It’s safe to say that the January transfer window is generally less eventful than the one in the summer. However, this has not stopped a number of top deals from taking place this time round. With the window closing at 23:00 on Thursday for English sides, now is a good time to decide which clubs have done the best business. Of all the completed transfers (or virtually completed) we pick just 4 of the best for their respective clubs.
Cedric Soares to Inter Milan – The Portuguese right back had been one Southampton’s most consistent players and one of the first names on the team sheet for a number of years. It was only this season that he had somewhat fallen out of favour, particularly with new manager Hasenhuttl, who has generally preferred youngster Yan Valery over him. Cedric was allowed to leave on loan for the remainder of the season and with the option for the Italian giants to buy him permanently in the summer. They would have to pay a fee of £9.5million if they wish to secure his services permanently, a price which could end up being something of a steal. Whilst it’s thought that Cedric had only been recruited following concerns over the injured Sime Vrsaljko, Cedric is a player who might be too good to be sitting on the bench for either Inter or Southampton. It’s difficult to say whether he’s a better player than the right back he’ll be competing with, but one thing is for sure; Vrsaljko is only on loan from Atletico Madrid and if they have any hope of signing him permanently he would likely cost significantly more than Cedric. Given that Cedric is also only 27 years old, in his prime, if he can impress during his loan spell he could end up being an excellent alternative to the currently injured and more expensive Vrsaljko.
Jermain Defoe to Rangers – The veteran was once one of England’s top strikers and has provided a real service to the English game in general throughout his career. Due to his age more than anything else, game time with the Cherries was very thin. A move away could end being just as beneficial to him as it might be for his new club Rangers. Rangers have done extremely well to make their way back up the leagues of Scottish football, now sitting second in the Premiership just three points behind their fierce rivals, Celtic. Defoe scored just 12 minutes into his debut but not only will it be his clinical nature helping Rangers really compete for the title, but also his presence at the club. As you’d expect, Rangers lost most of their top players when they entered liquidation in 2012. The appointment of Steven Gerrard as manager and now the signing of Defoe has shown that Rangers are finally capable of attracting some huge names again. This is something that could really boost their hopes of toppling giants Celtic if they’re able to attract players of equal quality to Defoe in the coming years.
Gonzalo Higuaín to Chelsea – The legendary Argentinian striker is somewhat a risky inclusion in this list for a few reasons. Most would agree that Higuaín is past his best; his goals to game ratio has decreased season upon season ever since leaving Napoli and his most recent spell on loan at AC Milan from Juventus was far from successful. He scored less goals there than the man he’s replacing, Alvaro Morata, did at Chelsea this season. All these factors could make this seem like a strange signing but there’s no doubting Higuaín’s quality. His intelligence was clear to see on his debut and yes, they were only up against a Championship side, Sheffield Wednesday, but just the runs he made in that match were something Chelsea weren’t getting off Morata or Giroud. He looks to be much better suited to Sarri’s system and you feel that it’s only a matter of time before Higuaín starts getting on the score-sheet. It would be difficult for him to be less successful than the other strikers at the club meaning this should end up being a positive piece of business by the blues.
Aaron Ramsey to Juventus – Whilst this deal has not officially been completed, Ramsey to Juventus looks to be almost guaranteed with the Welshman supposedly having agreed a contract worth £36million to join for free in the summer when his current contract at Arsenal expires. The fact that Arsenal haven’t done more to keep him at the club is quite frankly shocking. If it wasn’t for a number of long term injuries, Ramsey could have been even more of a key figure for the Gunners than he already is. Their most recent fixture, a 1-3 loss to Manchester United, was the perfect example as to why Arsenal are crazy to allow him to leave. All Arsenal’s chances came through Ramsey with him getting the assist for their only goal. He combines his outstanding ability with a hardworking attitude doing everything he can for the team. Not only this, but he’s a true professional. Knowing they were almost certainly going to be moving at the end of the season would lead to a lack of motivation for a lot of players, but not for Ramsey. If I compare a player like him to Arsenal’s other creative midfielder, Mesut Ozil, I know which player I’d much rather keep. Ramsey is a huge loss for Arsenal, especially with him leaving on a free transfer and excellent signing for Juventus.
As mentioned, these are not necessarily the most eye-catching or big name transfers. Others include Frenkie de Jong joining Barcelona for almost £70million and Christian Pulisic joining Chelsea for £58million. Deals like these could end up being very good ones but with such great price tags comes great risk. This is why these transfers have not been included in this list. The lack of cost and quality of the 4 signings mentioned in relation to the clubs they’re joining means these have to be considered amongst the best bits of business in the 2019 January transfer window for the buying sides.