Ah deadline day.
The last day of the January transfer window is usually particularly anti-climactic, with most of the top sides choosing to wait until the summer to splash the clash on transfer targets.
The usual entertainment is in watching how much clubs are willing to spend on unproven players to try and spark some life into their season.
The 2011 window was arguably the peak in the Premier League era, with Fernando Torres’ £50 million+ move from Liverpool to Chelsea the tale of that transfer window.
2013 was as amusing as it was chaotic, with Peter Odemwingie’s proposed move from West Bromwich Albion to Queens Park Rangers called off, despite Sky Sports News’ coverage of the player parked up in his car at Loftus Road.
However, as a whole, the January window is usually relatively underwhelming, although you could argue that the transfer window as a whole is a massively overhyped period of time in the football calendar.
The 2022 January transfer window was rather entertaining in comparison to the previous years, with clubs’ purse-strings having loosened slightly following the pandemic affected years of 2020 and 2021.
The main story of the window was always going to be how Newcastle United would go about their business, with the new Saudi ownership having completed their long-awaited takeover of the club in October 2021.
The have sat in the relegation zone since the beginning of the season, but Eddie Howe will hope that the £100m spent on Bruno Guimarães, Chris Wood, Kieran Trippier and Dan Burn on top of the loan signing of Matt Targett can help propel the club away from danger.
Aston Villa have a genuine claim of having the best transfer window in the Premier League, with Steven Gerrard’s pull power having played a part in bringing in, former Liverpool star, Phillipe Coutinho from Barcelona.
Villa have the option to buy the 29-year-old Brazilian international in the summer for £33 million, which will represent fantastic value should he replicate his form from his Merseyside days between 2013-18.
The side from the second-city have also managed to lure left-back Lucas Digne away from Everton for £27 million and centre-back Calum Chambers for a nominal fee from Arsenal, whilst goalkeeper Robin Olsen has joined from Roma on loan until the end of the season.
Everton will also feel that they had a much-needed strong conclusion to the window, with new manager Frank Lampard recruiting midfielder Dele Alli for a fee which could rise up to £40 million, as well as securing the services of Dutch international midfielder Donny van de Beek on loan from Manchester United for the rest of the season.
The feel-good story of the window is definitely Christian Eriksen’s return to the Premier League, seven months on from his cardiac arrest in Denmark’s clash with Finland at Euro 2020.
Eriksen was unable to continue playing for Inter Milan in Serie A, due to different rules in Italy preventing anyone playing sport with an ICD.
However, Eriksen has expressed his desire to play for Denmark at the World Cup in Qatar in November, and Brentford were more than happy to sign him up for the rest of the season, where the creative midfielder will hope to thrive under fellow Dane, Thomas Frank.
In terms of signings of the window, obviously Eriksen himself is up there.
Luis Díaz’s move to Liverpool for a fee of just over £40 million seems set to be another piece of smart business from the red side of Merseyside, with the 25-year-old Colombian looking like Sadio Mané’s long-term replacement on the left-side of Liverpool’s front-line.
The aforementioned Bruno Guimarães may well prove to be the signing that keeps Newcastle in the Premier League, whilst Bruno Lage will feel that securing the signing of forward Hwang Hee-Chan on a permanent deal for Wolverhampton Wanderers, when his loan from RB Leipzig expires in the summer, for just £12 million is a smart bit of business.
On the flip side, the January transfer window is the main culprit for panic buys, with clubs often paying excessive fees for players simply not worth that value.
Whilst it would be wrong to completely write off a signing, Newcastle paying a release clause of £27 million for Burnley striker Chris Wood seems a bit unnecessary.
Eddie Howe very clearly needed a new striker up front, following the long-term injury to regular goalscorer Callum Wilson, but paying £27 million for a 30-year-old striker with three goals to his name this season seemed slightly absurd.
However, Wood has scored at least ten goals in the last four seasons before the current campaign, and had been thought of as one of the better strikers outside of the so-called ‘top six’ over the last few seasons, so it would be naïve to write the New Zealand international off from the get-go.
Everton’s new left-back, Vitaliy Mykolenko hasn’t got off to a brilliant start, after having a troublesome time in a defeat at Norwich on his debut and is now playing under a manager who didn’t purchase him, suggesting he will have to prove himself again to make himself a regular.
Just as January has been a successful transfer window for some clubs, supporters of others in the Premier League may feel disappointed and underwhelmed by their club’s business.
Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Arsenal, West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers are all in and around a spot challenging for a top four position and a place in next season’s Champions League, but none of the clubs’ supporters will be particularly happy with their business.
It is only Antonio Conte’s Spurs who have made any genuine first-team signings out of the five clubs, with Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur arriving on loan with options buy after 18 months and six months respectively, but even this will feel underwhelming to supporters of the North London club.
As previously mentioned, Wolves confirmed the permanent signing of Hwang Hee-Chan, which will be completed in the summer.
As well as this Bruno Lage’s team have signed 21-year-old Portugugal under-21’s winger Chiquinho from Estoril in his homeland for just over £3 million, recalled Tote Gomes from his loan at Swiss club Grasshoppers.
As well as this, the club signed 26-year-old Japanese midfielder Hayao Kawabe from Grasshoppers before loaning him straight back to the club, as well as 19-year-old South Korean winger Sang-bin Jeong from the Suwon Bluewings in his home country, before again loaning another player to Grasshoppers until the end of the season.
The club have sold Spanish winger Adama Traoré to Barcelona on loan for the rest of the season, with the Spanish giants having the option to permanently buy Traoré for £29 million in the summer.
Wolves’ fans will join the aforementioned top four challengers in feeling like the January transfer window was a missed opportunity for the club to improve their unlikely chances of Champions League football next season.
Despite spending £100 million on players, Newcastle United will feel disappointed that a number of their targets were unable to be secured, with selling clubs sensing that they can squeeze a bit more cash out of the richest football club on the planet.
Marco Bielsa may also feel disappointed that his board were unable to add some depth to an already highly-depleted Leeds United squad, and will hope that his side don’t suffer another drop off in form to prevent any relegation fears.
All in all, the January window was quite exciting as winter transfer windows go.
As always, there will be flops, but there is also likely to be some deals which will look like impressive pieces of business in 12 months’ time.
The remainder of this season, may just be determined by how effective clubs were this January.