The Greatest Premier League Bargains in the January Window

James Budgen

Patrice Evra - Monaco to Man United

Evra joined Manchester United from Monaco for £7m in January 2006 and despite not having an instant impact at Old Trafford, his eight-year stay in Manchester couldn’t be more successful.

He made 379 appearances for the club, winning 10 trophies, including five Premier League titles (incuding a famous three in a row between), and the Champions League in 2008 which then led to a FIFA Club World Cup trophy in 2009.

During his time in Manchester, Evra had a special connection with the fans, giving his all to the club with evident passion, which also led to him captaining the side on many occasions. A steal at £5.5m and one which they snatched from Inter Milan too.

Bruno Fernandes - Sporting Lisbon to Man United

United's modern-day Eric Cantona in many ways, Bruno Fernandes makes his way onto this list with his January transfer back in 2020 proving to be their best signing post-Sir Alex Ferguson and the main reason for their revival back up the league under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Despite Solskjaer getting sacked and the recent downfall this season, Fernandes' goals record is as good as anybody has put in at United since the glory Robin van Persie days, and better yet, he did it all from attacking midfield.

Whether it be stunning goals or a mere four-yard assist, it's rare a few games pass even in his worst form where Fernandes doesn't contribute towards a goal. And, should United win something in the next few years, all of it will come back to this monumental signing with the Portugal international being so influential in helping them get back into the upper echelons of European and Premier League football.

In reality, United could have been scraping together results for the top four in the past two seasons without him, making him just as important as previous signings like Cantona and van Persie, just in a very different, post-Fergie way all for a relatively cheap £47m.

Seamus Coleman - Sligo Rovers to Everton

When Seamus Coleman moved to Everton from Sligo Rovers for £60,000 in January 2009, not many people, including Everton fans, would’ve heard of his name. However, 13 years later, he is known for being one of the biggest bargains in Premier League history and perhaps the greatest given he now earns more a week than his entire transfer budget.

Coleman has made 363 appearances for Everton and counting, being an ever-present in the side at right-back for over a decade and under five different managers. With his consistently solid performances and leadership being invaluable to his side, he has been the captain for almost three seasons and remains a legend at the club.

Coleman’s best season was his 2013/14 season, he scored six goals and provided two assists and not only won Everton’s Player of the Season, but was included in the PFA Team of the Year.

Nemanja Vidic - Spartak Moscow to Man United

In the same window that United bought Evra, they also brought in Nemanja Vidic from Spartak Moscow for just £7m, meaning they got Evra and Vidic in for just over £13m making it as good a January transfer window as a club has ever seen.

He spent eight years at the club, making 300 appearances, and captaining them for four seasons, whilst also creating one of the best centre-back partnerships of all time with Rio Ferdinand.

Along with winning 10 major trophies at the club, including 5 Premier League titles and a Champions League, he also won the Premier League Player of the Season twice - Cristiano Ronaldo and Thierry Henry have done the same.

Some will call his the best to ever do it in the Premier League, and he's in practically everybody's top three at least.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - Dortmund to Arsenal

As the last signing in Arsene Wenger's 22 years as Arsenal boss, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signed as also the Gunners' record signing of £56m making him a memorable acquisition for two reasons. However, it's his 92 goals in 163 appearances for the club that make him one of their best-ever Premier League players, alongside his one Golden Boot for the club which puts him on a rare category of Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie to win the award with the club.

Such goalscoring numbers have also only been bettered by the two former legendary strikers at the Emirates club, with these figures surpassing players such as Alexis Sanchez, and combined with his triumphant FA Cup campaign, the Gabon international is one of their greatest ever, despite the recent issues.

In that 2019/20 FA Cup campaign, the former Arsenal captain scored twice against defending champions Manchester City in the semi-final, before scoring a penalty in the final as Arsenal clinched the trophy.

Aubameyang could be on his way out of the club following another suspension by the Gunners for disciplinary reasons, but if Arsenal fans can look past this, they'll see every penny of the £56m has been worth it until his point.

Riyad Mahrez - Leicester to Man City

Mahrez signed for Leicester City in January 2014 for £450,000 whilst the club was still in the Championship, and in itself, this was an almighty bargain. Mahrez’s first season in the Premier League wasn’t that impressive, scoring four goals and providing three assists in 30 appearances, with Leicester only just avoiding relegation with their great escape.

His 2015/16 season will go down as one of the best in Premier League history, as not only did he explode individually by scoring 17 goals and providing 11 assists, but he also played a pivotal role in Leicester doing the impossible and winning the Premier League with odds of 5000/1.

He eventually joined Manchester City two years after this as his form continued to shine, and Mahrez has since been integral to Pep Guardiola's side winning two league titles, an FA Cup, and three League Cups,with many more set to come for sure. Mahrez also recently netted his 50th goal for the club in 161 games, which puts to rest any debates on whether or not he's fulfilled his potential with City.

Virgil van Dijk - Southampton to Liverpool

Given that Virgil van Dijk has since turned into the best centre-back of the past few years following his move to Liverpool, he might just be the greatest January signing of all time. Throw into this his exceptional Ballon d'Or worthy performances since that 2018 move from Southampton that saw the club earn 196 points in two seasons, win their first-ever Premier League title, and the Champions League, and van Dijk may just be Liverpool's most effective signing ever.

In fact, the only thing that dilutes that is the £75m record-breaking deal that secured his services, but even then, given what he has done for Liverpool and his importance to the side, even for a £100m+, van Dijk would be a steal.

At the end of the day, you buy players to win, and with van Dijk at the back and playing 100 games in his first two seasons at the club and not missing a Premier League game during this time, the Dutchman emphasis how effective signings can be in January. In fact, with him then missing the next season due to injury and Liverpool consequently finishing fourth, it only gets emphasised more.

Luis Suarez - Ajax to Liverpool

In the deadline day mayhem of 2011, Liverpool ended up signing Luis Suarez from Ajax for £22m, which wasn’t meant to be their star signing as they also got in Andy Carroll for £35m on the same day.

Suarez’s form spiked in the following 2012/13 season, scoring 23 goals and providing five assists in the league, more than doubling his output from the previous campaign.

In the 2013/14 season, not only did Suarez’s output improve, by scoring 31 goals and providing 12 assists in the league, he won the Premier League Player of the Season, and almost won the league title for Liverpool, pushing Manchester City all the way.

He goes down as one of the Premier League's best ever despite only spending three full seasons at Liverpool, and his 31 goals in 33 games in the 2013/14 season is perhaps the greatest ever individual from a forward given how he could have broken a variety of records if he played the other five games.


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