Juventus, Barcelona win January transfer window; Arsenal, Ousmane Dembele the biggest losers

Given the financial challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the January transfer window was surprisingly busy as clubs made mid-season moves to try to strengthen their sides.

According to Transfermarkt, Premier League spending (€ 335 million) was actually the second highest in history, with Liverpool’s move for FC Porto winger Luis Diaz (€ 45 million) and Newcastle’s signing Bruno Guimaraes (42, 1 million euros) leading. Tottenham, Everton and Aston Villa also parted ways with a decent amount of money, while Man City sealed a deal for Julian Alvarez of River Plate (€ 17 million) and sent him back on loan until the summer.

Clubs across Europe in Italy’s Serie A (€ 175 million), LaLiga of Spain (€ 75 million), France’s Ligue 1 (€ 66 million) and Germany’s Bundesliga (€ 62 million) spent a total of € 378 million, with Juventus who made € 70 million to land Dusan Vlahovic and Barcelona pay Man City € 55 million to bring in Ferran Torres.

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Winners

Juventus

Although Juventus took a few weeks to go, once out of the blocks, their performance in the transfer market was nothing short of masterful. Not only did the Turkish giants sign the joint Serie A top scorer Vlahovic from Fiorentina for € 70 million (plus another € 10 million in additions) ahead of their rivals, but they also landed highly regarded defensive midfielder Denis Zakaria for a reported € 5 million as His contract with Borussia Mönchengladbach had only five months to run.

If that wasn’t enough, Juventus took advantage of their relationship with Tottenham manager Fabio Paratici to find a new home for winger Dejan Kulusevski (loan with a € 35 million commitment to sign permanently) and midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur (€ 19 million) ), while it sent Aaron Ramsey loaned to the Scottish side Rangers.

However, Vlahovic was the signing of the window and Juve did incredibly well to find a way to get their no. 1 goal. Only time will tell if it was viable, seeing as they could miss qualifying for the Champions League next season.

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Barcelona have signed the 21-year-old Manchester City striker for a reported £ 55million.

Barcelona

From being on the verge of financial ruin, unable to register players for LaLiga due to salary restrictions, to signing brilliant striker Ferran Torres from Manchester City for € 55m, represents a dramatic turn of events for the Catalan. With debts of € 1.4 billion hanging over them, Barcelona will not be well out of the woods for a while, but catching the 21-year-old Spanish international is a huge boost.

The return of La Masia product Adama Traore on loan from Wolves adds directness and speed from wide areas, the return of 38-year-old Dani Alves takes the lead in the dressing room, while a free transfer for Arsenal striker Aubameyang sees a good goal threat ahead of Sergio Aguero’s sad retirement. Two months ago, hardly anyone other than President Joan Laporta could have seen Barcelona come out of the January transfer window with such an improved squad. Only the failure to move winger Ousmane Dembele was a sore point (more on that later), although they managed to get Philippe Coutinho’s salary out of the books with a loan to Aston Villa.

Newcastle United

After the first rumors that the takeover of the Saudi club would bring them the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland, their strategy was actually of a cautious nature.

Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Tripper (15 million euros) was a fairly conservative but sensible signature who will offer quality and leadership on and off the field, while Burnley striker Chris Wood of 30 million euros – despite an unconvincing recent record of goals – – is familiar with the requirements of a Premier League relegation battle. The same can be said for versatile Brighton defender Dan Burn (20 million euros) who will give manager Eddie Howe useful options in defense.

However, the 42.1 million euro prison sentence of Bruno Guimaraes from Lyon may be closer to the profile of the player that fans would expect more of in the future. The Brazil international is a mobile defensive midfielder who is safe in possession, good at winning duels, and is a creative passer who can choose runners from the depths. In fact, with his ability to organize the midfield, the 24-year-old may prove to be the missing link that improves their chances of staying in the Premier League.

MLS and USMNT

MLS has found a fine balance between its ever-improving sports product and the execution of a smart business operation. The first international striker of the United States Ricardo Pepi came to Augsburg from FC Dallas in a deal of € 17 million, making him the most expensive abandoned teenager in the history of the league. He was then followed by Orlando City center-forward, and Pepi’s international team-mate, Daryl Dike, who joined West Brom for € 7 million.

On Deadline Day, Arminia Bielefeld, threatened with relegation, announced the signing of 20-year-old left-back George Bello from Atlanta United FC, while Colorado Rapids defender Auston Trusty will join Arsenal this summer. The Gunners also agreed a summer deal to take on USMNT and New England Revolutionary Guardsman Matt Turner.

MLS also announced the arrival of Napoli striker Lorenzo Insigne at Toronto FC, which is nothing short of a spectacular coup. The 30-year-old Italian international is still in his prime and with his technical quality, intelligence and pure pedigree he should be a great addition to the league when he joins in July.

Christian Eriksen

The return of the Danish international is without a doubt the most universal welcome move from the January transfer window. Nearly eight months after suffering a cardiac arrest in the field during a Euro 2020 group stage match against Finland, Eriksen – who was unable to continue his Serie A career at Inter Milan after implanting a cardioverter-defibrillator, t the device is not allowed in Serie A – has now been given a wonderful opportunity to play in the Premier League by Brentford. The former Spurs midfielder will add vision, intelligence, enormous experience and his own ability to help the Bees build on their decent debut season in the league.

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James Olley explains what Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s move from Barcelona means for Arsenal.

Losers

Arsenal

While the Gunners are sixth in the Premier League and signs have shown they could challenge for a place in Europe next season, one might have expected the club’s technical director Edu to have an ace up his sleeve in January . Instead, the club signed no one – except the summer deal agreement for Trusty and Turner – and left a number of team players to leave, namely Calum Chambers (Aston Villa, free), Pablo Mari (Udinese, loan), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Roma, loan) and Sead Kolasinac (Marseille, free).

Leaving Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Barcelona) for nothing on Deadline Day without signing a substitute was an enormous gamble. Mikel Arteta clearly felt he could not work with the former captain and his € 375,000-a-week contract was broken, but the team looks incredibly thin and Arteta’s only striking options, Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah, are both out of contract. the summer. Arsenal’s goal threat (they only scored once throughout January) will now have to come from young attacking midfielders as wingers such as Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard. And fans will hope there are no injuries.

Ousmane Dembele

Widely tipped to leave Barcelona in January after a public dispute over his new contract, the French winger could wait five months in the stands until his deal expires in the summer. Barça paid € 105 million (rising to a potential € 145 million) to Borussia Dortmund in 2017, but Dembele has never reached his potential and was linked with a host of clubs including PSG, Man United, Chelsea and Tottenham.

Creative attempts to keep the player on new terms were futile, while the player refused a move to the Premier League on Deadline Day, sources told ESPN. With many words exchanged between the parties in the process, it is difficult to see a return trip for highly talented 24-year-old who is as vulnerable to injuries as he is.

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Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens discuss why Barcelona oust Ousmane Dembele from the club.

Jesse Lingard

Lingard, who is yet to start a Premier League game for Manchester United this season, was heavily tipped to leave Old Trafford when West Ham and Newcastle tried to land him. Instead, he still finds himself on Ralf Rangnick’s team, as the board blocked his move after they left Donny van de Beek on loan at Everton.

With only five months left on his contract, Lingard now faces the challenge of getting enough playing time to resume his United career or attract offers from elsewhere. As long as Lingard is still an excellent Premier League player, he can finally look back on a miserable year to come to the end of the season.

Manchester United

After leaving Van de Beek (Everton, loan) and Anthony Martial (Sevilla, loan) and with Mason Greenwood out of action for an indefinite period after he was arrested on suspicion of rape and assault, United wanted to see one or two required late signatures.

In addition to the non-existent attacking reinforcements, especially in the wide areas, the club also failed to address some of their obvious, long-standing shortcomings in the team. An upgrade in the central midfield division (No. 6 or No. 8) never came, as did a full-back top quality finish on both sides. With fourth place in the Premier League still to play for, the lack of investment may return in the middle of the season to catch up with them.


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