50 Best Transfer Deals of the January Window
The transfer window has slammed shut! If you haven't signed the players you want, tough luck; this is your lot for the rest of the 2013-14 season.
With an entertaining deadline day culminating in a number of cut-price deals and Liverpool's failure to sign Yevhen Konoplyanka, we've allowed the dust to settle for just 24 hours before recapping the entire month of chaos.
Here lies the 50 best deals of the January transfer window. Read on to see how your club fared in the market!
The deals are ranked by considering a cocktail of factors: skill level, impact, need, value and fee paid are all weighed.
All transfer fees are via Transfermarkt.co.uk unless stated otherwise. Potential loan fees have not been included due to them being unclear.
Raul Rusescu was an absolute goal machine for Steaua Bucharest, but since moving to Sevilla in the summer of 2013, it hasn't really worked out.
He played just eight minutes of a possible 16 matches over the first half of the Liga season, and as a result he's been allowed to join Braga on loan.
With Os Arsenalistas trailing the traditional big three by some distance, he'll be a welcome addition.
Parma and Sassuolo completed an extremely complicated swap deal involving five players this month, and the most interesting of the lot appears to be Nicola Sansone.
The minnow Serie A club will now be running with an electric front three of Sansone, Domenico Berardi and Antonio Sanabria—who was an intriguing, top-class signing himself.
How will he fare?
Eduardo Vargas was brought to Napoli in 2012 but failed to settle in under Walter Mazzarri due to the formation rarely suiting his strengths.
He was loaned to Gremio to rediscover his form, and Jorge Sampaoli has found that of particular use in the Chilean national setup.
He now heads to Valencia, who need some attacking "spark" in their ranks, and he seems primed to make a big impact for the second half of the season.
Fee: £4.4 million
Rafa Benitez waited until the very last day of the transfer window to solve his left-back conundrum.
Napoli have been struggling to find a good left-sided option in defence all season as the squad left by Walter Mazzarri was accustomed to playing in a 3-5-2/3-4-3 shape.
There were no traditional back-four specialists in the team at all, so Pablo Armero has been turfed out on loan and Faouzi Ghoulam has been signed.
William Kvist has signed until the end of the season with Fulham, and he's exactly the type of player Rene Meulensteen needed.
The Cottagers' engine room can get a little bogged down due to the aging legs of Scott Parker and Giorgos Karagounis, so the Dane can provide a fresh approach in the centre of the park.
He's a committed battler, he doesn't shirk a challenge, and he's a good option for the relegation battle Fulham currently find themselves embroiled in.
Davide Biondini has switched Genoa for Sassuolo this winter, and if he can help save the minnow club from relegation it will be a true stroke of transfer-window genius.
The 31-year-old has been around the block in Serie A several times, and his battling qualities will be a valuable commodity for the second half of the season.
After making 15 starts for the Rossoblu he's fresh and fit, so he can come in and make an immediate impact.
Lacina Traore switched Anzhi Makhachkala for Monaco early in January but has immediately joined Everton due to non-EU quota issues in Ligue 1.
He provides valuable backup to a thin squad up front following Nikica Jelavic's departure, and with Romelu Lukaku injured he can pick up some early playing time.
Much of Europe is eager to see what he can do.
It's been another rollercoaster season for Montpellier, and it's simply never quiet when Louis Nicollin is around.
Coming into the January market, manager Rolland Courbis knew he had to find a goalscoring talent—regardless of whether or not they lost Remy Cabella.
M'Baye Niang knows the league, knows the language and already has three goals in four Ligue 1 starts.
Hellas Verona entered January in a tough situation.
With the side overachieving in the Serie A table, yet still a minnow when it comes to financial clout in the league, they had to make shrewd moves to keep their top-half challenge alive.
Marquinho is a strong acquisition; he gets a bad rap from Roma fans, but he'll inject plenty of enthusiasm and dynamism to a side who rely on Luca Toni and Juan Iturbe.
Dario Conca has elected to move back to Fluminense after his mega contract at Guangzhou Evergrande came to an end.
His performances under Marcello Lippi, toward the end, were excellent; he returns to Brazil in prime form, and at 30 years old, he will become a key immediately.
Not a bad free transfer at all.
One for the future.
Julian Brandt has opted to join Bayer Leverkusen from Wolfsburg this month, and the Werkself fans will be delighted they've secured yet another bright German prospect's signature.
He plays from the wing, but given the fact that he's 17 years old, he'll be stashed away for the time being.
Fee: £1.3 million
Diego left Wolfsburg once before and it didn't work out, but he's been on loan to Atletico Madrid before and has now opted to go permanently.
Die Wolfe are fine with it—they have Maximilian Arnold to fill the void—and the Brazilian represents great January value at just £1.3 million.
Diego Simeone will know he needs all the depth he can get if he wants to make a run at three trophies.
Josuha Guilavogui has returned to St. Etienne on loan just six months after leaving them for the heights of Atletico Madrid.
Los Colchoneros have been ticking along so nicely that rotation in the holding midfield position has been rare, and on the odd chance the Frenchman did get a chance, he didn't turn too many heads.
With Atletico boasting good depth, they've allowed him to move back to Ligue 1 and get another five months of football under his belt.
Shrewd from every angle.
Fee: £3 million
From a Cardiff City standpoint this is an awful deal, but FC Copenhagen currently look like geniuses.
They sold Andreas Cornelius to the Welsh club in the summer of 2013 for £7 million, and after the striker failed to break into the team, he has been sold back in a cut-price deal.
The Danish outfit have recouped one of the country's best footballing prospects for a bargain fee.
Jose Campana has had very little impact at Crystal Palace since joining in the summer, and the early switch to Tony Pulis' physical style hasn't helped at all.
He's opted to join Nurnberg for the second half of the season, and that's a strong deal for all parties concerned. A nice ball-playing central midfielder can relieve the pressure on Hiroshi Kiyotake and improve the footballing being played, while Palace will be looking at sell-on values come the summer.
Lorenzo Ariaudo represents a low-risk, high-reward deal by the clever clogs at Sassuolo.
Their defence has been porous this season, and with Francesco Acerbi suffering from testicular cancer, this former Cagliari man could become a key piece in the minnow club's survival race.
For £450,000, what's not to like?
Bayer Leverkusen have been lacking answers at left-back all season, but in Andres Guardado, Sami Hyypia will hope to have solved them.
The Werkself have been using a rotation of Sebastian Boenisch and Emre Can (out of position) so far, but the Mexican is a naturalised left-sider and is looking to re-enter Miguel Herrera's Mexico World Cup squad.
They'll hope he's just as successful as Dani Carvajal.
Saleh Gomaa for £88,000? You're looking at some serious sell-on bait right here from Nacional's board.
The central midfielder impressed in a strong Egyptian national side at the U20 FIFA World Cup last summer, playing the ball nicely and showing good positional instincts.
This is an absolute bargain, and he's just what Nacional need.
Rafael Toloi has moved to Rome, bulking up the club's collection of central defenders ahead of a Serie A title-challenging run.
Without him, Rudi Garcia was facing up to the reality of taking on a half-season of football with just Tin Jedvaj and Alessio Romagnoli as backups for Leandro Castan and Mehdi Benatia.
There's also a permanent clause in the deal should he impress, making this a win-win for the Giallorossi.
Fee: Approx. £1.5 million, via WalesOnline.co.uk
This one will remain understated, but it's a seriously shrewd move from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Fabio doesn't seem the talent that his twin brother Rafael is on paper, but he never truly got the chance to make an impact; where the latter walked into the team post-Gary Neville, the former sat toiling behind Patrice Evra for years.
The Brazilian has a chance to make the first-choice left-back spot his own in Wales and flourish as a result.
Dimitar Berbatov moves to Monaco and relieves Claudio Ranieri of his mini striking crisis.
With Radamel Falcao out with a bad knee injury, the Italian looked set to rely on Emmanuel Riviere for the rest of the season. As talented as he is, the club are challenging Paris Saint-Germain for the Ligue 1 title and cannot afford to run with such a shallow pool up front.
Berbatov brings experience and undoubted quality to a side packed with midfield talent.
Nordin Amrabat is in and out of the Galatasaray team, and despite the club's change in manager, he has been unable to find a regular first-team spot.
Gala have developed a tendency to switch formations, and not all of them—particularly the diamond—suit him, so moving on loan to Malaga is a wise choice.
Los Boquerones are in need of an attacking, creative outlet if they're to fully steer clear of relegation.
Fee: £2.2 million
Aside from the truly spectacular name, Magnus Wolff Eikrem represents an interesting acquisition from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
He was one of a number of Norwegians to heavily impress during the Euro U21 Championships last summer, and Heerenveen snapped him up on the back of several creative showings throughout the tournament.
Can he adjust to the Premier League, is he ready and how will he cope?
Adil Rami's loan move to Milan was finalised way ahead of the January transfer window.
The Rossoneri's defence has been suspect all season. Clarence Seedorf has wasted no time in throwing Rami in at the deep end, and as an experienced French international, he's settled immediately.
Philippe Mexes has been a minor disaster for the San Siro club, and he looks firmly out of contention now.
Fee: £1.7 million
Ludovic Obraniak is an extremely proficient playmaker, and his cut-price move to Werder Bremen will have plenty of managers wishing they'd made an approach.
He played some wonderful football at Euro 2012 for Poland, showing us what he's capable of, and with Werder languishing in midtable he'll provide a welcome injection of creativity.
It's the sort of move Premier League teams like Aston Villa should have made.
Fee: £3 million
Journeyman striker Ignacio Scocco has joined Sunderland, and it's another shrewd move from Gus Poyet.
With every man and his dog distinctly unenthused with Jozy Altidore, the Uruguayan has sought out another forward who can share the load with Steven Fletcher.
Scocco's goal return may not be eye-catching, but he's a clever player who's been utilised in a false-nine role for Internacional in 2013. He suits Poyet's attractive brand of football perfectly.
Fee: Loan (18 months)
Nicolas Burdisso is a capable player who was unfortunate to fall out of favour at Roma, but with the Argentina World Cup squad in his sights, he represents a hungry, desirable January addition for Genoa.
Gian Piero Gasperini favours a three-man defensive system, but the club have lacked quality in the central defensive area all season long.
Burdisso steps in as a key player, and the Rossoblu can move the likes of Luca Antonini and Giovanni Marchese back to their original positions and push on up the Serie A table.
Fee: £6.5 million
For Major League Soccer to improve rapidly, it needs to recall its exported American stars and distribute them among clubs equally, increasing competition.
Michael Bradley's move back to MLS is a fantastic coup for Toronto, and they've grabbed the USMNT's finest central midfielder from the claws of Europe's elite.
In the grand scheme of things, £6.5 million is an extremely appropriate price for a man of his talents, too.
It didn't really happen for Francesco Lodi at Genoa despite starting a large chunk of games, and he's returned to Catania to give it another stab.
He's an extremely capable player who can run a midfield on his day, and if the Rossazzurri are to escape relegation, he'll be a key cog.
They currently sit bottom, four points adrift of safety.
Fee: £11.6 million
Jose Mourinho has been stung by Mohamed Salah first-hand in the UEFA Champions League, so it's difficult to doubt his judgement of the electric Egyptian winger.
He's a perfect fit for the Portuguese's fast-paced, counterattacking system, with the former FC Basel man appearing the perfect candidate to fill Eden Hazard or Willian's vertical, aggressive brief should they need a rest.
He may not be as talented as Juan Mata, but he is a better tactical fit.
St. Etienne lost Faouzi Ghoulam to Napoli in the closing stages of the window but were able to lure former Ligue 1 star Benoit Tremoulinas as a replacement.
The Frenchman arrives from Dynamo Kiev just six months after leaving Bordeaux for fresh shores and injects a wealth of experience as Les Verts fight for a UEFA Champions League place.
Great business, and done quickly too.
Cardiff City need a spark in the forward areas, and Wilfried Zaha needs playing time; this one is a match made in heaven.
The Bluebirds now have genuine options on the wings, with Craig Noone emerging and Peter Whittingham remaining consistent in his deliveries from set pieces.
Many will question why Zaha didn't return to Crystal Palace, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's stylish brand of football will be better for the young man's development than Tony Pulis' version.
Ever Banega isn't happy, and he's not been playing his best football in La Liga recently.
Hopefully a move back to Argentina, albeit on a temporary basis, will be enough to unlock his astonishing potential, and Newell's Old Boys will be all too happy to borrow him for a while.
There's also a World Cup squad to play his way into, should his form really pick up.
Marcos Alonso's loan to Sunderland was agreed a few days before the January transfer window officially opened, so in some respects it's flown under the radar.
The Spaniard saw his path to the Fiorentina first team blocked by Manuel Pasqual, meaning he appeared very sporadically during the first half of the 2013-14 Serie A season.
He's naturally very talented, though, and has proven his worth immediately by slotting in at left-back for Gus Poyet. An excellent acquisition.
Ryan Bertrand's Chelsea future looks bleak, with Cesar Azpilicueta playing at left-back as a rotational option and the club actively pursuing Luke Shaw, as per Martin Lipton of the Mirror.
A loan move to Aston Villa is perfect for the 24-year-old, as he can use the six months in Birmingham to win a permanent transfer or as a platform to impress the likes of Liverpool.
However it pans out in the long term, though, Paul Lambert knows he's produced a coup here. Bertrand is an instant upgrade on Antonio Luna and solidifies a suspect defence.
Real Betis are in need of a genuine miracle to escape relegation, and results simply haven't picked up since the club dispensed with Pepe Mel as manager.
Rooted to the foot of the table, they've scored the joint-least amount of goals in La Liga (18) and direly need an injection of attacking talent.
Leo Baptistao, who almost single-handedly kept Rayo Vallecano up last year, has pledged his commitment to the cause on loan from high-flyers Atletico Madrid.
Fee: £13.3 million
The rest of Europe is still reeling from this transfer, and Fulham fans are enjoying the envious glances directed their way from rival supporters.
Kostas Mitroglou, Greece's No. 1 footballing weapon, has traded UEFA Champions League football with Olympiakos—and a shop-window tie with Manchester United—for a relegation battle with the Cottagers.
It's an expensive deal, but the guy knows where the net is. Well done, Rene Meulensteen, this is a serious coup.
Fee: £4.4 million
Over the last five months, Jorginho has emerged as a wonderful young playmaker at the heart of an overachieving Hellas Verona side.
The Brazilian bagged seven goals and three assists from a central midfield position for the Gialloblu, and that was enough to convince Rafa Benitez he is Napoli material.
He won't breach the first team instantly, given the presence of Gokhan Inler and his Swiss colleagues, but he represents one hell of a value-for-money deal at under £5 million.
Fee: £2 million
Ola Toivonen, a big-time transfer target for Norwich City in the summer of 2013, as per Sky Sports, has been allowed to slip to Ligue 1 for a measly fee.
Stade Rennais have pulled off a serious coup here, reeling in a clever forward playmaker who can play up front or just off the line.
His contract was expiring so the fee was cheap, but you've got to feel like a lot of top teams missed a trick here.
Fee: £16 million, via Goal.com
Walter Mazzarri's Internazionale have been dreadful of late, and he really appears to be missing a Marek Hamsik-esque spark in his midfield.
Despite the good form of Rodrigo Palacio and Ricky Alvarez they're struggling to score goals, so who better to secure than Brazilian midfield dynamo Hernanes?
The former Lazio man has a crisp shot, can drive forward with intensity and ignite the crowd. Stellar deal.
Fee: £22 million
When Paris Saint-Germain set their sights on a player, there's very little you can do about it.
Yohan Cabaye completed one of the quickest high-profile January transfers in history on January 29, when Laurent Blanc unveiled him as PSG's latest midfield signing.
With Blanc favouring a 4-3-3 formation, midfield depth has been a concern since Adrien Rabiot went down injured. Cabaye is Champions League eligible and an excellent, excellent player.
It hasn't really worked out for Lewis Holtby at Tottenham Hotspur so far, but he now gets the chance to take a guaranteed starting role at Craven Cottage and show the world what he can do.
He was highly touted coming out of Germany but has failed to hit the heights under both Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood. He's playing for his future—either at Spurs or elsewhere—and he'll be hungry for success.
All things said, it's a real coup for Fulham.
Fee: £2.5 million loan, £5 million future CO price
Radja Nainggolan has boosted Roma's midfield corps by signing from Cagliari.
His deal is complex, moving on loan initially with a view to a co-ownership in the summer, but for him as a player it's the perfect chance to seal a spot at the World Cup with Belgium.
He faces competition from Marouane Fellaini, Steven Defour and others for a spot alongside Axel Witsel, and the Stadio Olimpico is one hell of a stage to strut your stuff on right now.
Fee: £1.6 million
Lille have pulled off a major, major value deal in the form of Sebastien Corchia.
With Franck Beria injured, a right-back shot to the top of the transfer target list, and fans will be hoping the former Sochaux man can reinforce their steely, efficient defensive line.
In truth, it's a transfer hundreds of clubs should be kicking themselves for missing—especially at less than £2 million.
Fee: £12.8 million
Chelsea have secured a long-term option at centre-back in the form of Kurt Zouma.
The French man-child has signed a permanent deal with the Stamford Bridge outfit and gone back to St. Etienne for a half season on loan. He represents one of the finest defensive prospects in world football, but another five months in Ligue 1 will do him the world of good.
Suddenly, the Blues' long-term situation in defence doesn't seem so bad after all.
Fee: £39 million
Manchester United's start to 2014 has been lackluster, continuing an alarming downward trend since David Moyes took over.
The club needs an injection of star quality in almost every area, and for that reason the signing of Juan Mata can only be seen as an excellent piece of business.
Grabbing a world-class player in the January window for a reasonable price (Mesut Ozil cost £42 million in the summer of 2013) is great work from Moyes, and he will hope the Spaniard has a similar uplifting effect on his side that Ozil did with Arsenal.
Fee: £21 million
Nemanja Matic provides an instant upgrade to Chelsea's central-midfield selection and looks, on paper, to be the best available talent in that position at the club.
He made his name as a prime anchor defensive midfielder but used his time at Benfica to add layers to his game; his passing, dribbling, vertical runs and gargantuan interception range make him the complete player.
The Blues showed no hesitation in bringing him back after discarding him so cheaply just three years ago.
Fee: £15 million
Kevin de Bruyne, like Juan Mata, was a victim of circumstance at Chelsea.
He's not the direct, lightning-quick guy Eden Hazard is, and Jose Mourinho's odd 4-2-3-1 model at the Blues this season has placed "floaty," traditional playmakers on the sidelines.
De Bruyne trained hard, but he's not physically able to play in Mou's tactical setup. He's a key cog for Belgium, so it was vital he left and found playing time, and £15 million seems an absolute bargain given his natural talent levels.
Fee: £5 million
Stade Rennais have managed to keep Paul-Georges Ntep in France, luring him to the Route de Lorient for a very reasonable price.
It was essential for Auxerre's prodigy to stay local to continue his development, and he's made a smart move in rebuffing the advances of Queens Park Rangers.
He's an electric, talented, skilful winger who could make a run at les Bleus' 2016 European Championships squad if all goes to plan.
Fee: £2 million, via DW.de
Sidney Sam has been an electric outlet on the wings for Bayer Leverkusen this season—even if his performances in the UEFA Champions League were rather underwhelming.
The contract he signed with the Werkself had an obscenely low buyout clause of £2 million due to his injury-ridden past, and Schalke were quick to swoop in and secure him on a pre-contract.
He'll join the Royal Blues in the summer, but since the deal was struck this month, we've opted to include it here...and it's the very best deal of the window.