An amazing Xl of the Premier League’s best ever January signings

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Vidic Signs for Man Utd

While Premier League teams have often been renowned for making disastrous panic buys during the January transfer window, there are a few exceptions. 

The likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea have all shown that you can make some brilliant additions midway through the season if you look in the right places. 

We’ve compiled an XI of high-profile players who have been bought by Premier League clubs during a January transfer window, arranged in a 4-3-3 formation. 

GK: Martin Dubravka

Very few goalkeepers seem to move during the January transfer window, but Dubravka joined Newcastle United on an initial loan deal in January 2018.

The Slovakia international did enough to earn a permanent move to St James’ Park and won their Player of the Season award in 2019-20. He’s since lost his place to Nick Pope, but he proved a vital presence between the sticks during a difficult time for the club. 

RB: Branislav Ivanovic

Despite making a slow start to his Chelsea career after arriving from Lokomotiv Moscow in January 2008, Ivanovic soon became a pivotal figure for the Blues. 

During his nine years at Stamford Bridge, he made 377 appearances, won nine major honours and developed a knack of popping up with goals at pivotal moments.

READ: Nine reasons why Chelsea fans will always love Branislav Ivanovic

CB: Virgil van Dijk

After missing out on Van Dijk in the summer of 2017, Liverpool bided their time and signed the defender from Southampton in a £75million deal six months later. 

The 29-year-old proved to be the missing piece of the puzzle, helping Jurgen Klopp’s side win the Champions League in 2019 and the Premier League in 2020, eventually completing the set with the League Cup and FA Cup last term.

Some things really are worth waiting for.

READ: The making of Virgil van Dijk: ‘Quick, strong, confident’…and a handy striker

CB: Nemanja Vidic

Vidic was a relatively unknown 24-year-old when he moved to Manchester United from Spartak Moscow in a £7million deal in January 2006. 

He soon established himself as one of the fiercest defenders in the game, forming an iconic centre-back partnership with Rio Ferdinand.

The Serbia international won five Premier League titles, three League Cups, the Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup during his eight-and-a-half-year spell at the club. Not bad. 

READ: 15 of the best quotes on Nemanja Vidic: ‘He scared centre-forwards to death’

LB: Patrice Evra

Signed in the same transfer window as Vidic, Evra endured a difficult start to life in English football and was substituted at half-time on his United debut.

“My first introduction to the real Sir Alex was my debut against Manchester City,” Evra told The Guardian in August 2020.

“At half-time, he gave the hairdryer for one minute to every player. It was a long 15 minutes. At the end he say to me in five seconds, ‘Patrice, sit down. You will learn how to play in England.’

“That night my agent said, ‘We made the biggest mistake coming here. I’m sorry.’ I was upset but I was burning.”

But the former France international silenced his doubters and turned things around, eventually earning legendary status at Old Trafford. 

READ: How Patrice Evra succeeded Gary Neville as Man Utd’s hated hero

CM: Nemanja Matic

Three years after allowing Matic to leave for Benfica, Chelsea rectified their mistake and brought the midfielder back to Stamford Bridge in January 2014. 

The Serbia international won the League Cup and two Premier League titles during his second spell at the club before moving to Manchester United in 2017.

CM: Philippe Coutinho

Signed by Liverpool for just £8.5million in January 2013, Coutinho developed into one of the best midfielders in the world during his five-year stint at Anfield.

The Brazil international was capable of producing spectacular moments of magic for the Reds, winning their Player of the Year award in 2014-15 and 2015-16. 

His eye-catching performances convinced Barcelona to fork out £142million for his signature in January 2018. Money well spent

CM: Bruno Fernandes

Fernandes only completed his £47million move to Manchester United in January 2020, but he made an instant impact.

The Portugal international was the catalyst for their revival under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, registering 28 goals and 17 assists in his first 53 appearances in all competitions during his first year at Old Trafford.

He also became the first footballer to win the Premier League Player of the Month award four times in the same calendar year.

“From day one he’s come in and wanted to affect the environment, the playing environment, the staff. He’s been a great addition,” Solskjaer said in January 2021.

“He’s such a humble human being, working hard and I think everyone has seen what he’s done on the pitch.”

RW: Luis Suarez

Liverpool might have wasted £35million on Andy Carroll in January 2011, but they also brought in Suarez, who more than made up for Fernando Torres’ departure.

He won the Golden Boot in 2013-14 and his 31 goals in 33 Premier League appearances so nearly carried the Reds to the league title.

While he left Anfield with only a League Cup trophy to his name, the Uruguay international was outrageously good during his three-and-a-half-years on Merseyside. 

Luis Suarez

READ: Celebrating peak 13-14 Liverpool when Luis Suarez scored an 18-yard header

ST: Edin Dzeko

After impressing alongside Grafite at Wolfsburg, Dzeko completed a £27million move to Manchester City in January 2011.

Despite often being used from the bench, he still scored 72 goals in 189 appearances in all competitions for City, including the crucial equaliser in that game against QPR in 2012.

“People always remember the Aguero goal,” Dzeko said in 2018. “But that is fine because without my goal that goal would not have been possible and with both of them we won the league. So I am fine with that!”

LW: Luis Diaz


The Colombian arrived on Merseyside a year ago, bolstering Jurgen Klopp’s squad at the perfect time as they chased four trophies.

A real mid-season shot in the arm, Liverpool might’ve fallen just short in the Champions League and Premier League – while lifting both domestic cups – but they surely wouldn’t have got as close as they did without the instant impact made by Diaz.

Honourable mentions: Asmir Begovic, Seamus Coleman, Gary Cahill, Aymeric Laporte, Wilfred Ndidi, Wilfried Zaha, Clint Dempsey, Daniel Sturridge, Jermain Defoe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

READ NEXT: Ranking Luis Suarez’s 12 goals for Liverpool against Norwich City

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