Rating the 10 worst value for money transfers of the January window: Chelsea, Newcastle, Leeds deals feature…
The January transfer window has now closed and plenty of big-money signings were sanctioned over the course of the month.
A lot of Premier League sides strengthened their squads in January and the total expenditure by English top-flight clubs was a record-breaking £815m.
It’s difficult to predict how a transfer will ultimately work out but some expensive deals took us by surprise in January.
We’ve taken a look at the 10 worst-value-for-money deals from the January transfer window. Note: this doesn’t mean that the player won’t be a good signing but the club have probably overpaid.
10. Danny Ings
Goals have been a serious issue for West Ham this season with the likes of Gianluca Scamacca and Michail Antonio struggling to find the back of the net on a consistent basis.
They turned to the transfer market in search of a proven Premier League goalscorer and signed Ings from Aston Villa in a £15m deal.
But the striker, who celebrates his 31st birthday later this year, scored just 13 Premier League goals during his 18 months at Villa Park and is arguably past his peak.
He also has a long history of serious knee problems and now faces a spell on the sidelines after picking up an injury during his West Ham debut against Everton.
9. Malo Gusto
The first of four Chelsea signings to feature on this list, Gusto came through the Lyon academy and has cost the Blues a reported £30.7m.
He is a modern full-back as he is comfortable in the attacking phase of the game, but the France Under-21 international is still a relatively raw player and has plenty of room for improvement defensively.
The 19-year-old, who will remain for Lyon for the remainder of the 2022/23 season, only made his senior debut in 2021 and has less than 50 Ligue 1 appearances under his belt.
“It’s extraordinary what is happening to him because he signed for six years at Chelsea after a year as a starter in Ligue 1,” Lyon manager Laurent Blanc said.
The deal took a lot of people by surprise as Chelsea already have Reece James, who is regarded as one of the best right-backs in the world.
8. Georginio Rutter
Leeds United broke their transfer record during the January transfer window after meeting Hoffenheim’s asking price for Rutter.
The Whites will reportedly pay an initial £28.8m (€32.25m) for the striker, with the total package set to reach £35.4m (€40m).
While the 20-year-old is regarded as a promising talent with bags of potential, it’s undoubtedly a lot of money for a player that has just 12 first-team goals to his name.
“We have him at [a value of] around 16-20 million euros at the moment, which Leeds are basically doubling,” German football consultant Jasmine Bab told ITV Sport.
“It’s a lot over what he’s valued at the moment and that can bring quite an unhealthy expectation to such a young player and could backfire.”
7. Pedro Porro
Tottenham announced the signing of Porro on transfer deadline day but it took a hefty fee and some lengthy negotiations to prize him away from Sporting Lisbon.
Porro, who joined Sporting for £7m last summer after being deemed surplus to requirements by Manchester City, has gone from strength to strength in Portugal.
Spurs were initially reluctant to meet the player’s €45m (£39.7m) release clause as that would mean paying the entire fee up front.
They’ve now paid Sporting an initial loan fee of around £5m to sign the right wing-back until the end of the season and the deal includes an obligation to buy for £39.7m.
According to reports, Spurs are also giving up 15% of their sell-on clause for Marcus Edwards, who left north London and moved to Portugal in 2019.
Sporting held their nerve throughout the negotiations and Daniel Levy, who is coming under increasing pressure from Spurs fans, buckled to their demands.
Porro will undoubtedly be an upgrade on Emerson Royal, Matt Doherty and Djed Spence but Spurs have still paid over the odds.
READ: Pedro Porro: Comparing his 2022/23 league stats to current Tottenham right-backs
6. Joao Felix
Despite only signing Felix on a straight loan deal with no option or obligation to buy, Chelsea still spent a lot of money on him.
The Blues beat Premier League rivals Manchester United and Arsenal to the signing of the Atletico Madrid forward, with neither side willing to pay the €11m (£9.7m) loan fee.
Graham Potter’s side have also agreed to pay a further £8m to cover the player’s wages until the end of the season, taking the total package to £17.7m.
Having received a red card on his debut, the Portugal international will only be able to feature in a maximum of 17 Premier League games for Chelsea. That works out at a cost of £1.04m per league appearance.
Endrick is one of the most highly-rated young talents in world football, having burst onto the scene with Palmeiras aged just 16.
Real Madrid recently won the race for his signature after fighting off competition from Barcelona, Chelsea and PSG and they will reportedly pay a transfer fee worth a total of €72m including variables.
“We’ve finalised the biggest negotiation in the history of Brazilian football,” Palmeiras president Leila Pereira said. “Real Madrid’s proposal is compatible with Endrick’s enormous talent and corresponds to the sporting and financial goals that we have established since the beginning of the talks.”
The Brazilian will continue his development at Palmeiras before moving to the Bernabeu once he celebrates his 18th birthday in July 2024.
READ MORE: Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea feature among transfer window winners
While Endrick is clearly a special talent, investing €72m on a 16-year-old is an incredibly risky strategy. There have been several wonderkids over the years whose careers have not gone as people had hoped and predicted.
Admittedly, Madrid do have a good track record in this department as they agreed deals for Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo at a similar age, with both players now first-team regulars.
But they also spent €30m on Reinier Jesus, who is yet to make a single first-team appearance for Madrid and is currently on loan at Girona.
4. Mykhailo Mudryk
Everton and Brentford both expressed their interest in Mudryk last summer and Shakhtar Donetsk reportedly valued him at £30m.
But he remained in Ukraine and his stock then rose rapidly in the second half of 2022 following a string of impressive Champions League performances.
Chelsea and Arsenal both fought for the winger’s signature in January before the former agreed a deal worth £88.5m with Shakhtar Donetsk.
He’s regarded as one of Europe’s most promising wingers but it’s still a lot of money for an unproven 22-year-old with just 65 senior appearances and 12 goals under his belt.
🚨 Many in Ukraine believe Chelsea have overpaid substantially for Mykhaylo Mudryk. The deal has been described, using an old Ukrainian saying, as like ‘buying a cat in a bag’, essentially, an acquisition the true value of which will not be clear for some time. [@gunnerblog] #afc
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) January 16, 2023
3. Matheus Cunha
After becoming Wolves manager, Julen Lopetegui immediately dipped into the transfer market and signed Cunha on loan from Atletico Madrid.
The loan deal also includes an obligation to buy the Brazil international for €50m (£44m) at the end of the 2022/23 season.
Remarkably, Atletico will have made a €20m profit on a player who failed to live up to expectations during his 18 months in the Spanish capital.
The 23-year-old never established himself in Diego Simeone’s starting XI and scored just seven goals in 54 appearances for the club.
2. Anthony Gordon
Sometimes, it seems like Premier League teams have more money than sense.
Newcastle United, who have the wealthiest owners in world football, signed Gordon in a £45m deal, making him the club’s second most expensive signing of all time.
But Gordon has struggled in a poor Everton team this season, picking up more yellow cards (7) than goals (3) and assists (0) combined. In total, the winger registered just seven goals and eight assists in 78 appearances during his Everton career.
The 21-year-old is far from the finished article and has plenty of time on his side, but he’ll need to improve his end product at St James Park.
1. Enzo Fernandez
Fernandez has been one of the breakout stars of the 2022/23 season after starring for Benfica in the Primeira Liga and the Champions League.
The midfielder then played an integral role in Argentina’s successful World Cup campaign, where he also received the FIFA Young Player of the Tournament award.
He was linked with both Manchester United and Liverpool but their interest cooled after Benfica club president Rui Costa demanded that any interested parties pay his €120m (£106m) release clause.
The asking price didn’t deter Chelsea, who broke the British transfer record to sign Fernandez on transfer deadline day.
While the midfielder is a big upgrade on Chelsea’s current options, he will need to do something truly special at Stamford Bridge to justify that enormous fee.
The fact that the 22-year-old was available for as little as £16m just a few months ago makes this deal even more remarkable.
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