A normally quiet transfer window was just as crazy as the summer with nearly all the big clubs involved in mega-deals – here are the most astute
1) Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal to Manchester United
Yes, he will cost Manchester United around half a million dollars a week and his Premier League debut for the Red Devils was largely forgettable, with the Red Devils losing to Tottenham. But with the sums of money being splashed out nowadays in football, being able to sign someone like Alexis for the mere value of Henrikh Mkhitaryan is extremely smart business. Sanchez is a proven star in English football, doesn’t need to adapt, is versatile, fills a hole in Manchester United’s options and is hungry for trophies, after coming from Arsenal. What more could you ask for?
2) Emerson Palmieri – Roma to Chelsea
One might ask: what is astute in signing a player who’s been injured for six months, has previously played at the top level only half a season, and plays in a position covered by Marcos Alonso? And I reply: it is the perfect moment to sign him, because waiting until the summer could have meant spending a lot more than the $25 million Chelsea gave Roma. Palmieri is young and can develop hugely under Antonio Conte, and in an era when full backs are lacking, having two at this level puts Chelsea in a very privileged position.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 31, 2018
3) Michy Batshuayi – Chelsea to Borussia Dortmund
It can’t be easy to let go of someone like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but the financial sum that’s come in at Dortmund is considerable. Especially because the replacement is a striker capable of scoring 12 goals in 26 games in all competitions this season. And although Conte did not believe in his qualities, the Belgian is a proven goalscorer, and to snatch someone like him on loan with an option to buy is very smart business. Batshuayi can develop hugely in the Bundesliga, and Dortmund could find themselves with another top level striker, whilst having cashed in at the same time.
4) Yerry Mina – Palmeiras to Barcelona
There are less and less great defenders around, so signing one of the most talented ones is always a good idea. Barcelona needed a reinforcement at the back and got the business done early to bring Mina to the Nou Camp. The Colombian centre-back is only 23, but has great experience both at club and at international level in South America. It is, of course, his first experience in Europe, but for $15 million, he could be a real steal. Especially if you think about how much more money Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City has been investing in the backline.
5) Sandro Wagner – Hoffenheim to Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich-style business once again: a signing under the radar, done early and undermining a Bundesliga opposition team by bringing in one of their main assets. Wagner returns home from Hoffenheim, after having scored 18 goals in 50 appearances for the club and earned five goals in seven caps with Germany. Make no mistake: he is no Robert Lewandowski, and is already 30-years-old. But he offers another option up front, adding depth to a squad that was lacking another centre forward to give the Polish star a rest or to play alongside Lewandowski in case Bayern are in need of more firepower. For just over $15 million, it is a real bargain.