Over a week into January and already most clubs are hunting down players they feel will either help sustain their successful campaign or attempt to add some much-needed quality after months of struggle.
There is no guarantee signing players midway through the season will be a success but that won’t stop clubs from scanning the market to see what bargains they can treat themselves to.
Notoriously difficult to find the right players, the winter transfer window has seen clubs panic buy just as much as pay over the odds for individuals they simply can’t say no to.
Last January was no different, with a massive £817.1m spent in total by clubs in the top five European leagues; Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1.
Here are the 10 most expensive signings from last January’s transfer window and how they have fared across the last 12 months.
10. Guido Carrillo
Transfer: Monaco to Southampton
Following his big move from AS Monaco to the south coast, Carrillo struggled to establish himself in the Southampton starting XI, failing to score and providing just the one assist. In truth, he was joining the club at a time where they were seriously struggling on the pitch, only just surviving the drop last season.
Last summer, Carrillo was sent on loan to La Liga outfit Leganes where he has scored five goals in 18 matches. Impressively, Carrillo has won an average of 10.1 aerial duels per 90 minutes.
9. Theo Walcott
Transfer: Arsenal to Everton
The former Arsenal wonderkid moved to Goodison Park after he had spent over a decade plying his trade in north London. Then-Toffees boss Sam Allardyce brought in Walcott in an attempt to add more attacking quality into the Everton ranks.
Walcott has been almost an ever-present since the move – racking up 37 appearances across the year – averaging a goal every 5.28 games from the right-wing. Not prolific but the Englishman is certainly still a player that can cause problems on his day.
8. Lucas Moura
Transfer: Paris Saint-Germain to Tottenham Hotspur
The pacy winger has proven to be a valuable asset to Mauricio Pochettino following his move from reigning Ligue 1 champions PSG. The 26-year-old has added an extra option in the Tottenham attack, with his direct approach and excellent dribbling skills a handful for any defence.
This season, Lucas has six goals in 19 outings as Spurs try and keep the gap at the top of the Premier League to a minimum. Recently, the Brazilian scored the equaliser for Spurs away to Barcelona in the Champions League to ensure their progression to the knock-out stages of the competition.
7. Cenk Tosun
Transfer: Besiktas to Everton
The second Everton transfer on this list, last January was an expensive month for the Toffees. The 27-year-old moved to Merseyside with a solid reputation as a regular goalscorer but things haven’t exactly turned out that way.
Lacking in confidence and struggling to cope with the constant demands of the Premier League, Tosun has spent recent times on the Everton bench, with young striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin preferred over the former Besiktas man.
6. Iñigo Martínez
Transfer: Real Sociedad to Athletic Bilbao
The highly sought-after centre-back moved from one La Liga club to another following his impressive displays for Sociedad. Martinez has established himself as a permanent fixture in the Bilbao back-line, as a replacement for Aymeric Laporte, but the club has struggled for form and find themselves near the foot of the table.
So far this campaign, Martinez has a pass success rate of 81.6% while averaging 2.7 aerial duels won per 90 minutes.
5. Cédric Bakambu
Transfer: Villarreal to Beijing Guoan
A big-money move for the former La Liga strike, Bakambu headed east to try his luck in the Chinese Super League all while making himself a tidy profit.
Bakambu has certainly shown he is above the necessary standard to play in China, with his impressive scoring record perhaps proving that his abilities belong back in Europe in a more competitive environment.
4. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Transfer: Borussia Dortmund to Arsenal
What a signing. For Dortmund, Aubameyang was electric and this form transferred over with him after then-Gunners boss Arsene Wenger sealed his move from the German giants to London.
The 29-year-old has scored 14 goals so far this campaign as Arsenal continue to adapt under new manager Unai Emery. If Aubameyang can reach the 20 goals mark – which at this rate is more than likely – then that would be a fantastic first full season in England for Gabon international.
3. Aymeric Laporte
Transfer: Athletic Bilbao to Manchester City
Another Premier League import to have thrived upon arrival. In truth, Laporte had already built his reputation as one of the most exciting young defenders in European football so when Pep Guardiola decided to bring him to Manchester, it definitely made sense.
By August 7, Laporte already had three honours under his belt at City; the Premier League title, League Cup and the Community Shield. Now cemented in the City starting XI, it’s quite possible he could add to that neat collection by the end of this campaign.
2. Virgil van Dijk
Transfer: Southampton to Liverpool
If we typed out all the positive adjectives to describe Van Dijk since his move to the Reds, we’d be here for quite some time. The Dutchman has completely transformed the Liverpool defence and in doing so, has made Jurgen Klopp’s side real contenders for the Premier League title.
He is calm, intelligent, and a leader on the pitch, and was instrumental in Liverpool’s journey to the Champions League final last season. If Liverpool win the Premier League this year, his price tag will be seen as a bargain by those in red on Merseyside.
1. Philippe Coutinho
Transfer: Liverpool to Barcelona
Speaking of Liverpool, their funding for Van Dijk’s transfer was aided by the departure of Brazilian superstar Coutinho, whose long-awaited move to Barcelona finally came into completion after the two clubs agreed upon a deal that made the forward one of the most expensive transfers of all-time.
The 26-year-old joined the likes of Lionel Messi and former Reds striker Luis Suarez at the Nou Camp and settled in fairly quickly, helping the club win La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Supercopa de España. This season, Coutinho has struggled a little for form but his undeniable quality will surely see him turn things around in Spain.