Transfer deadline: 10 moves that can make a big difference

The January transfer window closed in most of Europe’s top leagues on Tuesday night, with teams across the continent frantically trying to hammer out complicated deals and bolster their squads for the second half of the season.

Here are 10 of the most notable moves from this month, including several that weren’t finalized until late on another busy deadline:

Enzo Fernandez, Benfica to chelsea

It had still not been officially announced when the clock struck 11 p.m. local time in England (6 p.m. ET), but the Blues barely managed to secure a deal for World Cup-winning midfielder Fernández on the line before time runs out, according to multiple reports.

If true, it was worth the wait: the $130m paid for the Argentine star set a new British record, surpassing the $122m Manchester City sent Aston Villa for Jack Grealish in 2021 .

Joao Cancelo, Manchester City to Bayern Munich

The most surprising transfer this month. As one of City’s best players, Sky Blues manager Pep Guardiola had no intention of selling Cancelo at the start of 2023. The Portuguese full-back was a Guardiola regular, making nearly 100 Premier League appearances since joining from Juve in 2019.

But when Cancelo wasn’t a first-choice after returning from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, he made his displeasure known. It essentially forced City to deal with him now or risk being stuck with a disgruntled camper until the summer. It wasn’t a bet the English champion was willing to take – even without a ready replacement for the 28-year-old. Instead, Cancelo was loaned out to Bayern Munich until June.

JorginhoChelsea at Arsenal

In another Deadline Day pact, Italian national team midfielder Jorginho swapped one London powerhouse for another.

The Arsenal-Chelsea rivalry isn’t the only reason many Gunners supporters don’t like the signing. Brighton destroyer Moises Caicedo was Arsenal’s main target, with the 21-year-old seen as a better choice for a team manager Mikel Arteta to rebuild mainly with dynamic youngsters. But an $86 million bid for Caicedo was rejected.

Jorginho, 31, arrives for the reduced price of $15 million. It could be a steal for a proven winner who won both the Champions League and European Championship titles in 2021. In a side hoping to finish atop the Prem for the first time in almost two decades , Jorginho, who will support starting defensive midfielder Thomas Partey, offers top-notch depth and experience.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United to Al-Nasr

The clubs biggest name changes this winter have done so before 2023 has even started. A free agent after United agreed to terminate his contract in November, Al Nassr have announced the acquisition of the Portuguese superstar, who will be 38 next week, December 30.

More than a month later, it still seems like an odd destination for CR7 – especially after he forced his way out of Old Trafford ostensibly for a final round in the UEFA Champions League.

Weston McKennie, Juventus to Leeds United

McKennie’s move to the English Premier League was confirmed by Leeds on Monday, where the U.S. men’s national team kingpin will join fellow Americans Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams and manager Jesse Marsch.

Moving from an elite European side to one mired in a relegation dogfight seems like an odd choice for 24-year-old McKennie, but the timing makes sense. Juventus sit 13th in Italy after deducting 15 points to inflate transfer fees, while ensuring they don’t qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League.

McKennie can now test himself on the world’s best domestic circuit, where potential future employers like Prem leaders Liverpool and Arsenal – both of whom would have been interested in the long Texan before Leeds’ arrival – will be able to see him regularly up close. .

Joao Felix, Atlético Madrid at Chelsea

The Blues signed striker João Félix on January 11 on a six-month contract worth around $10 million. Félix had an immediate impact on his Chelsea debut against Fulham the next day; he was easily injured, Chelsea’s most dangerous attacking player, until he was sent off for a reckless tackle less than an hour into his first game.

After returning from his three-game red card suspension on February 11 against West Ham, the 23-year-old is expected to be a key player for the Blues, who have spent $300million on transfers this month.

Despite this investment, 2021 Champions League winners Chelsea are still at risk of not qualifying for Europe’s top club competition next season. Graham Potter’s team is 10th in the Prem, 10 points behind Manchester United for fourth and last place in the Champions League.

Cody Gakpo, PSV Eindhoven to liverpool

The towering striker has taken advantage of the World Cup spotlight to land one of the biggest deals this month. Gakpo’s five goals in the Qatar 2022 group stage impressed potential suitors, and the Reds inked the Dutch striker as soon as the market opened, paying PSV a club-record fee north of £50m. dollars.

Gakpo is still looking for his first goal five games into his Liverpool career. But it’s probably only a matter of time for the 23-year-old, who has scored 12 times in 19 Eredivisie and Europa League appearances in the first half of 2022-23.

Mykhaylo Mudryk, Shakhtar Donetsk at Chelsea

Acquired on January 15, Ukrainian winger Mudryk’s stash was not far behind that of Fernández; he is Chelsea’s third most expensive signing at over $100 million.

As with Felix, Mudryk’s debut at Stamford Bridge was a mixed one. His only appearance was a 35-minute appearance from the bench on 21 January in a scoreless draw with Liverpool. This week, Mudryk issued a public apology after a July 2022 video emerged in which he used a racial slur. The matter is currently being investigated by the English FA, who have suspended other players for similar behavior.

Leandro TrossardBrighton to Arsenal

Arsenal did not land Caicedo, but getting his former Brighton team-mate Trossard was a coup.

The Belgium winger impressed on his first start for the Gunners last week despite a loss to Manchester City knocking Arteta’s side out of the FA Cup. And at $33m, the price tag for the 28-year-old wasn’t too high. Trossard has made over 100 Premier League appearances for the Seagulls – he’s exactly the sort of low-risk, high-reward addition who could help Arsenal maintain their lead until the end of the season.

John Duran, chicago fire to AstonVilla

While Durán isn’t the most well-known name on this list, his $22 million transfer matters because of what he represents: the 19-year-old Colombian has become the second most expensive teenager ever sold by a team MLS, second only to Bayern Munich in 2018. on Vancouver Whitecaps prospect Alphonso Davies.

Davies was developed by the Vancouver Academy; Durán, who cost Chicago just $2 million in 2021, spent one season in MLS before the club cashed in. It is the first time that the American/Canadian top flight has sent such a young player directly to the Premier League for an amount approaching this amount. Given the garish comeback, other MLS teams will try to follow.

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