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Chelsea signed Benfica's Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez for a British record £107 million transfer fee. Image Credit: REUTERS

Dubai: The January transfer window has slammed shut and a clear winner from the English Premier League, in terms of business conducted, has emerged.

After a month of wheeler-dealing where they spent close to £300 million on new players it is fair to say that Chelsea will be serious title challengers next season. Owner Todd Boehly promised he would bring in new recruits and true to his word, he has delivered - and how. The Blues’ squad is considerably stronger now and I believe they will storm up the table to close the gap on leaders Arsenal who they currently trail by a massive 21 points.


Even though they smashed the British-record which stood at £100 million that Manchester City paid Aston Villa for Jack Grealish by signing Enzo Fernandez for £107 million from Benfica, Blues fans will need to be patient. They can’t expect the new boy, a World Cup winner in Qatar with Argentina last year, to hit the ground running and help the Stamford Bridge club make a late charge for the title. That won’t happen. Chelsea are building for next season and with the acquisitions they have made, I think they could blow everyone away next term.

Fernandez is one of eight new faces that the club have brought in in the winter window. It is almost an entire new team and fans will say it was needed considering the lackluster displays Graham Potter’s men have put in so far this season.

But now, much will be expected from the team. Boehly’s spending splurge for the season has gone beyond £600 million and if results do not change then you can be sure the manager will.

Potter has come under increasing pressure due to poor results and performances after an initial bright start following his arrival from Brighton. But Boehly needs to see a return on his spending. And he will want to see it fast otherwise Potter will pay for it.

Striker Mykhailo Mudryk arrived at Chelsea for £88.5 million from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The fans are now extremely excited about the second half of the season and so they should be. Aside from Fernandez they also brought in Mykhailo Mudryk for £88.5 million from Shakhtar Donetsk and he made an electrifying debut against Liverpool. Joao Felix was having a solid game against Fulham before it was marred by a red card but he looks an astute signing. Noni Madueke will hope to showcase his huge talent having arrived at the Bridge for £29 million from PSV Eindhoven while Benoit Badiashile has already slotted into the defence. Meanwhile, much is expected from Andrey Santos, Malo Gusto and David Datro Fofana.

Clever business

Arsenal may have missed out on several main targets but they still managed to strengthen their squad with some shrewd business. The Gunners are currently five points clear at the top of the table from second-placed City and have a game in hand. They’re looking good to go all the way what with their young and exciting team headed by the increasingly impressive Mikel Arteta as manager.

They had been after Brighton’s Ecuadorian midfielder Moises Caicedo and offered £70 million for the 21-year-old but the Seagulls were not tempted. So instead, they brought in Jorginho from Chelsea. Now, his capture would appear, on the surface at least, as underwhelming after the failed bid for Caicedo. But trust me, it isn’t. The Brazilian’s entrance reinforces Arsenal in one key area - the art of winning. He became the first ever player to win the European Championship, the Champions League and Super Cup in the same year, playing in all three finals. He breaks up play and rarely wastes possession and is cool from the spot too. He has leadership qualities as well and Arteta will look to him to guide his young side to glory.

Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta (left) with new signing Leandro Trossard. Image Credit: Twitter / Arsenal FC

The North London giants also brought in Leandro Trossard from Brighton and highly-rated Polish centre-back Jakub Kiwior from Spezia. That means their defence, midfield and attack have all been strengthened. These are not glamorous signings but they are exactly what Arsenal needed and now they look in good shape to be crowned champions in May.

Manchester United look a different team under coach Erik Ten Hag and like Chelsea they will fancy their chances of mounting a title challenge next season. The Dutch boss was working with a limited budget in January and had to get a little creative which explains the signing of Wout Weghorst. The target man had a poor spell at Burnley but did better for Besiktas and even better in Qatar for the Netherlands and credit to Ten Hag for taking a chance on the 6 foot 4 inch striker because his early United displays have been good.

He will have to build on that to win over the fans and that goes for Marcel Sabitzer too. The Austria international has come to Old Trafford on loan from Bayern Munich where he was surplus to requirements but a long-term injury to Christian Eriksen meant United needed cover in midfield.

United’s neighbours City conducted perhaps the strangest bit of business by loaning Joao Cancelo to Bayern but coach Pep Guardiola felt it was necessary in the interests of squad harmony. He fell out with the talented Portugal international who demanded more minutes on the pitch but Pep showed him the door instead. It could well be a decision which backfires as Cancelo, who had played more Premier League minutes than any other outfield player across City’s title-winning 2020/21 and 2021/22 campaigns, is a top quality player.

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Joao Cancelo has been allowed to leave Man City for Bayern Munich on loan.

No signings

Liverpool fans may not remember the January transfer window too fondly having brought in just Cody Gakpo from PSV. The Reds have been woefully off form and are on a terrible run of one win from their last six matches. They are ninth in the table and crashed out of the FA Cup but spare a thought for their neighbours across Stanley Park. Literally every Premier League club has brought in at least one new player - apart for Everton.

The Toffees were in the most need for reinforcements, a quick look at the table will confirm that. But they actually ended January weaker following the sale of striker Anthony Gordon to Newcastle for £45 million. If new boss Sean Dyche was not already aware of the scale of the job he has on his hands, then it is safe to say after a fruitless window he will be now.

Attempts to reinvest the Gordon money and improve the squad proved unsuccessful. There was a huge list of targets - Hakim Ziyech, Conor Gallagher, Iliman Ndiaye, Olivier Giroud, Michy Batshuayi and Jean-Philippe Mateta - however they all shunned the Goodison Park outfit. But by getting Dyche in as coach for the hopeless Frank Lampard, perhaps the Toffees can survive the dreaded drop as the former Burnley man has made a name for himself as a survival specialist.