Manchester United’s last-gasp deal to bring in Odion Ighalo on loan was a fitting end to a transfer deadline day that was on the extremely under side of whelming.
A mere £25 million was spent – the lowest total in ten years. Then again, the £230 million overall spend across the month was the second-highest ever, so deals were done, just in their own sweet time.
Here’s a look at the biggest, the best and the rest.
January signings are risky business for real and Fantasy managers alike, with new players often needing a while to adapt to their new surroundings, even if they don’t have to do it on a wet Wednesday night in Stoke for the foreseeable future.
But the upcoming winter break, which takes Gameweek 26 across two weekends from February 8, should buy new United midfielder Bruno Fernandes (£8.0m) plenty of time to slot into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
The Sporting Lisbon star has joined the Red Devils for an initial fee of around £47m, having scored 64 goals in 137 matches in all competitions in Portugal.
His form this season – 15 goals and 14 assists in 28 games – is particularly impressive, and that attacking threat is clearly much-needed at Old Trafford.
Just 15 goals have come from United’s midfield this campaign, and eight of those have been scored by the misclassified Anthony Martial (£7.9m).
Take the French striker out of the equation, and the entire United midfield have scored the same number of goals, seven, across 24 matches as Dele Alli (£8.5m) has managed on his own from 17 appearances.
Presuming that he’ll start around the £8.0m mark in Fantasy Premier League, Fernandes could offer a lot in the mid-price bracket, although United’s upcoming schedule involves Wolves, Chelsea, Manchester City and Spurs over the next six Gameweeks, which will be a tough baptism for January’s most expensive buy.
As for Ighalo, the former Watford striker’s temporary move to United can be interpreted in two ways: it’s either a smart(ish) piece of cover for the injured Marcus Rashford (£8.9m), or the latest sign of The End Of Days at Old Trafford.
He also has plenty of Fantasy previous, the nub of it detailed here.
The Blades have had a very busy window, although moves for defenders Jack Robinson and Panagiotis Retsos will stir few Fantasy hearts, and the capture of Jack Rodwell merits little more than an Alan Partridge shoulder-shrugging meme.
What has got our attention is their new record signing, Norway midfielder Sander Berge, who has joined from Genk.
The 21-year-old is, on the face of it, a classic defensive midfielder, so Fantasy returns should be limited.
The big issue is how his arrival will affect the role, and minutes, of one of this season’s FPL stars, Lord ‘John’ Lundstram (£5.1m).
Time will tell on that one, but an initial check suggests that a player with just six goals from 98 Genk appearances doesn’t possess the stuff that box-to-box ‘defender’ Lundstram offers. So if anyone’s place is to be threatened by Berge’s arrival, it’s probably that of Oliver Norwood (£4.9m).
While all that’s been going on, the loan move for Richairo Zivkovic (£5.0m) from Chinese side Changchun Yatai, has rather slipped under the radar.
The former Ajax striker has scored 15 goals in 25 games in China and ‘will give us genuine pace at the top of the pitch’, according to United manager Chris Wilder.
Blades strikers have scored only nine goals between them all season, so Zivkovic won’t have to do too much to make an impact.
Arguably the best January transfer news for Tottenham was the departure, finally, of Christian Eriksen to Inter Milan.
That stops Jose Mourinho putting the Dane in his midfield ever again, while the news that the loan signing of Real Betis star Giovani Lo Celso (£7.3m) has been made permanent, for a fee of £27.2m, should be good for his long-term prospects.
The lack of decent cover for the injured Harry Kane (£10.8m) is not so good, however, with the signing of forward Steven Bergwijn for £27m from PSV Eindhoven unlikely to bring too many goals.
The Netherlands player is more winger than striker and scored 31 goals in 149 appearances for the Dutch club, so those FPL managers with Son Heung-min (£9.9m) in their squads might be the biggest winners here.
Tottenham’s final piece of winter business – Gedson Fernandes on loan from Benfica for 18 months – is not major Fantasy news as the central midfielder, although relatively attack-minded, has just nine goals and 16 assists from 116 career appearances.
Another busy club this winter, Aston Villa have brought in a number of players, although none are likely to be rushed into our teams until they’ve proved themselves.
The major money, £10m, went on Genk striker Mbwana Samatta (£6.0m) who scored 10 goals for the Belgians in all competitions this season, including one at Anfield against Liverpool in the Champions League.
He had a decent enough run-out in the Carabao Cup semi-final win over Leicester City and at least looks assured of minutes while the team’s main striker, Wesley (£5.5m), remains injured.
The arrival of Borja Baston on a free from Swansea City should keep the Tanzania international honest, however.
Villa’s other January business – the loan signings of midfielder Danny Drinkwater (£4.4m) from Chelsea and goalkeeper Pepe Reina £4.5m) from AC Milan and the £880,000 paid for England Under-17 striker Louie Barry from Barcelona – will not trouble many Fantasy minds.
For many pundits, Newcastle bringing in Tottenham left-back Danny Rose (£5.3m) on loan until the end of the season was the deal of the window.
For most Fantasy managers, buying into a Newcastle defender, however experienced, is the wrong side of risky.
Steve Bruce brought in two other temporary signings – Austria international Valentino Lazaro from Inter Milan and Schalke midfielder Nabil Bentaleb.
The Magpies boss described Lazaro as ‘a natural winger with an excellent delivery’, while central midfielder Bentaleb, who made 66 appearances for Spurs in two and a half seasons, has scored 19 goals in 97 games for Schalke.
Newcastle’s schedule is excellent all the way through to mid-April, but their form is too inconsistent to offer assured returns.
West Ham United
The Hammers’ form is a lot worse, as is their schedule.
Investing in their newcomers is therefore fraught with danger, even if the £18m they splashed out on Hull City midfielder Jarrod Bowen was the deadline deal of the day, in terms of money spent at least.
Bowen has been superb in the Championship this season, scoring 16 goals and providing six assists
in 29 games.
He can play as a winger or a second striker, but will have his work cut out when confronted with an eight-Gameweek run involving Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea.
David Moyes will also get to work with Czech Republic midfielder Tomas Soucek, who has joined on loan from Slavia Prague with an option to buy.
Soucek has scored 10 goals in 19 appearances for Slavia this season and Moyes described him as fitting ‘the profile of the player we want’.
The Hammers also re-signed Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph (£4.4m) from Championship side Middlesbrough for a fee of about £4m.
Mikel Arteta wanted to bolster his meagre defensive options, and promptly did so.
Flamengo defender Pablo Mari comes on loan until the end of the season, with an option to buy in the summer.
The Arsenal boss wanted a left-footed centre-back to provide balance at the heart of a leaky defence, and Mari, who was a Manchester City player from 2016-19, but never featured for the club, fitted that particular bill.
Cover at right-back was another target for Arteta, and that box was ticked with the loan signing of Southampton’s Cedric Soares (£4.8m).
The only other notable money spent on deadline day involved the £4.5m paid by Brighton for Chelsea defender Tariq Lamptey (£4.0m).
The England Under-20 international featured once for Frank Lampard in the Premier League, playing 31 minutes of Chelsea’s 2-1 win at Arsenal in Gameweek 20.
Other than that, the Seagulls made Aaron Mooy‘s (£4.8m) loan move from Huddersfield permament with a three-and-a-half-year deal for a fee of around £5m.
There was just the one major move by Sean Dyche at Burnley as Josh Brownhill (£5.0m) joined from Bristol City for around £9m.
The 24-year-old Bristol skipper scored 17 goals in 161 appearances in three-and-a-half seasons at the Robins.
Much to Palace fans’ chagrin, the loan signing of Cenk Tosun (£5.7m) from Everton was the Eagles’ main piece of business, only for their new striker to be sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Other than that, Roy Hodgson signed Scotland Under-19 midfielder Scott Banks from Dundee United on a three-year deal, but missed out on Jarrod Bowen.
A whisper-quiet window for the Foxes, who kept all their key assets and brought in only one new player, Wolves defender Ryan Bennett (£4.8m) on loan for the rest of the season.
Bennett comes with an option to buy in the summer, for a fee of around £5m, and is likely to be used as cover in the meantime.
Equally quiet were Liverpool, who did their January business as early as possible when they confirmed the New Year’s Day signing of Takumi Minamino (£6.5m) from Red Bull Salzburg.
The injury to Sadio Mané (£12.3m) has not moved the Japan international up the Anfield pecking order thus far, and he remains one for the future, for now.
More details on him are available HERE.
When you’re looking at Championship football again next season, why spend big in January?
That seems to have been the rationale behind Norwich’s transfer window, although coach Daniel Farke did dip into his home market for a couple of signings.
The German secured the services of midfielder Lukas Rupp (£4.5m) from Hoffenheim for an undisclosed fee.
Farke described him as ‘a versatile player who can play in a number of positions in the midfield and has also played at full-back’. Translated into Fantasy, that usually means ‘avoid the utility player’.
The Canaries also signed Slovakia attacking midfielder Ondrej Duda (£5.0m) on loan from Hertha Berlin for the rest of the season.
The 25-year-old has taken to England pretty well, providing an assist on his debut in the Gameweek 23 won over Bournemouth.
Coventry City full-back Sam McCallum was the third player to move to Norfolk, for a fee of £3.5m, but Norwich defenders are not the stuff of Fantasy dreams.
Just the one piece of business for Southampton, but a canny one.
The Saints signed Tottenham full-back Kyle Walker-Peters (£4.4m) on loan for the remainder of the season.
He could well get pitch-time for a Southampton defence with three clean sheets over the last six Gameweeks.
As mentioned above, fellow full-back Cedric Soares moved on loan to Arsenal
Watford signed Udinese winger Ignacio Pussetto (£5.0m) on a four-and-a-half-year deal for £7m.
The 24-year-old Argentinian can also play as a striker and scored five goals in 50 appearances for the Serie A side.
Perhaps of more interest is the teenage Brazilian striker Joao Pedro (£5.0m) who joined in January from Fluminense.
The 18-year-old, who hit seven goals in four games during a particularly hot streak in Brazil, is being tipped as a star of the future.
But he was brought down to earth on his debut for the Hornets, playing 45 minutes of their FA Cup draw with Tranmere Rovers and a further 81 minutes of the replay, which they lost 2-1.
Wolves spent a reported £16.9m on Portuguese winger Daniel Podence (£5.5m) from Olympiakos.
Podence has been capped by Portugal at all age levels, bar the senior team, and played in the Champions League this season, scoring in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham in September.
The Midlands outfit also sealed a three-and-a-half-year deal for Ecuador striker Leonardo Campana, although the 19-year-old spent all of January playing for Ecuador in a pre-Olympic championship.
As for the other four Premier League teams, their January activity ranged from slim to none.
On the slim front, Everton paid an undisclosed fee for 17-year-old Carlisle United defender Jarrad Branthwaite.
And in the none camp were Bournemouth, whose best piece of business was keeping Josh King (£6.1m) out of Manchester United’s clutches, Chelsea and Manchester City, although the 0.2% of Fantasy managers with Angelino (£4.7m) in their squads might want to get rid now he’s gone on loan to RB Leipzig.
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