The January transfer window is now in full swing with managers looking to thicken out their squad for the second half of the season.
For some, it’s a time to bring in “emergency supplies” in a desperate attempt to avoid the drop, while for others, January is the month where they can make that one key signing to seal a league title or a coveted European place.
Either way, it’s starting to get busy, so, to keep you up to speed, here are the biggest done deals which may have slipped under your radar over the past seven days.
Fabio Borini's career by numbers:
• 253 games
• 44 goals
• 7 clubs
On the move. 🚚 pic.twitter.com/qDXQmhaEU5
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 14, 2020
From: AC Milan
To: Hellas Verona
Former Liverpool and Sunderland forward Fabio Borini was linked with a return to England during this window, with Aston Villa and Crystal Palace reportedly interested. However, the Italian has ended an unsuccessful spell with AC Milan — which yielded just eight goals in 75 appearances — to join Hellas Verona on a six-month deal. I Gialloblu are on the fringes of the race for Europe and will look to Borini’s experience to get them over the line.
Watford have well and truly been on the up since appointing Nigel Pearson and in an effort to add even more verve to an attack already containing Troy Deeney, Gerard Deulofeu and Ismaila Sarr, the Hornets have signed Argentine winger Ignacio Pussetto. The 24-year-old struggled for regular starts at Udinese but offers brilliant trickery and defensive solidity in equal measure, making him a valuable addition to the Hertfordshire outfit.
Stanislav Lobotka in LaLiga since 2017/18:
• 111 take-ons attempted
• 87 take-ons completed
• 78% success rate
• 4244 passes attempted
• 3820 passes completed
• 90% success rate
Napoli have signed a master in possession. 👏 pic.twitter.com/A6fL72LlvR
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 15, 2020
From: Celta Vigo
Stanislav Lobotka has been pulling up trees in La Liga for Celta Vigo over the past few years, running up some seriously impressive numbers in possession. Napoli are in the process of restructuring following Gennaro Gattuso replacing Carlo Ancelotti and the Serie A giants have splashed out £17m to bring the Slovakian to the San Paolo Stadium.
2nd September 2019: Simon Kjær joins Atalanta on loan.
13th January 2020: Simon Kjær terminates his loan and joins AC Milan.
Atalanta: 4th in Serie A
AC Milan: 10th in Serie A pic.twitter.com/wlv6c0fuwQ
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 13, 2020
To: AC Milan
At 30 years old, Simon Kjaer has joined AC Milan on loan from Sevilla, making the Italian giants the ninth club he’s represented. The Denmark international only joined Atalanta on loan in September 2019 but it never quite worked out there. That said, AC Milan are in need of a quick turnaround and his composure and experience could be vital for Stefano Pioli.
To: West Ham
Lukasz Fabianski is injured once again and given David Martin’s mistake against Sheffield United and Roberto’s contempt for West Ham supporters’ fingernails, it’s safe to say David Moyes needed a quick solution. That has come in the form of Darren Randolph’s £4m return to the club from Middlesbrough, with the Republic of Ireland international finally get the deal done after some medical complications. The Hammers will need him up to speed quickly as they look to race up the Premier League table.
From: Carlisle United
From John Stones to Mason Holgate, Everton have never been afraid to invest in centre-backs for the future. Once again, the Toffees have done just that, handing over almost £1m to Carlisle United for the services of Jarrad Branthwaite. Despite being just 17 years old, Branthwaite already has 14 senior starts under his belt for the Cumbrian side this season and is showing all the composure and intuitiveness of a future top-class centre-back.
Ryan Babel is a curious footballer. At club level, he’s never quite fulfilled his true potential but under Ronald Koeman, he’s become a huge player for the Netherlands. The former Liverpool man is on the move once again joining Ajax on loan from Galatasaray for a third spell with the Eredivisie champions. This is the first time he’ll turn out for the Dutch giants since 2012/13, so expect anticipation to be high.
— Atalanta B.C. (@Atalanta_BC) January 17, 2020
Duvan Zapata had been at Atalanta since 2018, joining the club on a two-year loan deal from Sampdoria. But the 28-year-old Colombian striker is now officially an Atalanta player, with the club announcing they have taken up their option to sign Zapata permanently. Zapata has missed the past three months through injury but will be hoping to add to his 35 goals in 49 games when he returns.
From: Tottenham Hotspur
Jack Clarke recently returned to Tottenham from Leeds, having spend the first half of the 2019/20 campaign on loan at his former club. He still spend the second half of the campaign back in the Championship, this time with Queen’s Park Rangers hoping to have more success having made just one league appearance for Leeds.
Arsenal set for a busy January? Four stories to look out for…
- Arsenal have suffered greatly with injury problems in defence this season and William Hill* give them a 5/1 chance of signing Bournemouth star Nathan Ake to remedy Mikel Arteta’s centre-back issues.
- But former Gunners midfielder Ray Parlour believes out-of-favour Manchester City star John Stones could be a smarter option, allowing David Luiz to step into midfield.
- Arteta has insisted Granit Xhaka will remain at Arsenal after the pair had a heart-to-heart regarding his future. However, the Swiss midfielder remains a 5/4 shot to join Hertha Berlin before the start of February and should the Gunners sign reinforcements in his position, that stance could change once again.
- Arsenal have reportedly had their first approach of £10m for Dries Mertens rejected by Napoli but remain firmly interested in the Belgian. At 32, he would be a short-term signing but the Gunners desperately need goalscoring reinforcements for Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang and Mertens’ contract expiring this summer could tip the scales. Mertens has been given a 7/2 chance of joining Arsenal with William Hill.
And the high-profile deals you probably saw
Pepe Reina is the only goalkeeper to keep 20+ clean sheets in two different Premier League seasons:
2005/06: 33 games, 20 clean sheets
2008/09: 38 games, 20 clean sheets
Not enough games left to make it hat-trick with Aston Villa. 😉 pic.twitter.com/4gPDMoY7Tt
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 13, 2020
From: AC Milan
To: Aston Villa
With Tom Heaton and Jed Steer both sidelined, Aston Villa’s goalkeeping situation has become quite dire. In an effort to stem the tide and add some much-needed experience between the sticks, Dean Smith has turned to former Liverpool icon Pepe Reina, bringing the Spaniard to Villa Park on loan until the end of the season.
Jose Mourinho has already begun the process of shaping the Tottenham Hotspur squad in his image, signing compatriot Gedson Fernandes on an 18-month loan. The deal includes an option to make it a permanent transfer and Mourinho will hope the 21-year-old can bring his tackling and dribbling skills to the fore in an effort to bolster his midfield.