The 20 biggest moves of the 2023 January transfer window: Chelsea feature quite a lot

Ian Watson
Chelsea prepare to sign Fernandez

Chelsea made five of the eight biggest signings in the January transfer window, with Liverpool’s early pace-setting move for Cody Gakpo eventually knocked down to fourth by Enzo Fernandez, Mykhaylo Mudryk and, er, Anthony Gordon.

Here are the top transfers involving European clubs…


1) Enzo Fernandez: Benfica to Chelsea – £106.8m
A deadline-busting deal that was on and off for much of January and only at the very last definitively on. Chelsea ended up going over and above Fernandez’s 120million euro release clause in exchange for a payment structure that suited their needs. Those needs primarily being “spread the cost as much as possible across the massive eight-and-a-half-year contracts we give out now”.


2) Mykhaylo Mudryk: Shakhtar Donetsk to Chelsea – £62m
You will read a lot about this being an £89m transfer but the truth is that Chelsea will only pay £89m if everything goes swimmingly; right now they will only pay £62m for the Ukrainian winger who – just a week before – we were repeatedly told only wanted to join Arsenal. He has signed an eight-and-a-half-year contract, which is officially a hell of a lot.


3) Anthony Gordon: Everton to Newcastle – £40m
This was easier to write off as daftness when it was Chelsea doing the chasing in the summer. Newcastle have been broadly sane in their transfer activity since becoming uber-rich. This one still looks like an absolute madness, though, for a player with seven goals and three assists in 65 Premier League games. Even adding the caveat “for Everton” can’t shake off the underwhelming nature of those numbers.


4) Cody Gakpo: PSV to Liverpool – £37.2m
Liverpool didn’t wait for the window to open before wrapping up a deal to sign Gakpo, apparently from under the noses of Manchester United, though the Red Devils’ subsequent pursuit of veteran loanee centre-forwards suggests they were never really serious about the Netherlands international. Gakpo is getting his feet under the table after making his debut against Wolves in the FA Cup but Liverpool fans are entitled to wonder about the merits of blowing the winter budget on another talented forward given the more urgent need for a midfielder.


5) Benoit Badiashile: Monaco to Chelsea – £33m
It’s a notable fee, but the thing that jumped out about this deal is the length of contract. Badiashile committed to seven-and-a-half years at Stamford Bridge, which takes him to 2030. It was the first big clue about Todd Boehly’s massive contract wheeze, which protects Chelsea’s assets but also allows them to spread amortisation more thinly to keep the FFP police happy.


6) Noni Madueke: PSV Eindhoven to Chelsea – £30.7m
The spending does not stop for the Blues, who have signed the England Under-21 winger for quite a few pounds. It’s a seven-and-a-half-year contract for reasons of FFP, obviously.


7) Vitinha: Braga to Marseille – £28.3m
One of two non-Premier League deals to make it to the top 20, and Vitinha could very easily have been England-bound himself with Southampton, Aston Villa and West Ham all linked with the Portugal centre-forward before he bafflingly opted for the south of France over East London or the West Midlands.


8) Malo Gusto: Lyon to Chelsea – £26.3m
It had been a good couple of days without a signing, so Chelsea decided to help themselves to a 19-year-old Lyon right-back. And then send him straight back on loan. He’s been Lyon’s first-choice right-back this season despite his age, as well as seven caps for France Under-21s.


9) Georginio Rutter: Hoffenheim to Leeds – £24.8m
This could eventually be a club record fee for Leeds United, whose fans will be hoping that he is better than his starts suggest: Two goals in 15 Bundesliga games is not exactly screaming the kind of record that will keep Leeds in the Premier League and Jesse Marsch in a job.


10) Kamaldeen Sulemana: Rennes to Southampton – £22m
One of two very late additions to Southampton’s attacking ranks on deadline day after Vitinha (see above) snubbed the Saints, Sulemana arrived from Rennes for a club record fee despite playing a bit-part role for the French side this season. His 20 appearances across three competitions for Rennes this campaign have brought just one goal and two assists for the winger, but also come in at a total of only 586 minutes or just under 30 minutes per appearance on average.


11) Leandro Trossard: Brighton to Arsenal – £21m
The Belgian had made it pretty damned clear that he thought he was too good for Brighton but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fine signing for Arsenal, who are getting a Premier League-experienced attacker who can play in a variety of positions.


12) Ilya Zabarnyi: Dynamo Kyiv to Bournemouth – £20.1m
Went inevitably under the deadline day radar for multiple reasons, but Bournemouth’s acquisition of the highly-rated 20-year-old Ukraine centre-back could be one of the month’s canniest bits of business.


13) Dango Ouattara: Lorient to Bournemouth – £20m
The first new arrival at Bournemouth under new owner Bill Foley, Burkino Faso winger Ouattara has signed a five-and-a-half-year year contract after bagging six goals in 18 Ligue 1 appearances this season.


14) Andrey Santos: Vasco Da Gama to Chelsea – £18m
The third of Chelsea’s January signings is probably one for the future. Santos, an 18-year-old box-to-box midfielder, helped Vasco earn promotion from the Brazilian second division last season with eight goals in 33 appearances. He has also represented Brazil at Under-20 level.


15) Danilo: Palmeiras to Nottingham Forest – £17.8m
Long linked with Arsenal, it is somehow Nottingham Forest who have emerged with the signature of the 21-year-old Brazilian central midfielder. “I’m really happy to be fulfilling my dream of playing in the Premier League and playing for Nottingham Forest,” said Danilo. There are some excellent things happening at Forest.


16) Gerson: Marseille to Flamengo – £17.6m
Gerson made the return journey to Flamengo after leaving there for Marseille in 2021. He played 48 games for OM last season but has featured less frequently this term, prompting a deal that could see the French side get their money back if Flamengo become liable for most of the add-ons.


17) Jakub Kiwior: Spezia to Arsenal – £17.5m
The defender, who started all of Poland’s World Cup games, watched the win over Manchester United from the stands after undergoing his medical earlier in the day. So it’s back to the drawing board for Spezia boss Luca Gotti: “It is frustrating for a coach, as when you work to build them up, you then don’t get to enjoy the fruits of your labour, as they are sold and you press the reset button.”


18) Paul Onuachu: Genk to Southampton – £15.9m
Obvious caveats about relative standard notwithstanding, Southampton will be pretty pleased to have managed to get in a striker with 16 league goals already this season in the Jupiler at what is a perfectly acceptable deadline day price in this crazy modern world.


19) Harry Souttar: Stoke to Leicester – £15m
The Australia World Cup star earned his Premier League move in the very last knockings of deadline day, and must now busy himself making sure he and his new team stay there.


20) Joao Gomes: Flamengo to Wolves – £15m
The 21-year-old became Wolves’ sixth signing of the January window on deadline day eve, reportedly turning down Lyon to move to Molineux. He has signed a five-and-a-half-year deal and will hope to help Julen Lopetegui’s side safely avoid relegation from the Premier League.


Read more: The full list of every Premier League signing and sale made in the January 2023 transfer window