Best January Transfer Window Signings: When you think of a blockbuster transfer, they mostly tend to be those that happen in the summer. This period has become almost synonymous with transfers involving the best players in the game and for good reason. Not many people tend to pay any attention to the January window though as not much business happens involving these superstars. As a result, most wintertime transfers end up being rather forgettable.
That hasn’t been the case for these 10 players though as they went above and beyond to make sure they were remembered despite joining their new teams mid-season.
Best January Transfer Window Signings
Let’s take a look at the 10 greatest January transfer window signings of all time.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Let’s start strong with the most recent success on this list, Cristiano Ronaldo. He has been in the headlines lately for scoring 50 goals for new club Al Nassr in this calendar year, an amazing feat. It didn’t end well for the Portuguese at the former club Manchester United as his contract was mutually terminated. He gave an unsanctioned interview to Piers Morgan in which he slammed Ten Hag, the Glazer family ownership, and more right before the World Cup. This left the club no choice but to let him leave.
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Ronaldo would then join Al Nassr in January and become the first high-profile signing of the Saudi Pro League. With this came a bumper contract making him the highest-paid athlete in the world as well as plenty of exposure for what has become the new home of aging superstars in world football.
2. Bruno Fernandes
After various links to Tottenham, Man United were able to sign Bruno Fernandes in January of 2020 to great success. Throughout his first 18 months in the shirt, Fernandes quite simply dominated the team. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer survived a lot longer than he should have thanks to the Portuguese star, who instantly became a fan favorite.
His fiery personality and hard work energized Old Trafford on multiple occasions and gave many fans hope for brighter days. He continued to thrive in empty stadiums during the pandemic, as he became the leader of the side.
In 2020, the midfielder won the Premier League Player of the Month award four times (out of just eight) to break the calendar-year record. He also had 46 goal contributions across his first season and a half. Truly remarkable! He continues to make an impact and is now captain of the side.
3. Virgil Van Dijk
Next up we have Liverpool skipper Virgil Van Dijk. There has always been a running joke that Southampton is a feeder club for Liverpool. We find it hard to argue when the likes of Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana came from there as well. The two mentioned were amazing for the Reds but it’s hard to look past the towering center-back as the biggest success out of all of them.
He had an instant impact at the club, after arriving for the then-world record fee for a defender of £75 million. In his first full season, he helped the team concede only 22 goals. He was part of the squad that won the league for the first time after 30 years and also helped the English giants reach consecutive UEFA Champions League finals, winning the title in 2019. He almost even beat Messi to the Ballon d’or in that same year and is now heralded as one of the greatest defenders of the Premier League era.
4. Luis Suarez
Sticking with Liverpool, up next we have the Uruguayan Luis Suarez. Having signed Suarez on the same day as Andy Carroll, at least Liverpool got one piece of business right. In fact, the Uruguayan replacing injury-prone Torres not only turned out to be a bargain, but it kickstarted the wildly successful reign of Fenway Sports Group at Anfield.
Suarez was a phenomenon: the best striker this league had seen since Thierry Henry. His ridiculous tally of 120 goal contributions in 110 Premier League games doesn’t even scratch the surface of what this tenacious talent gave Liverpool. His peak season came in 2013-14, winning the Golden Boot with 31 goals as the Reds agonizingly missed out on the title due to Gerrard’s infamous slip. It’s no wonder Barcelona snatched him up soon after.
5. Phillipe Coutinho
The Reds have a good record in January as yet again they acquired Phillipe Coutinho during this time. Certainly, the greatest outgoing winter transfer in Premier League history, as Liverpool made over €140 million profit thanks to Barcelona’s questionable transfer strategy, Coutinho is also one of the best arrivals. Who can forget his curling shots with his right foot that seemed to always find the back of the net?
Recommended to Liverpool by former manager Rafa Benitez, Coutinho’s form in Italy was far from special but Liverpool’s gamble paid off. He took very little time to adapt and made the number ten role his own, chipping in with both goals and assists in equal measure. He would win two club Player of the Season awards and many argue the money he left for was used to rebuild Liverpool into the juggernaut they currently are.
6. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Another team known for their red shirts is Arsenal and as Arsenal Wenger’s last-ever signing, they acquired the services of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He got off to a scorching hot start and became the fastest player in Arsenal history to 50 league goals, winning the 2018-19 Golden Boot along the way.
He also helped drive Arsenal to 2019-20 FA Cup glory with Wembley braces against both Manchester City in the semifinal and Chelsea in the final. Little about that is remembered though as it ended on a bad note under Arteta.
7. Patrice Evra
Two of Manchester United’s most memorable back four generals are up next and first up is the full-back Patrice Evra who is best known for screaming “I love this game” and licking raw chicken, Evra also has the pleasure of being one of if not the best left back of the Premier League era. The former France international was a key cog in the third of Ferguson’s trilogy of wildly successful eras, lifting five league titles across his eight full seasons in Manchester.
8. Nemanja Vidic
The second general we’re speaking about happens to be the Serbian menace Nemanja Vidic. He made the PFA Team of the Year four times in eight seasons, the FIFPro World XI twice, lifted five Premier League titles (two as captain), and won the Champions League and the Club World Cup. He kept out of the limelight but quickly made a name for himself as one of the most dependable defenders in the game. His defensive qualities such as timing, positioning, tactical awareness, and raw physicality couldn’t be topped.
Many would argue his most important asset though was his leadership, forming a deadly partnership at the back with Ferdinand that left many strikers fearing for their lives.
Two unconventional left-backs finish off this list, one known as the greatest and the other the fastest. Of course, we’re speaking about Marcelo and Alphonso Davies. We know, even we couldn’t believe they were acquired in January.
An 18-year-old Marcelo made the move of his life when he put pen to paper on the contract offered by Real Madrid. After his exit from Fluminense, the Brazilian defender became one of the most decorated and loyal players the club has ever seen. During his long stint as a Real Madrid player, Marcelo won many major trophies, which include five Champions League titles.
He also formed a lethal partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo helping Madrid win three consecutive Champions League titles. Many people rightfully refer to him when they think of the greatest left back and you’d be hard-pressed to argue.
10. Alphonso Davies
Alphonso Davies on the other hand at only 23 seems to be the successor to the throne. He was signed as a winger and plays in the position for his country therefore has brought those impressive attributes to his club position of left back. He has several natural gifts that have made his rise seem effortless, chief of which is his pace which even sprinters would struggle to deal with. He is also an excellent dribbler making his attacks down the wing more lethal.
He was key to Bayern Munich’s recent Champions League win in 2020 where he famously made a mockery of Barcelona in their 8-2 win. He has only continued to grow since being signed from the Canadian league in January 2019.
Can you name any other January signing that has made a significant impact?
Let us know in the comments.