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Transfers: 3 winners and 3 losers of the winter window

Martin Odegaard
(Image credit: Getty)

Traditionally, there isn't much business to be had in a January transfer windows. Aside from the obvious big names who will always be talked about as legendary winter transfers - Vidic, van Dijk, Bruno Fernandes - this is more a time for quick fixes, rather than statements of intent.

And 2021 has adhered to that, by and large. There wasn't much movement from the Premier League elite - but there was still great business... and not so great business. 

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So who can be happy with their business and who really should have used last month a little more to their advantage?

Winner: Liverpool

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Call off the search. Liverpool's search for centre-backs has the "waiting for the bus" feel, as two have arrived in Ben Davies (not that one) and Ozan Kabak.

While Davies looks a little raw and rough around the edges, he does at least come with leadership and attitude that Jurgen Klopp would be looking for. Kabak, meanwhile, is one of the best U23 defenders in the world and Liverpool have him for under £2m on a six-month trial - it's £18m if they want to buy him. That's astounding business. 

With van Dijk, Gomez and Matip out, these new signings provide Liverpool with four natural defenders, including youngsters Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams. Assuming that both youngsters will be loaned out with everyone fit - and that Kabak only needs to be made permanent if Klopp fancies him more than one of his existing best three centre-backs - the Reds have done superbly well not to bloat the squad. 

Oh, and Takumi Minamino has gone to a Liverpool-esque pressing team in Southampton to improve. Great work all round. 

Loser: Chelsea

If Chelsea knew that Frank Lampard was on borrowed time, why did they send Fikayo Tomori to AC Milan, just four days before appointing Thomas Tuchel?

Given how the German manager has started with a three-at-the-back system, the young defender could have had a few months learning under a new boss. He could have become a cornerstone of the new era by summer. Now, Milan have an option to buy him, and Chelsea's backline - which is set to lose Thiago Silva in the summer, a player who Tuchel released last year from Paris Saint-Germain - is lacking the option of a phenomenally-talented starlet. 

Of course, there are bigger mistakes to make - perhaps Tuchel even sanctioned this - and given Chelsea's huge summer of activity, this was never going to be a big window for the Blues. It seems like a ball dropped, however, looking at the new boss and his current options in defence. 

Winner: Arsenal

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Considering Arsenal's mixed reviews in January windows, fans must be delighted that they've managed to bring in Martin Odegaard until the end of the campaign. He seems like the perfect rotation option in attacking midfield with young Emile Smith Rowe and he's a clear upgrade on a 32-year-old, unregistered Mesut Ozil. 

Who, by the way, is out - in case you'd missed that. With Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis, plus Sead Kolasinac out on loan to Schalke. That's a fair whack off the wage bill, you would assume - though paying off these guys to get out won't have been cheap. It's possible it will improve the atmosphere around the training ground until then but regardless, it paints the summer as a clean slate for the club to rebuild again.

As if that wasn't enough, Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are set to get much-needed game-time away from North London, too. A good window all-round - although AMN moving to West Bromwich Albion feels like it could easily be either a masterstroke or a disaster about to happen. 

Loser: Fulham

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Josh Maja on deadline day is a solid signing to make. It may well keep Fulham up - if so, feel free to come back to this page in May and laugh at us, Cottagers. 

But Fulham will probably be disappointed with how late they closed their business. Maja signed with hours remaining, while Joshua King chose Everton over West London in the dying embers. It was a case of Groundhog Day rather than deadline day: Fulham couldn't get deals over the line quick enough in the summer, leading to a mad scramble for defenders before the window shut in October, weeks into the campaign.

Maja is a solid acquisition. A loan with a cheap option to buy is good for any promising striker but the Nigerian has a unique point to prove in England, given how his career ended up at Sunderland. Considering the dearth of options available right now, this could be the best signing of the January window if Scott Parker's side stay up.

It's just a shame he wasn't brought in before the draws at West Brom and Brighton - they could have done with him earlier. Fulham will be hoping survival doesn't boil down to the odd point or two, or they may regret leaving this one late. 

Winner: West Ham United

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Jesse Lingard in on loan is a solid signing for all parties involved. Lingard suits the current West Ham United aesthetic and his work rate will be appreciated. It's good depth in attack for a team chasing the Europa League places. 

Equally, Said Benrahma's loan becoming permanent is good news, even if it was strictly signed in October. He's shown glimpses of quality so far, which he can hopefully build on.

But getting Sebastien Haller out of the door for around £20m is a big positive. OK, the Hammers have made a significant loss on the forward but recouping half of what they paid within 18 months is a hell of a lot better than him rotting on the bench any longer in Michail Antonio's shade, depreciating in value and moping about the place. 

Loser: Tottenham Hotspur

When the window began, we didn't really have much on the list that Tottenham Hotspur should be targeting. The squad looked solid. 

What a difference a month makes. Serge Aurier looks like he's been frozen out, Gedson Fernandes's loan has ended, Harry Kane is now out injured and there seems to be a reluctance from Jose Mourinho to play Vinicius Junior or Gareth Bale, the latter of which is facing question marks over his fitness and commitment. Dele Alli is still on the fringes of the side collecting dust and recent selections have omitted the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier.

Spurs head into the final furlong with the same set of players as before. Jose Mourinho has mastered the siege mentality and will likely round his troops up for another big battle - but you can't help but feel that a little business here or there would've given everyone a boost.

Last January, Steven Bergwijn gave Spurs an immediate shot in the arm. Willian Jose - a target of 12 months ago - was available on loan. So were Martin Odegaard and Ozan Kabak - both of which would be welcome at Tottenham. There's no need to panic about the season but some fans may see this as a missed opportunity for fresh legs. 

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