At Liverpool, the January addition of Luis Diaz has altered the dynamic of their attack. At Newcastle United, Dan Burn has been impeccable in defence since completing a £13million move from Brighton, while Matt Targett has also impressed. Kieran Trippier’s impact was instant, on and off the pitch, before his injury in February.
Even clubs who simply turned a pre-existing loan deal into a permanent transfer have benefited: Jean-Philippe Mateta, who signed for Crystal Palace for a cut-price £8m, has four goals in his last eight games, with his pace and power helping lift Patrick Vieira’s side into the top half and the last four of the FA Cup.
It is also worth noting that some of the most successful big-money signings of recent seasons were made in the January window. Virgil van Dijk joined Liverpool in January 2018. Bruno Fernandes joined Manchester United in January 2020. Tomas Soucek and Jarrod Bowen both signed for West Ham United the same month, while Jesse Lingard’s hugely successful loan at the London Stadium started in January last year.
Naturally, there have also been January deals in recent seasons that have not paid off. But this is even more true of the summer window, in which there were a series of high-profile transfers that have simply not worked out, including Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea, Bryan Gil to Tottenham, Nikola Vlasic to West Ham and Leon Bailey to Aston Villa. If anything, the big transfers in January have so far proven to be more successful than those completed last summer, on the whole.
For Tottenham, Newcastle and Brentford, their seasons now have a different feel as a result of their January business. Bentancur and Kulusevski have been fundamental in pushing Conte’s side into fourth place, while Brentford and Newcastle have gone from a potential relegation dogfight to aiming much higher. Thomas Frank’s side, with Eriksen as their new playmaker, are now considerably closer to ninth place than they are to the relegation zone.
Such is the power of the January transfer window, when it is used properly. This season has shown that there is indeed value to be found, and the success of many of the sides who dipped into the market should go some way towards correcting a widely-held view that might no longer be as accurate as it once was.