January transfer window 2019 closed: The hits and misses

By Vincent Ashitey
January transfer window 2019 closed: The hits and misses
January transfer window 2019 closed: The hits and misses

Another January transfer window has rolled by and we have seen a host of big-money deals once again.

While the transfer market has been relatively quiet on these shores, some of Europe's biggest clubs have opened their wallets and splashed the big bucks for some superstar signings.

Sportsmail looks at the best and worst this mid-season window has had to offer.

Frenkie de Jong

Ajax to Barcelona – £65million

Transfer rating – 8.5/10

Sportsmail's verdict: Just a quick glance at Barcelona's scouting record will tell you they rarely get much wrong when it comes to bringing young players into the club – and de Jong looks like another brilliant find.

He looks set to wear Xavi's famous No 6 shirt for Barcelona next season – that will be fitting, because he is an important part of a desire to get the old Barcelona identity back again.

De Jong, 21, will complement the impressive Arthur Melo, who arrived only last summer, and has the potential to become a club stalwart.


Christian Pulisic
Borussia Dortmund to Chelsea – £58m

Transfer rating – 8/10

Sportsmail's verdict: Pulisic will not arrive in west London until the summer – but what would Maurizio Sarri give to have him now?

The USA international was one of the most sought-after players in Europe and his signature will feel like a huge boost to Chelsea.

He lost his place at Dortmund due to the emergence of Englishman Jadon Sancho and yes, £58m is a hefty fee, but Chelsea will acquire a fine footballer.

An explosive winger, a superb dribbler of the ball and an intelligent assist-provider who has the potential to become a devastating attacking force. Will it finally mean the end for Eden Hazard's stay? Only time will tell.


Brahim Diaz
Manchester City to Real Madrid – £22m

Transfer rating – 8/10

Sportsmail's verdict: Diaz fitted in seamlessly during his Real Madrid unveiling – taking it in his stride as though he had been unveiled as the latest £100m 'Galactico'.

His unerring confidence is a sign that he has what it takes to mix it with the big boys in the Spanish capital after being freed from the shackles of Manchester City's reserve ranks.

On his debut against Leganes he was lively, showing fleetness of foot and intelligent movement, while in defence he showed his commitment to the cause with some full-blooded tackles.

Along with 18-year-old Vinicius, a year Diaz's junior, Real have the makings of a burgeoning attacking partnership.


Benjamin Pavard
Stuttgart to Bayern Munich – £31m

Transfer rating: 8.5/10

Sportsmail's verdict: Another shrewd signing from the German giants. Pavard will join the Bundesliga champions in the summer after a £31m move from Stuttgart.

The 22-year-old burst into the spotlight at the 2018 Russia World Cup and played a starring role in France's eventual triumph.

He announced himself on centre stage with his stunning volley in the round-of-16 clash against Argentina and has had a solid start to the season with Stuttgart – although he's been out injured since the start of December.

The Frenchman has real potential, however, and will challenge Joshua Kimmich, who can also play centre midfield, for that right back spot.


Nathaniel Clyne
Liverpool to Bournemouth – Loan

Transfer rating: 8/10

Sportsmail's verdict: A very good move for all concerned. Bournemouth started the season tremendously well, but have recently found themselves falling down to mid-table.

They have, however, strengthened in this window to ensure they stop the rot and push themselves back up towards the business end of the table.

Clyne was the best right back in England when he was flying at Liverpool before a horrible back injury – which has since allowed Trent Alexander-Arnold to flourish in his stead.

He will certainly shore up the Cherries defence and offer plenty in attack, plus Liverpool will see a key player build his confidence and fitness in the English top flight – a win for all concerned.


Alvaro Morata
Chelsea to Atletico Madrid – Loan

Transfer rating: 3/10

Sportsmail's verdict: It's hard not to feel sorry for Morata, but his time in England has gone from bad to worse. He was brought in to fill the sizable shoes of Diego Costa at Stamford Bridge, but he has now had to trudge, tail between his legs, back to Atletico Madrid.

Morata has undoubtedly been signed to fill the void once again left by Costa, who is out owing to a foot operation in December, but will more than likely be consigned to the bench once their first-choice striker returns.

Morata, still just 26, must regain the huge amount of confidence he lost in England during his 18-month stay in the Spanish capital to make this move any sort of a success.


Gonzalo Higuain

Juventus to Chelsea – Loan

Transfer rating: 4/10

Sportsmail's verdict: It's difficult not to think that the signing of Higuain is like putting a plaster on a broken leg.

With the likes of Tottenham (Harry Kane), Arsenal (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang) and Liverpool (Mohamed Salah) all boasting world-class talent in their forward line, Chelsea are glaringly lacking.

Morata left for Madrid following his miserable spell and Chelsea fans needed a real talisman to boost morale and rekindle the promising form they showed at the start of the season.

Instead, they signed a 31-year-old forward whose best years must now be behind him – and he is crocked after his first game in a Chelsea shirt.


Kevin-Prince Boateng

Sassuolo to Barcelona – Loan

Transfer rating: 4.5/10

Sportsmail's verdict: Perhaps the most curious transfer of all. When the 31-year-old journeyman, whose career has included stints at Tottenham and Portsmouth, sealed a loan deal to Spanish giants Barcelona it left everyone scratching their heads.

It is a short-term deal to fill the gap following Munir El Haddadi's move to Sevilla but, with an abundance of young talent already at the Nou Camp, it has only served to weaken Sassuolo's squad for the remainder of the season. Would it have made more sense to blood one of the youngsters for the next few months?


Cesc Fabregas

Chelsea to Monaco – £10m

Transfer rating: 4/10

Sportsmail's verdict: A class act who dominated in England, then Spain, then back in England once again.

After game time became hard to come by at Stamford Bridge, Fabregas's only option was to seek pastures new – and he thought he had found the perfect fit.

His former team-mate at Arsenal Thierry Henry came calling in an attempt to lure him to Monaco and the Spaniard grabbed the opportunity with both hands, buoyed by the prospect of linking up with his old colleague again.

'One of the main reasons in me coming here was that Thierry called me,' he said after the move. However, just 14 days after Fabregas's arrival, Henry was given the boot. Now he is left in a relegation battle without the man who wanted him there the most.


Read also: OFFICIAL: Barcelona confirms the signing of Kevin-Prince Boateng

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