The January transfer window is done and my word did Premier League teams go for it.
[ MORE: Full list of January transfers in PL ]
Newcastle, Tottenham, Everton and Liverpool all did plenty of business, as almost $400 million was spent this January. That is the second highest amount in Premier League history in terms of the January window, and the highest net spend in January in PL history.
We had deadline day drama, shock moves and some intriguing gambles by clubs and players, as this transfer window delivered.
Below we deliver our Premier League January transfer window grades, as we dish out a grade to all 20 teams based on their business.
Premier League January transfer window grades
They moved on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona, which is risky given their current forward options, but was the right call to help Mikel Arteta implement a new identity and style. Not to mention removing $33.4 million from their wage bill over the next 18 months. Not bringing in another forward to help Lacazette and Nketiah is a bold move and one which could cost them a top four spot, and considering they’re so close to a top four finish this season it seems like an unnecessary gamble. Other than that, USMNT goalkeeper Matt Turner will arrive in the summer and provide competition to Aaron Ramsdale and the Gunners got rid of a lot of deadwood. Their squad is streamlined and they’re all set for a big summer of expensive, and very selective, recruitment. They pushed to sign big players in January but couldn’t get it over the line, which was disappointing as Vlahovic and Guimares looked likely for a while.
Aston Villa: B+
Lovely window from Steven Gerrard’s side. Lucas Digne and Philippe Coutinho add genuine quality and are big improvements to their starting lineup, plus Calum Chambers is versatile and has great experience. They want a central midfielder but will wait until the summer. Villa also moved on a few fringe players and did some really smart business.
Christian Eriksen (boy, it will be great to see him back in action) will become the best player in Brentford’s history, so his signing on a short-term deal is massive. But the Bees should have done more business, especially defensively. Thomas Frank’s side have wobbled big-time in recent months and although Eriksen will provide amazing quality once he gets up to speed following his seven-month lay-off, you worry about Brentford defensively. Can they stay in the Premier League?
The Seagulls have put themselves in a great position and didn’t really need much. They continue to hunt for a striker and signed Deniz Undav, who they immediately loaned back to Royale Union Saint-Gilloise for the rest of the season. Losing Dan Burn is a blow, but they have some center backs ahead of him and will cope. Steady window, but could they have made a big move for a striker to push for European qualification? That isn’t really their style.
One in and one out, as Chris Wood was sold to Newcastle and Wout Weghorst was signed to replace him. You could argue Burnley have upgraded this position and they needed to in order to give themselves a chance of staying up. They aren’t a club that will spend big and they still look short in several areas, which will worry Sean Dyche as they have plenty of games to make up in the second half of the season after so many postponed games.
Quiet window for Chelsea as they tried to bring in a wing-back but couldn’t get a deal over the line. That will disappoint Tuchel, as wing backs are so important to the way he plays. Chelsea may now switch to a back four and getting Rudiger, Christensen and Azpilicueta to sign new deals is now the focus. Interest in Ousmane Dembele late in the window shows they are thinking about attacking changes in the summer too. That could be bad news for USMNT star Christian Pulisic…
Crystal Palace: D
Jean-Philippe Mateta was the only big incoming, as his loan was turned into a permanent deal. Luke Plange was a purchase for the future. Palace tried to get players in on loan in attacking areas but Donny van de Beek, Dele Alli and Eddie Nketiah didn’t fancy a move to Selhurst. Patrick Vieira’s boys need to finish off more chances if they’re going to kick on in the second half of the season.
Very flashy deadline day moves for Dele Alli and Donny van de Beek to go along with announcing Frank Lampard as their new manager. Everton’s squad is bloated and there will be a huge restructure this summer. A good window for the Toffees, despite losing Digne for no reason, but do they have the right kind of players to drag them away from a potential relegation scrap?
No incomings but Leeds have some superb individuals and shouldn’t get dragged into a relegation battle. But they could. Injuries haven’t been kind to them and they need Phillips and Bamford back very soon. They look set to make a big move for USMNT’s Brenden Aaronson in the summer after being batted away by RB Salzburg in January.
Leicester City: D
They needed defensive reinforcements but couldn’t get a move for Nat Phillips, and others, over the line. Leicester just need to get players healthy and they need to lock in Youri Tielemans to a new deal.
Very good window as they signed Luis Diaz ahead of PL rivals and he will be a huge player for Jurgen Klopp in the coming years. Aside from that, some young players got good loan moves and a move for Fulham’s star youngster Fabio Carvalho seems to be lined up for the summer. Diaz was the biggest buy by a PL club in January and continues Liverpool’s focus of buying quality over quantity.
Manchester City: C+
Julian Alvarez is a brilliant signing for the future, but he won’t link up with City until the summer. Aside from that, very quiet window.
Manchester United: D
No incomings at United and they’re trying to assess the current players they have before Ralf Rangnick is expected to move into his consultancy role in the summer. Moving on Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek on loan made sense, while United’s main long-term need is
Declan Rice a world class holding midfielder.
Newcastle United: A-
Great window for Newcastle, as their owners spent more money than any club in Europe in January. The pressure is now on Eddie Howe to deliver. Bruno Guimares is their marquee signing, while Kieran Trippier, Dan Burn, Matt Targett and Chris Wood all have huge Premier League experience and that will be massive in their upcoming relegation scrap.
Norwich City: D-
After some recent wins, Dean Smith’s side are looking good and they did a lot of business last summer. But could they have be on the hunt for a forward who would have made the difference and scored the goals to keep them out of the bottom three? Probably.
Veteran Willy Caballero arrived on a free transfer to add depth to their goalkeeping ranks and that was that. Saints were on the hunt for a creative attacker, but with new owners arriving in January, they are assessing the squad and putting a recruitment plan in place for this summer. Expect Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side to go after plenty more talented youngsters similar to Armando Broja (who they are trying to sign permanently from Chelsea) and Tino Livramento.
A very busy deadline day delivered what Tottenham and Antonio Conte needed: some quality signings and plenty of deadwood cut adrift. Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski both arrived from Juventus and will start in central midfield and out wide right away. Dele Alli was sold to Everton, while Tanguy Ndombele, Bryan Gil and Giovano Lo Celso were all loaned out. Conte knows he needs a few more defenders and a striker to continue his rebuild, but this was a very decent start.
New manager Roy Hodgson was the Hornets’ big January arrival, but they did bolster their squad with plenty of new buys. Some have already featured, while Samuel Kalu is a real talent. Watford pushed hard to try and sign a new goalkeeper, and they needed more defensive help this window.
West Ham: D-
This feels like a missed opportunity for the Hammers. David Moyes’ side pushed hard to sign Jesse Lingard and Darwin Nunez late in the window and those are the caliber of players they need to push into the top four. The Hammers’ squad is looking a little thin in attack and at center back. Now seemed like the perfect time to back Moyes in the transfer market.
See above. Wolves signed Hwang-hee Chan on a permanent deal, which is a very good move, but they lost Adama Traore to Barcelona. They are on the cusp of the top four battle and if they made a big move for a striker in this window it could have pushed them into the Champions League.