The January transfer window for 2022 is now open, and most clubs are eager to improve their squads for the remainder of the season. Clubs have traditionally utilised the January transfer window to bolster their squads in preparation for a title drive or to avoid relegation.
Many signings have been successful for their new teams during this time, so it’s worth pausing to admire some of the best signings made in this month over the years. Here are the top 5 best January transfer window signings of all time, taking into account everything.
● Nemanja Vidic
During his 26-year tenure as Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson brought in a slew of quality players. Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic is at the top of the list when it comes to transfers made in the January window.
The red side of Manchester was keen to win some silverware after Arsenal’s Invincibles and Mourinho’s rampaging Chelsea. It’s no accident that the club went on to win three straight league titles after the signing of this tough-guy centre-back (2006-07; 2007-08; 2008-09). The 2008 UEFA Champions League triumph was also part of this period.
The Serb and Rio Ferdinand had developed an intimidating alliance at the back for a long time, which terrified strikers.
● Gary Cahill
Cahill was rumoured to be Arsenal’s centre-back saviour for a long time, but he eventually joined Chelsea. Over the next seven seasons, he would win every trophy available, totalling eight, while establishing himself as one of the most dependable defenders in the league.
In the 2011-12 Champions League final, Cahill played semi-injured in lieu of the suspended John Terry, and he scored a game-winning goal.
Perhaps his biggest triumph, though, was switching to a back-three under Antonio Conte at the age of 31, not only guiding Chelsea to the title but also replacing club veteran Terry as captain in the process.
● Bruno Fernandes
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lasted a lot longer than he should have because of the Portuguese star, who quickly became a fan favourite, a fiery character visibly energised at Old Trafford — and then impressively continued to thrive in empty stadiums during the pandemic, as he rose to become the side’s leader.
In 2020, the midfielder broke the calendar-year record by winning the Premier League Player of the Month award four times (out of just eight). Fernandes also led the league with 46 goals in his first season and a half while helping United to the Europa League final.
● Luis Suarez
The Uruguayan who replaced Torres, who was prone to injury, was not just a bargain, but he also kicked off Fenway Sports Group’s hugely successful reign at Anfield. John W. Henry’s first transfer window on Merseyside was in January 2011.
The astounding total of 120 goal assists in 110 Premier League games hardly scratches the surface of what this tenacious talent brought to Liverpool.
In 2013-14, he won the Golden Boot with 31 goals as the Reds narrowly missed out on the Premier League title. For all the talk about Steven Gerrard’s blunder, the biggest ‘what if’ should be about the five games Suarez was punished for biting Ivanovic at the start of the season, during which Liverpool dropped five points.
● Virgil Van Dijk
Southampton’s status as a feeder club for Liverpool has long been a running joke. The evidence is in the pudding with players like Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, and Sadio Mane. Virgil Van Dijk was one of the players from this group who was brought in during the January transfer window.
After coming for the then-world record cost for a defender (£75 million), the towering centre-back immediately impacted the club. He contributed to the squad in his first full season, allowing only 22 goals. After 30 years, he was a member of the team that won the league for the first time. The Dutchman also assisted the English titans in reaching successive UCL finals, with the latter winning the competition.