English Premier League [EPL] managers often disparage the January transfer window because of a seeming “lack of value” and indeed it has often proven more true than not.
But, oftentimes, the window provides gems and missing pieces that prove to be the difference between a title charge and a trophyless season or indeed survival and relegation.
Then again, for every successful signing, there are two or three spectacular failures as well and it often doesn’t take long for the enthusiasm that greets a player’s arrival to be dampened [see Alexis Sanchez and Fernando Torres].
Some might say it is too soon to run the rule over Premier League club’s January acquisitions, but what would you have us do with football suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic?
So, join us at busybuddiesng.com as we pick out the best and worst signings in the January transfer window.
No list is exhaustive, so don’t hesitate to comment below with your own examples.
Mbwana Samatta – Genk to Aston Villa
Mbwana Samatta became the first Tanzanian to not only play in the Premier League but also score a goal, netting on his debut in a 2-1 loss to Bournemouth on 1 February. He signed for a reported £8.5 million from Belgian side Genk and it is hoped that he will help the Lions avoid relegation.
“It always gives you confidence when you score,” explained the Taifa Stars captain. “It all comes from the group, they try to help me because I’m a new player and I try to adapt very quickly to help the team.”
Bruno Fernandes – Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United
The Portugal international has hit the ground running at Manchester United following a move from Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon, for a fee which could rise as high as £67.6million. He has thus far scored twice and grabbed three assists across all competitions, and was named Premier League Player of the Month for February.
“I think it’s been a terrific impact and the first signs are he looks like a top player. He is always on the move, always wanting the ball has got a great touch and makes double movements, a bit like Scholesy [Paul Scholes] used to do,” said United legend Bryan Robson of Fernandes’ impact.
Steven Bergwijn – PSV Eindhoven to Tottenham Hotspur
The Netherlands international has been impressive for Tottenham, as he has hit the back of the net twice in five Premier League matches following a move worth a reported £26.7million from Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven.
He picked up an ankle injury which threatened to end his season but he has vowed to recover as quickly as possible: “I’m making progress. I can walk now, so that’s good news. It was bad, but we’re making progress and I’ll come back stronger.”
Nabil Bentaleb – Schalke 04 to Newcastle United (loan)
The Algerian midfielder, who is on loan from German side Schalke 04, has found his return to the Premier League harder than expected.
The former Spurs midfielder has found it difficult to break into Newcastle United’s starting line-up and has featured in only three Premier League matches – all of which the Magpies failed to win.
“They are unbelievable,” Bentaleb says of Newcastle’s fans, who are known for their passion. “I am really proud to play for this club.”
Takumi Minamino – Red Bull Salzburg to Liverpool
The Japanese attacker joined the Reds from Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg for a bargain fee of just £7.25million.
So far, he has made just three substitute appearances in the Premier League as he faces stiff competition from Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
“I think I’m still [learning] to fully understand the team, but I still hate to wait. In order to make an instant impact and make a contribution to the team, I’m doing my best every day,” he told Liverpool’s official website.
Gedson Fernandes – Benfica to Tottenham Hotspur
The Portugal international was expected to fill the void left by Christian Eriksen at Tottenham when he joined the club from Portuguese giants SL Benfica for an undisclosed fee, but he has featured in only four Premier League games as a substitute.
He remains a talented prospect but will need to step up his game when the season resumes. There is still time for him to live up to his potential and show the White Hart Lane faithful why he remains highly rated by manager Jose Mourinho.