The January transfer window is now officially closed and Europe’s top five leagues were incredibly active.
In total, it has been reported that there were 479 deals concluded by sides from the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1. And in total, the clubs spent a massive £811m on acquiring new talent, a record sum for the winter window.
So, the question now becomes, which signings were the best? We’ve had a look at the deals and come up with a top 10, focusing mostly on the quality of the player but particularly the impact and potential impact they could have on their new club’s fortunes.
10. Sander Berge
From KRC Genk to Sheffield United for £20m
Sander Berge was erroneously linked to Manchester United in the transfer window, some say they even saw him arrive at Carrington for a medical (they did not). Of course, Berge did end up joining the best United in the Premier League: Sheffield United. The gigantic Norwegian brings serious quality to the Blades’ midfield, he won six tackles on his debut which is but a glimpse of the quality he can offer. Berge could make a big difference as Chris Wilder’s men make a serious push for a European place.
9. Raul de Tomás
From Benfica to Espanyol for €20m
Espanyol are bottom of La Liga. They were bottom when they spent a massive amount of money on Raul de Tomas in the hopes that the striker could fire them to safety. Ordinarily, such gambles backfire but De Tomas has an incredible three goals in his first three games, scoring once in each outing. If they can stiffen up even a little bit at the back then the 25-year-old hitman could yet do the impossible and keep them up.
8. Krzysztof Piatek
From Milan to Hertha BSC for €27m
Piatek had the world at his feet this time last year after a blistering first half of the season with Genoa saw him score 19 times and earn a move to AC Milan. There, he rattled in a further 11 to end the year with 30 goals in 42 games. This season wasn’t as smooth and he ended up joining Hertha BSC as the German side spent big to try and start their climb up to relevance in the Bundesliga. Piatek is a pure hitman so if Hertha can create chances for them, he could fire them up that table in a hurry.
7. Diego Demme
From RB Leipzig to Napoli for €12m
Diego Demme was Naby Keita’s partner in RB Leipzig’s brilliant midfield pairing from a couple season’s back, offering cover as the Guinean rampaged forward. Napoli will be hoping he can do the same for the likes of Fabian Ruiz as they plot a massive Champions League upset against Barcelona. Demme has started just one game, but it was a win over defending champions Juventus. So, y’know, so far so good.
6. Bruno Fernandes
From Sporting to Manchester United for £47m
Manchester United courted Bruno Fernandes for a long, long while before finally pulling the trigger on the Portuguese. A goal and assist machine at Sporting, United will be hoping he can add a cutting edge to a side that all too often is blunt as a spoon. Showed signs of that quality on his debut but he only places at No.6 because his impact will be limited by the chaff around him; United needed Fernandes and about three other players. So, as good as he is, he won’t be enough for this season.
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5. Steven Bergwijn
From PSV to Spurs for £26.7m
With Harry Kane out injured and Christian Eriksen just… out… Spurs needed a new attacking threat and secured their man in Steven Bergwijn. The young Dutch wing-forward bagged 14 goals in 33 Eredivisie games last season and already has one in one for Spurs having scored a stunner on his debut to down the defending champions Manchester City. His first shot and his first goal. This kid’s attacking prowess could well be what lifts Spurs into a top-four place ahead of lacklustre Manchester United and disjointed Chelsea.
4. Paco Alcacer
From Borussia Dortmund to Villarreal for €25m
Paco Alcacer scored more goals per 90 minutes (1.2) than any other player that has played at least 1,000 minutes total in the Bundesliga over the last three and a half seasons. He was an absolute sniper in Germany and so when Villarreal managed to get him for a relatively sensible price of just €25m, and after he scored on his debut, people will start to have to take the Yellow Submarine seriously for one of the two Champions League places that are up for grabs. Could Paco fire them back to the big time for the first time since 2012? It’s possible!
3. Christian Eriksen
From Spurs to Inter for €20m
Christian Eriksen created more chances, provided more assists and scored more goals from outside the box than any other player in the Premier League during his six and a half years at Spurs. He was a phenom, but should have moved in the summer. He finally has done now, joining an Inter side that is in the middle of an intense title race against defending champions Juventus, with Lazio tucked in just behind them. Antonio Conte’s men are a newly put together outfit but with a creative genius like Eriksen, they could have enough to finally dethrone Juve for the first time in eight years.
2. Dani Olmo
From Dinamo Zagreb to RB Leipzig for €20m
Since the start of 2018/19, only Lionel Messi (114) has attempted more take-ons than Dani Olmo’s 96 across both the Champions League and Europa League. And only Messi, Willian, Eden Hazard and Mateo Kovacic have completed more. And given three of those are Chelsea players who took a Champions League squad into the Europa League last season, and the other guy is the best player in the world, that’s a pretty absurd list for Olmo to be a part of at 21 years old. Olmo will now be hoping his dribbling skills can carry RB Leipzig back to the top of the Bundesliga (they’re currently one point behind Bayern Munich) and to a maiden title win.
1. Erling Braut Haaland
From RB Salzburg to Borussia Dortmund for €20m
Erling Braut Haaland scored eight goals in his first six Champions League games. He broke all kinds of records as RB Salzburg belied their underdog tag and gave everyone they played one hell of a chasing. Haaland was such a supernatural goalscoring talent that he had his pick of Europe’s clubs in January, but chose to join Dortmund. This was the smartest decision he could make.
In Germany, he now plays at the head of an attack that features the brilliant Marco Reus, the enigmatic Thorgan Hazard and the utterly mesmeric Jadon Sancho. Dortmund was a frenzy of attacking movement and chances being created, little wonder then, that Haaland scored a hat-trick on his debut and has scored a total of seven goals from just 136 minutes of football. The scoring potential of Haaland over an entire half-season is scary enough that even though they’re five points back on Bayern Munich, you’d make them joint-favourites to lift the Bundesliga this season. He’s that good.