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Transfer window: Who is your club’s best January signing? And the worst?

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Love it or loathe it, the January transfer window has thrown up countless stories since its inception in the 2002-03 season.

From the hits to the extreme misses, it’s arguably the most entertaining time of the season.

We asked our fan community to rate the best and worst business their club has done in the winter window…

Arsenal

Charlene Smith, AFTVexternal-link

Arsenal’s best was signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who joined on deadline day in 2018. He had an amazing spell – he lifted the FA Cup as captain, was the joint Golden Boot winner in 2018-19 and narrowly missed it the following season.

Our worst was probably midfielder Denis Suarez, whose loan spell was terminated early.

Aston Villa

Richard Sutherland, The Villa Park Podcastexternal-link

Ashley Young was part of a hugely successful Villa team under Martin O’Neill. Now back with the club, Young is a key member of Unai Emery’s side at the ripe old age of 37.

And the worst? Danny Drinkwater. He was drastically off the pace during his four appearances, and his spell ended in disgrace after he headbutted Jota during training.

Bournemouth

Tom Jordan, Back of the Netexternal-link

Last January, when signed striker Kieffer Moore when fighting to return to the Premier League. Despite not starting a game, he scored four goals in four substitute appearances, one being the promotion-clinching goal.

As for the worst… in 2016, we signed defender Rhoys Wiggins for his fourth spell – and he never played a game!

Brentford

Ian Westbrook, Beesottedexternal-link

Brentford’s best January deal has to the £12m then club record sale of striker Scott Hogan to Aston Villa in 2017. The fee partially funded that summer’s purchases of goalscorers Ollie Watkins and Neal Maupay.

The worst was selling forward DJ Campbell to Birmingham in 2006 for a paltry £500,000. It arguably cost us promotion.

Brighton & Hove Albion

Stuart Matthews, Proud Seagullsexternal-link

Our best January outgoing has to be Aaron Connelly – most of us were very happy to see him go. In terms of incomings, fellow forward Deniz Undav and midfielder Moises Caicedo are both playing brilliantly and have progressed over the time they have been here.

Our worst deal, though, was Jurgen Locadia. His move to Brighton was notable for a distinct lack of goals – three in 35 Premier League appearances.

Chelsea

Kevin de Bruyne
Kevin de Bruyne played only 425 minutes for Chelsea before movig to Werder Bremen

Ross Mooring, Chelsea Fancastexternal-link

Name a footballer who won the Champions League half a season after signing, and then every other English and European club title going after that? That’s right, Gary Cahill, who cost Chelsea just £7m from Bolton in 2012.

Worst transfer move? A certain Kevin de Bruyne left the Blues after nine appearances in January 2014. Whoops.

Crystal Palace

Jay Crame, The Eagles Beakexternal-link

There is quite a choice in both of these categories, but for the best it would have to be Wilfried Zaha, who returned to the club permanently in the 2015 winter window.

For the worst, there are so many more, but I will go for Alexander Sorloth, who simply did not show anything. Perhaps it is a controversial choice, but most Palace fans were amazed how well he did after leaving.

Everton

Briony Bragg, This Fan Girlexternal-link

Seamus Coleman has to be the best. His dedication to the Toffees cannot be questioned. Fourteen years and 397 appearances later, he’ll be remembered forever.

The worst? Cenk Tosun. A tally of 11 goals in 61 games is a terrible return for £27m. A classic example of Everton’s awful recruitment in recent years.

Fulham

Dan Crawford, Hammy Endexternal-link

Fulham’s finest January signing is Brede Hangeland. Reunited with Roy Hodgson with relegation looming, the Norwegian defender starred in our ‘Great Escape’, then in the record seventh-place finish and as part of the team that reached the Europa League final.

The worst? Forward Kostas Mitroglou cost £12m, made three appearances and scored no goals.

Leeds United

Jess Furness, Her Game Tooexternal-link

No winter transfer window has yet surpassed 2017, when the magician that is Pablo Hernandez was made a permanent addition. What a special player and forever a Leeds legend.

Our worst January signing is Jean-Kevin Augustin, who played the grand total of 48 minutes for us, for the eventual fee of £18.4m

Leicester City

Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez scored 48 goals and supplied 38 assists in 179 appeareances for Leicester

Sam Holloway, LeicesterFanTVexternal-link

Our best January signing is Riyad Mahrez. No-one has ever been as technically gifted as him on the ball in a Leicester shirt. The winger was a massive factor in winning the Premier League.

As for the worst, it’s Fousseni Diabate. We tried to replace Mahrez with another young star from the French second tier, but he was a shadow compared with the Algerian.

Liverpool

Harriet Prior, The Anfield Wrapexternal-link

Some questioned the world record fee for a defender, but a Premier League and Champions League title later, Virgil van Dijk soon silenced any critics.

He surely tops the list, but the signing of fellow defender Ben Davies proved reactive transfers rarely work. He never made an appearance for Liverpool.

Manchester City

Ger Deegan, Maine Road Rambleexternal-link

Manchester City don’t usually do much business in January, but the signing of classy defender Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao in 2018 is the best and most shrewd.

However, Wilfried Bony never looked to be a good fit on paper, and cost us £28m. The striker often looked static and out of his depth for Manuel Pelligrini’s side.

Manchester United

Sam Peoples, United Peoples TVexternal-link

Nemanja Vidic. January transfers don’t get much better than acquiring one of our best ever centre-backs in 2006, though left-back Patrice Evra was also excellent in that same window and, more recently, Bruno Fernandes proved smart signings are still possible in winter.

Without doubt our worst January deal – and possibly our worst ever for its ripple effect – was forward Alexis Sanchez. What a horrendous signing he was.

Newcastle United

Pete Davey, LoadedMag NUFCexternal-link

Recently we have done some good business in January. Defender Kieran Tripper is an obvious one in 2022, but there’s no doubt for me that another one from that window is the best – midfielder Bruno Guimareas.

As for the worst, there have been some horror deals, but one sticks out above all: Jean-Alain Boumsong. A truly dreadful signing – and we paid £8m for the centre-back!

Nottingham Forest

Ben Dore, Dore On Tourexternal-link

The best came last year, when he signed defender Steve Cook from Bournemouth. He brought experience and leadership alongside Joe Worrall and Scott McKenna, and was someone we needed to push on to the Premier League. Special mention to forward David Johnson, who arrived in January 2001 (pre-transfer windows). His stats: 47 goals in 161 appearances.

The worst was arguably Rafik Djebbour, who arrived in January 2014. Stats: one goal in eight appearances – a tap-in from a yard on his debut.

Southampton

Ray Hunt, In That Numberexternal-link

Saints have managed to bring in some fans’ favourites in January for bargain prices – defender Ryan Bertrand and forwards Manolo Gabbiadini and Grzegorz Rasiak all offered great value.

The worst has to be forward Guido Carrillo. After we paid a then club record fee of £19m in 2018, he managed 10 appearances, zero goals and five shots on target in his two years.

Tottenham Hotspur

Anna Howells, Spurs XYexternal-link

Historically, Tottenham do little business in January, but we struck gold in last season’s winter window with winger Dejan Kulusevski and midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur.

The worst would possibly be letting Christian Eriksen go in 2020 to Inter Milan.

West Ham United

Benni McCarthy
Benni McCarthy signed for West Ham after 52 goals in 140 appearances for Blackburn Rovers. Safe to say he was not as successful at Upton Park

Mia Claydon, Green Street Hammersexternal-link

Whatever you think of him, the loan signing of forward Jesse Lingard in January 2021 catapulted West Ham into the European places, as he offered nine goals and five assists in 16 games.

The worst is striker Benni McCarthy, who joined in 2010 and failed to score in 14 appearances. His contract was terminated three months later.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Dazzling Dave, Always Wolves Fan TVexternal-link

My initial thought was winger Daniel Podence. However, looking further back to January 2015, Wolves signed Benik Afobe. He served Wolves for three seasons, playing 62 league games and scoring 28 goals.

The biggest January flop is probably striker Willian Jose. Although he made 18 appearances, he failed to deliver the goals Wolves were expecting from him.

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