Odion Ighalo – signing made January 31
Eyebrows were raised when Ighalo joined Manchester United on a loan deal in the final minutes of the January transfer window. The day had begun with news that United had seen a bid for Bournemouth’s Josh King rejected. As a result, the announcement of the Nigerian’s signing seemed like the outcome of another poorly-planned transfer window.
The smile has not left Ighalo’s face, though, as he has proven his doubters wrong. The boyhood United fan offers muscle in attack, rather than just pace. This was best evidenced by his hold-up play in the dying seconds of the recent Manchester Derby. So far he has been restricted to such cameo roles in the Premier League, but he has netted in all of his three starts in cup competitions. We are still unsure whether he is a viable long-term solution, especially once Marcus Rashford returns. Until then, he remains a success.
Bruno Fernandes – signing made January 30
Fernandes had long been linked with Manchester United, so there was relief when the signing was finally announced in January. Early impressions suggest that he is exactly what fans have been crying out for. As with Ighalo, United remain unbeaten in all competitions since his arrival at the tail end of the January transfer window. He has been involved in more Premier League goals than any other player since his arrival (two goals, three assists). Such was his impact that he was named the Premier League Player of the Month for February. He has also added one goal and one assist in the Europa League, and the prospect of him combining with Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford is even more mouth-watering.
Erling Haaland – signing made January 1
Haaland’s goal-strewn performances for RB Salzburg in the Champions League made him football’s hottest prospect at the end of 2019. Linked to both Manchester clubs and Juventus, it seemed that whichever side took him would be getting January’s best signing. The transfer window opened with the news that Dortmund had won the race, signing him for 20 million euros.
It didn’t take him long to settle. The Norwegian announced his arrival with a debut hat trick at Augsburg, scoring all three goals within 24 minutes of his introduction. He has since found the net six more times, becoming the first player to score five goals in his first two Bundesliga games. That makes his current strike rate one goal in every 57 minutes of league football. He then scored twice on his club debut in the Champions League too, despite Dortmund bowing out to PSG. That takes his tally to 12 goals in 11 games since he joined. The next club to sign him may have to pay ten times the fee that Dortmund did.