July 19, 2024

Five of the best January deadline-day signings in Premier League history

Nacho Monreal, Malaga to Arsenal (2013)

Deadline-day signings are often seen as last-minute panic buys who are doomed to fail at their new clubs, particularly in the January transfer window. Monreal, however, has proved nothing of the sort. The Spaniard joined Arsenal on the final day of the mid-season market in 2013 and has been a reliable performer ever since, either in his favoured left-back role or as a centre-half in a three-man defence.

Acquired for around £8.5m, Monreal made over 250 appearances for the north London outfit, with whom he won the FA Cup on three occasions.

Javier Mascherano, West Ham United to Liverpool (2007)

Carlos Tevez and Mascherano both took time to adjust to English football following their shock moves to West Ham in the summer of 2006, but whereas the former eventually came good at Upton Park and was the key man in their successful survival bid that season, the latter departed for Liverpool on deadline day in January.

The tough-tackling midfielder went on to become an instrumental figure for the Reds, making a total of 139 appearances in all competitions and helping the club challenge for the title in 2008/09.

Jermain Defoe, West Ham United to Tottenham Hotspur (2004)

After playing 105 times for first club West Ham, Defoe swapped east London for north in January 2004. Signed for just £6m with Bobby Zamora sent in the opposite direction, the striker proved to be a major hit at White Hart Lane, netting 64 goals in 177 outings before a transfer to Portsmouth in 2007.

Defoe’s Spurs career was not over yet, however: he returned to the club in January 2009 and added another 79 goals to his Tottenham tally.

Wilfried Zaha, Manchester United to Crystal Palace (2013)

Alex Ferguson made Zaha his final signing as Manchester United manager in January 2013, but the Scot had vacated the Old Trafford hot seat by the time the winger arrived at the club a few months later. After struggling for game time under David Moyes in his only campaign in northwest, Zaha re-joined former club Palace on loan in the summer of 2014.

That temporary deal was converted into a permanent one a few months later, as Palace paid an initial £3m to bring their academy product home. Zaha has since established himself as one of the best players outside the Premier League’s big six.

Luis Suarez, Ajax to Liverpool (2011)

A few hours before Liverpool broke their transfer record to capture Andy Carroll from Newcastle United for £35m, another striker rocked up at Anfield. Suarez’s arrival was somewhat overshadowed by that of his fellow centre-forward, but whereas Carroll was a major disappointment on Merseyside, the Uruguayan became one of the club’s greatest Premier League-era players.

Although controversy was never far away, there could be no doubting Suarez’s ability. The ex-Ajax marksman scored 82 goals in 133 appearances for the club, 31 of which came in a brilliant 2013/14 in which he almost carried the Reds to their first title since 1990.

Greg Lea

Greg Lea

Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who specialises in the Premier League. The former editor of The Set Pieces, he's been published by FourFourTwo, ESPN and the Guardian.

View all posts by Greg Lea →

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