WINTER TRANSFER EPL WINNERS AND LOSERS
2023-02-03 · 2 min read · Premier League/Soccer
Official Chelsea FC Website | Planet Football
An eye-popping amount of owners' money was spent by Premier League managers in January, most notably from Stamford Bridge. Chelsea alone spent more money than all the other big leagues across Europe. Eight new signings in the middle of the season will either be exactly what they need to turn the season around or will create anarchy beginning on the training grounds.
We had struggling teams trying to turn things around. We had other teams covering injuries. We had one group, in particular, trying to consolidate their march to the title. We had Winners and Losers.
Winner (I think): Chelsea’s new refurbished line-up
New Chelsea boss Graham Potter is a fortunate man.
He oversaw just one win in six games across all competitions in January. The Blues sit 10 points behind the top four in 10th, are out of both domestic cups and have a tough Champions League knockout tie with Borussia Dortmund on the horizon.
So far, Potter's tactics have yet to really offer much spark. Chelsea possesses incredible attacking strength in depth that just never seems to click and, vitally, with no prolific striker to act as a focal point.
The former Brighton man is fortunate he's got the backing of new owner Todd Boehly. Few would sanction the transfers of João Félix, Benoît Badiashile, David Datro Fofana, Andrey Santos, Noni Madueke and Malo Gusto when a manager is performing so badly. Even fewer would gazump Arsenal to the £70 million acquisition of Mykhailo Mudryk. Fewer still would pay £105 million to snatch World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez from Benfica. Chelsea were in, they were out, but ultimately they were in again. Potter has absolutely no excuses not to improve this team now. Boehly has made it clear: He believes in Potter, and he's willing to reinforce that with extravagant spending to get Chelsea out of a hole.
Losers: Cross-town rivals Liverpool and Everton
Both Liverpool and Everton suffered a difficult January, albeit for very different reasons. But wait, how can Liverpool be considered losers when they signed Cody Gakpo? As talented as the Dutch forward is, his arrival failed to address the problems Jurgen Klopp is dealing with in midfield.
Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara are slowing down. Fabinho doesn't look as dominant as usual. Naby Keïta is destined to leave, having never fulfilled his potential at Anfield. Despite being extremely talented, Harvey Elliott and Stefan Bajcetic are not the immediate answer for a club that expects to compete for every trophy. Liverpool is clearly a team in transition. Gakpo is part of that, alongside Darwin Núñez, as the long-term successors for Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are hunted. You need to plug the biggest holes first in moments of flux, though, and Klopp's desperate needs were left wanting in January.
As for Everton, well, what is there to say? Frank Lampard led the Toffees to the relegation zone before being sacked. What looked like a stunning coup in Arnaut Danjuma turned out to be highly embarrassing after the Villarreal winger opted to join Tottenham Hotspur on loan instead, despite media duties being completed for his Goodison Park reveal.
Winners: Arsenal Title chase
Whether you believe the Premier League trophy will be decked in red or blue at the end of the season, Arsenal did everything right to maintain momentum. So many fans will have been disappointed by missing out on Mudryk, but the swoop for Leandro Trossard was extremely smart. He seems to have already fit in with a confident cameo in the win over Manchester United and a good performance in the narrow FA Cup defeat to City. Trossard cost a fraction of the budget at £24 million, meaning more depth could be added elsewhere.
And you know what? Missing out on Moises Caicedo is not the end of the world because a quality alternative was found in Jorginho. He is an excellent cover and a controlling presence for the remainder of a season that will be nervy as Arsenal get closer to winning the league.
Many fans were fearful the north London side would stand still in January. Well, Arsenal has recruited smartly, showing intent to go all the way. You can't ask for much more.
Winners: Manchester United's Momentum
Losing Cristiano Ronaldo was never going to be easy, mainly because Manchester United needed a new striker on a shoestring budget after spending readily in the summer. Many will have laughed at Wout Weghorst's arrival on loan from Burnley. He's performed well for Eric ten Hag's side throughout his first three games and has shown he's more than the archetypal big man.
United was thrown another curveball late in the window, though. Christian Eriksen's long-term injury means a star performer will likely not be available for the remainder of the season. The lightning-quick decision to sign Marcel Sabitzer on loan from Bayern Munich is an excellent piece of business that could go a long way to plugging the major issue Eriksen's absence could cause: control of matches. With little to spend and potential new ownership on the horizon, it was a well-played window from ten Hag and the club. Weghorst and Sabitzer have it in them to contribute significantly during the rest of the season.
By: Aaron Cantin