Transfer deadline day passed on the 1st of February, 2021. Many believe that unlike the other transfer windows in the past, this one was more silent. There were a lot lesser deals than anticipated.
The deals that did happen were making headlines in the sports columns of every newspaper. The leagues in England were quite active in this transfer window and we will mostly discuss the ins and outs that happened in the Premier League this past month.
Arsenal meant business this transfer window and when we say “they meant business”, it implies serious business. Things that were not far away from happening finally happened for the Gunners. They finally got rid of the surplus players. These players (to be harsh) were just wastage of their already limited financial resources. Big names like Mesut Özil, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, and Shkodran Mustafi got their contracts terminated.
This freed up millions of pounds for the forthcoming seasons. Further, Arsenal let three more of their players go on loan deals to hone their acumens and get enough playtime. Saed Kolasinac (Schalke), Willaim Saliba (Nice) Ainsley Maitland-Niles (West Brom), and Joe Willock (Newcastle Utd). The Norwegian wonder-kid from Madrid, Martin Ødegaard was brought in to support Emile Smith-Rowe on the attacking front. The Gunners agreed to pay a whopping £8.3 million for Ødegaard’s wages in a loan deal. There is no buy option in this deal. Despite this, if the new #11 performs remarkably, Arsenal would want to sign him for a longer period.
The second signing was almost unexpected for the fans and the pundits but when it happened, there was a mixed reception. Arsenal signed Brighton and Hove Albion’s #1 Matt Ryan for the remainder of the season. He was to serve Leno as a backup but no sooner than he was signed, he picked up a hip injury. Arsenal was in desperate need of a left-back but couldn’t sign one. We wonder why they let Kolasinac go then. Nonetheless, Matt Ryan is close to regaining his match fitness and Ødegaard is waiting for a proper start to a 90 min match. Let’s see how this goes for the Gunners.
Liverpool’s title defense has been as unpredictably difficult off late. Their senior defenders are all injured. Van Djik, Joe Gomez, Matip; you name them. Things got so bad for Klopp that he had to play Jordan Henderson and Fabinho in the center back position.
As soon as the transfer window opened, Liverpool focused on getting the business done right. The defending champs took their sweet time in scouting the right defenders and they found their target men in 2 such talents. Ben Davies from Preston was signed on a permanent deal while Ozan Kabak was signed from Schalke on a loan deal with a buy option.
Liverpool played a smart game in this transfer window and made sure they didn’t spend much. Although, what’s concerning is that both these defenders come from underperforming clubs that have suffered a lot defensively. Preston is currently 11th in the Championship while Schalke is in the bottom of Bundesliga with just one win so far this season.
Preston has conceded 34 goals so far this season and Schalke has conceded a staggering 49 goals. Looking at these numbers no one would expect that the title defending Liverpool would sign players from clubs in such poor forms. The signing of Ozan Kabak happened in the final hours of the deadline day which was also given the tag of a “panic signing”.
For all we know, we will know the true potential of those 2 once we see them play. Klopp is sensible enough to give them enough time to settle in with the squad so those 2 won’t start right away. Should they start together earlier than expected, it will show just how desperate Jurgen Klopp is to get things right.
LOAN SIGNINGS BROUGHT IN BY PL CLUBS
Everton made a surprise entrance into this transfer window by singing Joshua King from AFC Bournemouth. King had quite a season in the 18/19 edition of the PL, scoring 12 goals. Given Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s recent goal drought, the Toffees were in search of a new #9 as a temporary solution. With King’s departure, Bournemouth signed Southampton’s unused forward, Shane Long on a loan deal. And so, with Long’s departure, the Saints’ signed Liverpool’s Takumi Minamino. A rather sophisticated cycle of connected loan deals indeed but that’s how it goes in England.
West Bromwich Albion was busy in the transfer window. They made five signings in total. Signings include Robert Snodgrass from West Ham on a permanent deal, Okay Yoksulu from Celta Vigo, Mbaye Diagne from Galatasaray. Eventually, they signed Ainsley Maitland-Niles from Arsenal on the deadline day. Maitland-Niles will reunite with his long-time mentor Kieran Gibbs there. Meanwhile, they let striker Charlie Austin go on a loan deal to QPR for the remainder of the season. They also let other young talents leave out on loan deals.
West Ham signed three players in the transfer window. Frederik Alves and Said Benrahma on a permanent deal and Jesse Lingard on a loan deal from Man Utd. It seems like they found the perfect replacement for Sebastian Haller and Robert Snodgrass with these players in.
Wolves signed Willian Jose on a loan deal from Real Sociedad as a replacement for the recovering Raul Jimenez. Fulham signed Josh Maja from Bordeaux for the remainder of the season and Crystal Palace signed Jean-Philippe Mateta from FC Mainz. Brighton and Hove Albion bid their adieu to the veteran striker Glenn Murray who left to join Nottingham Forest on a permanent deal.
NOTABLE TRANSFERS IN OTHER LEAGUES
Serie A side AC Milan made 2 signings that made headlines in multiple news articles. Milan signed Mario Mandzukic as a free agent in this transfer window making Milan’s attack one of the most threatening and perhaps a fearful one.
The thought of having Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mario Mandzukic playing for the same side would surely mean a red alert for the opposition’s defense. The second Milan signing is center back Fikayo Tomori for the remainder of the season from Chelsea. Looking to fill the voids in their defense, Milan signed Tomori who was unused by the former Chelsea manager, Frank Lampard.
With that said, AC Milan look forward to winning their first Serie A title in almost a decade as they currently sit on top of the table, 7 points clear off the defending champs, Juventus, and 2 points off their turf rivals Inter, who sit 2nd.
AS Roma signed Stephan El-Shaarawy back from Shanghai and US teenager Bryan Reynolds from FC Dallas. These two are most likely to serve as the backup to their players but Shaarawy looks more likely to start a few matches in the coming weeks.
Another incident that made headlines was the argument between Alejandro “Papu” Gomez and the Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini during the half time of their UCL match against Midtjylland. Since then, Gomez’s departure became imminent.
He decided to join Sevilla after the fallout and it made the headlines in Italian newspapers as Papu Gomez was fairly influential in Atalanta’s 18/19 season and was their captain the following season where he led his side to its first-ever Champions League. With that being said, a fee of €5 million-plus additional bonuses was decided.
Another big transfer that took place in this winter window was that of Luka Jovic to his old club Eintracht Frankfurt. This took place following Jovic’s poor form with Real Madrid and recurring injuries.
A bright Frankfurt prospect, he made the fans believe that they finally found a perfect replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. After scoring just 2 goals in his last season he was sent out on a loan deal to his former club where he scored 2 goals within his first 15 mins as a substitute.
All-in-all, plenty of deals were done very few made the headlines. It was rumored that Lionel Messi’s move but happen in January but that was put to rest. Hopefully, there will be more rumors as the weeks go by. Stay tuned to our social media handles for more such updates.
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