In the January transfer window, Premier League clubs will be looking for players to make a fresh start after a year of disruptions and problems caused by the COWID-19 pandemic.
Windows in winter are generally expensive and value for money is hard to find, but there are some notable signs in the summer market that will hopefully be repeated next month. Here is an overview of some of the more impressive additions and what teams can learn from them in January.
(Note: some players such as Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara and Arsenal’s Thomas Partey have been excluded so far due to injuries that have limited their participation).
Lots of money: Ruben Diaz, 23, Manchester City (’68 million)
Fault! The file name is not specified. Ruben Diaz made a big impression in the city immediately upon arrival. Getty
No matter who his partner is at the heart of defending the city, the Portuguese international has looked rock solid since its debut. Given his size and strength, the former Benfica star looks like a ridiculous central defender, but in reality he takes on the challenge and positions himself well to score second goals.
Diaz is not the most adventurous passer-by, but his 95% accuracy this season is still impressive. He’s not only the best defender in town this season, he’s also one of the best in the Premier League, and from what we’ve seen so far he seems to be the man to replace Vincent Kompany. In fact, with Diaz in the starting eleven, the City have only admitted six goals in 17 games. Sometimes you get the value of your money.
Hidden treasure: Wesley Fofana, 20, Leicester City (’35 million).
The Frenchman has tactically integrated well into Leicester, whether it’s a four or a three, and has rightly been praised for his performance since making his Premier League debut in mid-October. Fofana, who turned 20 in December, is impressed by his active defensive work – he intercepts well, is effective in aerial battles (70% of the duels won this season), is fast, agile and plays with impressive concentration – every ball must be won.
Although he only played 16 league games for Saint-Etienne before moving to England, he is highly appreciated by the scouts. A scout told ESPN that he could be a potential world-class midfielder, so Foxes should be grateful that they acted quickly to sign him before anyone else. His former defensive partner, William Saliba, has not had an easy time after his move to Arsenal of 30 million euros last year.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Game
Frank Leboeuf is full of praise to Edinson Cavani for his professionalism since joining Man United.
Veteran: Edinson Cavani, 33, Manchester United (free).
Although his signature was greeted with groans, especially from Manchester United fans waiting for Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho for €120m, the Uruguayan is slowly but surely entering the hearts of fans.
His two beautifully executed headers in Southampton, as well as his left-wing strike against Everton in the Caribbean Cup, are a reminder that Cavani has been one of the world’s best centre-forward-facing soccer players for the past decade. The 33-year-old is indeed in the spotlight to replace Donny van de Beek, a 45 million euro draughtsman who has struggled to make a name for himself since joining Ajax. Cavani may not have been the first target, but United has secured itself an excellent lineman, a top professional and a top scorer. For nothing. And boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said recently that the club plans to extend his contract.
Prospects for the future : Ferran Torres, 20, Manchester City (’23 million).
Even the city’s hierarchy could be surprised at the impact Torres has had in his first four months in English football. In Valencia he was mainly a right striker, who was given freedom of movement by Pep Guardiola – often from a wide position on the left – and who also played as a false No9 in Europe (from which he scored four goals in five matches).
The elegant striker with a flair for flair also scored a hat-trick in Germany’s 6-0 victory over Spain, proving he can do it on the international podium. 23 million, Torres could be one of the cheapest signatures in the city in the last ten years, since it is still in development.
Second chance: James Rodriguez, 29, Everton (free)
Fault! The file name is not specified. James Rodriguez is a quality player who just needed a chance. ESPN
James has proven for his premature injury that he will be an important player for Everton in the coming years. Although there is no doubt about the qualities of the Colombian midfielder, many believe it will take some time for him to adapt to a new, more physical environment.
Led by his old master Carlo Ancelotti, James scored from the start with Everton and his three goals and as many assists in ten Premier League games is a great achievement. The winger/ forward midfielder, whose left foot is still one of the most beautiful in the world, looks lively and will bring back many memories of why Real Madrid paid 75 million euros for him in Monaco 2014.
Gambling: Edouard Mendy, 28, Chelsea.
The work is not yet finished in Chelsea and the desired consistency has not yet been found, but at least the Senegalese national team has been able to achieve stability after the departure of Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The 1.80m-keeper is an accurate compass and an excellent shot-blocker (he has fought off 80% of his shots on target this season), and he never seems to be under pressure. Although it is not Chelsea’s most expensive and most talked-about summer signature, with 250 million euros, it seems an obvious (and important) addition for the Blues. Chelsea took a risk as he had only had a good season with Rennes and had almost given up his dream of becoming a professional footballer five years ago, but it all worked out.
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