• Sports - Football - Transfers
  • Updated: February 01, 2023

EPL: Major Winter Transfers, Prospects

EPL: Major Winter Transfers, Prospects

With January over and the transfer window closed, many football fans across the world will not forget in a hurry the pulsating drama and remarkable spending spree that enveloped the winter transfer window.

In the usual way, clubs proceeded to the market to flex their muscles over players and displayed how shrewd they are when it comes to pulling off deals capable of shaming big-money signings.

The popular phrase that flooded the media space as players swapped teams was 'HERE WE GO' courtesy of football transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.

English clubs dominated transfer headlines as they were not modest in their dealings this window, unlike top-flight teams in France, Spain, Italy and Germany.

According to football data website Transfermarkt, English teams paid out about $831m, not including loan payments, while the other four leading leagues spent about $263m.

The spending by English top-flight clubs accounts for 79% of the total across Europe's 'big five' football leagues whereas January spending fell by 35% from 2022 to €255m ($277m).

Here are five winter major transfers with prospects that were sealed to end another astonishing window.

Fernandez – Benfica to Chelsea: $131m

Enzo Fernandez is the poster boy of the winter transfer window having arrived at Stamford Bridge on deadline day.

Chelsea paid a transfer fee of £106.8m ($131.5m) to land the Best Young Player at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, eclipsing the previous record of £100m ($123m) that Manchester City paid Aston Villa for Jack Grealish in 2021.

The 21-year-old who became Chelsea's eighth signing of the January window signed an eight-and-a-half-year contract to keep him at the club until the summer of 2031.

His introduction at the Bridge offers a struggling Graham Potter's side a better option in midfield following the departure of Jorginho to Arsenal.

The Argentine playmaker before joining the Blues racked up the second-most assists in the Primeira Liga and created 30 chances for his team-mates halfway through his first season with Benfica.

It is hoped that Fernandez's attribute will help inspire positive change for Chelsea with half of the season left to play.

Mykhaylo Mudryk – Shakhtar Donetsk to Chelsea: $108m

Mykhaylo Mudryk switch from Shakhtar Donetsk to Chelsea in a deal worth £88.5m ($108m) was the dramatic transfer of this window.

Everyone thought that the 22-year-old was set to join Arsenal since he previously indicated that the Emirates was his preferred destination in a series of social media posts.

But things quickly changed as Chelsea pounced on the deal at the eleventh hour to reach an agreement with Shakhtar which resorted in the Ukraine international signing an eight-and-a-half-year deal. 

Chelsea were delighted with his signing and had their pulses racing after Mudryk showcased his thrilling speed and one-on-one ability in his debut against Liverpool.

Going forward, the Blues will be counting on the Ukrainian to  stretch the pitch, run in behind a few times and wreak havoc on opposing defences so as to lift Chelsea out of the mid-table.

Joao Cancelo – Manchester City to Bayern Munich: Loan

Joao Cancelo loan departure to Bayern Munich on deadline day is one the most intriguing signings of the January transfer window.

The Manchester City full-back became the interest of the Bundesliga champions having fallen out of favour with Pep Guardiola.

Cancelo found first-team opportunities hard to come by in recent weeks having made only three appearances since his return from the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, hence the move to Bayern until the end of the season with a view to a permanent deal worth up to £61.5m in the summer.

The Portuguese arrival strengthens the squad of Bayern given that Benjamin Pavard is out of form and Morocco's Noussair Mazraoui has heart problems.

With his experience, there is no doubt that Cancelo will help solve Bayern's problems on the wing side to a great extent.

Leandro Trossard – Brighton to Arsenal: $33.2m

Despite the failure of the Gunners to seal the transfer of Mudryk to the Emirates, the signing of Leandro Trossard is arguably a perfect consolation.

Arsenal paid a transfer fee of £27m to Brighton to bolster their attack in the Premier League title race.

While Trossard's ceiling is not as high as Mudryk, he offers Arsenal Premier League experience gained at Brighton where he made 116 appearances across four seasons, misssing only a handful of games and scoring a healthy number of goals with seven of his 25 coming this season. 

In addition to his experience is the 28-year-old versatility as he is primarily a left winger but can play as a No 10, as a false nine and even as a left wing-back.

Arsenal had a glimpse of what the Belgian offers after coming on from the bench against Manchester United to make an immediate impact that led to the winning goal at the death.

Cody Gakpo – PSV to Liverpool: $45.6m

Netherlands forward Coady Gakpo is Liverpool's New Year present from PSV Eindhoven.

The 23-year-old who scored three goals in five appearances at the World Cup in Qatar officially became Liverpool's player when the January transfer window opened.

Liverpool had not planned to sign a forward in January but injuries to Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz coupled with interest from rivals prompted the club to accelerate their interest.

The Reds reached a deal worth £35m-£45m with PSV Eindhoven which sealed the permanent move of Gakpo to Anfield until 2028.

While at Anfield, he is yet to score or assist but it doesn't take away the fact that he is a multi-functional attacking player as Jurgen Klopp once described.

In the few games played, Gakpo has shown signs that he could be useful as a No. 9 or No. 10 that drifts to the right.

This trait was seen during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar where the forward performed excellently for Van Gaal.

With more game time, he will be able to reproduce his performance at PSV where he recorded steadily rising goals- and assists-per-90 minutes stats for the Eredivisie club.

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