2 January 2024
The five greatest January transfers in Premier League history
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1. Nemanja Vidic – Spartak Moscow to Manchester United (2006)
Not many Premier League fans were familiar with Nemanja Vidic when he signed, but the Serbian ended up being one of the best and most successful centre backs in the competition’s history.
Vidic won the Premier League five times (twice as captain) and also went on to be a UEFA Champions League winner. How Manchester United could use a defender with his competitive edge right now.
His partnership with Rio Ferdinand became an iconic defensive pairing of perfectly complementary grace and strength. Vidic was far from being just a bruising presence though. His tactical awareness was second to none.
In the same transfer window, Sir Alex Ferguson also signed Patrice Evra. With both him and Vidic becoming legendary defenders at the club, 2006 must go down as the best January transfer window in United’s history.
2. Luis Suarez – Ajax to Liverpool (2011)
The Uruguayan had become famous for his wonderful goals and handball antics in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. While his talent was obvious for all to see, his undisciplined reputation meant most big European clubs were hesitant to sign him.
Liverpool took a chance on him and the pay-off was sensational.
Suarez made an extraordinary 120 goal contributions in his 110 Premier League games. His peak was in the 2013/14 season where he won the Golden Boot with 31 goals and came so close to leading a thrilling Liverpool team to the title.
3. Robert Huth – Stoke to Leicester (2015)
Robert Huth initially came to Leicester initially on a loan deal as some last-minute help in a relegation battle that was starting to look like a lost cause.
Little did they know that the German would not only be the stalwart in a team that climbed out the relegation zone, but would actually become a key member of a Premier League winning outfit.
His partnership with Wes Morgan was a beautifully brutal sight – two tall, strong centre backs resembling a pair of nightclub bouncers,
In their fairytale title-winning season, Huth also stepped up with crucial goals in incredible away wins at Tottenham and Manchester City.
4. Virgil van Dijk – Southampton to Liverpool (2018)
No one doubted that Virgil van Dijk had talent, but when he eventually got his big-money move to Liverpool, many thought the £75 million price tag was too much for his talents.
It soon became clear that the authoritative presence in defence was priceless. In a team with thrilling attacking strengths, van Dijk was the missing defensive piece of the jigsaw.
In his first full season, he won the Premier League Player of the Season award and helped Liverpool win the UEFA Champions League. The next season was more important though, as he played his part in their emotional maiden Premier League title.
He’s an anchoring presence when he plays and is so obviously missed whenever he’s unavailable. You can see why so many rate him as Liverpool’s most important player.
5. Christian Eriksen – Inter Milan to Brentford (2022)
It wasn’t a transfer that resulted in any trophies, but this must surely go down as the most wholesome transfer of them all.
Christian Eriksen had already graced the Premier League with a great career at Tottenham, had gone on to win a Serie A title with Inter Milan before a terrifying on-field cardio arrest in the European Championships that put his footballing career as well as his life in jeopardy.
Brentford were sliding down the table in their debut Premier League season. They decided to take a chance on the Dane and his impact was unforgettable.
His performances helped lift the club well away from the relegation zone and Manchester United came in to secure his services for the next season. The Eriksen comeback has become one of the great feel-good stories in the game’s history.
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