutinho is one of the most expensive players in football history. And while he arrived to FC Barcelona dealing with an injury, he already debuted and showed his quality as soon as he touched the ball. The Brazilian magician joined Los Blaugranas from Liverpool on a record-breaking deal. And he has all the conditions needed to become a massive star in one of the best teams in the world.

It is quite hard to imagine where Coutinho will play, though. He can move all over the attacking third, and there is no question Ernesto Valverde will make the most out of his versatility. The Brazilian can operate on the right, on the left, on the centre, and even as an attacking midfielder coming from behind. One would think that Barcelona do not need another player as good as Coutinho considering their huge lead in the Liga standings, but he will become an absolute difference maker. Even if he can’t play in the Champions League this season, this is a move thinking for both the present and the future.

Alexis Sanchez – Manchester United

Last but not least, we have Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean winger was one of the hottest names in the transfer market and it seemed he was set to join Manchester City. However, Manchester United came out of nowhere and snapped the former Arsenal star. The Red Devils sent Mkhitaryan to the Emirates Stadium, meaning Sanchez became the new owner of United’s n° 7 shirt.

So far the Chilean has two games under his belt with United. He played a huge role during the team’s 4-0 FA Cup win over Yeovil Town last week, but failed to thrive during United’s 0-2 loss against Tottenham in the Premier League this past Wednesday. But two games is not enough time to analyse the kind of impact the Chilean can make. His teammates are already trying to feed him on a regular basis, and it should not be long before he becomes one of the most influential players on the team. He already filled that role in Arsenal. Who says he can’t do it for Manchester United as well?

Sanchez came quite cheap, so there shouldn’t be a lot of pressure on his shoulders. But we are talking about a competitive player here. One that does absolutely everything to win. And with the UEFA Champions League on the horizon, Alexis will have a great chance to prove if he can handle the pressure of featuring for one of the best clubs in European history. But if recent history has taught us anything, is that he is more than ready for the challenge.


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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