The January transfer window 2018 has flown by us but it did not fail to keep us guessing and keep us intrigued as the prominent names of football made their moves and transfer fees involved never fail to surprise.
The biggest stars of the footballing world making the move from one club to another with mind-boggling financial fees and figures involved, along with the expectations and excitement of the footballing fans who eagerly anticipate their favorite clubs moving for the new talents and moving on from the existing ones, the transfer window always comes with its aura of intrigue and excitement.
With the prospect of reduced duration of the coming summer window and the World Cup in the summer, the players and clubs alike were expected to be busy during the January transfer window and we have not been let down. Transfer fees that take you by surprise, swap deals between the best of rivals, contract rebels and showstoppers, the recently concluded winter transfer window had it all.
Aymeric Laporte (£57 million)
Age: 23, Nationality: France, Position: Central Defender, From Athletic Bilbao To Manchester City
In the final week of the January transfer window 2018, Manchester City signed Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao for a club record transfer fee of £ 57 million. Laporte had been a long-term target for Pep Guardiola, and while Guardiola initially planned to move for the French defender in the summer. However, he has got his man six months ahead.
Laporte has never been capped for the French National team. However, the 23-year old has played over 200 professional games at the highest level. The defender has made 51 appearances for France at the youth level.
Laporte is young and talented, but more significantly, he is a ball playing center half which makes him precisely the kind of player who fits into a Pep Guardiola team. Pep himself has expressed his happiness on acquiring the French defender and insisted he is one for the present and the future.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£56 million)
Age: 28, Nationality: Gabon, Position: Striker, From Borussia Dortmund To Arsenal
Arsenal signed former Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the final day of the January transfer window, for a club record fee of £ 56 million. Having parted ways finally with one of their best players in Alexis Sanchez in January, the Gunners will have one of the best strikers in Europe over the recent years in Aubameyang, to headline their attack in the coming days.
Arsenal eclipsed the £ 46 million fee paid for Alexandre Lacazette last summer by paying Dortmund £56 million to acquire the services of Aubameyang. However, one would argue the cost involved for the player of Aubameyang’s caliber is justified.
The player was voted as the African Player of the Year 2015. He won the Golden Boot in the Bundesliga last season with 31 goals in the league, beating Bayern Munich’s hitman Robert Lewandowski in the process.
Aubameyang, Olivier Giroud, and Michy Bathsuyai were involved in a transfer merry-go-round between Arsenal, Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund in the final day of the window.
Virgil Van-Dijk (£75 million)
Age: 26 Nationality: Netherlands Position: Center-back From Southampton To Liverpool
Former Southampton center half, Virgil Van-Dijk, became the most expensive defender after moving to Liverpool for a transfer fee of £ 75 million. Liverpool wanted to sign the Dutch defender last summer, and the player was keen on the move as well.
However, despite handing a transfer request in the summer, Van-Dijk had to wait till the winter transfer window to finally move to the red half of the Merseyside.
Liverpool announced the signing of the 28-year old Dutchman in the final week of December, a couple of days before the start of the window.
Van-Dijk has been a long-term target for Jurgen Klopp. Liverpool have put a lot of money in a center-half, which is justified given their defensive frailties under Klopp. Whether Van-Dijk can solve Liverpool’s defensive woes, only time will tell.
Alexis Sanchez And Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Swap Deal)
Sanchez:: Age: 29 Nationality: Chile Position: Forward/Winger From Arsenal To Manchester United
Mkhitaryan:: Age: 29 Nationality: Armenia Position: Forward From Manchester United To Arsenal
This January transfer window saw one of the biggest swap deals in the history of the Premier League, when Manchester United and Arsenal: two giants of English football, traded their high profile attackers. Alexis Sanchez had been one of best players for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal since his arrival from Barcelona in 2014 whereas, Mkhitaryan was signed by United in the summer before the last one.
Reports suggest Sanchez became the highest paid player in the Premier League after his move to Old Trafford where the Chilean is set to earn £ 350,000 a week. Jose Mourinho has admitted of not being a huge fan of winter transfer window.
However, on Sanchez, the Portuguese said,
[bs-quote quote=”If a player of Sanchez’s quality becomes available, you try to make it happen in January, June or any other month of the year.” style=”style-7″ align=”center” author_name=”Jose Mourinho” author_job=”Manager” author_avatar=”http://footballdrug.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Jose-Mourinho.jpg”][/bs-quote]
Meanwhile, Wenger has also been full of praise about the Gunners’ new signing, Mkhitaryan. Mkhitaryan did not quite settle into the English football at Manchester United; however, if the Armenian can get back to his form at Borussia Dortmund in Arsenal colors, he will be a great addition to the Arsenal team along with his Ex-Dortmund teammate, Aubameyang, who has also moved to North London in this transfer window.
Phillippe Coutinho (£146 million)
Premier League lost one of it’s the hottest property in Phillippe Coutinho, as he ended the much-anticipated debate over his future, by moving to Barcelona from Liverpool, this January transfer window. Coutinho was expected to join the Catalan side in the summer. But due to Liverpool’s stubbornness, they were successful to ward off the initial interest from Barcelona.
A few months later, Coutinho was granted the permission to leave as Liverpool deemed they got the right price for the Brazilian playmaker, which has been reported to be in the region of £ 146 million. The transfer fee involved made Phillippe Coutinho the second most expensive player of all time, only behind Brazilian team-mate Neymar who moved from Barcelona to PSG last summer for a mammoth transfer fee of £ 202 million.
There could be much debate over whether the 26-year old is worth the money Barcelona invested nevertheless, they have signed one of the best all rounded attacking players in Europe.
Coutinho has a wide array of attacking talent and can play in multiple positions. Regardless of the money Barcelona paid, they have acquired a gem of a player in Coutinho, and possibly a long-term replacement for the aging Andres Iniesta.