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Premier League: January deals can make a difference

The January transfer window offers clubs the chance to plug gaps in their squad or bring in a game-changer midway through the season and it has seen some cracking signings made in the Premier League over the years.

So here is a look at the top ten January transfers completed during the Premier League era, with some of the big names included proving to be bargain buys.

10. Nemanja Matic

Industrious midfielder Nemanja Matic made only two appearances during his first spell with Chelsea between 2009 and 2011, but made quite the impact when he re-signed for the Londoners in 2014.

At the end of that season, Matic, playing under Jose Mourinho, helped Chelsea to achieve a third-place finish in the Premier League. before they won the title the season after.

In his second stint with the Blues he made a total of 151 appearances before moving to rivals Manchester United for £40million in 2017.

9. Bruno Fernandes

One of the more recent acquisitions on this list, former Sporting Lisbon midfielder Bruno Fernandes put pen to paper on a deal with Manchester United in the January 2020 transfer window.

And the Portuguese maestro took no time at all to adjust to the Premier League, scoring eight times and laying on seven assists in his first 14 appearances.

United finished in the Champions League places in the 2020-21 season thanks largely to the performances of Fernandes, who became one of the club's most reliable players during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's tenure and is still one of the first names on the team sheet now.

8. Gary Cahill

Not many players go on to win the Champions League less than six months into their tenure at a club but that was exactly what happened to defender Gary Cahill in 2012.

The England defender signed for Chelsea from Bolton for only £7million that January and slotted straight into the back four alongside veteran John Terry.

And Cahill's initial performances saw him awarded with a spot in the starting 11 for their Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich that May.

He made a total of 290 appearances for the club before departing back in 2019.

7. Riyad Mahrez

Leicester City's Premier League title triumph in the 2015-16 campaign will go down as one of the biggest sporting shocks of all time but it may not have happened had the club not secured the services of Riyad Mahrez in January 2014.

Incredibly, winger Mahrez arrived at the club for only £450,000 from Le Havre after being scouted by Steve Walsh.

He made 19 appearances for the team in the Championship that term, helping them gain promotion to the Premier League, and they went on to win the top-flight title in only his third season at the King Power Stadium with Mahrez scoring 17 league goals that campaign.

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6. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

At the start of what would prove to be Arsene Wenger's final season as Arsenal manager - 2017/18 - Arsenal secured the services of Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon but they went one better in the January.

Looking to enhance their attacking options further, the Gunners smashed their record transfer fee at the time to sign Borussia Dortmund ace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for £56million.

Despite rumours of the Gabonese player soon leaving the club, he has enjoyed a successful time at the Emirates, helping the club win the FA Cup and finish as runners-up in the Europa League.

5. Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool's £8.5million capture of Philippe Coutinho in 2013 has to go down as one of the shrewdest January acquisitions of all time.

The Brazilian midfielder quickly evolved into one of the team's most important players as he struck 54 goals in 201 appearances.

The Reds made a terrific profit on Coutinho when he moved to Barcelona for £105 million five years after signing but that money went to good use when they signed Virgil van Dijk.

4. Branislav Ivanovic

One of Chelsea's all-time greatest defenders, Serb right-back Branislav Ivanovic joined the club from Lokomotiv Moscow in 2008.

And although he made somewhat of a slow start to his Blues career, he finished with nine major honours, including the Champions League, and played 377 times for the London club and he goes down as a true club legend.

3. Patrice Evra

On the opposite side of defence to Ivanovic, left-back Patrice Evra joined Manchester United in the January of the 2005/06 season for only £5.5million.

And although reportedly initially unsure if he had made the right call to move from Monaco to England, he went on to become one of the best signings of Sir Alex Ferguson's almighty United career.

Evra won an eye-watering five Premier League titles, three League Cups and the 2007-08 Champions League during his time at Old Trafford.

2. Nemanja Vidic

Signed in the same January transfer window as Evra, Nemanja Vidic joined Manchester United for £7million from Spartak Moscow aged 24.

And although relatively unknown at the time, he did not take long to become the bedrock of the United defence alongside Rio Ferdinand.

The pair were central to years of success for the Red Devils with Vidic finishing his eight-and-a-half-year spell in 2014 with Premier League, Champions League and League Cup titles to his name.

1. Luis Suarez

It took time for Liverpool to find the right replacement for Chelsea-bound Fernando Torres, but Luis Suarez, who joined from Ajax in January 2011, was well worth the wait.

He cost Liverpool just shy of £23million and proved to be easily worth every penny.

Although never far from some kind of controversy, his performances were generally a credit to the Premier League with his 31 goals in the 2013-14 season securing him the Golden Boot and nearly leading Liverpool to the Premier League title.

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