So that’s that. Whether you were following minute-by-minute, ground-by-ground updates on Sky Sports as the January transfer window ‘slammed shut’ – or ‘simply closes’, if you’re from the Richard Keys school of thought – it was tough not to get emotionally involved in the frantic final hours of the transfer madness.
You may have stared open-mouthed at the news Didier Ndong was joining Watford on loan from Sunderland or sweating that Swansea would get their temporary agreement for Leicester midfielder over the line in time or not.
Such is the nature of reporting and the irrational thrill level of believing your club may sign a player, it may have been easy to forget that actual football had occurred this midweek.
Many believe that the window is a circus and are glad to see the back of it, but who emerged from January in a better shape than when they entered 2018?
Arsenal lead the way
It is hard to argue against Arsenal being the side who have been transformed the most, for better or worse, by the last four-and-a-half weeks.
Four long-serving first-team squad members departed – most notable that of star forward Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United – yet those sales were offset by three arrivals, of which Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were the most notable.
Those two incomings, along with freshly-committed Mesut Ozil, will form the basis of a new-look, exciting Gunners attack.
This will no doubt cause great excitement in North London but the exits of Sanchez and Olivier Giroud – who so often produced a significant impact from the bench – will hurt, as will the club’s decision to overlook strengthening any other area of their squad.
Jonny Evans seeing out the season at West Bromwich Albion will infuriate many Gunners, who believe he provided the perfect profile to bolster their defence.
At the foot of the table
Speaking of the Baggies, the retention of the Northern Irishman was significant as potentially was the capture of Daniel Sturridge on loan from Liverpool. Alan Pardew beat former club Newcastle to the chase, to leave the Magpies once again in a precarious position.
Rafael Benitez has been vocal in his side’s need for investment but the loan arrivals of Islam Slimani, Czech goalkeeper Martin Dubravka and winger Kenedy has left the Geordie faithful feeling underwhelmed and fearing the worst.
Other sides near the foot of the table have also struggled with recruitment. Southampton could only add Monaco forward Guido Carrillo to a struggling squad which had £75 million to spend following Virgil van Dijk’s departure, while Huddersfield – also in a rut – added Alex Pritchard and Terence Kongolo, but their squad still lacks top-level experience.
Bournemouth were the only club not to make a signing, and while Stoke made three, their lack of investment in attack and a natural goalscorer may cost them dearly come May.
West Ham have once again attempted to reinvent their attack with the loan signing of Joao Mario and arrival of striker Jordan Hugill. Whilst immediate fears of relegation have quietened, the Hammers may have hoped for more.
Top six transfers
Tottenham will be happy with their acquisition of Lucas Moura while Liverpool fans delighted in Van Dijk’s capture, but grave concerns over their side’s defensive and goalkeeping departments remain, meaning a space in the top four is still in the balance.
The same could be said for Chelsea, who added depth with economical additions in Ross Barkley and Emerson Palmieri while swapping Michy Batshuayi for Giroud but notable fractions at the top of the club, especially in terms of recruitment, have left a cloud over Stamford Bridge.
Manchester City will win the league and broke their transfer record to land Aymeric Laporte to bolster their defence but the lack of cover in left-back and missing out on Riyad Mahrez leaves their squad still somewhat incomplete.
City's rivals United will be delighted with snatching Sanchez from their neighbours and a contract extension for Jose Mourinho made it a good month off the pitch, even if a lack of depth in squad areas remain. They appear well positioned to make advancements in the FA Cup and Champions League.
Battle for survival
When you analyse who has had the best window it must be with a view to how it could tangibly improve their outlook for the second half of the campaign.
Swansea’s late double move for Leicester midfielder King and the return of Andre Ayew – who joins his brother Jordan – represent clever additions to bolster a squad short in depth.
The recent league wins over Liverpool and Arsenal have transformed spirits around the Liberty Stadium too and hopes this momentum can carry them to safety appear to be well-founded.
Yet the relegation-threatened club who should be delighted with their January business are Brighton. With just 18 league goals in 25 games – no side has fewer – they desperately needed fresh blood up front.
They broke their club record to sign Jurgen Locadia – 62 goals in 178 games - from PSV Eindhoven in a £14 million deal. Along with the return of cult hero Leonardo Ulloa, should ensure the Seagulls have sufficient firepower to remain in the top flight.
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