January – the month of resolutions, reforms, and reflection. Most of us select this auspicious time of the year to set goals for the remainder the year. And Football, the sport we religiously follow, too, loyally obeys the compulsions of the first month of the year.
The winter transfer window doesn’t see that many high-profile transfers, to be honest. But take a brisk stroll down the memory lane, and we believe you will get at least a few names who have gone down in the history books.
Leicester City bought the Algeria international from a lowly Ligue 2 side, Le Havre, for just £400,000 back in 2014 Winter Transfer. The lanky youngster didn’t take much time to make an impact and emerged as one of the standout performers in the English Championship. He helped his side to top the Championship table and earn a well-deserved promotion to the English top-flight – the Premier League.
Leicester were meant to lose their way amid some of the most decorated teams in world football. Instead, they came out swinging and wrote the most glittering modern-day fairytale. The Foxes’ Premier League-winning campaign in 2015/16 most certainly wasn’t down to one man, but Mahrez, who won the PFA Player of the Year that season, more than pitched in with his 17 goals and 11 assists.
Chelsea football club have made some record-breaking signings in the Roman Abramovic era, but very few of them can eclipse the shrewd piece of business they did in 2012 Transfer Window. The Englishman’s convincing performances at Bolton did more than enough to catch every big team’s eye, but it was the West London outfit who capitalized with an early £7m bid.
Cahill didn’t waste any time to settle in and hit the ground running right from the gates. He made only 10 Premier League appearances in his debut season but emerged as a key figure in Chelsea’s spectacular and unexpected Champions League-winning campaign. From the next season, he became a mainstay in the team and went on to bag two Premier Leagues in 2015 and 2017, respectively.
Manchester United snapped up the Serbia international from Spartak Moscow for a meekly £7m in January 2006 Transfer Window. After Gabriel Heinze got sidelined, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side needed someone rock solid to topple even the most intimidating of center-backs. Having developed in the ruthless Russian Premier League, Vidic knew exactly what his boss wanted out of him, and delivered to the Team.
Alongside Patric Evra, who was also signed in the same window, Vidic delivered some stellar performances in his debut season, justifying the faith Sir Alex Ferguson had shown in him. The Serbian helped the Red Devils to five Premier League titles, three League Cups, and the Champions League before joining Inter Milan in 2014.
Looking for a solution to their inconsistent showings in front of goal, Liverpool snapped up the highly rated Ajax youngster for £22.7m on transfer deadline day in 2011. Having scored 111 goals in 169 for Ajax, the Uruguayan joined the Reds with a big reputation and a considerable price tag. Over the next four seasons, he paid back every single penny Liverpool had spent and more.
Suarez always looked destined for great things. Immaculate touches, movement to find space, and a killing instinct in front of goal – the Reds finally had the player they needed to challenge for the title. In 2013/14 he brought the Reds mighty close to ending their title drought, scoring 31 in 33 appearances, but sadly, that saga was only meant to end in heartbreak.
When we talk about modern-day full-backs, Marcelo’s ever-soothing grin jumps in front of the queue rather effortlessly. Real Madrid only had to shell out £5.85m to bring the youngster in from Fluminense back in 2007. Marcelo, at the time, only dreamt of sharing the dressing room with his idol, Roberto Carlos. Now, 12 years down the line, he arguably has eclipsed his icon’s legacy at the club.
In many ways, Marcelo epitomizes everything Real Madrid stands for; he’s flamboyant, he’s relentless, and he always, always, makes sure to deliver when required. The Brazilian, 30, has already won 20 major trophies with Real Madrid, and we believe there is more to come from this eccentric, frizzy-haired left-back.