By Danny Carrington
Last Updated: 21st December 2020
Making a signing in the January transfer window can often be seen as a risky move by some. There are, however, January signings that prove to be well worth the money.
We look back on the best ever January transfers the Premier League has ever seen.
Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez was transferred from Ajax to Liverpool for £22.8 million in January 2011. In his first season at Anfield, he scored four goals in 13 games, elevating Liverpool six places in the Premier League table, but the best was yet to come.
In 2014 he nearly led the club to their first league title since 1990, before making a £65 million move to Barcelona. Suarez has won 18 trophies in his career so far and, in 2014, got the Premier League Golden Boot. Not bad for a boy – the fourth of seven sons – who learned to play on the streets. He will always be remembered as a superb January signing on Merseyside.
French left-back Patrice Evra transferred from Monaco to Manchester United in January 2006 for £5.5 million. After a poor start – ignominiously removed to the bench at half-time in a Manchester derby – he went on to storm five Premier League trophies and one Champions League title in the space of eight years.
He captained both United and France. Unusually for a footballer, he is the son of a diplomat, and even more unusually, speaks five languages. He even made a stab at Korean so he could talk in private to teammate Park Ji-sung. A hero at Old Trafford.
Texan striker Clint Dempsey, who grew up in a trailer park, was sold by New England Revolution to Fulham for £2 million a year on from Evra’s arrival in the UK. Dempsey won over the fans at Craven Cottage by scoring the goal against Liverpool that kept Fulham up.
Then he netted the winner in the 2010 Europa League as Fulham conquered Juventus. Dempsey was the first American to score a hat-trick in the Premier League. He’s also a handy midfielder, and versatile to boot: he rapped the song ‘Don’t Tread’ in a Nike ad.
Serbian centre-back Nemanja Vidic moved from Spartak Moscow to Manchester United for £7.5 million in January 2006 and went on to form arguably the Premier League’s best ever defensive partnership with Rio Ferdinand. He went on to win five Premier League titles and one Champions League while at Old Trafford and will be remembered as one of the best defender’s in the history of the division.
Virgil van Dijk
It’s only been three years, but Liverpool’s Ballon d’Or finalist has already touched the sky. Following his £75 million move to Anfield in early 2018, the centre-back has guided the Reds to Champions League glory in 2019 before inspiring them to a first ever Premier League title last term. The Reds suffered a hammer blow when losing Van Dijk to injury earlier this season and it remains to be seen whether the club can still secure another title in his absence.
It may still be too early to call Virgil van Dijk the best January signing of the Premier League era, but Liverpool fans will nonetheless be praying for more of the same from him as time goes on once he returns to full fitness.
Manchester United may have splashed out an initial £47 million to bring Bruno Fernandes to Old Trafford from Sporting Lisbon during the last January window, but nearly a year on and he’s proved to be worth every penny.
Such was the impact that Fernandes had at United in his first half a season at the club, with a stunning eight goals and seven assists in just 14 appearances, it’s fair to say that the Red Devils would not have secured their top-four spot last term without him.
This season, and Fernandes’ goals and assists for United have continued to flourish, with the Red Devils arguably relying on the Portugal international a tad too much. As the second half of the season unfolds, again he will be key to where United finish come the end of the campaign.