Football Predictions

Villa make first January signing: Eight done deals you might have missed this week

By Ben Green

Eight done deals you might have missed in the last week

Published: 9:37, 28 January 2021

It hasn’t been the most frantic of January windows, but we are now at the home stretch and there is still plenty of time for deals to transpire.

Despite 13 Premier League clubs having yet to make a major January signing at the time of writing, a number of transfers have taken place elsewhere on the continent.

And not least over the past week, so we’ve covered some of those that may have slipped under your radar.


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1. Papu Gomez

From: Atalanta

To: Sevilla

Fee: £5.5m

Football Index value: £0.70 (Sell) – £0.78 (Buy)

In the end it was a rocky divorce for these two parties, as Atalanta poster boy and club legend Papu Gomez called time on his transformative stint in Bergamo, during which he became the protagonist for Gian Piero Gasperini’s ‘great entertainers’ and guided The Goddess to Champions League football for the first time ever.

However, a falling-out with Gasperini signalled the end of this once fruitful relationship. And Sevilla have profited from the discord, signing one of Serie A’s most creative players, underpinning the continued success of transfer guru Monchi in the market. At £5.5m, his acquisition is a snip, despite the Argentine turning 33 next month.

2. Arkadiusz Milik

From: Napoli

To: Marseille

Fee: Loan

Football Index value: £0.37 (Sell) – £0.52 (Buy)

A departure this January seemed almost inevitable for Milik, who was not included in Napoli’s Serie A or Europa League squads for the season. His career in Naples has been derailed by two serious knee injuries, but he will be hoping to put those long-term setbacks behind him and showcase the kind of form he exhibited at Ajax, which prompted the Parthenopeans to go all out for his signature in 2016.

On his day, Milik has been likened to legendary Italian marksman Christian Vieri in terms of his playing style, with both forwards possessing a thunderous left boot. He has linked up with Andre Villas-Boas’ men on an 18-month loan deal with an option to buy, and the former Chelsea and Spurs boss will be desperate for his new forward to rediscover his spark.

3. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

From: Ajax

To: Schalke

Fee: Free transfer

Class is permanent as the old adage goes, and that may be why Schalke have bolstered their attacking ranks with 37-year-old Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to help stave off the threat of relegation. The Royal Blues rather ominously went the opening 14 games without a win this season, the nadir of this barren run coming on matchday one when Bayern Munich struck eight past a hapless Ralf Fahrmann. 

Christian Gross’ side remain rooted to the foot of the table and 10 points adrift of guaranteed safety (eight points off the relegation play-off spot), so Huntelaar’s acquisition has come at a good time. His departure from Amsterdam was largely facilitated by Ajax’s recent purchase of Sebastien Haller, and he returns to Gelsenkirchen having previously netted 82 Bundesliga goals in 175 matches.

4. Mat Ryan

From: Brighton

To: Arsenal

Fee: Loan

Football Index value: £0.07 (Sell) – £0.14 (Buy)

Having recently lost his place in Brighton’s first team to Robert Sanchez, Ryan was given the green light to leave the South Coast this window, and Arsenal wasted little time in snapping up Australia’s No. 1. Emiliano Martinez’s summer replacement, Runar Alex Runarsson, has largely flattered to deceive on the rare occasion he’s been trusted between the sticks, so Mikel Arteta has looked to bring in a more sturdy deputy to Bernd Leno, in the form of Ryan.

5. Willian Jose

From: Real Sociedad

To: Wolves

Fee: Loan

Football Index value: £0.49 (Sell) – £0.73 (Buy)

The 29-year-old Brazilian was the subject of interest from Tottenham in January 2020 and was reportedly offered to the club over the summer, but he has relocated to the Premier League to reinforce Wolves’ frontline rather than Jose Mourinho’s attack.

With Raul Jimenez sidelined for most of what remains of this season, if not all of it, and Nuno Espirito Santo still seemingly unconvinced by the recently recalled Patrick Cutrone, Jose has become the latest high-profile name to make a Molineux move.

6. Morgan Sanson

From: Marseille

To: Aston Villa

Fee: £16m

Football Index value: £0 (Sell) – £0.41 (Buy)

There really has been no expense spared since Villa gained promotion to the Premier League, and Dean Smith has once again been active in the market, securing midfield talent Morgan Sanson. The Villans’ profligacy almost cost them their Premier League status last term but shrewd business this season has transformed them into top-six contenders.

In Sanson, Villa are getting an attack-minded midfielder who will rival Ross Barkley for the No. 8 role and could prove an excellent foil to the workmanlike duo of Douglas Luiz and John McGinn.

7. Conor Hourihane

From: Aston Villa

To: Swansea

Fee: Loan

Football Index value: £0 (Sell) – £0.72 (Buy)

As a result of Sanson’s move to Villa Park, Smith has sanctioned the departure of Conor Hourihane, who has relocated to South Wales, hoping to replicate the midfield performances of Conor Gallagher at Swansea from last season and help Steve Cooper’s side secure promotion to the Premier League.

8. Aleksandr Kokorin

From: Spartak Moscow

To: Fiorentina

Fee: £4.5m

Football Index value: £0 (Sell) – £0.29 (Buy)

Despite only joining Spartak Moscow in the summer, the 48-capped Russia international has penned a contract in Tuscany and will now spearhead the Violets’ attack alongside veteran winger Franck Ribery, who has been reinvented as a centre-forward this term. Kokorin was part of Anzhi Makhachkala’s ridiculous spending spree in the early 2010s, but he left in the same flash sale season of Samuel Eto’o, Willian, Yuri Zhirkov and Lassana Diarra without playing a single game.

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