Football Features

Shinji Kagawa’s new club and other transfers you might have missed this week

By Harry Edwards

Published: 10:46, 13 January 2022

We’re heading towards the end of the second full week of January and although there is league action and the Africa Cup of Nations ongoing, the transfers are still rolling in.

Over the past few days alone we have already seen Philippe Coutinho link up with former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa, later joined by Lucas Digne, and Chris Wood following Kieran Trippier in signing for Newcastle United. Trippier has already made his Newcastle debut in the 1-0 FA Cup shock defeat to Cambridge United last weekend, while the other trio may look to turn out for their new sides this week.

But for every Digne and Wood there are tens of other deals, equally as interesting, that may slide under the radar with so much going on.

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Shinji Kagawa

From: PAOK

To: Sint-Truiden


Shinji Kagawa was a star at Borussia Dortmund either side of that underwhelming spell at Manchester United, but since leaving Germany in 2019 the Japanese midfielder has fallen somewhat off the radar. After his 216th and final appearance for Dortmund, Kagawa was sent on loan to Besiktas and eventually moved permanently to Real Zaragoza in Spain’s second tier.

After a short spell without a club, Kagawa signed for Greek side PAOK last January and spent a year there but played just 12 times, with a third of his appearances coming this season (accumulating 138 minutes). But now he is on the move again, signing with Belgian club Sint-Truiden, which is currently owned by DMM – a Japan-based Internet company.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

From: Arsenal

To: Roma


This is a deal many will have heard as being on the books over the past week, but Ainsley Maitland-Niles finally secured his loan move to Roma in a bid to get more playing time. The 24-year-old had only made 11 appearances for Arsenal in the first half of the campaign, totalling 472 minutes, with just four starts.

And Maitland-Niles has already made his Roma debut, starting in their 4-3 defeat to Juventus on Sunday. However, he may not be too happy with his use, starting as a right-back…

Axel Tuanzebe

From: Man Utd

To: Napoli


Axel Tuanzebe spent the first half of the season on loan at Aston Villa, after a successful spell with the club while they were in the Championship, but things just weren’t the same. The centre-back made just 11 appearances and played 685 minutes, though only 98 since the start of November – failing to impress Steven Gerrard after his arrival.

Tuanzebe’s loan was cut short and he was immediately sent back out by Manchester United, this time to Serie A side Napoli. Like Maitland-Niles, Tuanzebe has already made his debut for the Neapolitans, coming on for the final 10 minutes of their 1-0 win over Sampdoria.

Jurgen Locadia

From: Brighton

To: Bochum


Believe it or not, Jurgen Locadia was still on the books at Brighton in the first half of the season and actually played three times for their first team. There were 104 minutes in the EFL Cup and 22 in the Premier League, though there was no consistent run in the team – one appearance in September, one in October and one in November.

But his time at the club is officially over after 46 games and six goals since joining from PSV in 2018 for a then club-record fee of £14m. Locadia has joined Bundesliga side VfL Bochum in their quest to stay in Germany’s top flight, appearing on the bench in their win over Wolfsburg at the weekend.

Ethan Laird

From: Man Utd

To: Bournemouth


Another Man Utd loanee going out, Ethan Laird hasn’t actually been with the club this season, spending the first half of the campaign at Swansea City. The 20-year-old right-back was meant to spend the entire season in Wales and played 21 times in total, with 18 starts, recording four assists as a wing-back.

But that deal was cut short over the past week and Laird was sent on loan to Bournemouth for the remainder of the campaign. Swansea manager Russell Martin wasn’t best pleased about the move, saying: “Very disappointed. Disappointed that we didn’t know much about it, or anything about it.

“It’s not a position we were looking to recruit in. The lack of notice was a bit of an issue, but it is what it is. That’s the issue with loan players, when you have a loan player and he does well.

“He’s spent a year with us [at MK Dons and Swansea] and I think he’s grown incredibly in that time. He’s been a really good performer for us this season, his first season in the Championship.

“But his parent club have decided it’s better for him to go and play in a slightly different position with a different club in this league who are fighting hard for promotion. That’s their prerogative. That is the danger you have with loan players.

“We’re gutted, on a personal level, we get on really well. It’s not a decision that was driven by him. He’s not looked to go, it was brought to him by the club.”

Krzysztof Piatek

From: Hertha Berlin

To: Fiorentina


It’s not too long ago that Krzysztof Piatek was one of the stars of Serie A, and the Polish striker is back in the Italian top flight, albeit temporarily. After spells with Genoa and AC Milan, Piatek moved to Germany and signed for Hertha Berlin, but things were never as good in the German capital as they were at Genoa.

In 58 appearances for Hertha, Piatek scored 13 goals including one in nine matches this season. But playing time was proving hard to come by after injury at the start of the campaign and Piatek has now joined Fiorentina on loan until the summer.

Edo Kayembe

From: KAS Eupen

To: Watford


Watford are desperately trying to stay in the Premier League this season and have already made a number of signings (though Maduka Okoye has returned to his previous club on loan). One of those signings is midfielder Edo Kayembe, who had previously plied his trade in Belgium with Anderlecht and Eupen.

Kayembe, 23, had been a regular feature in Eupen’s side this season and actually made a good goalscoring contribution with four goals in 17 league appearances.


From: Aston Villa

To: Internacional


Wesley certainly had his struggles at the start of his Aston Villa spell but any hope of his fortunes changing were shut down by a terrible knee injury which kept him out for a year and a half. In search of more football to aid his recovery, Wesley joined former team Club Brugge in the summer but managed just five appearances across all competitions totalling 105 minutes.

He will now spend the next 12 months out on loan once again, this time joining Brazilian side Internacional.

Sergio Oliveira

From: Porto

To: Roma


Sergio Oliveira is a Porto man through and through, rising up from the club’s academy to play 174 times and only being off the books for a two-season spell with Pacos Ferreira, before being sold back. That doesn’t mean Oliveira hasn’t played for other clubs in that time, not by a long shot. Before becoming a regular in the Porto team Oliveira had spent six loan spells away from the club and, having played 24 times across all competitions this season, the 29-year-old is once again on the road, joining Roma until the end of the campaign with an option to buy for €13m.

Diego Godin

From: Cagliari

To: Atletico Mineiro


Since leaving Atletico Madrid in 2019, Diego Godin’s career has appeared to be winding down, with 76 matches across two-and-a-half seasons in Italy first with Inter Milan and then Cagliari. But the defensive rock, who turns 36 next month, has now called time on his Serie A career in move to Atletico. Mineiro, that is. The Uruguay has signed a one-year deal with Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro after being released by Cagliari, his return to South American football after almost 15 years.