The January 2022 transfer window saw various teams like Porto and Fiorentina lose their attacking talisman for irresistible cash sums, but it also saw others replenish their squads with shrewd, cost-effective transfers. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the 10 best transfer windows (unranked) in Europe’s top five leagues.
“With his contract set to expire in 2023, Barcelona will be hoping to recoup a fee of £33 million in what will be their final summer to squeeze any financial value whatsoever from the 29-year-old, whilst Coutinho will be looking to win a starting spot, enjoy regular football ahead of the 2022 World Cup, and earn his first recall to the Brazil national team since October 2020. Villa, meanwhile, will be looking to get the most out of a player who, on his day, is a transformational game-changer at the elite level.”
As I stated two weeks ago on the BET Central Weekly Round-up, Philippe Coutinho has what it takes to be a transformational player for Steven Gerrard’s side, but he’s far from the only arrival that Aston Villa have added. They have completed the signing of Lucas Digne from Everton following the Frenchman’s falling-out with then-manager Rafa Benítez, whilst they’ve also brought in Swedish international Robin Olsen for depth at the goalkeeper position and have signed Calum Chambers on a permanent deal from Arsenal.
Coutinho was forced to accept a 35% wage cut in order to join Villa, and this loan move combined with Samuel Umtiti’s salary reduction allowed Barcelona the financial freedom to not only invest in the transfer market but also register Ferran Torres, who paid €55 million plus €10 million in add-ons to sign the Spaniard from Manchester City but were unable to register him due to Financial Fair Play Rules.
The Blaugranas are at threat of missing out on Champions League football and have added Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Adama Traoré to revive a failing attack. With Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembélé both struggling with injuries this season, both players could have important roles to play in Xavi’s attack.
Newcastle’s new Saudi ownership has made a predictably heavy investment in the January window in a bid to replenish Eddie Howe’s side with enough quality to stay up. With Lucas Digne arriving on a permanent deal from Everton and Ashley Young available as backup, Matt Targett was allowed to leave Aston Villa on loan and join the Magpies until the end of the season, and he’ll be looking to provide a direct upgrade on Jamal Lewis and Matt Ritchie.
Kieran Trippier has ended his mid-career adventure at Atlético Madrid and joined Newcastle on a two-and-a-half-year contract for a fee of £12 million, with the England right-back departing just months after playing a vital role in their La Liga triumph. Dan Burn should also provide an upgrade in central defence following his departure from Brighton, whilst Chris Wood’s arrival will bring them a centre forward with a proven track record in helping teams survive relegation. However, it cannot be denied that the biggest coup of the Magpies’ window is Bruno Guimarães, whose ability to drive the ball forward, break the lines with his passing, and dictate possession has made him into one of the most coveted young midfielders in Europe.
Few clubs have been as consistently active in the January transfer window as Sevilla, who have brought in Papu Gómez, Youssef En-Nesyri, Suso, Munir, Guilherme Arana, Clément Lenglet and Stevan Jovetic in recent windows. This season has been no different under sporting director Monchi, whose side have replenished their attack with the loan arrival of Anthony Martial from Manchester United as well as the signing of Jesús ‘Tecatito’ Corona from Porto after the Mexican winger missed out on a summer move.
Their best signing, however, may not even be a signing at all. Sevilla were forced to fight off interest from Newcastle and keep hold of Brazilian centre back Diego Carlos, with Newcastle eventually signing Burn from Brighton instead. Since arriving from Nantes in 2019, Carlos has been a regular in defence and will continue to prove vital in Sevilla’s attempts to win their first La Liga title since 1946.
The arrivals of Corona and Martial provoked the departures of Oussama Idrissi and Óscar Rodríguez to bottom-half La Liga sides Cádiz and Getafe, respectively. Rodríguez excelled on loan at Leganés in the 2019/20 season, but he has been unable to find similar success since making a permanent move to Sevilla in 2020. Having been starved of starting opportunities in Sevilla, he returns to Madrid in an effort to reignite the 22-year-old attacking midfielder’s career.
As they attempt to steer themselves out of a relegation battle and into a comfortable mid-table position, Getafe have been engaged in the transfer market, with the Azulones bringing in two other young Spaniards who have been struggling for opportunities under José Mourinho at Roma: Gonzalo Villar and Borja Mayoral. Okay Yokuslu has also joined on loan from Celta Vigo in a bid to provide more muscle to Quique Sánchez Flores’s midfield, whilst 21-year-old centre back Gastón Álvarez arrives from Boston River, the latest in a long line of Uruguayans at Getafe such as Damián Suárez and Mauro Arrambari.
It was just two seasons ago that Getafe were competing in the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League under then-manager José Bordalás, with the side eliminating Ajax – semifinalists in last season’s Champions League – before losing to Inter in the Round of 16. Getafe had previously finished second in Group C of the Europa League, placing ahead of Krasnodar and Trabzonspor but one point behind Basel.
Getafe lost their home fixture 1-0 to Basel before losing 2-1 in Switzerland, a Basel side whose central defensive pairing consisted of Eray Cömert and Omar Alderete. Those two players are now reunited at Bordalás’ Valencia, with Cömert joining on a 4.5-year deal for a fee of €800,000. Valencia have also completed a permanent deal for Giorgi Mamardashvili, a 21-year-old Georgian goalkeeper who had started the season as the club’s #1 due to injuries to Jasper Cillessen and Jaume. In addition, Valencia have sealed the loan arrivals of two highly regarded young talents who have struggled for opportunities since departing Spain last summer: Ilaix Moriba and Bryan Gil. Both players will be looking to make their mark at Mestalla and find the playing time that has evaded them at Leipzig and Tottenham.
Juventus have beaten the rush and have finalized the signing of Dušan Vlahović on a four-year deal for €70 million plus €10 million add-ons. In doing so, they have saved themselves from having to engage in a summer transfer saga for the Serbian sharpshooter, whilst they have also weakened a direct rival in the race for European football.
Vlahović has emerged as one of Serie A’s top strikers for Fiorentina over the past year, and he joins a Juventus side whose goals have dried up following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Manchester United. With Moise Kean and Álvaro Morata struggling to convince under Max Allegri, and Federico Chiesa out until the rest of the season, Vlahović and fellow signing Denis Zakaria will be hoping to provide La Vecchia Signora with the quality to beat out the likes of Atalanta and Roma and seal the final Champions League spot.
Whilst Newcastle have dominated the headlines this transfer window, they aren’t the only relegation-threatened club under new ownership who have made a splash in the January window. Purchased by Miami-based alternative investment firm 777 Partners in September, Genoa have had a busy January that included the sacking of manager Andriy Shevchenko, who lasted just eight matches in charge before being replaced by Alexander Blessin.
Genoa’s January business shows not only a desire to keep them in the top-flight but a carefully coordinated plan to build for the future. Leo Östigard (22), Nadiem Amiri (25), Roberto Piccoli (20) and Riccardo Calafiori (19) have joined on loan, whilst Albert Gudmundsson (24), Morten Frendrup (20), Silvan Hefti (24) and Kelvin Yeboah (21), the latter being the nephew of former Leeds striker Tony Yeboah.
Following the club’s return to Serie A after 19 years away from the top-flight, Venezia invested heavily in the summer, bringing in the likes of David Okereke, Mattia Caldara and Ethan Ampadu on loan as well as signing two MLS players: FC Dallas midfielder Tanner Tessmann and Sporting Kansas City midfielder Gianluca Busio. They have dipped into the MLS market again, signing 35-year-old Portuguese forward Nani following his departure from Orlando City.
Alongside Nani, Venezia have also brought in France youth international Michaël Cuisance, who’ll be looking to reinvigorate his career after a failed move to Bayern Munich and an ineffective loan spell at Marseille. They have also signed 25-year-old left-back Maximilian Ullmann from Rapid Wien and completed the loan signing of Jean-Pierre Nsame, who scored 26 goals and 11 assists for Swiss champions Young Boys last season.
Another promoted side who have been busy bees in the January window are Troyes. After sacking manager Laurent Batlles, Troyes have completed the signing of Chelsea youth product Iké Ugbo on loan from Genk, the 23-year-old Canadian striker looking to recreate last season’s form after he scored 17 goals from Cercle Brugge. Troyes have put their Manchester City connections to good use and have signed Erik Palmer-Brown and Luka Ilić from the Cityzens, whilst they’ve also signed Abdu Conté from Moreirense, a 23-year-old left-back who impressed for Portugal during last year’s U-21 Euros.
Perhaps their biggest coup, however, came with the loan signing of Lebo Mothiba from Strasbourg. After missing nearly two years of action due to a knee injury, Mothiba made his return to action on January 2, playing 14 minutes in a cup tie against Montpellier. The South African striker found himself behind the likes of Ludovic Ajorque, Kevin Gameiro and Habib Diallo in manager Julien Stéphan, but he could become a vital figure in attack for Troyes as they look at avoiding relegation under new manager Bruno Irles.