Tuesday, 5 February 2019

A Busy Transfer Window

The winter transfer window closed last week for clubs across England and the rest of Europe with plenty of deals done with managers adding new faces to ignite their teams' season or to continue a push towards silverware, european football or promotion to a new division. 

We'll start with the Premier League where there was plenty of deals. Liverpool and Manchester City were very quiet in terms of incomings with neither side making a signing for their immediate squad. City did sign highly rated youngster Ante Palaversa from Hadjuk Split for a fee of £7M. He has been loaned back to Hadjuk Split for the rest of the season. Like Liverpool and City, Manchester United and Tottenham also had a quiet window but both clubs did sell Belgain midfielders to China with both Mousa Dembele and Marouane Felliani departing for the Chinese Super League. In contrast, Chelsea and Arsenal were active in this window with both Maurizio Sarri and Unai Emery adding new faces. Chelsea were active from the start with plenty of rumours and speculation about many of their players. The likes of Cesc Fabregas, Alvaro Morata, Victor Moses and Michy Batshuayi all departed Stamford Bridge with Sarri culling the deadwood. Sarri will be satisfied as he has been reunited with Gonzalo Higuain who flourished under Sarri at Napoli. Sarri will be confident he is the striker Chelsea have craved all season. But Chelsea have also made a signing for the summer by splashing £57M on winger Christan Pulisic who has been loaned back to Borussia Dortmund for the rest of the season. Like Sarri, Unai Emery has also reunited with a player he knows well with winger Denis Suarez arriving on loan from Barcelona. The winger worked well with Emery at Sevilla and the Arsenal boss will be confident he can add more flare to Arsenal's attack. Some of the other deals for Premier League clubs include Michy Batshauyi joining Crystal Palace on loan, Nathaniel Clyne and Dominic Solanke joining Bournemouth from Liverpool with the latter joining for a club record £19M. Leicester completed a terrific piece of business with Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans joing in a loan swap deal seeing Adrien Silva head to Monaco. Struggling Fulham dipped into the market and added Ryan Babel, Lazar Markovic and Havard Nordtveit. Newcastle smashed their transfer record for the first time in 14 years when they snapped up Paraguay international Miguel Almiron for £20M from Atlanta United in the MLS. The tricky, exciting midfielder is certainly a player Newcastle desperately needed and Rafa Benitez will be hoping he is the man to ensure Newcastle's Premier League safety. Cardiff also broke their transfer record to sign striker Emiliano Sala for £18M but tragedy has struck and Cardiff fans may never see him play for the club following the disappearance of his private plane bringing him to Cardiff. A tragedy that has united the football world and certainly football becomes insignifcant with incidents like this and my thoughts are with the families involved.

The 72 EFL Clubs were also busy with plenty of deals done in the Championship, League 1 and League 2. Leeds dipped into La Liga and pinched Real Madrid goalkeeper Kiko Casilla who has won Champions League and La Liga titles and Marcelo Bielsa will be hoping he can aid their promotion charge. Norwich dipped into Germany to sign defender Philip Heise. West Brom added plenty of attacking quality with Jefferson Montero, Stefan Johansen and Jacob Murphy arriving at the club for the rest of the season. Middlesbrough added pace with winger Rajiv Van Parra on loan from Huddersfield. Frank Lampard's Derby were also busy snapping up Andy King from Leicester and free agent Ashley Cole who reunites with his former teammate Lampard. Aston Villa flexed their transfer muscles by adding Tyrone Mings, Tom Carroll, Kortney Hause on loan and Croatian goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic. Sheffield Utd snapped up Scott Hogan, Kieran Dowell and Gary Madine. The most active clubs were Ipswich and Preston. Basement club Ipswich added 7 new faces including veteran defender James Collins. Preston added 5 new faces including the most profilic English striker of 2018 in Jayden Stockley. Stoke spent a combined £10M on signing Danny Batth and Sam Vokes to add their disappointing season and ignite it.

In League 1 high flyers Luton and Portsmouth were both busy with the likes of George Thorne, George Moncur and Jason Cummings joining the Hatters. While Pompey added the likes of Omar Bogle, James Vaughan, Andrew Cannon and Bryn Morris. Sunderland spent a hefty £4M to bring Will Grigg from Wigan following Josh Maja's surprise move to Bordeaux. They also brought back Grant Leadbitter 10 years after his original departure from the club. Charlton lost their top scorer Karlan Grant to Huddersfield and replaced him with Josh Parker from struggling Gillingham. Scunthorpe and Walsall were two of the most active clubs in League 1 with 8 new signings at both clubs. Scunthorpe brought a completely new defence with the likes of Harrison McGahey, Byron Webster and Tony McMahon joining the club while Staurt McCall brought back Dutch striker Kevin Van Veen from Northampton. Walsall used their Midland contacts with signings from their bigger neighbours. Dan Scarr arrived from Birmingham while Corey Blackett-Taylor arrived from Villa and Jack Fitzwater rejoined from West Brom. However, no League 1 club can top Shrewsbury Town with new manager Sam Ricketts making 9 new signings including his former teammate Dave Edwards.

League 2 was busy too with leaders Lincoln adding the likes of Danny Rowe, James Brown, Jordan Roberts and Cian Bolger. Mansfield were also busy adding Jorge Grant, Nicky Ajose and Ryan Sweeney on a permanent deal. A little quieter for Bury but they did add Rangers midfielder Jordan Rossiter on loan. Exeter replaced Jayden Stockley with Ryan Bowman from Motherwell. While MK Dons added Stephen Walker and Jake Hesketh to their attack following the end of Rhys Healey's loan. In form Carlisle were also busy in the window and were one of the busiest club adding 7 new faces including Conor Simpson, Mark Cullen, Nathan Thomas and Stefan Scougall. Struggling Yeovil and Macclesfield added 7 new faces with the likes of Alex Dobre, Matt Worthington and Ryan Seager joining the Glovers while the Silkmen added the likes of Reece Cole, Adam Dawson, Zak Jules and Botti Biabi. However, the busiest League 2 club was Swindon with Richie Wellens adding 8 new faces including midfielder Danny Rose from Portsmouth and winger Kyle Bennett from Bristol Rovers.

The transfer window was also busy across Europe. We'll start with Ligue 1 and there was plenty of deals with Thomas Tuchel finally getting a central midfielder which he wanted in the summer. The man in question is Leandro Parades who arrives for £47M. High flying Lille added young players Abou Outtara and Renildo Mandava. Lyon had a quiet window with just one piece of business which saw Jordan Ferri leave for league rivals Nimes on loan. ST Etienne added two new midfielders in Valentin Vada and Youssef Ait Bennasser both on loan. Monaco were by far the busiest club in France with a host of new signings and departures in a desperate attempt to ensure they are not relegated. Monaco have let the likes of Youri Tielemans, Antonio Barreca, Samuel Grandsir and Adama Traore leave the club. While veteran defender Naldo has joined for £2M along with Cesc Fabregas and Fode Ballo-Toure on permanent deals. Monaco also added new players on loan including Carlos Vinicius, George-Kevin Nkoudou, Adrien Silva and Gelson Martins. Some of the other deals included Mario Balotelli leaving Nice for Marseille, Yacine Adil leaving PSG for Bordeaux, Edgar Ie leaving Lille for Nantes and Alexandre Mendy joining rock bottom Guingamp from Bordeaux.

The Bundesliga was relatively quiet with a few deals done at the Bundesliga clubs. Leaders Borussia Dortumd sealing a permanent deal for Paco Alcacer as well as signing highly rated defender Leonardo Balerdi. While Alphonso Davies joined up with Bayern Munich following his summer move from the MLS. Schalke have disappointed this season but have dipped into the window to bring Manchester City youngster Rabbi Matondo for £11M and a loan deal for Wolfsburg defender Jeffrey Bruma. Eintracht Frankfurt who are chasing the top 4 brought in defenders Martin Hinteregger from Augsburg and full back Alamany Toure from Monaco. RB Leipzing continue to recruit young talent and 3 new faces have arrived with Tyler Adams and Amadou Haidara joining permanently while Arsenal youngster Emile Smith-Rowe arrives on loan for the rest of the season. Some of the other deals included Alexander Esswein and Stephane Zuber joining Stuttgart on loan, Nicolai Muller and Kevin Akpoguma joing Hannover on loan, Reece Oxford leaving West Ham for Augsburg on loan and midfielder Renno Schmid joining Werder Bremen from RB Salzburg.

Serie A was by far the busiest league in Europe with plenty of deals. Juventus added Martin Caceres on loan from Lazio to replace Mehdi Benatia who departed for the Middle East. Napoli were very quiet with Ancelotti happy with his squad. Inter Milan added a couple of new faces with Cedric Soares arriving on loan from Southampton and young defender Andrew Gravillon arrived from Pescara for £7M. AC Milan made the biggest splash in the window by spending a hefty £35M on Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek from Genoa. AC Milan were clearly impressed with the Polish international who only joined Genoa in the summer. Genoa replaced him with striker Antonio Sanabria from Real Betis who arrives on loan. The busiest clubs were certainly the clubs battling relegation with Bologna adding Roberto Soriano and Nicola Sansone from Villarreal as well as Lyanco and Simone Edera from Torino all on loan. Empoli sold Jacob Rasmussen and Hamed Traore to Fiorentina but have them back on loan for the rest of the season. In terms of new signings Diego Farias, Marko Pajac, Cristian Dell'Orco and Kevin Diks were amongst their new arrivals. Udinese were also busy including adding 3 players from sister club Watford with Marvin Zeegelaar, Stefano Okaka and Ben Wilmot all arriving on loan. Basement side Chievo added experienced defender Marco Andreoli and Brazilian winger Lucas Piazon from Chelsea. Frosinone added Luca Valzania from Atalanta, Stefan Simic, Federico Viviani and Marcello Trotta all on loan deals. Some of the other deals included Luis Muriel joining Fiorentina from Sevilla for the rest of the season, Emiliano Viviano joining SPAL from Sporting Lisbon and Manolo Gabbiadini joining Sampdoria from Southampton for £12M.

La Liga also had some action with teams doing some deals to enhance their chances of success this season. Barcelona brought in defenders Jaison Murillo and the highly rated Jean-Clair Todibo from Toulouse while Barcelona do get the reward for most unusual signing with Kevin-Prince Boateng arriving on loan from Sassuolo. Real Madrid spent £22M on Manchester City youngster Brahim Diaz. Atletico Madrid brought back Alvaro Morata who began his career in their youth setup. Sevilla flexed their muscles by signing Maximillian Wobler from Ajax, Munir from Barcelona and Marko Rog on loan from Napoli. Leganes were the busiest La Liga adding 4 new faces including Danish striker Martin Braithwaite. Some of the other deals included Vicente Iborra returning to Spain following a disappointing spell at Leicester he has joined Villarreal, Wesley Hoedt joining Celta Vigo on loan from Southampton, Ibai Gomez returning to Athletic Bilbao from Basque rivals Alaves, Jese returning to Spain to join Real Betis on loan and the Chinese Super League's top scorer Lei Wu joining Espanyol.

So as you can see a very busy and exciting transfer window as the second half of the season really clicks into gear now with managers hoping their new signings can aid their sides' push.

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