The 2021 January transfer window was unsurprisingly dull and unremarkable, largely due to the effects of the coronavirus on many club’s finances and also due to the fact that most clubs prefer engaging in major deals during the summer transfer window.
Some highlights of the just concluded transfer window are Mesut Ozil’s transfer to Fenerbahce, Martin Odegaard’s loan move from Real Madrid to Arsenal, and Takumi Minamino’s shocking loan move to Southampton from Liverpool on transfer deadline day.
Here, TOP SOCCER BLOG looks at the winners and losers from the 2021 January transfer market.
WINNERS: MIKEL ARTETA AND ARSENAL
Arsenal has had a resurgence in form of late and the transfer window couldn’t have been better for Arteta’s side as the club managed to offload a whole 10 players who are considered as surplus to requirement in the squad! The players are: Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Shkodran Mustafi, Saed Kolasinic, Williams Saliba, Joe Willock, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Daniel Ballard, Matt Macey, Matt Smith, and notably the club’s highest-paid player, Mesut Ozil.
Also, Arteta managed to bring in Martin Odegaard, Omar Rekik, and Mat Ryan to further strengthen the team.
LOSER: ERIC GARCIA
Young defender Eric Garcia refused to sign a new deal at Manchester City despite Guardiola’s persuasions, with the youngster pushing for a dream return to boyhood club Barcelona, and to also boost his chances of making Spain’s squad to the Euros this summer. But his hopes got shattered as Barcelona are currently cash-strapped and couldn’t even afford the £3m demanded by City.
Garcia will now be forced to wait until the summer for any move and also faces the prospect of missing out for the Euros.
Liverpool are fighting a defensive crisis as their four main centre-backs (Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, and Fabinho) are currently injured. There was pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s side to spend big on signing at least a top centre-back with the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly and Dayot Upamecano linked with the club but Liverpool managed to secure two shrewd signings in Ben Davies (£1.6m) and Ozan Kabak (£1m, on loan).
Both signings are now expected to cover-up for the injured stars till at least the end of the season.
LOSER: DELE ALLI
Alli has fallen out of favour at Tottenham under Jose Mourinho and has been reduced to a bit-part bench-warming role. Newly appointed PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino — whom Alli played his best football up to date under — wanted him at Paris and the midfielder was keen for a move as more playing time will boost his chances of making England’s squad for the Euros but the transfer never happened as Spurs couldn’t sign a replacement for him.
WINNERS: OZIL AND FENERBAHCE
Coming into the 2020/21 season, Mesut Ozil fell out with Arsenal and the club’s manager Mikel Arteta, and was subsequently dropped from the team. His nightmare period at the Emirates was finally brought to an end in January as the club agreed to terminate his contract and allow him to leave on a free. Fenerbahce swiftly pounced by signing him and it was a perfect match as Ozil was a childhood fan of the Turkish giants.
The midfielder is already 32 years old and made a whopping £350k per week in his last three years at Arsenal!
With Ozil now on board, Fenerbahce will now be dreaming of winning their first Turkish league title since 2013.
Isco has never been a consistently guaranteed starter at Real Madrid (especially under Zidane), but this season has been worse than never before as the Spaniard has made just 3 appearances in La Liga. He was hopeful of securing a move away from the club during the January window in order to boost his chances of making Spain’s team to the Euros. He was hopeful of a transfer to Arsenal but the Gunners opted for team-mate, Martin Odegaard instead.
WINNER: TAKUMI MINAMINO
Minamino was expected to set Anfield alight after his move to Liverpool from RB Salzburg last January following his dazzling displays for the Austrian giants, but the Japanese failed to adapt to his new environment and couldn’t compete with the Reds’ other midfielders. His situation got worse with the arrival of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich in the summer.
Minamino completed a shocking deadline-day loan move to Southampton, where he will link up with former RB Leipzig manager Raphael Hassenttul, whose style perfectly suits him. Minamino now has a good opportunity for more playing time and will hope to impress Jurgen Klopp and prove that he is cut-out for the Premier League.
WINNERS: WEST BROM AND SAM ALLARDYCE
After two seasons in the Championship, West Brom secured a return to the EPL this season but seems like they are destined to make a quick return to the second division. Promotion-winning manager, Slaven Bilic, was subsequently sacked and replaced by relegation battle expert, Sam Allardyce. The new manager has improved the team and boosted their morale and, as a result, he was heavily backed by the club in the January transfer window with the signings of six players namely: Robert Snodgrass (Westham), Andy Lonergan (free), Mbaye Diagne (Galatasaray), Jack Wakely (Chelsea), Okay Yokuslu (Celta Vigo) and Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal).
The new signings are expected to boost West Brom’s chances of escaping relegation.
The club currently occupies the 19th position on the EPL table.