Six of the best from this year's transfer window

The January transfer window is often a let-down. 

Six of the best from this year's transfer window

For all the talk of big-name deals, high-profile swaps and eye-watering price-tags, the month rarely lives up to its hype, but the 2018 edition has been an improvement on recent years.

From the off, the highly anticipated deals happened; Philippe Coutinho moved to Barcelona, while Liverpool got their hands on Virgil van Dijk. So, with the window closed, Tom Bodell of Football Whispers rounds up the six best pieces of business.

Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United

Every window needs a saga and Sanchez’s future was just that. The Chilean forward had made it abundantly clear he would not be sticking with Arsenal, turning down the offer of a new contract prior to January.

Having almost moved to Manchester City to be reunited with Pep Guardiola — his coach at Barcelona — in the summer, Sanchez looked nailed-on to join the Premier League champions-elect this month.

However, virtually from nowhere, Manchester United and Jose Mourinho swooped. The 29-year-old will cost a princely £500,000 a week for the next four years.

However, the Red Devils managed to get Sanchez and offload Henrikh Mkhitaryan in one deal. It was a fine piece of business.

Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool

A Liverpool transfer target from last summer, van Dijk’s move to Anfield — following the well-trodden path from Southampton — was mercifully quick in the end.

The Saints, unimpressed by the Reds’ persistent pursuit in the summer, threatened to report Liverpool to the Premier League for tapping up. A hasty apology ended negotiations until this month, when the Merseysiders sprung into action.

Van Dijk’s £75m price tag makes him the most expensive defender in history, but by signing the Netherlands international they have got the missing piece of their defence Jurgen Klopp has craved.

Olivier Giroud to Chelsea

With Arsenal breaking their record transfer fee in consecutive windows, firstly to sign Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon and then to snare Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund, the big loser was Giroud.

The 31-year-old has been out of favour this season, making just one Premier League start. Despite his lack of action, the French international still has seven goals in all competitions — explaining why Chelsea want him.

Costing a bargain £15m, Giroud is well-versed in the role of super-sub, having equalled Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s record of 17 goals off the bench in December. Antonio Conte will be banking on a similar impact at Stamford Bridge.

Daniel Sturridge to West Brom

Linked with Inter Milan and Roma, Sturridge has instead agreed to spend the second half of the season fighting relegation on loan at West Brom.

The 28-year-old was afforded just five Premier League starts in the first half of the season by Klopp and knows he will have to prove his fitness and score goals for the Baggies if he is to force his way into England’s World Cup squad.

Sturridge has not played regularly in the top flight since netting 21 times during the 2013/14 campaign, as Liverpool finished runners-up, but that gives an indication of his quality and WBA boss Alan Pardew knows he has a top-level performer.

Gerard Deulofeu to Watford

Hugely impressive on loan at AC Milan in the second half of last season, Deulofeu was re-signed by Barcelona in the summer to the surprise of many.

Ousmane Dembele’s injury opened the door for the Spanish international in the first half of the campaign, but he has been unable to truly grasp his chance and will spend the next six months on loan at Watford.

The Hornets are in need of a boost and, if the 23-year-old — who scored four times in 18 league starts for Milan last term — can find his best form, they have a player with enormous ability on their hands.

Theo Walcott to Everton

Restricted to just 63 minutes of league action in the first half of the season at Arsenal, it was clear the 28-year-old needed a fresh start.

After speaking to former England teammate Wayne Rooney, Walcott joined Everton — despite West Ham transfer rumours — and registered an assist on his debut against West Brom.

Like Sturridge, his slim changes of being included in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad hinge on playing and performing in the second half of the campaign.

At £20m, the Toffees have picked up a seasoned international with something to prove. It could be a masterstroke. Got off the mark for the Blues last night.

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