The Biggest Signings of the January 2016 Transfer Window
The January transfer window is never as eventful as the summer gap. Fewer teams dip into the market to flesh out their ranks or spend big on new stars, and fewer clubs are willing to let go of big stars. In other words, you’re never going to see a Cristiano Ronaldo transfer in January, or any transfer fees that land in the top 10 or 20 of all time. Still, this year’s January window was bigger than it has been in the past, with Premier League spending topping £1 billion for the first time ever. Read on to find out which clubs made the biggest signings of the month.
Pep Guardiola: Sure, he’s not a player, but the deadline day announcement that Pep Guardiola is indeed on his way to Manchester City handily overshadowed everything that was going on in the transfer market. Guardiola has been nothing but golden at Bayern Munich—and before that, at Barcelona—and his experience combined with a solid City squad guarantees great things to come for the Sky Blues. Manuel Pellegrini will finish out the year at Etihad Stadium, with Guardiola taking over in the summer. If you listen closely, you can almost hear the players and officials at Manchester United shaking in their boots.
Giannelli Imbula: In terms of traditional transfer deals, one of the most notable was Stoke City’s £18.3 million of Giannelli Imbula. The deal—which came through just a half hour before the English deadline—constitutes a record fee for Stoke. Imbula, a 23-year-old midfielder born in Belgium, comes to England after just seven months at FC Porto.
Marko Grujic: The rumor all along was that Jurgen Klopp would make Red Star Belgrade standout Marko Grujic his first signing at Liverpool. That prediction came true, with Klopp spending £5.1 million to sign the 19-year-old Grujic. Unfortunately, also as predicted, Liverpool immediately loaned Grujic back to Belgrade, because the teenager wants to help his now-former football club win a title. Since Liverpool have struggled with injuries lately, and since they didn’t buy any other players over the break, letting Grujic go could prove to be a mistake.
Mohamed Elneny: Like Liverpool, Arsenal have had problems with player injuries lately, leading to speculation that the club might dive deep into the January transfer market looking for reinforcements. Instead, Arsene Wenger made just one signing: Basel’s Mohamed Elneny for £7.4 million. Elneny seems like a pretty safe investment, and since most of Wenger’s players are back (or in the case of Danny Welbeck, almost back) from their injury spells, Arsenal may not have needed as much help as some football pundits assumed.
Oumar Niasse: Everton aren’t quite consistent enough yet to compete for a top-five slot in the Premier League, but with Romelu Lukaku as one of the league’s top scorers this season, they are getting closer. One of the transfer market rumors was that Lukaku would be snapped up by United in a major deal. But United didn’t make any signings, and Everton spent £13.5 million to bring striker Oumar Niasse to England from Lokomotiv Moscow. If Niasse and Lukaku can find a groove together, could the two build a new dynasty at Everton?
Andros Townsend and Jojo Shelvey: Newcastle United spent £12 million apiece for these two, signing Shelvey (a central midfielder) from Swansea City and bringing in Townsend (a winger) from Tottenham Hotspur. Will these two young talents help the Magpies escape the Premier League’s relegation zone?
Ramires: All of the players listed above are Premier League arrivals, which shows just how much England’s top soccer clubs were willing to spend on transfers over the past month. The biggest transfer deal of them all, though, was an English departure. Brazilian midfielder Ramires, who had been with Chelsea since 2010, is on his way to China’s Jiangsu Suning on a four-year deal worth a reported £25 million. Ramires had only featured in seven starting lineups this season, and his underuse made him a natural sell for the transfer window.
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