Most managers play down the January transfer window, saying that the best players are not available then. The transfers made in this month are meant to patch up obvious holes in the squad and get you by until the summer. However, this window has produced some incredible signings over the years and this is our list of Top Eleven such signings.
11. Thiago Silva (Fluminense – AC Milan, €10m)
Thiago Silva joined Milan in 2009 and swiftly became the club’s defensive leader. Together with Zlatan, he was Milan’s star player and the club earned quite a sum of money when he left for PSG in 2012.
10. Branislav Ivanovic (Lokomotiv Moscow – Chelsea, €12m)
When he first came to the club, Ivanovic struggled to make an impact, being often switched from the right-back position to center back. Over the time, however, he managed to make the right-back spot his own and his performances earned him the right to call himself one of the best right-backs in the Premier League.
9. Ivan Rakitic (Schalke – Sevilla, €2.5m)
Rakitic came to the Spanish club for a relatively small fee, but his impact on the club was nothing but small. His passing and playmaking abilities were instrumental in Sevilla’s success in the Europa League.
8. Juanfran (Osasuna – Atletico Madrid, €4.25m)
Juanfran, a Real Madrid youth product, could not make it in the Los Merengues squad and decided to move on to other Spanish clubs. On the first day of 2011, he joined Atleti and, although trained as a winger, he took the right-back spot for himself and was ever-present on the pitch in Atletico’s title-winning campaign.
7. Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea – Liverpool, €15m)
If you can recall Sturridge playing consistently instead of being injured all the time, you will remember that he is an exceptional player. When he joined Liverpool, SAS (Sturridge-and-Suarez) was born, a partnership that brought Liverpool closer to the title than they have ever been in a long time.
6. Kevin de Bruyne (Chelsea – Wolfsburg, €15.4m)
De Bruyne was struggling for game time under Jose Mourinho and the Wolves offered him just that. Once he started playing week in week out, KDB showed his killer instinct for assists, making him one of the best attacking forwards in Europe.
5. Javier Mascherano (West Ham – Liverpool, 22.5m)
Mascherano joined Liverpool from West Ham and created a solid partnership with Xabi Alonso. Back then, Liverpool were a consistent Champions League participant, and Mascherano was a major part of how Liverpool’s style of play developed.
4. Patrice Evra (Monaco – Man United, €8m)
Evra joined Man United as a part of the Monaco squad who unexpectedly reached the Champions League final in 2004. Evra replaced Heinze as the club’s left-back and was one of the most influential players in the successful period for Man United.
3. Marcelo (Fluminense – Real Madrid, €7m)
Marcelo came to Real Madrid in the same year as Ruud van Nistelrooy and Fabio Cannavaro, and much more was expected of the other two. Van Nistelrooy and Cannavaro were not youngsters at the time, and years after they moved on, Marcelo is still a vital part of the star-studded Real Madrid squad.
2. Luis Suarez (Ajax – Liverpool, €26.5m)
Suarez’s arrival to Anfield was greeted skeptically by some, as many exceptional strikers before him had come from the Eredivisie and performed worse than expected. Suarez, however, managed to display his talent on a bigger stage and was the Premier League’s best player at the time. Suarez eventually moved to Barcelona, where he became a part of another incredible partnership and established himself as arguably the best ‘number 9’ in the game.
1. Nemanja Vidic (Spartak Moscow – Man United, €10.5m)
Vidic came to Man United in the same transfer window as Evra and the Serbian rapidly became popular with the fans for his relentlessness and die-hard approach. He formed a defensive partnership with Rio Ferdinand and the eventual Man United captain is now considered as one of the greatest center backs of the Premier League.
Do you agree with our list? Who would you choose? Tell us in the comments below.