The top ten best value January deals from across Europe
The Premier League may have outspent the rest of Europe, but clubs outside of England’s top flight did some excellent business in January.
The amount of money spent by English clubs in January was mind-boggling. Whether it was Todd Boehly’s extravagant spending or Nottingham Forest’s addition of yet another new player to their squad, clubs at both ends of the Premier League table spent heavily in preparation for the second half of the season.
Although La Liga clubs mostly kept their powder dry due to financial constraints or lofty summer goals, the rest of Europe quietly went about their business to bring in some big names or potential future stars.
The transfer of Manchester City full-back Joao Cancelo to Bayern Munich on loan with a buy option of €70 million (£62m/$76m) made headlines, but there were plenty of other intriguing moves made away from the glitz and glamour of England’s top flight.
The top ten best value January deals from across Europe, ranked as below;
|10. Daley Blind
|Ajax to Bayern Munich
|9. Terem Moffi
|Lorient to Nice
|8. Josip Juranovic
|Celtic to Union Berlin
|7. Memphis Depay
|Barcelona to Atletico Madrid
|Braga to Marseille
|5. Julien Duranville
|Anderlecht to Dortmund
|4. Andreas Schjelderup
|Nordsjaelland to Benfica
|3. Yann Sommer
|Borussia Monchengladbach to Bayern Munich
|2. Azzedine Ounahi
|Angers to Marseille
|1. Joao Cancelo
|Manchester City to Bayern Munich
The top ten best value January deals from across Europe, ranked as below;
Although he is not a star signing, Blind could prove to be a very wise piece of business for the Bundesliga leaders.
The Dutch international is a versatile player who can play full-back, center-back, or even central midfield. Furthermore, he has the experience needed to stabilize an unsteady squad that has suddenly appeared vulnerable in the title race.
It also appears to be good news for Matthijs de Ligt, who has been inconsistent. When the duo played at the back together in Ajax’s famous run to the Champions League semi-final in 2019, the former Juventus and Ajax centre-back had a fantastic understanding with Blind.
Blind’s contract is only for six months, but his contributions could be crucial as Bayern fights on three fronts.
Moffi isn’t the biggest name, but he’s an extremely efficient goalscorer who gained a lot of attention in January. The Nigeria international is quick, strong, and direct, and he has 12 goals in Ligue 1 this season, accounting for one-third of Lorient’s total output.
There was reportedly interest in him from all over Europe, and he famously turned down West Ham, who offered €20 million (£18 million/$22 million) to sign him. Nice paid more, agreeing to a fee of €25m (£23m/$27m) for the forward.
It’s strange that seventh-placed Lorient sold to eighth-placed Nice, but the offer was too good to turn down, with Regis Le Bris’ side making a tidy profit after buying him for just €8m two years ago.
Juranovic was not required to attend Union Berlin. Manchester United had been interested in signing the Croatian right-back for some time, but the Red Devils decided against signing him when Aaron Wan-Bissaka began to find form under Erik ten Hag.
The player was reportedly interested in joining the Premier League but ultimately chose to join Union Berlin, a coup for the unlikely Bundesliga title contenders. Juranovic is a seasoned full-back who won the Scottish Premiership with Celtic. He also started every game for Croatia in the World Cup and contributed one assist to the country’s semi-final victory.
Juranovic, while not a game-changer, will provide solidity in the defensive third, which could be crucial as Union berlin looks to secure European football for 2023-24.
The Depay agreement appeared to benefit both parties. Memphis had been told by Barcelona head coach Xavi that he had no future at the club, while Atleti desperately needed attacking support following the departure of Joao Felix to Chelsea.
Memphis, who had fallen out of favor under Xavi, can still be a real threat in the Rojiblancos’ final third. Despite only making 20 La Liga appearances, the Dutch international scored 12 goals last season.
It remains to be seen how he will fit into Diego Simeone’s team. Memphis isn’t known for his work rate or defensive abilities, but his goalscoring alone should be enough for Atleti to push for a Champions League spot.
Meanwhile, for the financially troubled Barcelona, any fee received is cause for celebration.
Vitinha’s signing is significant for what he represents for Marseille. For a long time, the club has been financially constrained, and they prefer to conduct their transfer business with minimal fuss and at a low cost.
Bringing in a highly-rated young striker for a club-record fee is thus a departure. Furthermore, it could be a declaration of intent. The French club is said to have outbid Aston Villa, Southampton, and Brighton for the player’s services in order to remain in the Champions League qualifying spots for next season.
Vitinha is also a serious talent. This season, the striker has 11 goals and three assists in 22 appearances across all competitions. He’s also a strong runner who can press from the front. And, at 22 years old, he could contribute for the next few seasons while also potentially being sold for a large sum of money.
Marseille require attacking assistance, and Vitinha fits the bill perfectly.
Burnley manager Vincent Kompany recently predicted that young winger Julien Duranville would one day be a Ballon d’Or contender: “Here’s another one for you. Duranville. There’s no need to worry.”
The former Anderlecht player is only 16 years old and has only made 11 senior appearances, but the traits appear to be present, albeit at a young age. Duranville, nicknamed ‘blitz’ for his lightning pace and dribbling ability, has shown early promise, becoming the second youngest Anderlecht player to score in the Belgian first division.
In reality, the move to Dortmund may be too soon, but the Bundesliga club has never been shy about integrating young talent, with Jude Bellingham, Youssoufa Moukoko, and Karim Adeyemi all getting chances to impress despite their relative inexperience.
Duranville will get his chance in a top team, while Dortmund is bringing in some of Europe’s most exciting young wingers, whom they will almost certainly sell for a profit in a few years. Everything fits together nicely.
What do you do after selling your World Cup-winning young central midfielder for a club-record fee?
You find a suitable replacement who can command a similar high fee in the future.
At least, that appears to be Benfica’s plan. The club sold Enzo Fernandez to Chelsea for a whopping £106.8 million ($131 million), breaking the British transfer record.
And Benfica repaid a small portion of that by signing promising midfielder Andreas Schjelderup from Norwegian club Nordsjaelland. So far this season, the 18-year-old has 10 goals and an assist in 17 appearances in Norway’s top flight.
Schjelderup can play as an attacking midfielder or as a winger, but he will most likely be introduced as a direct replacement for Fernandez. As a teenager, the Danish talent drew interest from clubs across Europe, including Ajax, PSV, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, and Juventus, but none of them offered him first-team football.
Nordsjaelland did, and he has progressed quickly for the Norwegian club. Benfica will most likely take some time to integrate Schjelderup into the team, but if they get it right, Schjelderup could be a star for them in the future.
Bayern Munich needed a goalkeeper with Manuel Neuer out for the season after breaking his leg in a skiing accident. They also got the best short-term deal on the market, paying Monchengladbach €8 million for Yann Sommer’s services. The Switzerland international agreed to a two-year contract, which will allow him to cover for Neuer and then serve as his backup for a season.
Sommer has quietly had a strong start to the season for Borussia Monchengladbach, posting his best save percentage in eight years while also improving his distribution.
Ounahi made waves at the World Cup with a string of standout performances as Morocco advanced to the semi-finals. The midfielder started six of the Atlas Lions’ seven games in Qatar, becoming an important member of Walid Regragui’s squad. Transfer interest was unavoidable, and with numerous big clubs interested, Marseille swooped in and got their man.
The Ligue 1 club also got him for a reasonable price, spending only €10 million on one of the World Cup’s biggest stars. He’s also started on a high note, scoring a fantastic goal as Marseille defeated Nantes 2-0 to put pressure on PSG in the title race.
Ounahi, who is only 22 years old, should continue to develop as part of an exciting young core for an ever-improving Marseille side.
It came out of nowhere, and what a signing it should be for Bayern.
Cancelo joined the Bundesliga leaders after falling out with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, but that’s no problem for Julian Nagelsmann and his team. The Portuguese full-back is one of the best in the world and will be a huge boost for Bayern, who are suffering from injuries at right-back.
The fact that they got the player on loan with a buy option makes the deal even sweeter because Cancelo can always be sent back to City if he doesn’t work out. If he turns out to be a good fit, Bayern has already agreed on a price. It is certainly a steep one at €70m (£62m/$76m), but with Benjamin Pavard and others likely to be moved on, the funds should be available.
The Bavarians appear to be unbeatable.