Premier League's most expensive January signings

Virgil van Dijk has been worth every penny of the £75m Liverpool paid, while Laporte and Fernandes proved excellent buys… but Carrillo and Mitroglou were disasters! The Premier League’s most expensive January signings and what happened next

  • The January transfer market opens next week as clubs look for mid-season value
  • Premier League clubs have spent hundreds of millions in January over the years
  • Liverpool’s £75m purchase of Virgil van Dijk proved the final piece of the jigsaw
  • Man City’s Aymeric Laporte and Man United’s Bruno Fernandes were great buys
  • Newcastle paid £35m for Bruno Guimaraes 12 months ago and he has impressed
  • But other top-flight clubs will want to forget about their record January signings  

Managers are fond of saying the January transfer window is a ‘difficult market’ but it has rarely stopped Premier League clubs from spending big.

Many New Year purchases over the years have been tremendous successes but others haven’t turned out to be value for money.

Sportsmail takes a look at the record January buys for each of the current top-flight clubs and how they’ve worked out.

LIVERPOOL – VIRGIL VAN DIJK 

£75million – Signed 2018

The final piece in Jurgen Klopp’s jigsaw, van Dijk made an immediate impact at Anfield and has since won every major trophy with the club.

After an abortive attempt to sign the Dutchman in the summer of 2017, Liverpool broke the bank in January but it proved to be hugely worthwhile. 

They won the Champions League in Van Dijk’s first full season at the club and he was runner-up in the 2019 Ballon d’Or behind Lionel Messi.

Virgil van Dijk may have cost Liverpool £75m but he has been excellent for them ever since

Bringing a calmness and assurance to Liverpool’s defence, he won the Premier League in 2020 and the domestic cup double last season. 

Remarkably, he was personally unbeaten in 70 Premier League matches at Anfield until Leeds won 2-1 there in October.

Success rating: 10/10

CHELSEA – CHRISTIAN PULISIC 

£58million – Signed 2019

Chelsea officially bought the US international in January to get round a transfer embargo that was due for the following summer. 

Pulisic went back to Borussia Dortmund for the first six months of his Chelsea career and in a sense has been playing catch-up ever since.

While proving capable of some outstanding displays – including a dazzling hat-trick at Burnley in his first season – he’s never held down a regular first-team place at Stamford Bridge as successive managers Frank Lampard, Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter juggled things around to try and find the right formula.

Even in the 2021 Champions League final success against Manchester City, Pulisic’s contribution was restricted to being a second-half substitute. 

After impressing for the United States at the World Cup, he is at the crossroads of his club career. ‘I am just pushing myself in training at Chelsea, because that’s where I am right now,’ was a recent non-committal statement.

Success rating: 6/10

The jury remains out on Christian Pulisic at Chelsea nearly four years after they signed him

MANCHESTER CITY – AYMERIC LAPORTE 

£57million – Signed 2018

The French-born Spanish international centre-half has won four Premier League titles in five seasons, though his contribution to some of them was greater than others.

Until 2020-21, he was one of Pep Guardiola’s go-to stars, getting the blend right between old-fashioned defending and ability on the ball. 

Then he had a dip where he had to sit on the bench while John Stones and Ruben Dias formed a great partnership.

At that stage, it was feared the left-sided Laporte would have to leave City but he bounced back in commendable style last season, winning his place back and even contributing four goals. 

Partnered club-mate Rodri in the heart of Spain’s defence at the World Cup where they bowed out in the last 16.

Success rating: 8/10

Aymeric Laporte proved a solid defensive signing for Manchester City back in January 2018

ARSENAL – PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG 

£56million – Signed 2018

It eventually ended in tears but for a great part of his four years at Arsenal, Aubameyang was captain, talisman and trophy winner.

His two goals in the triumphant FA Cup final win against Chelsea earned him favourable comparisons with a Gunners legend, Ian Wright.

The 33-year-old wasn’t a good fit for the young, hungry and disciplined outfit Mikel Arteta wanted to build and he was stripped of the captaincy after allegations of poor timekeeping.

He joined Barcelona in last year’s January window and the moved on to Chelsea. But his record of 92 goals for Arsenal is worthy of respect.

Success rating: 7/10

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was a hotshot for Arsenal after he arrived in a £55m deal in 2018

MANCHESTER UNITED – BRUNO FERNANDES 

£47million – Signed 2020

Few newcomers to the Premier League made a quicker impact than Fernandes when he joined from Sporting Lisbon with the team struggling. 

He became the first player to record five goals and five assists in their first nine games and winning four Premier League Player of the Month awards in the same calendar year was also a record.

Fernandes has become one of United’s leaders, wearing the armband in the absence of Harry Maguire this season, and signing a long-term deal to stay at Old Trafford. 

The only thing missing is a trophy – having been beaten by Villarreal in the Europa League final of 2021.

Success rating: 8/10

Bruno Fernandes has been outstanding for Manchester United – but needs a trophy to his name

NEWCASTLE UNITED – BRUNO GUIMARAES 

£35million – Signed 2022

Became the poster boy of the new Saudi investment on the Toon when he arrived from Lyon 12 months ago and has quickly become a big fans’ favourite.

Guimaraes has combined Brazilian flair with a willingness to show passion and do the dirty work that helps players acclimatise in the Premier League. 

Even Newcastle legend Alan Shearer has allowed himself to get carried away, tweeting ‘You’re making it look easy man’ after the midfielder scored three goals in April.

Success rating: 8/10

Bruno Guimaraes is loving life on Tyneside after arriving from Lyon 12 months ago 

TOTTENHAM – STEVEN BERGWIJN 

£26million – Signed 2020

The Dutch winger played more Premier League games for Spurs as a substitute than a starter (35-25) and was happy to move on to Ajax after 18 months. 

The timing of his arrival in England was unfortunate with the impact of Covid being felt soon after he signed from PSV.

Holland manager Louis van Gaal was among those puzzled as to why Bergwijn wasn’t used more by Antonio Conte and the player has done much better at Ajax this season, reaching double figures for goals and playing three times for his country at the World Cup.

Success rating: 4/10

Steven Bergwijn cost Tottenham £26m but proved to be a disappointment when there

ASTON VILLA – LUCAS DIGNE 

£25million – Signed 2022

The biggest financial outlay of Steven Gerrard’s first window, the arrival of Digne from Everton was meant to symbolise Aston Villa’s ambition but he – like the team – failed to live up to expectations leading to the manager’s dismissal in October. Unai Emery will hope for more from the French left back.

In Digne’s defence, separate shoulder and ankle injuries meant he missed two months under Gerrard including the 3-0 defeat at Fulham that cost the manager his job.

Digne then scored against Manchester United in his first Villa Park game under Emery and will hope that represents a change in his fortunes.

Success rating: 5/10

Lucas Digne celebrates scoring for Aston Villa during their win over Manchester United

EVERTON – VITALIY MYKOLENKO 

£18million – Signed 2022

Has impressed under Frank Lampard after a nightmare start at Goodison which saw Rafa Benitez sacked and interim Duncan Ferguson leave him out.

The bond with Everton was further strengthened by the fans’ support for him during the war in Ukraine and he was given the captain’s armband in an FA Cup tie soon after the Russian invasion.

His performances this season have been decent in a struggling side and he’s a potent attacking threat from left back.

Success rating: 7/10

Everton’s Vitaliy Mykolenko has been one of the team’s few decent performers this season

WEST HAM – SAID BENRAHMA 

£20million – Signed 2020

It’s either feast or famine for the Algerian signed from Brentford. 

He barely got a game when he first arrived but reached double figures for goals last season as The Hammers finished seventh.

This season has been a struggle again. The suspicion is manager David Moyes values hard work and organisation above Benrahma’s natural talent.

The fans took the player’s side against Crystal Palace shortly before the World Cup – chanting is name when he was substituted after an hour.

Success rating: 6/10

Said Benrahma (left) celebrates scoring from the penalty spot against Arsenal on Boxing Day

SOUTHAMPTON – GUIDO CARRILLO 

£19million – Signed 2018

An example of what clubs shouldn’t do in the January window.

Facing a shortage of fit strikers and flush with money from selling Van Dijk to Liverpool, Saints manager Mauricio Pellegrino moved decisively for the 6ft 2in striker he’d previously worked with at Estudiantes.

Sadly, the reunion was a disaster for both parties. Pellegrino was sacked two months after Carrillo arrived from Monaco and the player was loaned out to Leganes at the end of the season.

He eventually terminated his Saints contract to join Elche on a free. His record in England was 10 games, no goals.

Success rating: 0/10

Guido Carrillo’s time with Southampton was a disaster and a bad example of January signings

WOLVES – JONNY OTTO 

£18million – Signed 2019

Knee injuries have probably stopped the Spaniard from fulfilling his potential and becoming one of the best full-backs in the Premier League. 

Signed by Wolves from Atletico Madrid after a successful loan spell at Molineux, he helped the club qualify for Europe as a left wing-back under Nuno Espirito Santo but his career has been stop-start since an ACL injury against Olympiacos in August 2020.

Has played more regularly this season without finding his best form and was blamed for two of the goals in a 4-0 defeat against Leicester.

Success rating 7/10

Wolves’ Jonny Otto tried to get to grips with Newcastle speedster Allan Saint-Maximin 

BOURNEMOUTH – DOMINIC SOLANKE 

£17million – Signed 2019

Capped by England as a 20-year-old against Brazil, Solanke was snapped up by Bournemouth after struggling to win a regular place at Liverpool. 

Though it’s taken time for things to work out on the south coast, he is now an integral part of Gary O’Neil’s team that have exceeded expectations in the Premier League.

The striker took a whole year to score his first goal for The Cherries against Luton in the FA Cup and a further seven months to register in the league. 

But he scored 30 times last season as Bournemouth were promoted and has led the line impressively back in the top flight.

Success rating: 7/10

Bournemouth striker Dominic Solanke takes on his former club Chelsea on Boxing Day

LEICESTER – WILFRED NDIDI 

£14million – Signed 2017

Leicester have traditionally done their serious business in the summer but they were glad to make an exception six years ago to sign a 21-year-old holding midfielder from Genk who became a mainstay of their 2021 FA Cup-winning team.

Until a knee problem last season, Ndidi was considered one of the best in his position and coveted by clubs like Real Madrid and Manchester United. 

The Nigerian hasn’t hit the same levels this campaign which is one of the main reasons behind the inconsistent form of Brendan Rodgers’ side.

Success rating: 8/10

Wilfred Ndidi has proved to be an excellent piece of January window business for Leicester

BRIGHTON – JURGEN LOCADIA 

£14million – Signed 2018

Dutch striker scored just six goals for Brighton after signing from PSV and after loan spells with Hoffenheim and FC Cincinnati, Graham Potter let him join German side Bochum on a permanent deal at the start of 2022.

Unlike some of Brighton’s overseas signings, Locadia never made the impact expected on the south coast though Seagulls fans will have affection for goals against Everton and Arsenal in consecutive matches during his first season.

Success rating: 2/10

Jurgen Locadia takes on Trent Alexander-Arnold during an underwhelming Brighton spell

FULHAM – KONSTANTINOS MITROGLOU

£12million – Signed 2014

Made only three appearances for Fulham before they sold him to Benfica for a £6million loss but the blame for his disastrous spell has to be shared with outspoken manager Felix Magath.

Magath was appointed a month after the forward arrived from Olympiacos and it proved a match made in hell with the German criticising his player’s fitness levels and the decision to sign him. 

Mitroglou went back to Greece on loan and then onto Benfica where he scored 20 goals and won a league title in his first season.

Success rating: 0/10

Konstantinos Mitroglou endured a dreadful time after Fulham signed him in January 2014

CRYSTAL PALACE – LUKA MILIVOJEVIC 

£11million – Signed 2017

Repaid his transfer fee in his first half-season by helping Crystal Palace stay in the Premier League. 

Manager Sam Allardyce described the holding midfielder as ‘talented, two-footed, very strong defensively, in and out of possession.’

Six years later and the Serbian is still at Selhurst Park, club captain and a bona fide Eagles legend even though the 31-year-old starts less frequently these days under Patrick Vieira. 

He’s also developed into a mean penalty-taker – converting 23 out of 26 for Palace, his first against Emiliano Martinez when the Argentine was at Arsenal.

Success rating: 9/10

Luka Milivojevic, who became Crystal Palace captain, was certainly an inspired January buy

LEEDS UNITED – ADAM FORSHAW 

£4.5million – Signed 2018

Tigerish midfielder who helped Leeds win promotion to the Premier League and played a key role in their survival under Jesse Marsch last season. However, injuries have prevented him from kicking on this season.

Part of the senior players’ group that Marsch consults on different subjects on and off the pitch – including redecorating the players’ lounge so families can gather in comfort after games at Elland Road.

Success rating: 7/10

Adam Forshaw plays for Leeds against bitter rivals Manchester United back in February

BRENTFORD – HALIL DERVISOGLU 

£2.5million – Signed 2020

Turkish international winger is still on Brentford’s books despite never having started a league game for them, though he did net against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup. 

The 23-year-old has instead spent time on loan with FC Twente, Galatasaray and currently Burnley.

Given the Bees’ recruitment record, you are loathe to write Dervisoglu off but it hasn’t happened for him yet in west London. 

Vincent Kompany has used him six times as a substitute this season and he scored a dramatic injury-time winner against Rotherham. Brentford could get their money back on their investment from Sparta Rotterdam.

Success rating: 3/10

Halil Dervisoglu (middle) celebrated a Brentford goal with Bryan Mbeumo and Joel Valencia

NOTTINGHAM FOREST – ZACH CLOUGH 

£2.5million – Signed 2017

There was something romantic about Forest signing a Clough but unfortunately Zach was far less successful than either Brian or Nigel.

The diminutive forward had a good reputation when he arrived from Bolton but it never clicked by the Trent and he scored only four goals in 31 appearances before heading to Wigan on a free.

Still only 27, he is currently playing in Australia for Adelaide.

Success rating: 2/10

* Forest signed David Johnson for £3m in January 2001 before official transfer windows were introduced

Zach Clough (right), formerly of Nottingham Forest, is now playing for Adelaide United




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