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Top 10 January Transfer Buys

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January is a busy time for many clubs. At one end of the table, teams battling for their lives are desperately searching for the striker whose goals will keep them up or the defender to plug a leak in their defence. At the other end, clubs look for the one missing link who will reignite their challenge for the title or Champions League football. As a result, prices go up and clubs will pay a premium to get their man. Sometimes they will hit the jackpot and find that crucial individual who makes a positive difference, helps them achieve their goals for the season, and sometimes even goes on to become a club legend. Here are ten of the best January transfers Premier League clubs have made in recent years.

10: Christophe Dugarry

Credit:Action Images / Michael Regan – Livepic

A World Cup winner with France in 1998, Dugarry already had spells at AC Milan and Barcelona on his CV. Unexpectedly, he joined Birmingham City on loan for the rest of the 2002/03 season. Despite the Bordeaux man showing signs of flair and individual brilliance, the Blues found themselves slipping towards the relegation zone. In April the Frenchman turned saviour as he struck five goals in four games to propel the Blues to safety. He signed on a permanent deal in the summer and failed to make the same impact afterwards. However, by that point he had already cemented his name in Birmingham City history.

9: Mikel Arteta

Tipped as the replacement for Real Madrid-bound Thomas Graveson, the Spaniard joined Everton on an initial loan spell from Real Sociedad in January 2005. He proved instrumental as David Moyes’ side eventually secured a top four finish and qualification for the Champions League qualifiers. Despite not making it to the group stages after defeat to Villarreal, Arteta joined for a bargain £2m in the summer. He spent over six years at the club making over 200 appearances and scoring 34 goals before joining Arsenal for £10m in the summer of 2011. During this period he established himself as a fan favourite and always received a warm welcome when he returned to Goodison Park with the Gunners.

8: David Luiz

The gung-ho Brazilian known for his marauding runs from his defence as much as his likeness to Simpsons’ villain Sideshow Bob had several ups and downs during his first spell at Chelsea, but will ultimately go down as a success. He joined in the middle of the 2010/11 season from Benfica and became an instant cult hero. His highlight came in 2012 as he scored in the penalty shootout win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. He also won the FA Cup and Europa League before joining PSG for a world record £50m in 2014, the highest price ever paid for a defender at the time. He returned to West London in 2016 becoming a key player in Chelsea’s 2016/17 Premier League win.

7: Dele Alli

The highly-rated MK Dons midfielder joined Tottenham for £5m in January 2015 before re-joining Karl Robinson’s side on loan for the remainder of the season. He won the Football League’s Young Player of the Season award and instantly made an impact when he joined up with Tottenham. He scored ten goals in his debut season and won the PFA Young Player of the Year award during both Premier League seasons he has completed so far. He also appeared in the PFA Team of the Year in both 2015/16 and 2016/17. During the 2016/17 campaign he scored over 20 goals in all competitions. Now an established England international, Alli has repeatedly been linked with a move to Real Madrid.

6: Patrice Evra

(Photo credit – PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The French left-back joined Manchester United for £5.5m from Monaco in January 2006. He soon established himself as part of the all-conquering back four of Gary Neville, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and himself with Edwin van der Sar in goal behind them. In five full seasons together, United won four Premier League titles (one second place), three League Cups, the Champions League and the Club World Cup. They were also beaten finalists in two Champions Leagues during that period and Evra left as a club legend with 379 appearances to his name by the time he joined Juventus in 2014.

5: Nemanja Matic

Matic left Chelsea for Benfica in 2011 as part of a player-plus-cash deal to bring David Luiz to Stamford Bridge. However, three years later he returned to West London for £21m having established himself as a tough-tackling defensive midfielder in Portugal. Matic was instrumental in Chelsea’s Premier League and League Cup double in 2014/15. He formed a formidable partnership with N’Golo Kante during the 2016/17 league title-winning campaign before re-joining Jose Mourinho at Manchester United much to the dismay of many Chelsea fans.

4: Daniel Sturridge

Sturridge spent the first seven years of his career at Manchester City and Chelsea, although he found himself to be a bit-part player for the majority of his time at both clubs. It was only in January 2013 when he joined Liverpool for £12m that his career really began to take off. Fourteen goals in ten games saw him become an instant hit at Anfield whilst his scintillating form also saw him cement his place in the England squad. It was in the 2013/14 season however that Sturridge truly proved his credentials. A formidable partnership with Luis Suarez saw the England hitman score 21 Premier League goals during Liverpool’s ill-fated title challenge, best remembered for THAT Steven Gerrard slip of course. Unfortunately for Sturridge, injuries have since hampered his progress and he is no longer first choice with manager Jurgen Klopp preferring the so-called “fab four” of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and the recently-departed Philippe Coutinho with Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gini Wijnaldum also competing with Sturridge for game time.

3: Philippe Coutinho

Speaking of Coutinho, the Brazilian midfielder joined Liverpool in January 2013 from Inter Milan for a modest fee of £8.5m. Despite interest from Southampton, Coutinho skipped out the middle man and headed directly to Anfield where he never looked back. Known for his trickery, playmaking abilities and long-range goals Coutinho became one of the Premier League’s best players during his five-year stay. Despite not winning any silverware at Anfield, Coutinho left the club this month to join Barcelona in a £142m deal. This made him the second-most expensive player of all time behind only PSG forward Neymar.

2. Nemanja Vidic

January 2006 was a key month in Manchester United’s golden era as Evra was joined by fellow future-legend Nemanja Vidic. The Serbian hardman formed one of the Premier League’s greatest partnerships with Rio Ferdinand. He made 300 appearances for the club scoring a very respectable 21 goals from defence. He won five league titles, three League Cups, the Champions League and the Club World Cup whilst at United. With four appearances in the PFA Team of the Year and two in the FIFPro World XI there is no doubting that Vidic was a great success. Vidic retired two years ago after a short stint at Inter Milan but will always be remembered for his successes in Manchester.

1. Luis Suarez

Photo credit – (BRITAIN – Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

Surely the best January signing the Premier League has ever seen. Despite ultimately leaving Liverpool with just a League Cup winners’ medal to show for it, the controversial Uruguayan was a major success at Anfield. He joined for £22.8m in January 2011 alongside £35m man Andy Carroll. Whilst Carroll was the more expensive signing and the better-known name at this point, Suarez didn’t take long to change this. He finished sixth in the 2011 Ballon d’Or. Seventeen goals in the 2011/12 season were followed by thirty the following year. He saved the best until last however as he struck thirty-one times during Liverpool’s title near-miss in 2013/14. Despite a four-month ban for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup, the third such incident of its kind, Suarez joined Barcelona for £75m becoming the third-most expensive player of all time. He went on to become a key part of Barca’s iconic MSN duo alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar ahead of the latter’s move to PSG in 2017.

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Andy Robertson – From Amateur to Anfield

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Another 3 points gained under the Anfield lights on Saturday evening and another outstanding performance from one of Liverpool’s star men. Nope we’re not talking about Salah, Mane Mane or Bobby Firmino because it’s all about Robbo, Andy Robertson.
The left back who has made the position his own and is quite rightly receiving the plaudits he deserves.

Andy Robertson

Just 5 years ago Andy Robertson was playing for Scottish 3rd Division side Queens Park, a club in which he signed for after having been released by Celtic for being too small earlier in his career.
His move to Dundee United saw him instantly catch the eye of many north of the border. A renewed contract was agreed within just weeks of his debut and was followed with being PFA’s “Scotland Young Player of the Year” and a subsequent place in the PFA “Scotland Team of the Year” for the 2013-14 Scottish Premiership season.

Andy Robertson
All of this convinced Hull City to swoop with a near £3m bid to get their man, United accepted and the left back was on his way to the EPL.
3 seasons with Hull under the stewardship of former Man Utd stalwart Steve Bruce allowed him to gain what is deemed acceptable experience in England and it was Liverpool who won the race for his signature.
An absolute bargain at a reported £8m and his dream debut season is showing no signs of slowing down.

He has even earned the approval of Kop legend Stevie G. He told BT Sport: “He’s done terrifically well since coming in and the fans have taken to him. It’s not just about Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres, the top players that come, the fans love someone who gives 100 per cent.”
“He’s come in and he’s a very humble kid and gives it his all every game. To be fair to the kid. He’s been excellent.”
His lung bursting closing down run vs Man City made him a social media sensation but for those who have watched him for the past few years this was nothing out of the ordinary.
International recognition has obviously come his way and with 20 caps already under his belt, his partnership with Kieran Tierney gives The Tartan Army a strong looking left side for years to come.
He’s has never given up and has taken every chance that has come his way.
One of the signings of the 2017/18 season has undoubtedly been Liverpool’s Number 26.

Andy Robertson

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Nick Pope – From League Two to Russia as Englands most in form keeper?

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Some pretty daft things are said in the wake of a team winning promotion. Players who, in the depths of winter, you were berating for not being able to pass a ball two yards are suddenly going to be providing the names of your first born. You claim that you believed in the team all along, when in reality, after a home defeat by Dagenham & Redbridge, you had sworn never to go again. Most stupidly of all however, you claim that your young loanee goalkeeper will go to the next World Cup. Or at least that’s what I did after Bury’s promotion on the last day of the 2014/15 season. While little Thomas Daniel has yet to show his face, the latter statement may actually come true as Gareth Southgate takes a look at Burnley’s Nick Pope in his latest England squad.

Nick joined Bury in January 2015, on loan from Charlton Athletic. Our promotion campaign wasn’t running particularly smoothly. The day before Pope’s debut we sat 9th in League Two, two points outside the play off places and nine points off the automatic promotion places. We’d lost nine games, shipped as many goals as Tranmere, who went on to be relegated and the aforementioned Dagenham & Redbridge had managed to do the double over us as they fought at the wrong end of the table. Three goalkeepers had already worn the ‘keeper’s jersey before Pope. Shwan Jalal, Rob Lainton and Scott Loach had tried and failed to provide the solid goalkeeper David Flitcroft was looking for.

Pope’s debut was a pretty forgettable home draw against Wycombe Wanderers. He conceded a goal, which was to be rarity during Nick’s time with Bury. In the following 21 games, Pope conceded only nine goals, won fifteen games and lost only four. Pope exuded a calmness rarely sighted in the fourth tier of English football, instilling a new confidence in a defence which had underperformed for most the season. Come the final day of the season, Bury needed to win to be promoted. Away at Tranmere, who had already been relegated, the nerves showed. Pope was called upon to make crucial saves to keep the scores level. In the 61st minute however, Tom Soares wrote himself into Bury folklore and at the end of game, Bury found themselves in League One.

The following season, Pope was back with parent club Charlton. He began and ended the season as Charlton’s first choice goalkeeper, not playing all the games as Charlton preferred Stephen Henderson through the middle part of the season. This season was to be one of disappointment however, as Charlton were relegated to League One. Rather than drop down to League One with Charlton, Pope’s career took a different path. The winners of the Championship, Burnley, decided to take Nick onto the Premier League, signing him on a three year deal in July 2016. Pope played only cup matches in his first season with the Clarets. Even when Tom Heaton missed Premier League matches, 37 year old former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson was the preferred option.

With Robinson retiring in July of 2017 and a further injury to Tom Heaton opening the door, the 2017/18 season has seen Pope grasp his opportunity with both hands. To date Pope has kept ten clean sheets in twenty seven Premier League appearances, working behind a defence containing fellow England hopefuls James Tarkowski and Ben Mee.

Could Pope go from League Two to a World Cup in three years? Despite being arguably England’s most in-form goalkeeper heading into the tournament the chances are probably slim. Without any injuries, Gareth Southgate will take Joe Hart, Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford. Despite being woefully out of form, going into a tournament without Joe Hart would be seen as a mistake by most, given his experience, even if he is just there to lend a helping hand to the number one. Butland doesn’t seem to be losing any favour from being embroiled in Stoke’s relegation battle while Pickford could claim to be Everton’s best player of this season. However one mistake, a loss of form or injury could see Pope take the place of any of these three.

Back at Bury, nearly three years have passed since that rainy day promotion at Tranmere and we have never properly replaced Nick Pope. Since that day twelve (!) different goalkeepers have been used, seven during the 2015/16 season alone. As we head towards relegation back to League Two, the summer would be that little bit more bearable knowing that an ex – Shaker was on the biggest stage of them all. All the best Nick, lad. UTS.

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How good is your FA Cup Knowledge?

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LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 27: The FA Cup Trophy is seen prior to The Emirates FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on May 27, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

How good is your FA Cup knowledge?

FA Cup Quiz

Test your FA Cup knowledge with our quiz to mark the occasion.

Leaderboard: FA Cup Quiz

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