Yesterday saw the most frugal Premier League deadline day in over a decade; despite the league's total January expenditure of £230 million, only £25 million came in the final 24 hours. Whether managers were put off by inflated deadline day prices or simply bemused that Britain were actually leaving the EU, most decided to keep their wallets in their pockets this time around.
With only a few changes to analyse, Back Four have graded five transfers from top flight football based on how successful the move is likely to be for both club and player.
Jarrod Bowen (Hull City to West Ham - Undisclosed)
Bowen has flaunted his talent in the Championship in recent years, establishing himself as one of the best attacking players in the division. He boasted 22 goals for Hull last season and has already netted 16 in this year's campaign.
West Ham are in desperate need of rejuvenation, floating above the relegation zone on goal difference alone. With Bowen's goal threat and positional flexibility, playing as either a forward or winger for Hull this season, David Moyes will be hopeful that he adapts quickly to Premier League football and starts firing swiftly for the Hammers.
Although reported as an undisclosed fee, the transfer is believed to come to a total of £22 million. Bowen has earned this chance underneath the Premier League spotlight and West Ham, despite paying slightly more than they would have bargained for, have done well to lure the the former tiger to the London Stadium.
Odion Ighalo (Shanghai Shenhua to Manchester United - Loan)
As one of the last signings of the day, the former Watford striker penned a loan deal with Manchester United, sending him away from China and back to the Premier League.
Whether perceived as a welcomed addition or a sheer embarrassment, the transfer can certainly be summed up in one word: brave. As arguably the most scrutinised board in football, they've handed their fault-finding fans a glorious opportunity to criticise their recruitment even more. Perry Groves, the former Arsenal winger, has already jumped on the bandwagon in scorning United's new signing.
Whether Groves' statement is to be taken flippantly or seriously, the fact remains that if Ighalo is the very best forward United can attract, then it confirms their reputation and allure has diminished drastically in recent years.
However, there are still positives to the Nigerian's arrival at Old Trafford. He will give Solskjaer another option upfront while Rashford's injury keeps him on the sidelines. At a push, one could argue that Ighalo might give every minute his all for the Red Devils as he's been a supporter of Manchester United since childhood...
But that's about it.
Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang to Athletico Madrid - Loan)
After pursuing Edison Cavani for the majority of the window, Athletico Madrid would have been devastated when the transfer fell through due to injury.
Desperate to rekindle their attack, and with his side scoring only 22 goals in 22 La Liga games this season, Simeone needed talent from somewhere. Confronted with the challenge of finding another forward with Canvani's ability, the club decided to chase a winger instead.
This led them to the loan signing of Yannick Carrasco, a player that knows Simeone's style all too well, having played under him between 2015 and 2018.
Overall, this is a solid signing. Carrasco knows the club and should fit in seamlessly. The Belgian has sharpened his focus in front of goal since moving to China and he should be hungry to help Athletico rescue an underwhelming season to date.
Cynics of the footballing world will note that perhaps Carrasco might see this as a backward step in his career. Two years ago, he opted for the opulence of the Chinese Super League and snubbed Athletico, Arsenal and Juventus in the process. Only time will tell whether Carrasco's left a piece of his heart in Madrid or whether it's fully migrated to China.
Cédric Soares (Southampton to Arsenal - Loan)
With Chambers and Tierney out with injuries, the signing of Cédric Soares at fullback looks like a sensible one on paper. Having played for Southampton since 2015, he's certainly an experienced player who knows the challenges and expectations of the Premier League.
However, there is a strong possibility that this signing may end in upset. Although Soares has made a career as an attack-minded fullback and shares many aspects of his game with his awaited competitor Héctor Bellerín, the Portuguese international's aptitude in defence is questionable to say the least. Southampton have boasted sturdy back lines since Soares' arrival in 2015, so much so that they have often covered for him defensively and perhaps even made him look better than he is.
However, Arsenal's defence is anything but sturdy; they leak goals for fun and have found it hard to find a consistent back four who gel together. My prediction, controversial as it may seem, is that Soares' defensive inconsistencies will be spotlighted at the Emirates and his reputation will begin to diminish.
In fact, Southampton may be the real winners of this transaction, especially considering they've acquired Kyle Walker-Peters on loan from Tottenham Hotspur to replace him, who arguably has a higher ceiling in terms of potential. With the youngster struggling for first team football in London, he may be inclined to sign with the Saints permanently this summer if he settles quickly on the south coast.
Emre Can (Juventus to Dortmund - Loan)
Since Maurizio Sarri's arrival in Turin last season, Can has only started a total of two games for the Italian giants. At only 26 years of age, the German midfielder was not satisfied seeing his career disintegrate on the bench and he finally got his loan move away from the club yesterday. Now a Dortmund player, Can will be excited at the prospect of more first team football back in his home country.
The finer print of the signing states that Dortmund have the option to buy Can at the end of the season for 25 million euros. This is perfect for the German club, as they can see the rest of the season as an extended trial period for Can, weighing up whether he is worth the money. Conceding more goals than any current side in the top six, Dortmund will benefit from Can's ability to sit in front of the defence and protect the back line.
Fans will be hoping that Can settles into the Signal Iduna Park as quickly as their other January signing, Erling Braut Haaland, who scored a hat-trick on his debut just weeks ago.
Overall, Dortmund should be very pleased with their recruitment this month.
Agree or disagree with our grades? Comment below with your thoughts.
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