Historically, the winter transfer window has been a quieter period in the football calendar for high-profile deals to go through. But for the last few years, it has gained prominence of becoming busier than ever like the summer transfer window. The opening window of 2023 did not fall back in that regard with Premier League clubs spending $1 billion in January which is a record. Chelsea alone spent around $354 million more than all clubs in Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1 combined. In total, the Pl clubs reached a grand total of $3.4 billion in spending for the 2022/23 season. With the increase in finances in the Premier League we will see more money being spent on players in the upcoming windows.
Here are all the deals completed by the so-called big six clubs in this January transfer window:
IN: Jakub Kiwior, Leonardo Trossard, Jorginho
OUT: Albert Sambi Lokonga (loan), Marquinhos (loan), Cedric Soares (loan)
Arsenal are having the season of their life sitting atop the Premier League standings and aiming for their first league title since the 2003-04 season. After the season-defining signings of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko made in the summer, the plan for January was to strengthen the depth of the side and also look at lucrative options available in the market. So when Arsenal missed out on highly-talented Mykhaylo Mudryk’s signature to rivals Chelsea and Brighton also refusing to sell midfielder Moises Caicedo even after making bids as high as $92m, it was understandable to boost up key positions on the pitch with more low-risk sensible signings. Hence, Mikel Arteta’s side replaced both by going for Leonardo Trossard and Jorginho in this transfer window. For the Belgian, a guaranteed fee of $24 million with a further $8m in add-ons was paid to Brighton so the Premier League-proven star can arrive to give competition to the exciting Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli on the left wing.
The next big transfer was the purchase of Jorginho from Chelsea on the deadline day of this window. The Champions League winner with the Blues and European Championship medallist with Italy arrives at the Emirates Stadium to not only be an additional option to Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey in midfield but also share his experience of winning the titles to the team wishing to win one. With Mohamed Elneny side-lined for the long term with a knee injury and Sambi Lokonga departing for Crystal Palace on loan, Jorginho’s addition became necessary. Arsenal paid Chelsea $14m for his service. It is not that the Gunners totally missed out on future signings as promising 22-year-old center-back Jakub Kiwior joined the club from Spezia in a deal worth a reported $21 million. Another talent, Marquinhos joined Championship side Norwich to get more game time for his development.
IN: Jack Butland (loan), Wout Weghorst (loan), Marcel Sabitzer (loan)
OUT: Martin Dubravka (End of loan), Cristiano Ronaldo
It was clear Erik ten Haag will not allow Manchester United to make hasty, panicky and uncharacteristic signings so this January window was a lot different from those the Red Devils had in previous seasons. Asserting his authority fully at the club, the Dutch manager got rid of Cristiano Ronaldo last year after the player reportedly fell out with everybody involved at United. His departure and Anthony Martial’s injury troubles prompted the loan signing of Wout Weghorst from Burnley with a $3.6m fee paid to Besiktas for the cancellation of his initial loan deal.
The former Wolfsburg man is an excellent option to have in the forward line with his hold-up play and goal-scoring exploits in Germany.
The significant move though comes in the form of Marcel Sabitzer joining on loan from Bayern Munich on the deadline day after it was announced that Christian Eriksen will miss a chunk of the rest of the season with an ankle injury. The 28-year-old becomes the first Austrian player in the club’s history and will be an ideal replacement for the Dane in the midfield. His loan is until the end of the season.
IN: Maximo Perrone
OUT: Joao Cancelo (loan)
Having retained most of the title-winning squad and bringing in a world-class striker in Erling Haaland last summer, Manchester City were expected to be quieter in the summer transfer window or as they thought. City and Premier League’s finest full-back Joao Cancelo had a fallout with manager Pep Guardiola being frustrated with the lack of game minutes after his own form dwindled this season. The emergence of Rico Lewis also slid him down the pecking order with both parties taking the winter transfer window at the right moment to find a solution.
Guardiola did not want a disruption in the dressing room and Cancelo was seeking playing time so the Portuguese joined Bayern Munich on loan for the remainder of the season with a buy option of $76 million. His Instagram posts of departure and the way he impressed on his debut in a new shirt seem that he could be a permanent signing in the summer. City were happy with the full-back options at their disposal and decided against bringing in a quality like or near to Cancelo in this window. However, summer could be a whole different story to unpack.
IN: Enzo Fernandez, Mykhaylo Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile, Noni Madueke, Malo Gusto (loan back to Lyon), Joao Felix (loan), Andrey Santos, David Datro Fofana
The story of the January transfer window belonged to Chelsea as the Blues’ American owners pulled out numerous transfers on lengthy contracts in the market prompting UEFA to make changes to their FFP or Financial Fair Play rules which they took advantage of. All of the signings made were of uprising talents with an average age of 20. These deals did not come cheap and as said, Chelsea made a record spending in the window similar to what they did in the summer. But because the Blues spread the deal over years they have not had to make payments for each transfer straightway. Chelsea brought in Benoit Badiashile from AS Monaco ($40m over seven and a half years), Mykhaylo Mudryk from Shakhter ($76m over eight and a half years), Noni Madueke from PSV ($35m over seven and a half years) and Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid for the remainder of the season alongside teenage signings of Andrey Santos and David Datro Fofana. Talented right-back Malo Gusto also arrived in a $38m deal spread over six years but he was loaned back to Lyon, the club he is signed from, for the rest of the season.
The biggest transfer of the window was unleashed by Chelsea too by breaking the British transfer record in acquiring Benfica’s World Cup-winning midfielder Enzo Fernandez on the deadline day. The Blues were in for the Argentinian much early in the window but the move fell through because the Portuguese club wanted his release clause to be paid in full. The owners returned and after a long negotiation period, Benfica agreed to a $131m fee spread over eight and half years valid until 2031. The Portuguese club will receive an initial $36m in installments followed by five further payments in the future. Enzo Fernandez’s arrival also opened the door for midfielder Jorginho’s transfer once interests from Arsenal were confirmed. Now, it is left to see whether these signings help Chelsea lift themselves from the underwhelming tenth position on the table this season as well as help them in the long run. The Blues also decided to send Hakim Ziyech on loan to PSG for a future buy option but the deal fell through on the deadline day as the club sent the wrong papers reportedly three times. The Parisians lodged an appeal with Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) but it was rejected.
IN: Cody Gakpo
Bringing in Cody Gakpo is the only piece of business done by Liverpool in the winter transfer window despite staying ninth on the table. The Dutch forward arrived on the back of successful seasons with PSV Eindhoven and enhancing his reputation at the World Cup last year, scoring in each group stage game. He will no doubt provide quality on the forward line which is well-stacked now after the summer purchase of Darwin Nunez and already having Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota, etc in the ranks. The transfer was between $43m and $54m. However, fans will be understandably unhappy with the lack of upgrades done in other crucial positions, particularly in the midfield. The Reds are expected to sell a mass of their fringe players in the summer and bring in more decisive signings in the summer but the present situation is more of a concern.
IN: Arnaut Danjuma (loan), Pedro Porro (loan),
OUT: Matt Doherty (loan), Bryan Gil (loan), Djed Spence (loan)
Tottenham were desperate to strengthen their attack and the wing-back regions which lacked quality after injury to key players or simply having players in poor form. Spurs understood they needed more than their summer recruits in this January window. Arnaut Danjuma was the first one to arrive on loan from Villarreal for the remainder of the season after his Everton move was hijacked. He became a crucial addition to the forward line with Lucas Moura injured for the long term and South Korean star Son Heung-Min not having a great season. Young winger Bryan Gil joins Sevilla on loan for the remainder of the season. Pedro Porro also signed on loan from Sporting with an obligation to buy in the summer to add more class in the right wing-back spot. Emerson Royal is the only other player in the position after Djed Spence moved to Stade Rennais on loan till the end of the season while Matt Doherty’s contract was terminated so he could join Atletico Madrid on a free as Spurs reached the maximum limit of loaning players. Initially, they planned to loan the Irish to the Spanish club. Both of them departed the club on the deadline day.