Football Features

From €1 salary to a cult hero – Nine January transfers you might have missed so far

By Harry Edwards

Published: 21:16, 4 January 2024

We may still be in the first week of 2024, but there’s been action a plenty in the transfer window.

January may be less busy than the summer transfer window, where the majority of squads are built, but it allows clubs a chance to make much-needed changes. Whether that’s sending someone out on loan for more game time, trying to deal with injuries or even rectifying problems not solved in the summer.

But unlike the summer, there is football going on at the same time. There are a lot of distractions for fans right now, not least the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations and Asian Cup, which currently has fans trying to work out exactly how many players their clubs will be missing.

With all of this going on, it can be easy for transfers to fly under the radar. So, as always we’re here to help you catch up on the deals you might have missed at the start of the window, especially as we finish the crossover period between Christmas and New Year.

Tuck in!

Nikola Kalinic

From: Free Agent
To: Hajduk Split
Fee: Free

Nikola Kalinic left Hajduk Split in the summer at the end of his contract, having spent around 18 months with the club. The Croatian veteran, who started his career with Hajduk Split, struggled to find a new club in the interim and has returned until the end of the season — after training with them since November.

Kalinic returning once again to his boyhood club would be a nice story on its own, but this time it’s even better. The 36-year-old has accepted a symbolic wage of just €1 a month until the end of the season, working out to 89p!

“In financial terms, this was the easiest deal since we have been at the club,” Hajduk Split sporting director Mindaugas Nikolicius said.

“Kalinic will receive one euro a month, he just wants to help Hajduk become champions, that’s all that motivated him to come back.”

Aleksandar Trajkovski has also given Kalinic his No.9 jersey.

Jeremy Sarmiento

From: Brighton
To: Ipswich
Fee: Loan

As mentioned, you can expect a number of loans in the January transfer window as clubs try to temporarily move players on, whether that’s for playing time or to free up a spot for someone else. But you’ll also get loanees returning from one club just to be sent to another.

That’s what’s happened the Jeremy Sarmiento, who played 721 minutes across 20 Championship games for West Brom before being recalled by Brighton. But it wasn’t with a view to play him in the first team. Instead, Sarmiento is returning to the Championship, this time with high-flying Ipswich as they look to return to the Premier League for the first time since 2001/02.

Gelson Martins

From: Monaco
To: Olympiacos
Fee: £2.6m

For five years, Gelson Martins had made a home for himself at Monaco, first joining the club on loan from Atletico Madrid before moving permanently. Between January 2019 and 2024, the Portuguese winger played 129 times and was directly involved in 28 goals, but he hadn’t featured since last February and training on his own.

His time in the principality has been brought to an end, six months before his contract was due to run out, with Martins making the move to Greece to play for Olympiacos.

Lucas Beraldo

From: Sao Paulo
To: PSG
Fee: £17.4m

A move that could have been missed by those swept up in last month’s festivities, there may have been some watching the Trophee des Champions on Wednesday wondering who PSG’s no.35 was. That as Lucas Beraldo, who has already made his PSG debut, coming off the bench for the final 19 minutes of their 2-0 win over Toulouse, securing his first trophy.

The Brazilian centre-back joined PSG from Sao Paulo at the start of the window, having also been linked a move to Liverpool.

Fernando

From: Sevilla
To: Free Agent
Fee: Free

A departure but not officially a transfer yet, ahead of Sevilla’s game against Atletico Madrid on Thursday evening, Fernando said goodbye to the club as he calls time on his five-year stay. Fernando’s contract at Sevilla was set to be up in the summer but the club have allowed him to terminate his deal early due to personal reasons.

According to reports, Fernando is set to return to Brazil where he will decide whether to keep playing in his home country or to potentially retire.


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Eljif Elmas

From: Napoli
To: RB Leipzig
Fee: £20.8m

It will be weird seeing Eljif Elmas not playing club football in a Napoli shirt. Although he was only on the periphery this season and has been used more as a substitute than a starter, you could always expect to see Elmas’ name on the squad sheet. But that is no more.

Just after Christmas, RB Leipzig confirmed the signing of Elmas on a four-year deal, and he will have to get to work quickly as the club look to replace Emil Forsberg who left for New York Red Bulls.

Vitor Roque

From: Athletico Paranaense
To: Barcelona
Fee:

Another young Brazilian making the move to Spain, this time it is Barcelona who having taken the star, with Vitor Roque joining from Athletico Paranaense on a deal until 2031. The 18-year-old is a striker but can operate on the wings and is expected to be utilised out wide by Xavi, who obviously has Robert Lewandowski to play through the middle.

Vitor Roque has made his Barcelona debut, given the no.19 shirt once worn by Lionel Messi but more recently donned by the likes of Franck Kessie, Sergio Aguero and Ferran Torres — replacing the latter with 12 minutes left in Barcelona’s game against Las Palmas.

Billy Sharp

From: LA Galaxy
To: Hull
Fee: Free

For some, it might have been a surprise that Billy Sharp was in MLS, but the former Sheffield United striker did spend five months with LA Galaxy. The move on its own sounds bizarre, but it is made even weirder by the fact that Sharp was close on a move to Hull instead before going across the Atlantic. Because that’s the natural progression, if you can’t move to Hull, you move to Los Angeles.

But Sharp has finally got his preferred move, joining Hull until the end of the season in a deal that was agreed just before Christmas, but officially went through at the start of the transfer window.

Vagner Love

From: Sport Recife
To: Atletico Clube Goianiense
Fee: Free

And finally, one for the cultists. He may not don his signature hairstyle anymore, but Vagner Love is still going. The Brazilian turns 40 in June and has just agreed a deal to join the 12th club of his career.

Vagner Love has spent the past two years with Sport Recife in Brazil and has made a trip across the country to Atletico Clube Goianiense in the second tier.

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