Premier League

Transfer window power rankings: 10 best signings of January

Stuart Telford
Cristiano Ronaldo, Al-Nassr, 2022/23

The winter transfer window has been open for two weeks, and already some major deals have been done, like Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Al Nassr and Cody Gakpo snubbing his former club Manchester United for Liverpool…

Football Transfers has come up with a power ranking for the 10 best signings of the January transfer window so far, taking into account the quality of the player in question, the value of his transfer, how much his new employers needed him and his potential to change his club’s fortunes…

10) Geronimo Rulli from Villarreal to Ajax for €8m

Ajax have been looking for a new No.1 since Andre Onana left for Inter Milan last summer. Renko Pasveer and Maarten Stekelenburg are full Dutch internationals, but they are 39 and 40 respectively, and fresh bood is needed in the position.

Enter: Geronimo Rulli, the former Manchester City youngter who is now 30 but a relative spring chicken compared to the competition. Emi Martinez’s understudy for world champions Argentina, his €8m move from Villarreal could prove a snip.

READ: Premier League 2022/23 January transfers: All the Done Deals

9) Luis Suarez from Nacional to Gremio on a free transfer

Luis Suarez has completed bigger January transfers before now, joining Liverpool from Ajax for €26.5 million in 2011. He subsequently cost Barcelona €81.7 million before forming one of the most feared attacking trios in the game – ‘MSN’ – with Lionel Messi and Neymar either side of him at Camp Nou.

He may no long be at the peak of his powers, but the 35-year-old Uruguay striker still has a goal in him, as first club Nacional rediscovered last year when he hit eight in 14 league games for them. Gremio are back in the Brazilian top flight this season, and Suarez should help them stay there.

8) Matheus Cunha from Atletico Madrid to Wolves on loan

A former Atletico Madrid teammate of Suarez, Matheus Cunha is often accused of being a scorer of great goals rather than a great scorer of goals – a strike for RB Leipzig was nominated for the FIFA Puskas Award in 2019 – but he still has the ability to lift Wolves fans off their seats, and his arrival is a statement of intent from the Molineux club.

7) Ruslan Malinovskyi from Atalanta to Marseille on loan

Speaking of scoring great goals, Ruslan Malinovskyi has developed a penchant for long-range bangers at Atalanta. He can also create, and laid on 12 assists in the 2020/21 season as Gian Piero Gasperini’s side finished third in Serie A.

He has joined Marseille on loan for the remainder of the season, with an obligation to buy for €10m at the end of it, and manager Igor Tudor – a long-term admirer of the left footer – is optimistic he can help fire them into the Champions League.

6) Daley Blind unattached to Bayern Munich for free

Daley Blind was released by Ajax at the end of December, to the surprise of most fans with a cursory interest in the Dutch game. Blind, after all, is a club legend and still the Netherlands’ first-choice left-back.

Ten days later Bayern Munich announced that he had signed a deal with them until the end of the campaign. Blind’s ability to play left- and centre-back will be extremely useful to the German champions, who have lost Frenchman Lucas Hernandez to a ruptured cruciate ligament.

5) Benoit Badiashile from Monaco to Chelsea for €38m

Benoit Badiashile is a hulking 6’4″ centre-back who has a cultured left foot and the ability to snuff danger out before carrying the ball out from the back. Barcelona were reportedly interested in the 21-year-old, who is already a full international with France, before Chelsea made their move.

Chelsea are all at sea at the moment, with Graham Potter under pressure having won just once in 11 games, but the arrivals of Badiashile as well as youngsters Andrey Santos and David Datro Fofana from Vasco da Gama and Molde respectively mean that the long-term future looks bright at least.

READ: Badiashile, Fofana and Santos transfers shape Chelsea’s ‘Vision 2030’ line-up

4) Andreas Schjelderup from FC Nordsjaelland to Benfica for €14m

Liverpool made an offer Andreas Schjelderup, but instead the Norwegian winger – who has 10 goals and an assist from 17 games with FC Nordsjaelland this season – plumped for Benfica, joining in a €14m deal on a contract which reportedly has a €100m release clause.

The Lisbon side’s ability to attract such players before selling them on at a massive profit is almost unrivalled. Liverpool paid them €100m for Darwin Nunez last summer and may have to do something similar in the future with Schjelderup if he fulfils his potential at the Estadio da Luz.

3) Joao Felix from Atletico Madrid to Chelsea on loan for €11m

Joao Felix remains something of an enigma: a talented player who was once the second-most expensive teenager of all time behind Kylian Mbappe, but one who hasn’t scored double figures in a league season since his 15 with Benfica in 2018/19.

But he remains an impressive talent, and that Chelsea were able to attract him whilst languishing halfway down the Premier League table was a statement in itself. Was the best player on the park in the Blues’ recent West London defeat to Fulham… before he got sent off for a horror tackle.

Joao Felix is a statement signing by Chelsea despite his mixed start.

Joao Felix is a statement signing by Chelsea despite his mixed start.

2) Cody Gakpo from PSV Eindhoven to Liverpool for €42m

As power ranking transfers go, Gakpo’s move to Liverpool instead of Man Utd takes some beating. The forward nearly joined Erik ten Hag’s Red Devils revolution last summer but the deal fell through. He subsequently had 13 goals and 17 assists at a rate of one every 68 minutes for PSV Eindhoven then three strikes in three group games with the Netherlands at the World Cup.

United reportedly offered PSV a loan deal now with a promise to meet their valuation I the summer with their ownership uncertain. Liverpool swooped in, paying them €42m up front, and Gakpo will now strut his stuff at Anfield instead. A huge statement signing from Jurgen Klopp and Co.

“Woah there, United! Liverpool’s deal was better!”

1) Cristiano Ronaldo unattached to Al Nassr for free

Easily the biggest transfer of the winter window so far is Cristiano Ronaldo’s to Al Nassr, though. The former Manchester United idol was released by the club on the eve of the World Cup after he gave an unsanctioned interview to Piers Morgan in which he slammed Ten Hag, the Glazer family ownership and more.

Ronaldo is now the highest paid footballer in the world, and indeed of all time, with his €200m a season package. The Portuguese surely still has the ability to keep Al Nassr at the top of the Saudi Pro League table, but his presence should also help lift the profile of Saudi Arabian football in general.

A plethora of former Real Madrid teammates – Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, Pepe, Toni Kroos – have now been linked with moves to join him at Mrsool Park, and Al Nassr’s social media numbers have gone through the roof.

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