England midfielder Dele Alli has offered Everton a free transfer in what has been one of the biggest moves of the deadline of an action-packed winter transfer window. The window closed at 23:00 GMT for Premier League teams, although it is still open for other leagues such as the Bundesliga and Serie A, so further activity can be expected on the line.
The winter transfer window is generally slower than its summer counterpart, with teams reluctant to let their big players go with so little time to replace them. The 2021/22 window, on the other hand, seems to go against this trend.
The record winter window fee last season was €22.5million paid by Ajax for West Ham’s Sebastian Haller. That sum has already been exceeded seven times this season with upcoming transfers, showing that teams have increased their spending and may finally be managing to undo the strain of COVID-19 on their finances.
Usually, winter transfers are a mark of teams panicking because they can’t meet their required goals in the summer. The current transfer list, however, shows that not only are teams spending more, but they also appear to be spending smarter.
1. Dusan Vlahovic: Fiorentina to Juventus for 81.6 million euros
At first glance, spending more than €80m on a 22-year-old Serbian striker seems like a huge risk for Juventus, especially considering the €209.9m in debt they racked up last season. What this assumption fails to take into account is the seemingly limitless potential the Serb possesses as he has already scored 17 goals in 21 league starts for Fiorentina and also has the distinction of equaling Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of most goals in a calendar year in Serie A, having hit the back of the net 33 times in 2021.
This goalscoring quality is particularly needed for Juve as their top scorer is the still-injured Paulo Dybala, who has scored just seven times as the team struggles to generate chances as a whole, averaging 14.6 shots per game, which is only sixth best. throughout Serie A.
While Vlahovic’s considerable tally is bolstered by the penalty shootout, his performances remain impressive. Despite his youth, he has become the talisman of Fiorentina whose second top scorer is left-back Cristiano Biraghi with four goals. Goals aren’t the only thing the Serb adds as he uses his considerable 6’3″ frame to dominate in the air while also bringing a defensive work rate, working hard to stop the opposition.
Vlahovic’s clever movement in the box and mature decision-making in front of goal ensure his goalscoring exploits are transferable to any club, and it looks like Juve have secured their forward position for at least the 10 coming years.
2. Arthur Cabral: Basel to Fiorentina for 14 million euros
From Vlahovic, we move on to the man Fiorentina have turned to as a replacement for the young Serbian in the form of 23-year-old striker Arthur Cabral. While the Brazilian played in the Swiss league, which is a relatively weaker league than Serie A, his output has been huge as in just 17 starts he has scored 14 goals.
The league isn’t the only place he’s impressed, as he’s scored five goals in six games in the UEFA Conference League while scoring eight goals in the competition’s playoffs, showing he can replicate his form in outdoor competitions.
Not only is the number of goals impressive, but the quality is even better as the Brazilian has a knack for scoring impressive goals ranging from bicycle kicks to long shots from 35 yards, which shows that he is more than just a poacher.
Like Vlahovic, Cabral is physically imposing at 6’1″ and 86kg, but he is not your typical timber giant as he is technically gifted with decent speed. This combined with his physique and penchant for the spectacular gives headaches for defenders as they can’t deal with his unpredictability for a full 90 minutes.
Although this move went unnoticed, it is undoubtedly one of the shrewdest deals of this transfer window as Fiorentina replaced their star striker with another budding young talent without even spending a quarter of 81, 6 million euros received from Juventus.
3. Bruno Guimaraes: Lyon to Newcastle for 42.1 million euros
Midfield has long been a problem for Newcastle as they lacked the ability to control games in this area as they averaged a paltry 37.8 per cent possession. That’s why signing Guimaraes is such a smart move, as the Brazilian defensive midfielder is one of the best young deep-lying playmakers in world football, averaging an impressive 88% passing accuracy.
These passes aren’t just simple back or side passes, as Guimaraes has an extremely wide passing range having shown incisive balls as well as precise long balls and diagonal switches in his locker.
Bruno’s skill set is well balanced as he averages a combined 3.4 tackles and interceptions with 1.8 completed dribbles per game to go along with his passing magic showing a combo of silk and steel that Newcastle’s engine room claim.
The best part about signing the 24-year-old Brazilian is that he’s the kind of player who could have easily plied his trade for Europe’s top clubs after being linked with Manchester United and Arsenal. This kind of shrewd scouting combined with the wealth of Newcastle’s controversial owners could see them become a footballing superpower in years to come.
4. Philippe Coutinho: Barcelona to Aston Villa on loan
It’s a testament to Aston Villa’s rise that they can now attract a player of Philippe Coutinho’s stature to the club. Two seasons ago the club barely escaped relegation, finishing 17th and slipping out of the drop zone by a single point. But now they have established themselves as a solid mid-table club and most importantly they have a brilliant young manager in Steven Gerrard who was instrumental in convincing the Brazilian to sign.
Coutinho is not just someone who was signed for his name value as he provides much of what the Midlands club lost after their star player Jack Grealish left for Manchester City with his combination of flair attacking, playing and dribbling ability, replicating the kind of individual brilliance that Grealish was used to providing.
The Brazilian attacking midfielder is known for his signature move of cutting from the left wing and scoring a long-range strike. Even though the defenders know it’s happening, they just can’t help but show how difficult it is to defend Coutinho when he’s fit.
This transfer has a caveat though as Coutinho passed out at Barcelona, but he is a hugely talented player with Premier League playing experience having plied his trade for Liverpool. In Coutinho’s last half-season in the Premier League, he netted seven goals and six assists in just 13 starts, showing that it’s worth taking a leap of faith.
Even if that transfer doesn’t work out, Villa are under no obligation to make the move permanent despite Coutinho already impressing in his debut game. It’s the kind of recruitment that could turn Villa from a mid-table into one that holds a place in the top six.
5. Kieran Trippier: Atletico Madrid to Newcastle United for 15 million euros
Newcastle United are currently on the brink of relegation sitting 18th in the Premier League table, but with acquisitions it’s hard to bet against them not staying up. While Newcastle have recruited smartly so far, of their three signings none have traveled or decorated as much as Trippier.
The 31-year-old right-back has more experience at the top levels of the game than the rest of the squad combined, having featured in the Euro 2020 final and lifting the Spanish League trophy last year. Crucially for a leaky back line at Newcastle, Trippier is also a shrewd defender, but where he really shines is in his delivery as his crossing technique makes him a threat in both open play and shots. set pieces, registering six assists in the league last season – an impressive tally for a defender.
Trippier also has a considerable driving force as he has played for extremely demanding managers in Diego Simeone and Mauricio Pochettino whose style of play requires great stamina. The fact that these managers trusted Trippier to be their right-back shows that he can easily handle the two-way tasks of a modern full-back. Although Trippier might not be a long-term signing due to his age, the price of the move as well as the quality of the player make him an extremely sensible move.
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