Every time either the summer or winter transfer window opens, Premier League fans are filled with excitement about who their club might sign, or in some cases with fear over which star players they will lose. In recent times the sums being spent have been truly staggering and the amount of money splashed out has seemed to move inexorably upwards, bar the odd virus-shaped bump.
The 2023 summer transfer window was a record-breaker, with no end of huge moves seeing Premier League clubs spend well over £2bn! The London big boys, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs, spent around £865m between them, with the Blues accounting for around half of that. In total, 10 separate clubs each spent a nine-figure sum (£100m or more), with three others spending over £90m!
Here we take a look at the latest transfer window, which closed at 11 pm on the 1st of February 2024. We will analyse all of the biggest deals, and we’ll see how the window as a whole compares with other recent ones, in particular those in winter.
Summary of the Premier League Transfer Window, January 2024
The most obvious thing to say is that it was an incredibly quiet transfer window for the English top flight. In recent times we have come to expect the PL to outspend the other big European leagues. In fact, in the summer window of the current season, the Premier League spent almost as much as La Liga, the Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 combined! According to football finance experts Deloitte, the English top flight spent around 48% of the total.
One thing that makes the winter transfer period really stand out, then, is that the two biggest deals in Europe did not involve any English clubs. Barcelona paid around £26m for Brazilian attacker Vitor Roque, whilst Bayern Munich signed Galatasaray’s Sacha Boey, a French right-back, for a similar fee. In total, the entire Premier League spent around £100m, which was the lowest total (health crisis-affected seasons aside) since the 2012 winter window.
Twelve months ago the Premier League spent over £800m at this stage of the season, so £100m on just 17 permanent deals represents an incredibly low-key transfer window. We will look at the reasons why shortly, but first let’s take a look at the deals that did take place. Here we will consider both permanent and loan transfers, as well as any notable outgoing deals, where players left the PL.
And the Biggest Spenders are…
Which English side spent the most money during the January 2024 transfer window? It would be a rather niche and fiendishly tricky quiz question but it might be one for the football geeks to remember because the answer is Crystal Palace. The somewhat beleaguered Eagles, who began February with deeply unhappy fans and just a six-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone, were the surprise “big” spenders of the window.
They signed the second and third most expensive players of the window, bringing in midfielder Adam Wharton from Blackburn for £18.5m and Daniel Munoz, an attacking right-back, for £8.5m from Belgian side Genk. Incredibly Palace, with these two relatively low-key signings, accounted for more than a quarter of the league’s entire spending!
Adam Wharton – £18.5m
Wharton was 19 when he completed his switch to Selhurst Park (he will turn 20 on the 6th of February 2024) and he is a highly promising player. A tall, strong, defensive midfielder, he has represented England at U19 and U20 levels and will hope to go on and play for the senior side. He can chip in with the odd goal and has been a regular for Blackburn during the 2023/24 campaign, playing 22 games in total the season prior. The fee could, reportedly, rise to £22m with various add-ons.
Daniel Munoz – £8.5m
Munoz is a full-back who likes to get forward from the right-hand side but can also cover at centre back. Aged 27, he joined the Eagles from Genk and the Colombia international joined the Belgians in 2020 for around £4m. Capped 22 times by his nation, Munoz has a reasonable scoring record, although the Premier League is clearly a big step up from football in Colombia or Belgium.
Spurs Make the Biggest Single Signing
Whilst Palace were the club that spent the most, the biggest signing of the January window was the deal that brought Genoa defender Radu Dragusin to Spurs. The London side paid £25m for the Romanian, meaning that the capture of a single player, that few average Premier League fans would have even heard of, accounted for approximately a quarter of the league’s spending this window.
Radu has arrived 🤍
We are delighted to announce the signing of Radu Dragusin from Serie A side Genoa, subject to international clearance and a work permit ✍️
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 11, 2024
Dragusin is tall and powerful and, despite being just 21 years old when Spurs bought him, has already played for his country 13 times. Back in 2018 he was linked with a number of big clubs, including PSG and Chelsea, but signed for Juventus. He played just four times for the senior side but really established himself following a move to Genoa, initially on loan.
In the 2023/24 campaign he played for the Ligurian side 22 times, netting twice, and he scores more than his fair share of goals from centre-back. Some have compared him to Virgil van Dijk and whilst that may be premature, he has settled quickly at Spurs and looked assured and composed in the two games he has already played.
Other Permanent Deals in the PL
Below is a list of the other deals made:
Morgan Rogers, £8m, Middlesborough to Aston Villa – add-ons could see the fee doubled for this creative, goalscoring winger.
Kosta Nedeljkovic, £8m, Red Star Belgrade to Aston Villa – young right-back will remain at Belgrade on loan.
Valentín Barco, £7.9m, Boca Juniors to Brighton – another full-back, Barco is 19 and can also play further forward.
Matz Sels, £5m, Strasbourg to Nottingham Forest – Belgian keeper is set to compete for starting role.
Hakon Valdimarsson, £2.6m, Elfsborg to Brentford – Icelandic stopper is just 22 but was voted best keeper in Sweden recently.
Adrian Mazilu, £2.5m, Farul Constanta to Brighton – Young Romanian winger completed the switch that was agreed in July.
Ivo Grbic, £2m, Atletico Madrid to Sheffield United – Croatian keeper perhaps not the game-changing signing Blades were hoping for!
Daiki Hashioka, £1.7m, Sint-Truiden to Luton – Japanese defender provides versatility and should suit PL.
Ben Krauhaus, £200,000, Bromley to Brentford – one for the future: loaned back to Bromley for the remainder of the season.
Loan Deals of Note
As we can see, most of the clubs at the top end of the table were quiet in the transfer window but some very interesting deals were done on loan. Chelsea’s powerful Albanian striker Armando Broja joined Fulham and Marco Silva will hope he can finish the chances they have been creating.
Perhaps the biggest deal of the whole window was West Ham’s move to bring in Kalvin Phillips from Man City. Phillips was a hero at Leeds and an England regular but Pep Guardiola just did not take to him and he rarely played. With the Euros in the summer, the Leeds lad wanted game time and David Moyes should be a manager who can get the best out of him. An inauspicious debut saw him at fault for a goal after just two minutes against Bournemouth, however!
Delighted to sign for @WestHam for the remainder of the season! Can’t wait to get started! ❤️⚒️ #COYI pic.twitter.com/lEhGGWjzIy
— Kalvin Phillips (@Kalvinphillips) January 26, 2024
Elsewhere, Ivan Perisic was loaned to Hajduk Split, leaving Spurs, Sergio Reguillon made the shorter switch from Tottenham to Brentford (having ended a loan at Man United) and Eric Dier was another to leave the cub, heading to Bayern. Sevilla loaned Hannibal Mejbri from Man United but another huge loan deal saw the Red Devils send Jadon Sancho back to Borussia Dortmund. Another failed United signing, Donny van de Beek, went to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Why Did Premier League Clubs Spend so Little in January?
Every year most managers trot out the line that January is not a great time to buy players and every year hundreds of millions are spent nonetheless. But this year has been different and whilst there are a number of reasons, most experts believe the main one is the Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR). Everton have already been hit by a 10-point ban, with further charges brought against them and Nottingham Forest.
Aston Villa and even Newcastle United have said they will probably have to sell players in the summer to avoid falling foul of PSR. With such draconian punishment meted out to the Toffees, clubs have played it very safe in the January window. There has also been limited spending by the Saudi League after they spent so big in the summer, meaning less for English teams to spend in turn.
In addition, it was not just the Saudis who splashed the cash in the summer. As noted at the start of this article, the summer window saw a huge amount spent by the Premier League. With so many players brought in and so much cash paid out, even the PL has its limits. Finally, thus far only Sheffield United and Forest have changed their manager since the start of the season.
Last term there were 11 management changes at this stage of the campaign and so there were more new bosses demanding players to reshape their squad. With most of the Premier League’s managers still in place, and so many having spent big in the summer, perhaps a low spend was inevitable in January 2024.