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January Transfer Window: 10 Key Footballers on the Move

Last Updated: February 3, 2022
From Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Dele Alli to Dusan Vlahovic and Rodrigo Betancur, tracking the most important players who found new teams across the soccer establishment

The January transfer window for European soccer has now come and gone, and while the summer transfer period historically produces bigger changes and major player movement— which will continue when superstar Kylian Mbappé makes his way from Paris Saint-Germain to Real Madrid— the last month brought some impactful change to the overall landscape.

From transfers with fees to transfers for free, here’s Boardroom’s curated list of the 10 biggest transactions that will help European clubs win now and in the future.

Dusan Vlahovic

Age: 21
Position: Center forward
Transferred from: Fiorentina (Italy, Serie A)
Transferred to: Juventus (Italy, Serie A)
Transfer fee: $80 million
National team: Serbia
Estimated market value: $77 million (via Transfermarkt)

Juve got their man, beating out top clubs like Arsenal and Tottenham to lock in Dusan Vlahovic through 2026 — and they gave him Cristiano Ronaldo’s old No. 7 jersey for good measure. Vlahovic has 20 goals this season in 24 games across all competitions, a true scoring threat worthy of the third-largest transfer fee in the club’s storied history.

Also of note: Star Swiss defensive midfielder Denis Zakaria heads to the Juventus from Bundesliga club Borussia Monchengladbach for $9.46 million.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Age: 32
Position: Center forward / winger
Transferred from: Arsenal (England, Premier League)
Transferred to: Barcelona (Spain, La Liga)
Transfer fee: Free
National team: Gabon
Estimated market value$16.5 million

Stripped of his captaincy and then of his starting spot altogether with Arsenal, there were rumors of Aubameyang heading to teams in both Europe and the Middle East before landing in the spot he belonged all along. With seven goals in 15 appearances across all competitions, he can still help Barcelona in the year left he has on his contract. Languishing in fifth place in La Liga and just seventh in goals scored, the Catalan club needs Auba’s help, STAT.

Luis Diaz

Age: 25
Position: Winger
Transferred from: Porto (Portugal, Primeira Liga)
Transferred to: Liverpool (England, Premier League)
Transfer fee: $45 million
National team: Colombia
Estimated market value: $44 million

The Colombian speedster/maestro has torn up to Portuguese league this season, with 14 goals in 18 domestic games and two goals in Porto’s Champions League games. Diaz will be a great fit on the wing alongside Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino and is now signed for the Reds through June 2027, spurning teams like Manchester United to join Jurgen Klopp’s club.

Rodrigo Betancur

Age: 24
Position: Central midfield
Transferred from: Juventus (Italy, Serie A)
Transferred to: Tottenham Hotspur (England, Premier League)
Transfer fee: $20.9 million
National team: Uruguay
Estimated market value: $27.5 million

Just outside the Premier League’s top four and a Champions League spot, Spurs made a double swoop from Juve in a really strong holding midfielder in Betancur on a permanent transfer and 21-year-old winger Dejan Kulusevski on an $11 million loan. Tottenham’s had some promising January transfer window moves in the past like Tanguay Ndombele, now on loan at Lyon in France, who haven’t lived up to expectations. We’ll see if this calendar year is different for Antonio Conte’s club.

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Julian Alvarez

Age: 22
Position: Center-forward
Transferred from: River Plate (Argentina, Primera Division)
Transferred to: Manchester City (England, Premier League)
Transfer fee: $18.7 million
National team: Argentina
Estimated market value: $22 million

Could Alvarez be City’s long-term answer at striker? Chances are they’ll still try for the biggest names like Erling Haaland, but with 20 goals last season in Argentina, Alvarez could come in and help the English champions reach further new heights as the replacement for this next guy.

Ferran Torres

Age: 21
Position: Winger
Transferred from: Manchester City (England, Premier League)
Transferred to: Barcelona (Spain, La Liga)
Transfer fee: $60.5 million
National team: Spain
Estimated market value: $49.5 million

As Barcelona looks to reinvigorate its attack in support of Lionel Messi, Aubameyang, the young Torres and fleet-footed bruiser Adama Traore from Wolverhampton Wanderers represent the Catalan club’s current three-pronged plan. Torres has had his share of eligibility, injury, and fitness issues, but when he’s healthy and right, he can be a significant game-changer and under contract through June 2027.

Lucas Digne

Age: 28
Position: Left-back
Transferred from: Everton (England, Premier League)
Transferred to: Aston Villa (England, Premier League)
Transfer fee: $33 million
National team: France
Estimated market value: $33 million

Sitting in an uninspiring 11th place in the Premier League and 11th in goals allowed, Villa brought in the French veteran and former Barcelona and PSG mainstay to stabilize their defense. And speaking of Barca, former Bayern Munich and Liverpool attacking winger Philippe Coutinho comes over on loan from the Blaugrana to bolster not just his career, but an attack that’s just No. 9 in the Prem in goals scored.

Dele Alli

Age: 25
Position: Attacking midfield
Transferred from: Tottenham Hotspur (England, Premier League)
Transferred to: Everton (England, Premier League)
Transfer fee: Free with incentive-based add-ons
National team: England
Estimated market value: $27.5 million

Still just 25, Alli lost his way at Spurs after a great start to his career alongside Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son. Everton is making loan bets on not just Alli, but previously acclaimed 24-year-old Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek, who just couldn’t find the field enough at Manchester United.

Bruno Guimares

Age: 24
Position: Defensive midfield
Transferred from: Olympique Lyon (France, Ligue 1)
Transferred to: Newcastle United (England, Premier League)
Transfer fee: $46.3 million
National team: Brazil
Estimated market value: $33 million

As Newcastle looks to avoid relegation in the Premier League under new Saudi ownership, the Magpies’ main splurge was on Guimares, who will help in possession and in defense, where the team’s allowed the 2nd-most goals in the league this season. Former Spurs and England defender Kieran Trippier also comes over in a $16.5 million transfer from Atletico Madrid and veteran Australian striker Chris Wood comes over from fellow Prem bottom-dweller Burnley for $33 million.

Ricardo Pepi

Age: 19
Position: Center forward / winger
Transferred from: FC Dallas (United States, MLS)
Transferred to: FC Augsburg (Germany, Bundesliga)
Transfer fee: $18 million
National team: United States
Estimated market value$8.8 million

The American goal-scoring golden boy spurned an offer from Belgian club Cercle Brugge to join Augsburg, looking to avoid relegation in Germany’s top tier, for a huge price for an American player. He leads a list of Major League Soccer stars heading to Europe that includes Orlando City striker Daryl Dike (England’s West Bromwich Albion), USMNT and New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner (Arsenal), NYCFC defender James Sands (Scotland’s Rangers), and Colorado Rapids defender Auston Trusty (also Arsenal).

Christian Eriksen

Age: 29
Position: Attacking midfielder
Transferred from: Free agency
Transferred to: Brentford (England, Premier League)
Transfer fee: Free
National team: Denmark
Estimated market value: $16.5 million

It’s been an insane several months for the Danish star, whose standout careers on both Inter Milan and the Denmark national team came to a screeching halt after a frightening cardiac episode on the pitch during a Euro 2020 match in June very publicly put both his career and life in jeopardy. After being released by Inter because he wouldn’t be medically cleared in Italy, Eriksen will get a six-month trial at Brentford, which is looking to stay up in the Premier League in its first year in the top flight since 1946-47.

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About The Author
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung is a Senior Staff Writer at Boardroom. He has more than a decade of experience in journalism, with past work appearing in Forbes, MLB.com, Awful Announcing, and The Sporting News. He graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2011, and his Twitter and Spotify addictions are well under control. Just ask him.