Don't panic! The Premier League's best Deadline Day XI

The dramatic final day of the winter window is often associated with ill-advised, last-ditch lunges but it's possible to get value, as Max McLean points out...

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1. Jack Butland

Birmingham to Stoke – 2013 (£4m)

Deadline day in 2013 was particularly kind to Butland, who signed for Premier League outfit Stoke on the same day he was named in Roy Hodgson’s England squad. The Bristol-born shot-stopper was a surprise signing for the Potters due to apparent interest from clubs higher up the table, but even so he had to earn the No.1 jersey at the Britannia, enduring loan spells at Birmingham, Leeds, Barnsley and Derby before becoming a regular in the Potteries.


Butland has forced his way to the number one jersey at Stoke

It’s fair to say that the hard work has paid off for Butland, who's kept clean sheets against Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United so far this season. He signed a new deal last March keeping him at Stoke until 2019.

2. Nacho Monreal

Malaga to Arsenal – 2013 (£8.5m)

Monreal has successfully played Gibbs out of the team with his impressive consistency and work ethic

Monreal’s arrival at Arsenal received something of a mixed reaction, and it has certainly taken some time for Gunners fans to take the Spaniard to their hearts. Monreal’s arrival was seemingly hastened by the injury to Kieran Gibbs just days previously, and it was the writing on the wall for 2011 summer deadline-day signing Andre Santos.

Monreal has successfully played Gibbs out of the team with his impressive consistency and work ethic, making 113 appearances for the north Londoners to date as well as playing a key part in two FA Cup triumphs. After almost three years with the club, he's been rewarded with a new contract keeping him there until 2019.

3. Michael Dawson

Nottingham Forest to Tottenham – 2005 (£4m)

When Dawson signed for Tottenham alongside Andy Reid on January 31, 2005, it was to be the first day of a nine-and-a-half-year stint featuring 324 appearances. Dawson was a key player in Spurs’ successes during that period, helping them lift the League Cup in 2008 as well as winning the club’s player of the season award for 2009/10 as they qualified for the Champions League for the first time.


Dawson captained Spurs into the Champions League for the first time

He started both legs of Spurs’ famous last-16 win against Milan and was included in Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad in 2010 after the withdrawal of the injured Rio Ferdinand. 

4. John Stones

Barnsley to Everton – 2013 (£3m)

John Stones may not be the finished product yet, but it's testament to the success of this 2013 deal that Chelsea reportedly bid in excess of £40 million for his services. The young centre-back has earned comparisons with Ferdinand for his ability as a ball-playing defender, and at the tender age of 21 has already made 81 appearances for Everton and earned seven caps for England.

Although the Yorkshire-born defender has his critics, mainly for his occasional tendency to overplay at the back, he is widely recognised as the future of the national team’s defence. Should Everton cash in on him they will doubtlessly make a handsome profit.

5. Mikel Arteta

Real Sociedad to Everton (initial loan) – 2005

Another long-term success this one, as Everton looked to La Liga to replace the Bernabeu-bound Thomas Gravesen. Arteta moved to Merseyside in January as a loan signing before the deal was made permanent in the summer, and from there the Spaniard earned 162 more league appearances, contributing 27 league goals in the process.

The energetic central midfielder, who began his career at Barcelona B, eventually became club captain but despite winning Everton’s player-of-the-season award in the 2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons, he never made the step up from Spain’s under-21s to the senior side. Arteta eventually joined Arsenal in 2011, but his time at Everton will be looked back on as a success.

6. Javier Mascherano

West Ham to Liverpool (initial loan) – 2007

Perhaps there’s something in the ‘loan first, buy later’ policy of football clubs. Javier Mascherano’s arrival at Liverpool was about as straightforward as the Magic Roundabout in Swindon (seriously, Google it) – FIFA approved the initial 18-month loan deal but the Premier League took a little longer to rubber-stamp it themselves.


Mascherano's form at Liverpool eventually earned him a move to Barcelona

Mascherano was worth all the hassle, though, eventually signing permanently in February 2008, playing a key role in Raf Benitez’s swashbuckling Reds side of the late noughties. The former River Plate player was voted Liverpool’s man of the match as the Reds lost 2-1 in the 2007 Champions League Final to Milan, and played a crucial role in Liverpool’s excellent 2008/09 Premier League season as the team finished runners-up and lost only two league games. Mascherano moved to Barcelona in 2010 for around £18.5 million as Roy Hodgson, the man who would vote him the best player in the world for 2014, arrived at Anfield.

7. Charlie Adam

Rangers to Blackpool (initial loan) – 2009

Another loan here, but a fine impact he had at Blackpool. The Seasiders secured Adam's services on February 2, 2009 (OK, but it's near enough to deadline day) from Rangers, going on to make the deal permanent in the summer of 2009 for around £500,000. Despite being sent off against Doncaster on debut, Adam’s transfer was a great success: he scored 16 Championship goals to send Blackpool into the play-offs, where he scored in both semi-final legs and in the final as Ian Holloway’s side reached the Premier League.

Adam enjoyed a sensational debut Premier League season, scoring 12 goals from 35 appearances, but was unable to help Blackpool avoid relegation. The Scotland international moved to Liverpool in July 2011, and despite his inability to keep Blackpool up, the success of his short stay at Bloomfield Road is undeniable.

8. Andrei Arshavin

Zenit to Arsenal – 2009 (£15m)

This truly was a last-minute signing – the Premier League had to check that the paperwork had indeed been completed on time. Much to Arsenal fans’ delight all was well, and despite the decline of Arshavin’s Arsenal performances it is important to remember how scintillating they were for a time. The former Zenit playmaker was a crucial first-team player in his first two-and-a-half seasons at the Emirates Stadium, winning the Premier League's Player of the Month award in April 2009 after scoring all four goals in a dramatic 4-4 draw against Liverpool at Anfield.

Despite only playing half the season, he also managed to come second in Arsenal’s 2009/10 Player of the Season vote. Perhaps his most notable contribution was his winning goal in the first leg of a Champions League last-16 tie against Barcelona at the Emirates in 2011, but unfortunately the Russian’s performances declined soon after and he moved back to Zenit in 2013. Arshavin’s stint left him with 144 appearances and 31 goals, and despite the brief nature of his stay it was fun while it lasted.

9. Dele Alli

MK Dons to Tottenham – 2015 (£5m)

In normal circumstances, less than a year would seem too short a space of time in which to decide on the success of a transfer. Such is the phenomenon of Alli, however, that Spurs can already chalk this one up as a steal. To those keeping an eye on League One it was already clear that the MK Dons midfielder was a sensation: 2014/15 was his breakout year, as he scored 16 league goals to give the Dons automatic promotion to the Championship.

Dele Alli

Alli has enjoyed a superb first season with Spurs

Alli made his Spurs debut in 2015/16, having been loaned back to MK Dons immediately after signing in January 2015, and has been the standout young player of the Premier League season so far, with six goals in 21 appearances. Alli has also made the leap to senior international football, notching four caps for England and scoring in his first start, in the 2-0 win against France in November. The 19-year-old has already been rewarded with a contract extension at White Hart Lane until 2021, and is expected to be selected in Hodgson’s England squad for Euro 2016.

10. Jermain Defoe

West Ham to Tottenham – 2004 (£7m + Bobby Zamora)

Defoe enjoyed two spells at Tottenham, first walking through the doors at White Hart Lane on February 2, 2004. For £7 million plus Bobby Zamora, the England striker embarked on a four-year journey which began with a trademark debut goal in a 4-3 win over Portsmouth, and ended with 139 league games and 43 league goals.

Defoe was well thought of by Tottenham’s then-caretaker manager David Pleat, and at Tottenham he matured, becoming an England regular as well as winning the club’s player-of-the-year award for 2004. Defoe left for Portsmouth in 2008, but returned to White Hart Lane just a year later, making another 137 league appearances at the club.

11. Luis Suarez

Ajax to Liverpool – 2011 (£22.8m)

Last but absolutely not least. If Suarez’s stay in England was a three-and-a-half-year action thriller then his time at Ajax was the trailer. He’d already been banned for biting, scored 81 league goals in 110 appearances in the Eredivisie, and single-handedly prevented Ghana making football history at the 2010 World Cup; £22.8 million for this kind of entertainment was sure to be an absolute bargain. In a whirlwind stint at Anfield, the Uruguayan won the League Cup, was banned for biting, almost left, stayed for one last season of brilliance and very nearly fired Liverpool to their first league title for 28 years in 2013/14. 

That season he managed to score 31 league goals, winning the Premier League’s Golden Boot, the PFA Player of the Year, FA Writers’ Player of the Year, Premier League Player of the Season awards, and sharing the European Golden Shoe with Cristiano Ronaldo. A third biting incident at the 2014 World Cup was a bitter ending for for Liverpool, who cashed out as Suarez moved to Barcelona for a whopping £75 million. Not a bad bit of business.


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