With just 48 hours of the English Premier League transfer window remaining, the race for the most talented players in Europe is heatting up. Every club seems to be under the most intense pressure. Chelsea need a striker, Tottenham Hotspur also need a front man and Manchester United need four or five players in a variety of positions, if you believe everything you read.
What you can believe are the seven transfers below, which have passed muster, got through all the necessary checks and have been announced by the holding up of a scarf, a Twitter video or in some cases, both. Who’s the best value? You decide.
Bruno Fernandes – Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United, £46.5m
The ‘Sporting’ saga of the winter window according to TV sports stations is finally over. With Gedson Fernandes already having joined Tottenham, everyone has been waiting for the so-called ‘best’ Fernandes to head to Old Trafford, which eventually took place today. The back-to-back Player of the Year from the Portuguese Primeira Liga heads to United seen as something of a savior. Can he deliver? We’ll start to find out from Saturday evening when he should be in the squad to host Wolves.
Steven Bergwijn – PSV Eindhoven to Tottenham, £27m
The highly talented Dutch player Steven Bergwijn has made the move from the Eredivisie to North London and just in the nick of time with Christian Erikssen having traveled to Milan to star in the most bizarre player announcement video seen since Alexis Sanchez played the piano.
Bergwijn joins under pressure to help Spurs’ ailing front line a boost in the prolonged absence of their talisman, Harry Kane. As will…
Giovani Lo Celso – Real Betis to Tottenham, £27.2m
Now a permanent deal, Spurs are tying down any attacking player they can and despite a fairly uninspiring start, Lo Celso will get time to develop his Tottenham career. With Winks, Dier, Sissoko and, well… Oliver Skipp, all still at the club, there might be outgoings before the window closes. Lo Celso has done enough to impress Jose Mourinho, however.
Kudos to Tottenham for ‘dropping in’ the insignificant ‘Erikssen to Inter’ news within the same press release too. Stay classy.
Tomáš Souček – Slavia Prague to West Ham, four-month Loan
David Moyes identified his man this month, and as he told the club’s official website, “I think that he gives us a lot of different qualities, but most importantly he fits the profile of the player we want to bring to the club.”
Those qualities presume include but aren’t limited to jumping 58 times per game to anticipate crosses made at 90 mph, enjoying prolonged periods on ‘the rack’ machine in the gym and being able to build flat-pack furniture. Aside from the ‘Moyes’ qualities he has, Souček is 6’ 4” and will offer some threat in both boxes for West Ham, which will be useful during the average 16 corners per game Hammers can expect during the second half of the season.
Pablo Mari – Flamengo to Arsenal, four-month Loan
Arsenal have bolstered their back-line, bringing in Pablo Mori from Flamengo on an initial loan spell at The Emirates, counting as Mikel Arteta’s first official signing. To be fair, they could bolstered their back line by re-signing Tony Adams and Martin Keown in their current states, but Arteta will be pleased.
Rumours that the centre-half will adopt a David Luiz wig have yet to be confirmed, but, possibly crucially, haven’t been denied either.
Louie Barry – Barcelona to Aston Villa, £880,000
Having spent 10 years at West Bromwich Albion, 16-year-old Louie Barry, who was born in Sutton Coldfield, was snapped up by Barcelona just last year. After accusations of impropriety, however, the Nou Camp have cut their losses and to save any trouble, shipped the talented teenager back to Blighty. Specifically, the Birmingham area, as Aston Villa are pretty pleased about. Signed for less than £1 million, The Villains will be hoping that their prodigy-by-proxy develops into a world-beater like Jack Grealish.
Nabil Bentaleb – Schalke to Newcastle, four-month Loan
Sure, on the face of it, the arrival of Nabil Bentaleb at St. James’ Park might not seem like the transfer arrival of January. Admittedly, there are bigger names, there are better players, there are greater fees. As some might see it, Bentaleb is merely a former Spurs utility man who went to Schalke and may return to the Premier League as merely a Newcastle utility man.
Look deeper, however, and all signs point to that initial prognosis as being true. Enjoy the hope, Toon Army. It’s what kills us, but we’d never be without it, and the January transfer window is the best example of it in football.