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Ryan Baldi: “Clubs have made potentially landmark additions.”

February 3, 2022

With football finances still recuperating from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2022 January transfer window hasn’t quite seen the level of spending or big-name moves of past incarnations.

Loan deals account for a large chunk of the business done, but even within these short-term arrangements there have been some intriguing switches, while the few clubs who spent big last month have made some potentially landmark additions.

Here, we pick out the five most impactful Premier League transfers completed this January.

Philippe Coutinho – Barcelona to Aston Villa (loan)

One of the most talked-about moves of the January window saw a former Premier League star return to England’s top flight.

After an underwhelming four years with Barcelona, former Liverpool superstar Coutinho made an unexpected loan switch to ambitious Aston Villa, where his former Anfield captain, Steven Gerrard, is now manager.

The Brazilian midfielder is still only 29, and Villa fans will be hopeful he can prove he hasn’t lost the creative spark and penchant for spectacular goals that earned him a £140m move to the Camp Nou back in 2018.

Premier League finishing position

Bruno Guimaraes – Lyon to Newcastle (£40m)

As was always likely to be the case following their long-anticipated takeover earlier in the season, Newcastle were – by far – the biggest spenders in the Premier League in January.

The newly cash-rich Magpies spent £93m on four permanent signings – plus a loan move for Aston Villa defender Matt Targett – in their efforts to boost Eddie Howe’s options and fend off the threat of relegation to the Championship.

England full-back Kieran Trippier was the most familiar name to arrive at St. James’ Park, but the £40m signing of Guimaraes from Lyon – a player previously linked with some of Europe’s top clubs, including Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain – was the biggest indicator of Newcastle ambition and newfound pulling power.

The 24-year-old Brazil international is at his best in a box-to-box role, where in two years with Lyon he demonstrated a robust physicality, an ability to break up opposition attacks and reliable creativity in the attacking third.

Newcastle markets

Wout Weghorst – Wolfsburg to Burnley (£12m)

When Newcastle triggered the £20m release clause in Burnley striker Chris Wood’s contract last month, there were fears the already-struggling Lancastrians would be a near certainty for the drop this term.

But Burnley have moved quickly to reinvest some of the money they reluctantly received for Wood in the signing of Weghorst for Wolfsburg for £12m.

On paper, the 6ft 6ins Dutchman appears perfectly suited to Burnley’s direct playing style. The 29-year-old has pedigree, too, having scored 45 goals in 86 games during a breakout two-year spell with AZ earlier in his career, before impressive seasonal returns of 18, 20 and 25 in his last three full campaigns in Germany.

Premier League relegation

Dejan Kulusevski – Juventus to Tottenham (loan)

In another of the January window’s high-profile loan deals, Tottenham brought in versatile Swedish attacker Kulusevski from Juventus.

Spurs also signed Rodrigo Bentancur from the Old Lady, signing the Uruguayan playmaker in a permanent deal worth £21.5m.

Both players mark significant upgrades in the options at manager Antonio Conte’s disposal. It is Kulusevski, though, who will perhaps most capture the imagination with his ability to recall images of Gareth Bale’s flying Spurs pomp.

A left-footer who can play on either flank or as a No.10, the 21-year-old is at his best stationed on the right wing, where he can cut inside and wreak havoc with his pace and creativity.

He never quite met expectations in Turin after swapping Parma for Juventus in a €35m move 18 months ago. But his talent is unquestionable.

Arriving at Spurs on an 18-month loan with conditions that could lead to a permanent transfer being triggered, Kulusevski could prove a coup if Conte is able to unlock his vast potential.

Premier League finishing position

Luis Diaz – Porto to Liverpool (£49m)

Liverpool made one of the most successful January signings since the midseason transfer window was introduced when they signed Luis Suarez from Ajax in 2011, and the Reds are hoping they have repeated the trick with the capture of another South American last month.

Colombian winger Diaz arrives at Anfield from Porto in a deal worth an initial £37m, which could rise to as much as £49m if conditional add-ons are triggered.

The 25-year-old had been enjoying an outstanding campaign in Portugal this season, scoring 14 goals in just 18 Primeira Liga appearances after finishing as the joint-top scorer – tied with one Lionel Messi – at last summer’s Copa America.

With his pace, creativity and eye for goal, Diaz has the potential to be a key figure in a refreshing of Liverpool’s vaunted front three – Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah will all be in their 30s by the start of next season.

Liverpool 2021/22 trophies