Monday 25 September 2017

Five of the best January transfer deals

Wilfried Bony's move from Swansea to Manchester City has been one of the stand-out deals of the transfer window
Wilfried Bony's move from Swansea to Manchester City has been one of the stand-out deals of the transfer window

Mark Bryans

The winter transfer window has closed with a number of clubs hoping to have made the signings that will make the difference for them between now and May.

VICTOR VALDES (unattached to Manchester United)

Having spent quite the bounty over the summer, United manager Louis van Gaal had prepared the club's fans for a quiet window. However, the free transfer signing of former Barcelona goalkeeper Valdes should not be underplayed. The 33-year-old will prove more than an able deputy for the in-form David de Gea.

A three-time Champions League winner, Spain international Valdes had been training with United following a serious knee injury and earned a contract with the club - and Van Gaal could yet end up with 2010 World Cup winner Valdes between the posts on a regular basis next season if Real Madrid poach De Gea.

WILFRIED BONY (Swansea to Manchester City)

City's purchase of Bony was the most expensive acquisition of the window, with the Ivory Coast striker costing £28million.

Manuel Pellegrini will be hoping the former Swansea man, who scored more league goals in 2014 than anyone else, can take the weight off Sergio Aguero as they look for a third title in four years.

Bony has yet to feature for City as he is away with the Ivory Coast on African Nations Cup duty but if he can show the sort of scoring form that turned him into a fan favourite at the Liberty Stadium, his signing could yet prove pivotal in the title race with Chelsea.

JERMAIN DEFOE (Toronto to Sunderland)

Like City, Sunderland also decided they needed to recruit a goalscorer in the window and Gus Poyet decided to bring a familiar face back to the Premier League.

Defoe has a track record that ranks him up with some of the deadliest finishers in recent history and has already opened his account as the Black Cats hope to avoid the nervy finish they had to endure last season, when a late surge of form was needed to keep them in the top flight.

The 32-year-old England international has ended an unhappy spell in Major League Soccer and Sunderland have invested in a big contract in the hope he can show the sort of prowess in front of goal he exhibited with the likes of West Ham, Tottenham and Portsmouth.

GABRIEL PAULISTA (Villarreal to Arsenal)

Arsenal fans would have been rejoicing as manager Arsene Wenger added a big-money defensive recruit in the winter window. Having admitted he was short at the back, Wenger highlighted uncapped Brazilian centre-back Gabriel as the answer to his defensive shortcomings, bringing in the 24-year-old from Primera Division outfit Villarreal.

Gabriel will now challenge Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny for a place in the heart of the Gunners' defence, with supporters hoping the days of relying on full-backs such as Nacho Monreal and Mathieu Debuchy filling in are over.

JUAN CUADRADO (Fiorentina to Chelsea)

The biggest deal on deadline day was undoubtedly the one that took Colombian World Cup star Cuadrado to Stamford Bridge for a fee that will reportedly rise to his £26.8million release clause.

The door had barely closed behind Andre Schurrle, who exited for Wolfsburg, before the Blues announced he had been replaced by the pacey 26-year-old. Schurrle had failed to make the desired impact in west London but Cuadrado's more traditional role as a wide man could well suit the Premier League.

Cuadrado arrives at Stamford Bridge after five and a half years in Italy, having first joined Udinese from Independiente Medellin.

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