Jorginho, McKennie & Depay: Ranking the best value 2023 January transfers
During the January transfer window, it is notoriously difficult to get value for money. With the season already well underway, it is impossible for clubs to hide just how desperate they are to sign players - making it a seller's market.
That is not the only issue with recruiting in January, though. Coming in partway through the campaign can make it extremely difficult for new players to bed in and make an impact.
That is why the majority of clubs much prefer to get their business done in the summer. However, sometimes, their hands are forced by poor form, a change in management or injuries.
At first glance, those clubs who did make moves last month appear to have got varying amounts of bang for their buck.
GOAL runs down the 10 best value deals of the window...
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#10 Noni Madueke - PSV to Chelsea (£29m)
Todd Boehly moved another step closer to his dream of fielding an entire starting XI of forwards in January, bringing in Mykhailo Mudryk, Joao Felix and Noni Madueke to bolster Chelsea's faltering squad.
All three transfers were subject to intense scrutiny, and Felix's disastrous debut against Fulham - where he was sent off early in the second half - did little to deflect criticism of his near £10m loan switch.
Although Mudryk's promising cameo in the Blues' Premier League draw with Liverpool went a long way to relieving the pressure on his shoulders, Madueke is probably the best deal from a value perspective.
A fee of £29m may seem like a lot for someone who's averaged a goal every four games in his senior career so far, but several caveats must be attached.
Firstly, there is little chance of Madueke's value crashing too spectacularly. Premier League clubs will always need signings who meet the competition's homegrown criteria, which means English players' prices are massively inflated - it's worth noting that he cost Chelsea less than recent fees paid by other sides for the likes of Michael Keane, Ollie Watkins and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Secondly, the guy clearly has talent. Blessed with a devastating combination of pace and skill, he carries the ball with exceptional confidence and never shirks his out-of-possession responsibilities.
Questions remain over his end product, but with the right guidance he can feasibly become the perfect modern winger for the Blues.
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#9 Jorginho - Chelsea to Arsenal (£12m)
It was a bit of a head scratcher when the news first broke, but the more you think about Jorginho's move to north London, the more it makes sense.
Edu's new 'sensible' transfer policy meant the Gunners were never going to overspend on Moises Caicedo - even with the Premier League title within their grasp. Signing Jorginho - who was in the conversation to win the Ballon d'Or in 2021, don't forget - for a fraction of Brighton's asking price makes far more financial sense, even if it isn't anywhere near as exciting.
Arsenal have, of course, recruited poorly from their London rivals in the past, with David Luiz, Petr Cech and Willian failing to fulfil their potential after making the switch from Chelsea.
However, arriving on a short-term contract and with the personal endorsement of Mikel Arteta, Jorginho should buck this trend. The Champions League and European Championship winner adds vital experience to a young squad and his ability to retain possession will be important when Arsenal are looking to close out games in the second half of the season.
It's a good move for Jorginho too, who could lift his first-ever league title at the end of the campaign. And if it doesn't work out, it's not the end of the world. The Italy international will simply be moved on with minimal fuss.
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#8 Pablo Sarabia - PSG to Wolves (£4.4m)
Wolves are in trouble. Big trouble in fact.
During the first half of the season, they seemed allergic to goals, netting a pitiful 12 times in their first 19 matches - a situation certainly not helped by summer signing Sasa Kalajdzic being ruled out for the season after tearing his ACL on his debut.
That failure to find the back of the net cost Bruno Lage his job back in October, and things scarcely improved when Steve Davis was placed in interim charge of the first team.
Unsurprisingly, Wolves have prioritised attacking reinforcements during the winter window, announcing the £44m arrival of Matheus Cunha from Atletico Madrid on Christmas Day no less.
While that is surely an overpay, the cut-price signing of Pablo Sarabia represents much better value. Although he never looked entirely comfortable at PSG, the Spaniard knows where the back of the net is, scoring 15 league goals in 29 league appearances during a loan stint at Sporting C.P. last season.
Sarabia also hit double figures in La Liga back in 2018-19, and Julen Lopetegui will be delighted to finally have some firepower back in his ranks as he aims to steer Wolves away from the relegation trap door.
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#7 Josef Martinez - Atlanta United to Inter Miami (Free)
It is hard to imagine Atlanta United without Josef Martinez, but after a glorious six-season spell - including an MLS Cup triumph in 2018 - the face of the franchise was released at the end of the 2022 campaign.
Inter Miami moved quickly to snap him up in January after Atlanta bought out his contract. Better yet, he is not even taking up one of the Herons' designated player spots, leaving them free to bring in another big name before the season starts as Phil Neville aims to lead the club to glory in what seems likely to be his final season in charge.
Although a 2020 ACL tear has clearly robbed Martinez of his explosiveness - with the Venezuelan scoring just 21 times since, after hauls of 19, 31 and 27 goals in his first three seasons - off-field controversy has also played a part in his decline.
An exit from the club which he has defined since his arrival should provide him with the right headspace to get back to his best. Considering the economics of the deal too, it must be considered one of the best transfers in recent MLS history.
#6 Arnaut Danjuma - Villarreal to Tottenham (Loan)
Arnaut Danjuma has endured a disappointing 2022-23 season so far. After starring as Villarreal made the Champions League semi-finals last campaign, a muscle injury restricted him to just 10 La Liga starts this time out.
That injury also heartbreakingly condemned him to missing out on the Netherlands' 2022 World Cup squad, and the forward has clearly resolved to resurrect his career by returning to the Premier League - a competition he retains significant affection for from his time with Bournemouth.
For a long while, he seemed destined for Everton, but amid turmoil at Goodison Park, Danjuma has wisely opted to choose Tottenham instead. It's a great fit for both parties.
Much to the frustration of many supporters, Antonio Conte is persisting with a counter-attacking style this season, and the Dutchman's directness and skill in one-vs-one situation should lend him well to Spurs.
Tottenham badly need attacking reinforcements too, with Son Heung-min looking a shadow of his former self and Bryan Gil shipped out on loan once again on deadline day.
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#5 Daley Blind - Ajax to Bayern Munich (Free)
Ajax are a mess at the moment and little typifies the turmoil more that the acrimonious exit of club icon Daley Blind on a free transfer just before the January transfer window opened.
Blind recently confessed that he expected to retire at his boyhood club, only for a high-profile falling out with Alfred Schreuder - who has now been sacked - to convince him to cut his spell short.
It did not take him long to find a new club, with Bayern snapping him up for nothing just a week later.
While Blind is unlikely to have a transformative impact on Julian Nagelsmann's side, he is a coach's dream. Capable of playing in several positions, Blind also has a strong relationship with Matthijs de Ligt, partnering him in defence during Ajax's superb run to the 2019 Champions League semi-finals.
For no outlay, this is a typically intelligent piece of business from the Bundesliga giants.
#4 Weston McKennie - Juventus to Leeds (Loan)
Leeds continued their transition into becoming USMNT FC by signing midfield dynamo Weston McKennie this month.
With international team mates Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams impressing at Elland Road since making their summer switches, the Juventus midfielder should have no issue adapting to life in West Yorkshire.
The boisterous fanbase will take to him too, if his recent comments are anything to go on. "I need to be able to go box-to-box, I need to be able to release my energy," McKennies aid. "I love [going] box-to-box, I love tackling, I love physicality, I love trash-talking, I love scoring goals. I love everything I feel like Leeds identifies with."
With Leeds in the midst of another relegation battle, McKennie's intensity is exactly what they need, and provided they avoid the drop, the Premier League side will surely be exercising their option to make his switch permanent this summer.
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#3 Jordan Nobbs - Arsenal to Aston Villa (£35k)
There were a string of blockbuster deals in the Women's Super League this January, with Beth England completing a British-record switch from Chelsea to Tottenham, Manu Iwabuchi crossing the north London divide a la Sol Campbell, and Manchester United bolstering their title bid with a flurry of new signings.
Outside of the 'big four', Aston Villa continued their construction of one of the most exciting teams in the WSL, recruiting Lucy Staniforth from United and, rather shockingly, Jordan Nobbs from Arsenal.
The Villans reportedly had to fork out just £35,000 for Nobbs' services - which represents exceptional value. The Gunners legend has responded superbly to missing out on England's Euro 2022 success through injury this season, playing her way back into Sarina Wiegman's plans during the August international break.
However, despite some excellent recent moments - including back-to-back Arsenal goals against FC Zurich and West Ham in October - the form of Lia Walti and Frida Maanum meant Nobbs was always going to be playing second fiddle at Meadow Park.
That is far from ideal in a World Cup year and Arsenal's loss will no doubt be Aston Villa's gain as they look to finish top of the 'best of the rest' WSL mini-league.
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#2 Marcel Sabitzer - Bayern Munich to Manchester United (Loan)
Manchester United were all set for a quiet end to their January transfer window - until Reading's journeyman striker Andy Carroll clattered into the back of Christian Eriksen on Saturday.
As a result, Eriksen - who has missed just one game in all competitions since arriving at Old Trafford - will be out of action until the end of April at the earliest.
United did not waste time feeling sorry for themselves, though, as they soon made contact with Bayern Munich over the possibility of bringing Marcel Sabitzer to the club on a short-term basis.
A deal was quickly bashed out, with the Austrian seemingly an excellent fit for Erik ten Hag's desired, high-energy midfield. Sabitzer may have found himself lost in the shuffle at Bayern, but if he can rediscover his RB Leipzig form, this could prove to be an inspired signing.
As well as being impeccable out of possession, the 28-year-old also excels in finding pockets of space between the opposition's defence and midfield - much like the man he'll be replacing, Eriksen. They may not have planned it that far in advance, but United seem to have stumbled upon their perfect January addition.
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#1 Memphis Depay Barcelona to Atletico Madrid (£2.6m)
Memphis Depay has become the latest victim of Barcelona's ridiculous lack of ability to plan for the future.
Barca jumped through hoops to make this move happen in the summer of 2021, but as soon as Ronald Koeman was sacked, it was clear that Depay's days at Camp Nou were numbered.
Once again, the beneficiaries of this incompetence are Atletico Madrid, who have previously prised Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann away from Catalunya in recent times.
Atleti will pay just £2.6m for Depay, though they did have to give Barcelona first refusal on Yannick Carrasco - no great loss considering the Belgian has not set the world alight in the capital this season.
There is a real sense that this represents outstanding business from Diego Simeone and Co. with the forward potentially the player to reignite their stuttering season.