The winter transfer window, which covers the month of January each calendar year, is known for important acquisitions and panic buys.
Some teams manage to identify their weaknesses in the first half of the season and make strategic purchases in the winter transfer window. There are also desperate clubs trying to sign big players for crazy sums to save their season. One thing is for sure, drama always abounds in January.
In this section, we’ll take a look at five of the biggest transfers of the winter window over the years and see how the moves panned out. Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the five most expensive winter transfers in the history of sports:
#5 Christian Pulisic (Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund) – €64 million
After lengthy negotiations, Chelsea signed Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund for €64 million in January 2019. However, they sent him back to Dortmund on loan for the rest of the 2018-19 season. In the summer of 2019.
The American striker, who was confident in Dortmund, did not look comfortable in his first season at Chelsea. He still managed to finish the season with 11 goals and 10 assists in 34 appearances in all competitions.
Growing up in West London, Pulisic was expected to become a full-fledged member of the Blues; but it didn’t happen. He remains on the sidelines at the club and has been heavily linked with a move away from London (via journalist Paul Brown at GiveMeSport).
Since his expected transfer from Dortmund, Pulisic has played 135 games for the club, scoring 26 goals and 21 assists.
4. Aymeric Laporte (Athletic Bilbao to Manchester City) – €65 million
Premier League giants Manchester City have never shied away from spending money on positions they deem important. In January 2018, City significantly strengthened their defense, spending an astronomical sum of 65 million euros to transfer Spanish central defender Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao (Liga).
Laporte is very fast, determined, does not hesitate to clear the ball and is rarely under pressure. With Ruben Dias, Nathaniel Ake and John Stones in the squad, he is an integral part of Guardiola’s plans even if he doesn’t start every game for City.
Laporte, who won 4 Premier League titles after moving to City, has played 164 games for the club and scored 12 goals.
3rd Dusan Vlahovic (Fiorentina – Juventus) – 82 million euros
Juventus spent €82 million to pry Dusan Vlahovic away from arch-rivals Fiorentina in the winter transfer window of 2022. With Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Manchester United (summer 2021), the Bianconeri needed a powerful centre-forward – a profile that fits Vlahovic perfectly.
Vlahovic transferred to “Juventus” after the first half of the 2021-22 season. The Serbian scored 17 goals and 4 assists in 21 Serie A games for Fiorentina. His goals have dried up since joining Juventus as he scored just 7 times in 15 Serie A appearances last season.
The biggest winter signing of 2022 has started the 2022-23 season decently, scoring six goals and providing one assist in 10 Serie A games. However, he has failed to prove himself in the Champions League, scoring just one goal in five games before that. “Old Lady” was eliminated from the group stage.
#2 Virgil van Dijk (from Southampton to Liverpool) – €85 million
Liverpool like to stick to the summer window for their big signings, so many were surprised when they signed Virgil van Dijk from Southampton for €85m in January 2018.
Jurgen Klopp and Co’s bold move has paid off big, with the Dutch defender cementing himself as one of the best in the world. In his first season, he helped Liverpool reach the Champions League final, where they lost to Real Madrid. The following year, Van Dijk led the Reds to conquer Europe, defeating Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 in the final.
In the 2019-20 season, Liverpool won their first ever Premier League title, with Van Dijk at the helm again. The former Southampton player suffered a Grade 3 anterior cruciate ligament tear during the 2020-21 season and was sidelined for most of the season. In the 2021-22 season, Liverpool bounced back strongly from winning the FA Cup-Carabao Cup double.
Since his arrival, Van Dijk has played 205 games for the Reds in all competitions, scoring 18 goals and providing 11 assists.
No. 1 Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool to Barcelona) – €135 million
Six months after Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) for a record €222 million, FC Barcelona signed Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool for a staggering €135 million.
It was Liverpool’s record move and FC Barcelona’s second-biggest transfer, only surpassed by Ousmane Dembele’s €140 million move.
Unfortunately for the Blaugrana, the Brazilian attacking midfielder never found his place in the Catalan capital. A year and a half after his transfer, Coutinho was loaned to “Bayern”. In the 2019-20 Champions League semi-finals, he scored two goals against his coaching club in an 8-2 defeat. He won the treble with “Bayern” in the 2019-20 season.
He returned to the Camp Nou in the summer of 2020, but things did not improve and he struggled to cement his place in the team. In January 2022, Barca loaned him to Aston Villa before making the transfer permanent for €20 million ahead of the 2022–23 season.
Before leaving Catalonia once and for all, Coutinho made 106 appearances for Barca in all competitions, scoring 25 goals and providing 14 assists.