Embargo 00.01 Thursday 28th February 2019
Chelsea signing Christian Pulisic will be hoping to avoid his predecessors’ pitfalls, as new research shows the club’s mixed record in the January transfer market.
The Stamford Bridge club dominate an XI made up of the most expensive inflation-adjusted January transfers – it includes three other Blues’ players, and only one of them could be considered a real success.
TotallyMoney’s Transfer Index gives a glimpse into the most lavish Premier League winter signings.
The credit and eligibility experts have analysed all the signings in Premier League history, including the most recent winter transfer window, to assess inflation in fees over the years.
Data explorer: https://www.totallymoney.com/content/transfer-index/data/
It shows that Fernando Torres is the most expensive January signing since the introduction of transfer windows, in the 2002-03 season.
Following four prolific seasons at Liverpool, the striker moved to Stamford Bridge at the start of 2011 for £53 million, equivalent to £111m today.
But he left his goal-scoring boots at Anfield, picking up just 20 league goals across four seasons following the move.
Chelsea’s January ups and downs
Christian Pulisic, the seventh most expensive winter signing since 2002 at £58m, earns his place in the XI of most expensive January transfers.
Back on loan at Dortmund until the end of the season, he will be hoping that a few more months there will aid the transition, and help him avoid some of the troubles of other arrivals at the Bridge.
They include Scott Parker, who moved from Charlton in 2004 for £12.6m, who also makes the XI. Despite a fee worth an estimated £42m today, he scored just one goal in 15 appearances before leaving a season and a half later.
Centre-back David Luiz, meanwhile, is an altogether different story. Known for his eccentricities, the Brazilian has still made more than 200 appearances for Chelsea since first joining in 2011 for £23m (£47m today), across two spells at the club.
Firepower and flair
The list of the most expensive January signings shows that clubs prioritise bolstering attacking positions mid-season.
Strikers and attacking midfielders make up eight of the top 10 transfers, with only Liverpool’s signing of Virgil van Dijk and Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte breaking the mould.
Both were signed a year ago, and are looking like valuable purchases – each has made 20-plus appearances this season, while their sides hold the top two positions in the table.
Summer the time for signings
Most clubs focus their big business on summer signings, the analysis shows.
Of the signings since 2002 worth £10m or more in the modern market, 666 (81%) were completed in the summer.
Chelsea were most likely to sign big-money players in the winter, with 21 signings worth £10m or more. Manchester City (13) and Tottenham (11) were the next biggest January buyers.
Last year was the biggest year for major winter signings in a decade, with van Dijk the most expensive of 15 purchases worth more than £10m today. In 2007, Nicholas Anelka was the pick of a 16-strong field.
This winter saw the trend reverse, with just six £10m-plus signings, the first single-figure tally since 2014.
TotallyMoney’s Henry Keegan said: “Premier League transfer fees have continued to rise in recent seasons, but our research shows that buying in January can be a risk.
“While some clubs have taken the opportunity to make purchases who have become long-term successes, others have found that adding players mid-season can prove to be a misguided investment.”
The most expensive January XI
GK Shay Given Newcastle to Manchester City – 2009: £8,100,000; now: £17,918,687
LB Aymeric Laporte Athletic to Manchester City – 2018: £58,500,000; now: £49,289,169
CB Virgil van Dijk Southampton to Liverpool FC – 2018: £70,920,000; now: £59,753,638
CB David Luiz: Benfica to Chelsea FC – 2011: £22,500,000; now: £47,285,059
RB Ashley Young Watford to Aston Villa – 2007: £11,880,000; now: £38,448,881
CM Scott Parker Charlton to Chelsea FC – 2004: £12,600,000; now: £42,342,755
CM Juan Mata Chelsea to Manchester United – 2014: £40,260,000; now: £69,651,225
LW José Antonio Reyes Sevilla FC to Arsenal FC – 2004: £18,000,000; now: £60,489,649
RW Christian Pulisic Bor. Dortmund to Chelsea FC – 2019: £57,600,000; now: £57,600,000
ST Fernando Torres Liverpool to Chelsea FC – 2011: £52,650,000; now: £110,647,037
ST Andy Carroll: Newcastle to Liverpool FC – 2011: £36,900,000; now: £77,547,496