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Transfers: A window of opportunities

The best, worst and most bizarre transfers of the January window

Gulf News

With Manchester City’s acquisition of Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao taking the spend by Premier League clubs this month to a record £252 million, there certainly have been plenty of juicy deals to chew over across Europe.

But who has done the best, worst and most shrewd business in the January transfer window?

Barcelona secured the services of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool, Alexis Sanchez switched to Manchester United from Arsenal and Ross Barkley moved to Chelsea to Everton.

Here is a look at the transfers that piqued our interest during the window.

Biggest spenders

Philippe Coutinho - Liverpool to Barcelona

Philippe Coutinho

The Catalan club finally got their man when Jurgen Klopp and the Anfield board allowed the Brazilian playmaker to move Camp Nou for 142 million pounds. Coutinho has had a solid if unremarkable start to life at Barca but as the trophies continue to pour in, he will begin to repay the admiration they have for the man they had been chasing since last summer.

Most musical-chairs

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Dortmund to Arsenal

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Let’s cover three in one with this little chestnut. Arsenal secured the services of the striker for 56 million pounds on the final day of the window from Borussia Dortmund, but not until they acquired Chelsea man Michy Batshuayi on loan as cover. To ensure that happened, Arsenal allowed Olivier Giroud to then go to Chelsea for 18 million pounds in a three-way merry-go-round that only just got over the line with hours to spare.

Steal of the month

Ross Barkley - Everton to Chelsea

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A mere 15 million pounds for the England midfielder is a snip, and Chelsea must be delighted at getting such an asset at a cut-price deal. Added to the knock-down fee for Giroud and Antonio Conte’s side have done some pretty shrewd manoeuvres in the past month.

Best under-the-radar swoop

Gerard Deulofeu - Barcelona to Watford

Gerard Deulofeu

You might have missed this one. The former Everton man traded the bright lights of Camp Nou for Vicarage Road until the end of the season on January 29. The winger was once touted as a potential replacement for Neymar after the Brazilian left for Paris Saint-Germain, but he fell down the pecking order under coach Ernesto Valverde. He will probably find getting game time at Watford a wee bit easier.

Most defensive

Aymeric Laporte - Man City

Athletic Bilbao’s French defender Aymeric Laporte

City broke their transfer record to bring in what feels like their 432nd defensive signing in the past two years. They forked out 57 million pounds on a player who rejected a move to Etihad Stadium in 2016. That certainly miffed the powers that be in Manchester, but they sucked it up, swallowed their pride and got their man who will bring a cool head to the ever-changing City back-line.

Most drawn-out

Alexis Sanchez - Arsenal to Manchester United

Alexis Sanchez has joined Manchester United from Arsenal.

The Chilean forward had been linked with a move away from Arsenal to City, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG, Melchester Rovers, and Jossie’s Giants – just about everyone. HE eventually put pen to paper on a deal taking him to Old Trafford and Jose Mourinho, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan going the other way in a swap deal. Undoubtedly talented, it will be interesting to see if his astronomical salary unsettles the United dressing room.

Most eyebrow-raising

Daniel Sturridge - Liverpool to West Brom

Daniel Sturridge

This is an odd one. The England frontman looks set to move to Newcastle United, a team that would welcome him with open arms and link him up with former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez. He was even reportedly on his way to St James’ Park for a medical when news filtered through that he would in stead be joining West Brom in the Midlands where he grew up. Maybe it’s just me but West Brom over Newcastle? As I said, odd.

Most needed

Virgil van Dijk - Southampton to Liverpool

Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool’s roller-coaster season was going of the tracks when Klopp signed the Belgian from Southampton for 75 million pounds just as the world was waking up in a new year. The speed with which they got things done showed just how desperate Liverpool were for a big-name, solid defender. Sadly, the ups and downs have continued and they are out of the FA Cup and in a five-way fight for three Champions League spots in the Premier League.

Most potential

Theo Walcott - Arsenal to Everton

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Once anointed as the saviour of the English game, the lad decided it was time to move on from Arsenal and found a new home with Everton.

Walcott did not hang around in showing Wenger what he was missing.

Bang. Two goals for Everton against Leicester City in a 2-1 win on Wednesday night illustrates that he could be the impact player England will need during the World Cup at Russia 2018.