Transfer deadline day: Five key deals from January window
Chelsea finally landed Enzo Fernandez and Manchester United secured Marcel Sabitzer, with Premier League clubs involved in deadline day’s top deals.
Chelsea completed an extraordinary spending spree by landing World Cup star Enzo Fernandez from Benfica, the biggest deal of transfer deadline day.
It was Premier League clubs that featured front and centre as big-name players found new homes on Tuesday, with Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City kept busy.
Deals struck on this day can be born of desperation; however, if the right player becomes available, those that jump at the opportunity to reinforce might be thankful they took that choice come May.
We look back at five key deals that went through during the window and could prove hugely significant come the season’s end.
Enzo Fernandez: Benfica to Chelsea, $130M
A World Cup wonder for Argentina, Fernandez’s stock soared over four weeks in Qatar, to the point he became linked to the wealthiest clubs in Europe.
It was Chelsea owner Todd Boehly who lasted the distance in the race for his signature, adding Fernandez to the previous window deals for Mykhaylo Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile, Andrey Santos, David Datro Fofana, Joao Felix, Noni Madueke and Malo Gusto.
Fernandez has only played half a season in Europe after moving to Benfica from River Plate, so there is an element of risk in Chelsea’s investment, regardless of his national team performances alongside Lionel Messi and co.
He has played five Champions League group games, and the 22-year-old has looked the part, with his arrival handing Graham Potter another expensive plaything. This means there can be no excuses now for the head coach as he looks to turn the Blues into a winning machine.
Marcel Sabitzer: Bayern Munich to Manchester United (loan)
Bayern Munich decided they could afford to part company with Sabitzer, with the former RB Leipzig midfielder jetting out to secure a move to Manchester United, swapping one European giant for another.
It was reported Erik ten Hag fancied Ryan Gravenberch, his former Ajax player, but Bayern were said to have resisted that interest and instead allowed United to take Austria international Sabitzer.
He emerged as a surprising spare part for Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann, with Sabitzer having featured in 23 games for the Bundesliga leaders this season, albeit starting only 11 times.
Ten Hag will certainly like the fact Sabitzer has a duel success rate of 58.77 per cent – the highest of his career – this season.
He is not a like-for-like replacement for the injured Christian Eriksen, but Sabitzer brings his own qualities, will want to prove a point, and should not let United down over the coming four months.
Jorginho: Chelsea to Arsenal, $14.7M
Arsenal wanted Moises Caicedo and were prepared to pay a king’s ransom for the Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder. They settled for Jorginho, a Euro 2020 champion with Italy and Champions League winner with Chelsea, paying a small fraction of the fee they would have had to spend on Caicedo.
A deal worth around £12million looks sensible business, and Jorginho makes the jump from 10th-placed Chelsea to the table-topping Gunners, seeking the first domestic league title of his career.
He played 25 games this season for the Blues, scoring three penalties but not managing any goals other than those spot-kicks, nor any assists.
Some Arsenal fans have grumbled over the signing, but Jorginho brings defensive qualities and experience of winning, which for Arsenal in recent years has been in short supply.
Joao Cancelo: Manchester City to Bayern Munich (loan with option to buy)
Bayern brought in goalkeeper Yann Sommer earlier in the window after Manuel Neuer suffered a season-ending broken leg. That was a deal that many saw coming, but the move for Cancelo came out of the sky blue, reportedly after a disagreement with Pep Guardiola saw City happy to offload the full-back.
It went through on Tuesday, opening up the possibility of Cancelo being a Premier League and Bundesliga winner in the same season.
He looks set to feature at right-back for Bayern, with Alphonso Davies featuring on the left. It means Bayern will have a pair of attacking full-backs that will put the fear up opponents.
With Bayern in a slump, drawing their past three Bundesliga games, it felt important for there to be a new face coming in. Cancelo, until very recently a favourite of Guardiola, is used to winning things with City so should fit in well at Sabener Strasse.
Pedro Porro: Sporting CP to Tottenham (loan with obligation to buy)
Three and a half years since he joined Manchester City, Porro should finally make his debut in English football after being recruited to fill the right-back role for Antonio Conte at Spurs.
This has the makings of a masterstroke signing, with Spain international Porro having caught Spurs’ eye in the Champions League group stage earlier this season. He previously played for Real Valladolid while farmed out on loan from City, for whom he never played a competitive senior game.
He represents an upgrade on Matt Doherty, who was released to join Atletico Madrid, and may have the edge on Emerson Royal, with Conte bringing in a player with serious defensive and attacking qualities.
Among defenders with 10 or more appearances and at least 10 tackles, Porro’s 78.95 per cent tackle success rate ranks as the sixth-best in the Portuguese Primeira Liga this season.
Meanwhile, only one defender, Benfica’s Alejandro Grimaldo, has created more chances than Porro’s 34 from 14 games, which have brought him six assists.
Porro ranks second among defenders in the Portuguese top flight for the most crosses played too, with 108 to Grimaldo’s 116. Significantly, though, Porro has played 526 minutes fewer than Grimaldo, illustrating how effective the Spurs new boy has been when on the pitch.