Premier League clubs dominated the headlines during the January transfer window, outspending the rest of Europe’s top five leagues combined.
That said, there were still plenty of interesting deals taking place elsewhere across the continent and we’ve picked out six January deals you might have missed.
The World Cup is often regarded as the biggest shop window in football and several stars who shone in Qatar have since moved on to new clubs.
Among them is Azzedine Ounahi, one of the breakthrough stars of the winter World Cup. The midfielder was playing his football in France’s third tier just 18 months ago, but rose to prominence after his role in Morocco’s fairytale run to the semi-finals on the world stage.
The Moroccan class, @AzzedineOunahi 🇲🇦✨ #Ligue1UberEats | @AngersSCO pic.twitter.com/LCyISUyCWO
— Ligue 1 English (@Ligue1_ENG) January 28, 2023
Marseille have since made their move for Ounahi in an ambitious window of recruitment at the Stade Vélodrome, agreeing a deal worth an initial €8m with Ligue 1 strugglers Angers. Napoli were also said to be interested in the 22-year-old, who received praise from Luis Enrique following his performance in Morocco’s elimination of Spain in Qatar.
“Madre mía, Where did this kid come from?” Enrique said. “I’m sorry, I can’t remember his name. He can really play. He surprised me.”
Ounahi has now transferred from the bottom of Ligue 1 to one of France’s biggest clubs, with Marseille five points behind title favourites PSG at the top end of the division. Igor Tudor will hope Ounahi can provide a touch of class to the club’s midfield, having shown poise and confidence when going head-to-head with some of the world’s best during the winter.
Memphis Depay became a casualty of Barcelona’s chaotic financial situation, with the forward ushered out of the exit door to reduce the club’s wage bill.
Depay signed for the Spanish side on a free transfer ahead of the 2021/22 campaign and scored 13 goals during his debut season at the Camp Nou. Viewed as a smart signing at that time, he has since been pushed down the pecking order following the arrivals of Ferran Torres, Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and the renaissance of Ousmane Dembele.
Memphis Depay at his Atlético unveiling 💧 pic.twitter.com/P3Iroinr0M
— B/R Football (@brfootball) January 20, 2023
The 28-year-old started just two league games across the first half of the campaign, before Atletico Madrid made their move to sign the Dutchman.
Atletico have previously benefitted from Barcelona cast-offs in fine fashion, with David Villa, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann having thrived in the capital after being pushed through the exit door in Catalonia.
Diego Simeone will hope Depay can ignite Atletico’s stuttering season and at £2.6m it is a deal which represents brilliant business. Depay has scored 43 goals in 89 games for the Netherlands, only Robin van Persie has scored more for the national side.
Ruslan Malinovskyi was arguably the headline deal from Marseille’s January recruitment as the French club struck an agreement to sign the midfielder from Atalanta.
Malinovskyi has starred for the Italian over-achievers in recent seasons, providing a creative presence in the Atalanta side who have challenged at the top of Serie A and competed in the Champions League.
🔵⚪ Ruslan Malinovskyi 🇺🇦 ♾️#TeamOM 📸 pic.twitter.com/ni1esvkL1k
— GP013 (@Gp_013) January 24, 2023
A versatile midfielder with a reputation for spectacular strikes from distance, he led Serie A for assists during the 2020/21 season as Atalanta finished third – leading the division for goals scored – and reached the Coppa Italia final.
Linked with Tottenham last summer, the 51-cap Ukraine international adds to Igor Tudor’s options after Amine Harit suffered a season-ending knee injury before the World Cup.
Marseille also secured a €30m deal for Braga forward Vitinha, who scored 13 goals in all competitions for the Portuguese side across the first half of the season.
Terem Moffi turned down interest from the Premier League in order to become Nice’s record signing this winter.
West Ham, Everton, Bournemouth and Southampton were all said to be chasing a deal for Moffi, who trails only Folarin Balogun and Kylian Mbappe for goals in Ligue 1 this season. Moffi has scored 12 goals in 18 league appearances for Lorient, but has chosen to remain in France with a switch to Nice.
Only Kylian Mbappé (13) has scored more Ligue 1 goals this season than Terem Moffi:
◎ 35 shots
◎ 20 shots on target
◉ 12 goals
€30m obligation-to-buy from Lorient to Nice. 🤝 https://t.co/bUM6PNX0xj
— Squawka (@Squawka) January 31, 2023
The deal is an initial loan, with an obligation to turn the transfer into a permanent switch for a fee of £26.5m at the end of the season.
The 23-year-old scored 34 goals in 87 league appearances across three seasons at Lorient, while he has scored three goals in nine appearances for Nigeria at international level.
Ajax are enduring a turbulent period at present with the club in search of a new manager. The succession plan from Alfred Schreuder to Erik ten Hag failed to work out as hoped and Schreuder was sacked last week after a run of seven league games without a win.
One of the casualties of Schreuder’s tenure was Daley Blind, who departed the club in December following a fall-out with the head coach. Blind made 333 appearances for Ajax across two spells and had expected to retire at the club, but agreed to cancel his contract and seemed set for a move to Belgian side Antwerp.
First week at #FCBayern done and @BlindDaley is very happy to be here 🤗#FCBayernWTC #MiaSanMia pic.twitter.com/y0ehLIfPbm
— FC Bayern Munich (@FCBayernEN) January 12, 2023
In swooped Bayern Munich in a shock deal, with the Bundesliga giants sensing an opportunity to strengthen. Blind adds depth and experience to the German’s squad, comfortable operating in a number of positions across the backline and in midfield.
On a free transfer, the 32-year-old could prove to be astute business from Julian Nagelsmann and his recruitment team.
Benfica have been masters in the transfer market in recent seasons and look to have unearthed another gem in Andreas Schjelderup.
The Portuguese side are understood to have beaten competition from Liverpool to sign the winger from FC Nordsjælland, after completing a deal worth €10m plus add-ons for the teenager.
Schjelderup is the latest exciting talent to come out of Norway and will be hoping to follow the likes of Erling Haaland and Martin Odegaard in performing for a leading European side.
Andreas Schjelderup har forkælet os med lækkerier hele efteråret – nyd nogle af dem her 🍿🌟 pic.twitter.com/iIsNN42zUA
— FC Nordsjælland 🐯 (@FCNordsjaelland) November 10, 2022
He scored ten goals in 17 Superligaen appearances this season and joins an exciting collection of young talent at the Lisbon side.
A familiar name to players of the Football Manager franchise, there will be many fascinated to see how one of the game’s wonderkids develops at a club who have become an excellent school for top prospects.
Read – Rating every Premier League club’s January transfer window
Read Also – Ten of the most interesting Premier League January transfer deals
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