Saints new boy makes the cut among top 10 European transfers

Date published: Thursday 2nd February 2017 9:45

As the dusts settle on another January transfer window, recap some of the bigger permanent deals to be completed last month across Europe’s top five leagues…


Dimitri Payet – West Ham to Marseille

Without doubt the longest running transfer saga of the month, Dimitri Payet completed his return to Marseille at the weekend, much to the disappointment of West Ham fans.

The France international endeared himself to the Hammers faithful quickly following his arrival in England – they did proclaim he’s better than Zidane after all – but the relationship turned sour once Slaven Bilic confirmed that Payet wanted out.

Some doubted his performances in his second season in London, but the 29-year-old has still completed more key passes (74) than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues this season and his void will be a tough one to fill.


Julian Draxler – Wolfsburg to PSG

The Germany international was previously linked with moves to Juventus and Arsenal, but PSG ultimately won the race to secure Julian Draxler’s services in January, with he one of three signings made by the French champions.

The 23-year-old made an immediate impact for PSG, scoring on his debut in the 7-0 rout of SC Bastia in the Coupe de France, before netting the winner on his first league start.

An average rating of 7.68 in Ligue 1 so far highlights how quickly he’s adjusted to French football as PSG strive to overhaul Monaco at Ligue 1’s summit.


Paul-Georges Ntep – Rennes to Wolfsburg

It wasn’t too long ago that a host of Premier League teams were linked with a move for Paul-Georges Ntep, who moved to Wolfsburg last month to help cover the loss of Draxler.

The 24-year-old has struggled with injuries in recent seasons, which has hindered his progress, but he proved how effective an attacker he can be as he turned provider for Mario Gomez on his Bundesliga debut.

Wolfsburg’s gain is Rennes’ loss, with Ntep maximising his statistically calculated strength of ‘dribbling’ prior to his move to Germany, with an average of 2.3 dribbles per game ranking among the top 10 in Ligue 1 this season.


Leon Bailey – Genk to Bayer Leverkusen

It may have taken some time to get the deal across the line, but Leon Bailey’s move to Bayer Leverkusen further swells Roger Schmidt’s attacking options.

Karim Bellarabi’s injury issues left the Bayer 04 boss short of a wideman on the right flank, with Bailey providing sufficient competition and an able stand in where required.

Indeed, his rating in the group stages of the Europa League this season (8.10) was the third best, with four goals and 3.8 dribbles per game contributing to that notable return.


Wilfred Ndidi – Genk to Leicester

Genk lost two key players in the January transfer window, with Wilfred Ndidi’s move to Leicester confirmed at the beginning of last month.

The Foxes had required a replacement for N’Golo Kante following his move to Chelsea, with Ndidi more than capable of filling the gargantuan gap left following the Frenchman’s move to Stamford Bridge.

20-year-old Ndidi made more tackles and interceptions combined (71) than any other player in the group stages of the Europa League and the Foxes will be hoping he can transfer his ball winning quality to the Premier League and Champions League as Claudio Ranieri’s side look to upset the odds in Europe and pull clear of the relegation zone.


Manolo Gabbiadini – Napoli to Southampton

There weren’t many major money deals in the Premier League in January, which says more about managers who are comfortable with the personnel available at their disposal if anything, but Manolo Gabbiadini’s late move to Southampton was one of the biggest last month.

The 25-year-old struggled for game time for Napoli, registering just 19 league starts following his arrival from Sampdoria two years ago.

Having played second fiddle to Gonzalo Higuain, Arakdiusz Milik and Dries Mertens, Gabbiadini faltered in his attempts to transfer his good Samp form to Napoli and Saints will hope to bring out the best in the Italian following his big money switch.

Charlie Austin’s injury had left Claude Puel’s side short of goals, with the hope now that Gabbiadini can rediscover his best form at St. Mary’s to ease Austin’s absence.


Conor Hourihane – Barnsley to Aston Villa

Dropping down a division, Aston Villa made ample movements in the market over the past month, with the most notable capture coming in the form of Conor Hourihane.

The 25-year-old may have struggled somewhat on his Villa debut, as they fell to a 3-0 loss at Brentford on Tuesday, but his form in his debut Championship season has been nothing short of superb.

A rating of 7.68 is one of the best this term, with Hourihane registering more assists (11) than any other player in the Championship, while no player has won more man of the match awards than the Irish midfielder (7).

No player has made more tackles (83), while 10 clear-cut chances created is joint-second as Hourihane provides the ideal blend of tenacity and creativity for Villa in the middle of the park.


Memphis Depay – Manchester United to Lyon

Memphis Depay: Says he is in 'top form'

Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin were both granted the chance to leave Old Trafford last month having fallen out of favour under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United. A number of teams were linked with Memphis, whose time in Manchester can be considered an unmitigated disaster.

He now has the chance to rebuild his fledgling career with Lyon and while he has failed to make an immediate impact, the 22-year-old will hope to find his feet sooner rather than later in France.

If he can rediscover his PSV Eindhoven form, where he netted 22 goals to help return a rating of 7.92 in his final season in the Netherlands, then it will have been money well spent by OL.


[of_poll name=’Which Premier League club enjoyed the best January window?’ id=’1427296′]


Alexander Isak – AIK to Borussia Dortmund

Alexander Isak: Joins Borussia Dortmund

Real Madrid looked to have secured the services of Alexander Isak from AIK, only for Borussia Dortmund to win the race to sign the teenage striking sensation.

The German outfit are assembling a massively talented, yet youthful, squad, with the 17-year-old’s addition boosting Thomas Tuchel’s attacking options.

Isak impressed for AIK last term, with 10 goals and one assist helping return a rating of 7.04, that in turn prompting a Europe wide scramble for his signature.

While he may not make an instant impact for his new team – the Allsvenskan 2016 season finished in November, meaning Isak needs time to build fitness – he is one to keep a close eye on for the future.


Roberto Gagliardini – Atalanta to Inter

Atalanta have been the surprise package in Serie A this season, with Gian Piero Gasperini working wonders to have them up in sixth.

However, they lost key man Roberto Gagliardini to rivals Inter last month and Stefano Pioli’s side are reaping the benefits of pursuing his signature rather than Franck Kessie.

From his three starts for the Serie A outfit, Gagliardini’s rating is a noteworthy 8.06, with averages of 3.7 tackles, 2.7 interceptions, 1.7 key passes and 1.7 dribbles per game all impressive for Inter.

Inter are currently on the joint-longest winning run in Europe’s top five leagues, with Gagliardini’s influence in the middle of the park key in their return to the upper echelons of Italy’s top tier. A fine showing in Sunday’s Derby d’Italia will only help endear him further to the Inter faithful.


Ben McAleer


All statistics courtesy of, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings. You can follow all the scores, statistics, live player and team ratings with the new free-to-download WhoScored iOS app.

Related Articles