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3 winners and losers from the 2018 January transfer window

Riyad Mahrez was left frustrated after Manchester City’s late bid to sign the player fell short.

Riyad Mahrez's move to Man City fell through on Deadline Day.
Riyad Mahrez's move to Man City fell through on Deadline Day.
Image: Mike Egerton

Updated at 09.07

The winners

1. Arsenal

A KEY QUESTION to ask regarding the current window is whether a team is considerably better off post-January and by the looks of it, Arsenal have done well over the past month.

The Gunners have waved goodbye to Theo Walcott, Mathieu Debuchy  and Olivier Giroud — squad players by this stage — as well as Alexis Sanchez.

Crucially though, they have brought in top quality in the form of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, while Mesut Ozil will feel like a new signing, with the German international all but committing to a new contract on Wednesday.

The defence, of course, could still do with improving — a rumoured deal with Jonny Evans never materialised, but overall, the North Londoners can be satisfied with the business they have done.

2. The League of Ireland

No fewer than nine players from the domestic league made the move to England in January.

With the likes of Sean Maguire, Chris Forrester and even Richie Towell this season at Rotherham all performing well of late, there is an increasing sense among British clubs that there is value to be had in the League of Ireland — something that can only be a positive for Irish football’s reputation, standard and ability to attract better players in the long term.

What’s also notable about this transfer window is that certain players have attracted substantial fees (at least by Irish standards), such as Aaron Drinan (Waterford to Ipswich) and Chiedozie Ogbene (Limerick to Brentford), whereas in the past, players often went on free transfers or for almost nothing owing to the short-term contracts predominantly handed out in Irish football.

While clubs such as Bray Wanderers have shown that financial issues are still a problem at certain clubs and stability is by no means a guarantee, there remains plenty of evidence that the league is continuing to develop talented players, despite all the restrictions and other off-field problems that continue to exist.

3. Everton

Everton badly needed a striker and they finally brought in an individual with at least the potential to fill the void left by Romelu Lukaku’s departure in the summer. Cenk Tosun showed he knew where the goal was at Besiktas, scoring four goals in six games in the Champions League as the Turkish side won their group earlier this season, while he also managed 41 goals in 96 league games. He has yet to set the world alight at Goodison Park, but it is early days and there is still plenty of time to prove himself.

The arrivals of Theo Walcott and Eliaquim Mangala (which is still subject to confirmation) from Arsenal and Man City respectively will also give Sam Allardyce’s squad a much-needed shot in the arm, with the former Gunners winger starting especially promisingly as he managed a brilliant brace on his Toffees debut last night.

The losers

1. Chelsea

While all their rivals brought in at least one exciting big-money signing, the best Chelsea could do was to spend £18 million on out-of-favour Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud.

There are also significant doubts as to whether Ross Barkley (£15 million) and Emerson Palmieri (£17.5 million), recruited from Everton and Roma respectively, are good enough to improve the team or make a genuine impact at Stamford Bridge.

Last night’s 3-0 Premier League loss at home to Bournemouth, meanwhile, added to the sense that all is not well behind the scenes at the club.

2. Liverpool

Granted, Liverpool have conceivably bolstered their defence with the addition of Virgil van Dijk, their early January £70 million signing from Southampton, even if they have continued to look less than solid at the back of late, with sceptics suggesting that one individual cannot hope to solve all their conspicuous problems in one area of the field.

However, nearly everyone who watches the team regularly feels a top-class goalkeeper was badly needed, while selling one of their best players, Philippe Coutinho, midway through the season, represents a significant gamble, particularly as they evidently had no one lined up to replace the Barcelona-bound Brazilian magician.

Such business can only be definitively judged at the end of the season, of course, but the fact that they have lost to Swansea in the league and been dumped out of the FA Cup by West Brom does not bode especially well for the forthcoming months.

3. Riyad Mahrez

For the second transfer window on the trot, Riyad Mahrez has tried desperately to leave Leicester and failed.

The Foxes manager Claude Puel intends to do all he can to ensure that Mahrez comes back “with a smile” after the Algeria playmaker saw a potential move to runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City fall through on Wednesday’s transfer deadline day.

With the Foxes desperate not to lose one of the stars of their shock 2015/16 Premier League title success, there were reports in the British press that Manchester City baulked at Leicester’s £96 million valuation of Mahrez and walked away without submitting a bid.

Mahrez was left out of the Leicester side beaten 2-1 at Everton later Wednesday and Puel said it had been a tricky situation for both the club and the player alike.

“We receive at the last moment something about City and I think it was harsh for us. It was difficult also for Riyad,” said Puel.

“We have to understand (all) parts: for me, for the squad, for the player. We will accept the decision, it was a decision taken between the two clubs.

“Of course I have all confidence about the owner to take a good decision about Riyad for the future and after we will see with Riyad when he can come back with us.”

Additional reporting by AFP

Who were your winners and losers of the January transfer window? Let us know in the comments section below.

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