The January transfer window is often fascinating viewing as Premier League sides scramble for signings in a desperate bid to challenge for trophies, escape from trouble, or improve their fortunes.
An unforgettable winter window saw big-spending Chelsea go mental (again), the British transfer record smashed and Premier League clubs unprecedented spending set a new seasonal record of £2.8bn spent in the 2022/23 campaign alone.
In what has been a relentless domestic season, the international break appears a fine time to take stock, reflect and assess the January business. We’ve checked in on the impact of the Premier League’s most expensive January signings
5. Benoit Badiashile – AS Monaco to Chelsea (£35m)
Benoit Badiashile became Chelsea’s first signing of the January transfer window after penning a long-term deal at Stamford Bridge.
The 22-year-old signed a staggering seven-and-a-half year contract at Chelsea, after the west Londoners agreed a £35m fee with Monaco. Badiashile became the latest recruit as Chelsea focus on emerging talent and the central defender has made a strong start to his Premier League career.
Big win at home 💙
Thank you for the support! pic.twitter.com/ysGBiKAtu4
— Badiashile Benoit (@BadiashileB) January 15, 2023
An imposing presence physically but with a composure in possession, he has made a positive impression across seven Premier League starts, in which Chelsea have recorded four clean sheets.
The left-sided defender has added calm authority to the Blues backline and will hope to learn under the guidance of Thiago Silva as he looks to improve and earn a regular role with France. The two-cap international has settled well and immediately looks at home in English football.
4. Cody Gakpo – PSV Eindhoven to Liverpool (£37m)
Liverpool added to their attacking options with the capture of Cody Gakpo in January, securing a deal for the PSV forward worth an initial £37m.
Gakpo’s fine form saw the 23-year-old lead the Eredivisie for goals (9), assists (12), shots (51) and chances created (59) across the first half of the campaign, while three goals at the World Cup for the Netherlands further enhanced his reputation.
He endured a difficult start at Liverpool, having arrived amid a torrid run of form for the Reds. Jurgen Klopp’s side won just one of Gakpo’s first six games for the club as the new arrival was thrust into an injury-hit side, with the Dutchman failing to find the net.
Gakpo adds a THIRD with stunning finish past De Gea 🤯✅ pic.twitter.com/n6zPLlB7HF
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 5, 2023
A maiden Liverpool goal arrived in a Merseyside Derby win over Everton and kick-started signs of improvement from the January recruit. He added a second goal as Wolves were beaten at Anfield, before producing a starring two-goal performance in the Reds’ 7-0 thrashing of Manchester United.
Gakpo has featured as a false nine during his opening weeks in the Premier League and has shown encouraging signs as Klopp looks to mould the forward into his Roberto Firmino replacement. Firmino will depart at the end of the season, leaving free the role as Liverpool’s conduit in attack.
3. Anthony Gordon – Everton to Newcastle (£40m)
Anthony Gordon became Newcastle’s second most expensive signing after completing a £40m move from Everton.
The winger handed in a transfer request at Everton to engineer his move to St James Park, as he looks to progress his career after an exciting emergence at Goodison Park. The academy graduate scored four goals in 25 league starts during a breakthrough season at Everton in 2021/22, while he has recorded an impressive four goals in nine appearances for England u21s.
🚕 Getting a lift from a fan back from the Metrocentre
🏡 Feeling welcome at the club and in the city
👊 Being a different person on and off the pitch
Anthony Gordon is settling into life on Tyneside. ⚫️⚪️ pic.twitter.com/jtrNib3DLS
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) March 10, 2023
Gordon has had to be patient since his switch to Champions League chasing Newcastle and has started just once in the Premier League. An ankle problem ruled out the 22-year-old for Newcastle’s most recent fixtures before the break, but he is expected to be passed fit for the club’s crucial clash with Manchester United on April 2.
With Miguel Almiron not expected to return until late next month because of a thigh injury, the coming weeks shape as the perfect chance for Gordon to establish himself in Eddie Howe’s side.
2. Mykhaylo Mudryk – Shakhtar Donetsk to Chelsea (£62m)
Chelsea spent more in January – around £288m – than the total of all clubs in the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1 combined.
The west Londoners recruitment drive included the arrival of Mykhaylo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk, as Chelsea swooped in to steal the winger from under the noses of Arsenal. The Gunners had appeared to be leading the chase for Mudryk, but Chelsea’s offer – an initial £62m which could rise to £88.5m with add-ons – secured the services of the Ukrainian winger.
A constant threat on debut! ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/Q1z4ZCxgcf
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 22, 2023
It’s been a difficult start for Mudryk in the Premier League, who has failed to build on an exciting cameo appearance off the bench at Liverpool. The 22-year-old has no goals and one assist in seven appearances for Chelsea, who will hope Mudryk can turn his raw attributes of speed and nimble footwork into consistent end product.
Mudryk’s price-tag has increased expectations and those willing to take aim at the winger with each underwhelming performance. Those at Chelsea will provide patience however, for a footballer whose promise is clear. He has the potential to add excitement into a Chelsea forward line that has too often underwhelmed of late, even if it has not been on show too often just yet.
1. Enzo Fernandez – Benfica to Chelsea (£106.1m)
The record arrival of the winter window was Enzo Fernandez, who became British football’s most expensive footballer after his £106.1m arrival from Benfica.
It capped a meteoric rise for the midfielder, who just six months before that move had left South America for the first time. A move to Benfica last summer was followed with a starring role in Argentina’s World Cup triumph, performances which persuaded Chelsea to part with a record sum for his services.
Too casual, love it! 👏 pic.twitter.com/Butfv76b9F
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 11, 2023
Fernandez has shown enough in his opening performances for Chelsea to suggest he will be a central part of the club’s rebuild, with his combination of work off the ball and elegance on it evident.
The 22-year-old – named as the World Cup’s Best Young Player in Qatar – has already shone on the biggest of occasions and can be the centre-piece of the Chelsea side under Graham Potter.
Fernandez has been key in the club’s recent upturn in results and has improved since Chelsea’s change of system to a back three. He has provided several moments of real quality in the early stages of his Chelsea career, including classy assists in clashes with Leicester and West Ham.
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