Ranking the 10 Best January Transfer Deadline Day Moves in History
There’s a commonly held belief that the January transfer window rarely delivers value for money.
Obvious exceptions are Manchester United’s 2006 swoops for Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra, Chelsea’s 2012 acquisition of Gary Cahill and Everton’s 2005 loan signing of Mikel Arteta that eventually led to a permanent switch.
And there are others.
It’s on transfer deadline day that the silly money really starts to fly. With only a few hours to supposedly strengthen their squads for the stretch drive, clubs are seemingly willing to spend whatever they can in order to bring in a player.
This winter’s deadline day—on January 31 at 11 p.m. GMT/6 p.m. ET—will no doubt see a handful of bidding wars drive prices drastically upward, but there could be some decent pieces of business concluded as well.
Following are 10 of the best Premier League transfers made on the final day of the January window.
10. Andy Reid
Offloaded to Charlton Athletic following an underwhelming spell at Tottenham Hotspur, Andy Reid got back into the Premier League on the final day of the January 2008 transfer window when he agreed to a £5 million move to Sunderland.
He picked up an assist in his first match for the Black Cats and put in 32 performances for the club in 2008-09, which was his best season in top-flight football.
9. Robbie Keane
His July 2008 switch from Tottenham to Liverpool an unmitigated disaster, Robbie Keane returned to White Hart Lane just hours before the 2009 winter transfer window slammed shut.
In a deal worth an initial £12 million, Spurs reacquired a club servant who would score 15 more goals for the club before joining the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2011.
8. Steven Pienaar
Another Spurs flop, Steven Pienaar returned to his beloved Everton on transfer deadline day, 2012, after a disastrous 12 months at White Hart Lane.
Having failed to find the back of the net at all for Spurs in the Premier League, the South Africa international scored four times for the Toffees before the end of the season, after which his loan agreement was turned into a permanent deal.
7. Adam Johnson
There was a time when Adam Johnson was one of English football’s most promising wingers.
On the final day of the 2010 winter transfer window, the former Middlesbrough man joined Manchester City for £7 million and helped the club into the Champions League on two occasions before being sold to Sunderland in 2012.
He picked up a Premier League winner’s medal for his part in City’s title-winning season of 2011-12, in which he scored six goals.
6. Andrey Arshavin
Arsenal made a splash on the final day of the 2009 January transfer window when they acquired Andrey Arshavin from Zenit St. Petersburg for £15 million.
At first the move was a hit, with the Russia international scoring six goals and picking up nine assists in the 15 matches he played for the club down the stretch.
His 10 goals and 17 assists in 2010-11 represented his best statistical season for the Gunners, but the following year he fell out of favour with the club and was loaned back to Zenit in January 2011.
5. Jermain Defoe
Jermain Defoe was cup-tied and as a result didn’t play in the FA Cup for Portsmouth in 2008, but his Premier League form following a £6 million move from Tottenham helped manager Harry Redknapp keep other players fresh as the club went on to win club football’s oldest cup competition that spring.
Before returning to Spurs the following winter, Defoe scored 15 Premier League goals for Portsmouth and formed one half of a successful strike partnership with Peter Crouch.
4. Daniel Sturridge
Bolton Wanderers had a relegation fight on their hands during the 2010-11 Premier League campaign, and in an effort to stay up, they signed Daniel Sturridge on loan from Chelsea on the final day of the winter transfer period.
What they got was eight goals in 12 matches from a player who only needed to get out of Stamford Bridge to thrive, and all they had to do was pay his wages.
3. Alvaro Arbeloa
On January 31, 2007, Liverpool brought in Deportivo La Coruna left-back Alvaro Arbeloa for €3.9 million.
It was a superb piece of business from then-Reds manager Rafael Benitez, who would get two-and-a-half solid seasons from the Spain international before selling him to Real Madrid at a small profit in 2009.
2. Asmir Begovic
A Portsmouth player between 2005 and 2010, Asmir Begovic went out on loan to five different clubs before completing a £3.25 million move to Stoke City on the final day of the January 2010 transfer window.
It may have seemed modest at the time, but the deal would be a massive one for The Potters, who for a reasonable price secured the services of a player who is now among the best goalkeepers in the Premier League.
1. Luis Suarez
A 49-goal scorer for Ajax in 2009-10, Luis Suarez joined Liverpool on the final day of the January 2010 transfer window for a fee of £22.8 million that stood as a club record until Andy Carroll’s £35 million move to Anfield a few hours later.
But while Carroll proved to be a flop among flops, Suarez starred for the club—and continues to do so.
Having scored 30 goals in all competitions last season, he already has 22 this term, and from only 20 matches.