Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Winter Transfer Window: Liverpool Adds Defense; Gunners Clean House; Baggies Load Up

The winter transfer window closed for Premier League clubs on Monday. The window was dominated by loan deals as clubs wrestle with the current financial circumstances created by the COVID pandemic. 

Liverpool, which earlier announced center back Joel Matip would be out for this season, moved quickly to obtain reinforcements for its back line by signing young defenders Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak from Preston North End and Schalke, respectively, on the window’s final day. Kabak will be on loan with a purchase option should the former Bundesliga defender impress. Exiting Liverpool on deadline day was winger Takumi Minamino who leaves on loan to struggling Southampton. The former FC Salzburg player should see significantly increased minutes with the Saints. 

Arsenal made further moves on Monday to transfer out more squad members as part of a sizable housecleaning by manager Mikel Arteta. Mesut Ozil’s Arsenal saga had ended in January with the midfielder’s move to Turkish club Fenerbache. On Monday, Shkodran Mustafi became the latest Arsenal defender to be moved when he went to Schalke as the likely replacement for Liverpool bound Kabak. Mustafi joins Sokratis, Sead Kolasinac and William Saliba as defenders leaving Arsenal this window. Arsenal on Monday also loaned out two players who may yet come back to a future with the club. Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Joe Willock will now assist the Premier League survival battles of West Brom and Newcastle, respectively, on loan deals before returning as Arsenal property at the end of the season. 

From an incoming perspective, Arsenal’s procurement of the services of Martin Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid was one of the more noteworthy additions made in the Premier League this window. Arsenal also addressed a backup goalkeeper need in acquiring Matt Ryan on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion. Arsenal’s Maitland-Niles was one of five transfers brought in by West Brom Manager Sam Allardyce in an attempt to avoid his first ever relegation. 

Unsurprisingly several strikers were acquired by Premier League clubs looking to address scoring deficiencies.  Among West Brom’s many transfers was Mbaye Diagne, acquired on loan from Galatasaray in Turkey.  Wolves acquired Willian Jose on loan from Real Sociedad to help replace injured striker Raul Jimenez. Everton, suffering from a goal shortage during a current slump by Dominic Calvert-Lewin brought in Bournemouth’s Josh King. Whether backing up or playing alongside Calvert-Lewin, King will be significant upgrade on Cenk Tosun, dispatched on loan to Turkish club Besiktas. Crystal Palace acquired Jean-Philippe Mateta on loan with an option to buy from Mainz where the young striker had 7 goals in 15 appearances this season for the Bundesliga club.  West Ham parted ways with disappointing striker Sebastian Haller, who was sold to Ajax.  The Hammers will hope for a better goal return from attacking midfielder/wing Jesse Lingard who they acquired on loan from Manchester United. Fulham, which was in the running for Josh King, came away Monday with Josh Maja on loan from Bordeaux.  Maja was featured during his time as a player for Sunderland in the Netflix documentary “Sunderland Till I Die.”

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