Football News

Transfer deals you might have missed this week, from a former Primeira Liga Player of the Year to Serie A royalty

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 14:30, 11 January 2024

We are days into the 2024 winter transfer market with deals seemingly concluded every other day.

The emergence of Saudi Arabia as a transfer destination has changed everything but it’s all seemingly quiet on that front.

Closer to home, the Premier League giants and Europe’s other super clubs, remain active. Just this week Tottenham welcomed Timo Werner, the RB Leipzig forward who returned to England on loan, while Manchester United forward Jadon Sancho went the other way re-joining Borussia Dortmund temporarily.

And there’s another England international Bundesliga-bound with Tottenham defender-cum-midfielder Eric Dier soon to complete a surprise Bayern Munich switch.

But for every big story, some moves go under the radar. Here are some examples from this week alone.

Luke Ayling

From: Leeds

To: Middlesbrough

As things stand, Middlesbrough are staring at contesting next month’s EFL Cup final, Michael Carrick’s side holds a slender 1-0 advantage heading into the second leg of their semi-final with Chelsea, but it’s equally understandable if they’re focused on the long-term picture: returning to England’s top division. Middlesbrough, who last contested Premier League football in 2016/17, are currently 12th in the Championship but four points adrift of the last play-off spot with 20 matches remaining.

Bolstering their squad, adding experienced figures, makes logical sense at the halfway stage of the season which leads to Luke Ayling’s acquisition. Seldom featured at fellow promotion-chasers Leeds — making 14 league appearances, though not featuring since early November — the 32-year-old right-back joins on a six-month loan. Ayling, who came through at Arsenal, previously made 93 top-flight outings and was a favourite under former Peacocks boss Marcelo Bielsa.

Sam Lammers

From: Rangers

To: FC Utrecht

It was seen to be an interesting piece of business last summer when Sam Lammers joined Rangers from Atalanta where he struggled for goals. The former Netherlands U21 striker, though, has been around the block — representing five other clubs including boyhood team PSV Eindhoven — but failed to hit the ground running at Ibrox where he netted twice across 31 appearances. FC Utrecht, in need of a goalscorer, will take him on and will be hoping the native of Tilburg rediscovers that Eredivisie form (20 goals in 51 outings).

Enzo Pérez

From: River Plate

To: Estudiantes

Part of that Argentina generation that couldn’t get past the finishing line, Enzo Pérez is on the move once again. His adventures in Europe, which culminated in him being named the 2013/14 Primeira Liga Player of the Year with Benfica, lasted from 2011 to 2017 and since then he’s been a loyal servant of River Plate but every journey comes to an end. Estudiantes, where he once spent a lengthy period before returning on loan, is once more his permanent home.

Daniel Maldini

From: Milan

To: Monza

It’s hard following in the footsteps of a legendary father. Daniel Maldini can attest firsthand. He’s struggled to make the grade at Milan, the club where his father (Paolo) and grandfather (Cesare) hoisted the European Cup as captains, and now continues his education at AC Monza where Adriano Galliani — no stranger to the Maldini’s — acts as deputy chairman and CEO. It comes shortly after ending another loan spell with Empoli where the 22-year-old attacking midfielder could only make seven Serie A appearances (due to starting the campaign with a muscular injury) without contributing to a single goal.

Fábio Carvalho

From: Liverpool

To: Hull City

A much-protracted move to Liverpool hasn’t worked out yet for ex-Fulham midfielder Fábio Carvalho who has to date made 21 appearances under Jürgen Klopp who loaned him out to RB Leipzig but that stay in Germany was cut short after Carvalho made nine Bundesliga appearances without scoring or assisting. Hull City, who signed him until May, will be hoping returning to a former competition inspires Carvalho who in the past had bagged 10 goals and created eight more across 36 outings in the Championship.