Transfer deadline day: 10 moves that can make big differences

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The January transfer window slammed to a close in most of Europe’s top leagues on Tuesday evening, with teams across the continent frantically trying to seal complicated deals and strengthen their squads for the second half of the season .

Here are 10 of the most notable moves this month, including some that weren’t finalized until late on another busy deadline day:

Enzo Fernandez, Benfica a Chelsea

It had yet to be formally announced when the clock struck 11pm local time in England (6pm ET), but the Blues narrowly managed to seal their deal for World Cup-winning midfielder Fernandez earlier to run out of time, according to multiple reports.

If true, it was worth the wait – the more than $130 million paid for the Argentina star set a new British record, surpassing the $122 million Manchester City sent Aston Villa for Jack Grealish in 2021 .

Joao Cancelo, Manchester City a Bayern Munich

The most surprising transfer of this month. As one of City’s best players, Sky Blues manager Pep Guardiola had no intention of selling Cancelo when 2023 began. The Portuguese full-back had been a regular for Guardiola, making almost 100 Premier League appearances since arriving from Juve in 2019.

But when Cancelo was not first choice after returning from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, he made his displeasure known. That forced City to deal him now or risk being stuck with an unhappy camper until the summer. It was not a gamble the English champions were prepared to take, even without a ready-made replacement for the 28-year-old. Instead, Cancelo was loaned to Bayern Munich until June.

JorginhoChelsea a arsenal

In another deal on deadline day, Italy midfielder Jorginho swapped one London powerhouse for another.

The rivalry between Arsenal and Chelsea isn’t the only reason many Gunners fans dislike the signing. Brighton destroyer Moises Caicedo was Arsenal’s main target, with the athletic 21-year-old seen as a better fit for a team coach Mikel Arteta has largely rebuilt with dynamic youngsters. But an offer of $86 million for Caicedo was rejected.

Jorginho, 31, arrives for the cut price of $15 million. It could be a steal for a proven winner who won both the Champions League and the European Championship in 2021. In a team hoping to finish top of the Prem for the first time in nearly two decades, Jorginho, who will support the starting defensive midfielder. Thomas Partey, offers first-class depth and expertise.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United a Al Nasser

The biggest name change clubs this winter did so before 2023 even started. Free agent after United agreed to terminate his contract in November, Al Nassr announced the acquisition of the Portuguese superstar, who will 38 next week, December 30th.

More than a month on, it still seems like a strange destination for CR7, especially after he forced his way out of Old Trafford ostensibly for one last stint in the UEFA Champions League.

Weston McKennie, Juventus a Leeds United

McKennie’s move to the English Premier League was confirmed by Leeds on Monday, where the United States men’s national team mainstay will join compatriots Brenden Aaronson, Tyler Adams and coach Jesse Marsch.

Moving from an elite European team to a relegation-fighting tussle seems an odd choice for 24-year-old McKennie, but the timing makes sense. Juventus are 13th in Italy after a 15-point deduction for inflated transfer fees, all but ensuring they will not qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League.

McKennie will now be put to the test on the world’s biggest domestic circuit, where potential future employers such as Liverpool and Prem leaders Arsenal, who are believed to have been interested in the Texan before Leeds arrived, will regularly watch him up close.

Joao Felix, Atlético Madrid at Chelsea

On January 11, the Blues signed forward João Félix to a six-month contract worth around $10 million. Felix made an immediate impact on his Chelsea debut against Fulham the following day; he was easily injured Chelsea’s most dangerous attacking player until he was sent off for a reckless tackle less than an hour into his first game.

After he returns from his three-match suspension with a red card on February 11 against West Ham, the 23-year-old is expected to be a key player for the Blues, who spent $300 million this month on transfers

Despite this investment, 2021 Champions League winners Chelsea remain in danger of not qualifying for Europe’s top club competition next season. Graham Potter’s side are 10th in the Premier League, 10 points adrift of Manchester United in fourth and final Champions League place.

Cody Gakpo, PSV Eindhoven a Liverpool

The tall forward used the World Cup spotlight to seal one of the biggest deals of the month. Gakpo’s five goals in the group stage at Qatar 2022 impressed potential suitors, and the Reds snapped up the Dutch striker as soon as the market opened, paying PSV a club-record fee of around €50m dollars

Gakpo is still looking for his first goal in five games of his Liverpool career. But it is likely only a matter of time for the 23-year-old, who scored 12 goals in 19 appearances in the Eredivisie and Europa League during the first half of the 2022-23 season.

Mykhailo Mudryk, Shakhtar Donetsk at Chelsea

Acquired on January 15, the share of the Ukrainian winger Mudryk was not far from that of Fernández; he is Chelsea’s third most expensive signing at over $100 million.

Like Félix, Mudryk’s start at Stamford Bridge has been mixed. His only appearance was a 35-minute cameo from the bench on 21 January in a 0-0 draw with Liverpool. This week, Mudryk issued a public apology after a July 2022 video surfaced in which he used a racial slur. The matter is now being investigated by England’s FA, which has suspended other players for similar behaviour.

Leandro TrossardBrighton at Arsenal

Arsenal failed to land Caicedo, but landing his former Brighton team-mate Trossard was a coup.

The Belgian winger impressed on his first start for the Gunners last week despite the defeat to Manchester City which knocked Arteta’s side out of the FA Cup. And at $33 million, the price for the 28-year-old wasn’t too steep. Trossard made more than 100 Premier League appearances for the Seagulls – he is exactly the kind of low-risk, high-reward addition who could help Arsenal maintain their lead until the end of the season.

John Duran, Chicago Fire a Aston Villa

While Durán isn’t the most well-known name on this list, his $22 million move matters for what it represents: The 19-year-old Colombian became the second most expensive teenager ever sold by a team of MLS, just behind Bayern Munich in 2018. payout to then-Vancouver Whitecaps prospect Alphonso Davies.

Davies was developed by the Vancouver academy; Durán, who cost Chicago just $2 million in 2021, spent one season in MLS before the club signed up. It’s the first time the American/Canadian top flight has sent such a young player directly to the Premier League for anywhere near that amount. Given the striking comeback, other MLS teams will be looking to follow suit.

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