Deadline day is upon us once again as teams across Europe clamour to get those final pieces of the jigsaw completed in a race against the clock.

Transfers often go down to the wire as teams take time to assess their squads and this season's business has of course been complicated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Several huge moves have occurred on the last day of the window in the past but just how much does it pay to go big at the last minute?

Looking at the biggest deals to occur on deadline days in the Premier League in the past, and using a sprinkling of Opta data, we take a look.
 

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG TO ARSENAL - £56m

Aubameyang arrived at Arsenal amid much fanfare from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 and has been an unmitigated success. In 89 Premier League appearances, the Gabon striker has scored 55 goals – including notching braces on 12 occasions – equating to a goal every 132 minutes. He also has a big-chance conversion rate of 49 per cent, has provided 13 assists and created 76 chances for his team-mates. The Gunners captain recently penned a new three-year deal and inspired Mikel Arteta's side to FA Cup glory last season.

Verdict: Success


FERNANDO TORRES TO CHELSEA - £50m

Judging Torres' time at Chelsea is a tricky one. On the face of it, he became a Champions League, FA Cup and Europa League winner during three-and-a-half years at Stamford Bridge. But the Spain World Cup winner never really lived up to the huge transfer fee the Blues forked out to Liverpool, where he was so prolific. In total there were just 20 goals in 110 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, a poor return considering the fee.

Verdict: Failure


MESUT OZIL TO ARSENAL - £42m

It is easy to forget given his current situation at Arsenal, where game time is proving very difficult to come by, just how good Ozil has been at times since joining from Real Madrid in September 2013. With 33 goals and 54 assists from 184 Premier League games, Ozil has been a valuable playmaker for the Gunners. He has created 559 opportunities for team-mates, including 65 big chances, and the World Cup winner also has three FA Cup medals to his name. Ozil has been increasingly isolated in the Unai Emery and Arteta eras and there is a sense that he has not quite fully lived up to his billing.

Verdict: 50/50


ANTHONY MARTIAL TO MANCHESTER UNITED - £36m

When the Red Devils signed Martial from Monaco in September 2015 then-boss Louis van Gaal said the fee was "ridiculous" but he was purchased with the next manager of Manchester United in mind. Over the following five years Martial has been as frustrating as he has been brilliant, capable of the extraordinary but also wildly lacking in consistency. Still, there have been 51 goals and 23 assists in 148 top-flight appearances, with a goal every 200 minutes. Martial's big-chance conversion is at 55 per cent, while he has created 160 opportunities for team-mates – 35 of which are big chances. Throw in trophies in the FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League and Martial has been a solid purchase.

Verdict: Success


ANDY CARROLL TO LIVERPOOL - £35m

Signed by Kenny Dalglish on the same day as Luis Suarez arrived from Ajax in January 2011, Carroll never lived up to his hefty price tag and it was instead his fellow new arrival who flourished. The former England striker did win an EFL Cup and reach an FA Cup final during his time on Merseyside but managed a measly six Premier League goals and was shipped off to West Ham on loan in August 2012 – he joined them permanently the following year. He has since returned to boyhood club Newcastle United.

Verdict: Failure


ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN TO LIVERPOOL - £35m

A few eyebrows were raised when Liverpool gambled on signing Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal in August 2017, given he had shown flashes of the prodigious talent that convinced the Gunners to bring him to north London from Southampton as a teenager but lacked consistency. However, Oxlade-Chamberlain has been a solid performer for Jurgen Klopp's side and that despite a serious knee injury that robbed him of a year of his career in April 2018. The England international is now a Premier League and Champions League winner with the Reds, while he has seven goals and eight assists in the top flight despite not being a first-team regular.

Verdict: Success


DANNY DRINKWATER TO CHELSEA - £35m

Drinkwater was a very late signing for the Blues in the same window, arriving at the club's training ground just an hour before the business had to be concluded. On the face of it, the signing made sense – Drinkwater was a Premier League winner in Leicester City's unlikely title triumph and had formed a great partnership with N'Golo Kante, who had joined Chelsea the season before. But with only 12 Premier League appearances, one goal, no assists and just five chances created the move has proven a really woeful one for both parties. Loans at Burnley and Aston Villa proved fruitless for Drinkwater.

Verdict: Failure


Overall verdict:

The truth is that any transfer always comes with its pitfalls and signing players on the last day of a window can sometimes be viewed as panic buying. But there have undoubtedly been success stories in the past and, quite frankly, we all love the drama don't we? Long may it continue…

Pep Guardiola hailed Sergio Aguero as "a legend" after the Manchester City striker broke two records in Sunday's 6-1 win over Aston Villa.

Aguero netted three times as he surpassed Thierry Henry as the Premier League's top-scoring non-Englishman, while he is now the division's leading scorer of hat-tricks after completing his 12th at Villa Park.

Although the hosts were charitable in their defending, Aguero's opener showed his clinical finishing ability as he lashed home from outside the box.

A jinking run and finish doubled his tally before an emphatic close-range effort secured the matchball and the warm praise of his manager.

"He's a legend and the legend rises tonight," Guardiola told Sky Sports after a match in which Riyad Mahrez scored twice and Gabriel Jesus also netted.

"Thierry Henry is one of the most incredible players to play in this league and he will be proud that Sergio is the guy who breaks his record. He was a legend and Sergio is the same.

"We congratulated him in the locker room because to score this amount of goals means you have done for many, many years a lot of good things.

"He's been consistent for many, many years, so an incredible compliment for him.

"The most important thing is he is an incredible person. You cannot achieve this without being a guy who loves to play football and in the final third he is the guy who has the goal in his head."

Villa boss Dean Smith was left to reflect on a one-sided contest in which his side were second best throughout, a late Anwar El Ghazi penalty providing scant consolation.

"It was a chastening experience," he conceded. "We know they are a top-class team but some of the goals we have given away were dreadful. The third one probably summed it up.

"They had 15 or 16 passes and we hadn't laid a glove on them. They have been allowed to pass the ball too easily and Aguero sticks it in the top corner from 20 yards.

"Mahrez got into the penalty box and under no pressure passes into the bottom corner. It is hard when you are three goals down against a team of this quality. The three players that scored today are worth more than my whole squad.

"They kept going but we shouldn't be sitting here happy with ourselves and we're not. We are embarrassed."

Manchester City thrashed Aston Villa 6-1 as Sergio Aguero netted a hat-trick to break two records, Riyad Mahrez scored twice and former Leicester City team-mate Danny Drinkwater endured a debut to forget.

The contest was settled in a 10-minute spell at Villa Park in which Mahrez grabbed a double and Aguero equalled Thierry Henry as the Premier League's top-scoring non-Englishman, later surpassing him and grabbing a record 12th hat-trick in the process.

It was a particularly harsh introduction to life at his new club for Chelsea loanee Drinkwater, who might have prevented the opener and effectively supplied the second.

Mahrez broke the deadlock after easily shrugging off Drinkwater's dithering presence, while the three-cap England international gave the ball away in his own box to allow his former Foxes team-mate to double his tally.

Aguero's rasping drive put City in control and Gabriel Jesus made it 4-0 before the break, with Villa's punishment extended by two more goals for Aguero after the break – Anwar El Ghazi's late penalty a minor blemish for the champions.

Having seen Liverpool continue their apparently unstoppable march to the top-flight title with a 1-0 win at Tottenham on Saturday, City – fresh from a 3-1 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg victory over Manchester United – were initially a little lacklustre before Mahrez injected some much-needed quality with his 18th-minute opener, which came at the end of a fine solo run. 

Drinkwater, having failed to make an impact in a previous spell with Burnley, looked off the pace and was caught by David Silva, who found Jesus to set up Mahrez for the Algerian's second soon after.

Aguero's record-equalling goal was more eye-catching, his vicious strike from outside the box getting the better of Orjan Nyland to leave Villa reeling. 

Worse was to come in first-half stoppage time, Jesus steering home from Kevin De Bruyne's superb pinpoint cross from right. 

To Villa's credit, they limited the damage in the second half, albeit Dean Smith's side were often pinned back by a fluent and strutting City outfit.

Aguero's fancy footwork in the box created the space for him to coolly slot in the fifth, making history in the process, but he was not done there.

An emphatic close-range finish ensured Aguero has now scored more hat-tricks than any other player in Premier League history.

El Ghazi took out his anger on a last-gasp penalty that did little to paper over the cracks for Villa, with City jumping above Leicester into second.

 

What does it mean? City shine, even in the shadows

Liverpool's stunning form has left City somewhat in the Merseyside club's shadows, but even now they continue to shine.

This was a display of champions, which is what City officially remain for the time being. Villa can take solace in knowing they will not face this quality every week in their quest for survival.

Mahrez makes his mark

Several City players underlined their class in this one, not least of all the likes of De Bruyne, Aguero and Silva, but it took Mahrez to bring the game to life.

He was a willing runner at an ailing Villa defence who failed to limit his influence.

Drinkwater's maiden outing a harsh lesson

As debuts go, this was up there – or down there – with the worst. Drinkwater's lack of game time had readily apparent consequences in a contest where Villa were already huge underdogs.

He will need to dust himself down after this one and hope the only way is up.

What's next?

City welcome Crystal Palace to the Etihad Stadium next Saturday, having lost the same fixture last season in a five-goal thriller. Villa, meanwhile, head to the south coast to take on Palace's bitter rivals Brighton and Hove Albion.

Manchester City captain David Silva will make his first Premier League start for a month at Aston Villa, where Pep Guardiola has selected Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus in his XI.

Silva, who will end a 10-year association with City when his contract expires at the end of this season, sustained a thigh injury during December's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United and made brief substitute appearances against Everton and Port Vale at the start of this month.

Aguero and Jesus last started a Premier League game in tandem against Newcastle United in September 2018.

It means Guardiola has granted Aguero a shot at overhauling Thierry Henry as the Premier League's leading overseas goalscorer. The Argentina striker is on 174, one behind Henry's record mark.

Jesus' fellow Brazilian Ederson is back from suspension as one of six changes from the City team that beat United 3-1 in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final at Old Trafford in midweek, with Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling among those dropping to the bench.

Danny Drinkwater makes his Villa debut in a midfield featuring ex-City man Douglas Luiz.

The former Leicester City player joined on loan from Chelsea this week following an unsuccessful stint at Burnley, where his only Premier League appearance came in a 4-1 loss to City at the start of last month.

Danny Drinkwater has joined Aston Villa on loan from Chelsea for the rest of the season after finishing his unsuccessful spell with Burnley.

The midfielder's short-term stint at Turf Moor officially ended on Monday after five months and just two competitive appearances.

Villa moved quickly to snap up the 29-year-old despite his unhappy time with the Clarets, during which he was allegedly involved in an altercation outside a Manchester nightclub in September.

An ankle injury suffered in the incident further curtailed Drinkwater's attempts to rejuvenate his career, although he did return to start Burnley's 4-1 home loss to Manchester City in December.

His move to Villa Park rules the relegation battlers out of contention for Chelsea strikers Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi as Premier League regulations prohibit them from signing two players on loan from a divisional rival.

Villa boss Dean Smith said: "Danny was a key member of Leicester City's title-winning team and has represented England so he is a vastly experienced player.

"He will strengthen our squad significantly."

Villa's move into the transfer market comes after goalkeeper Tom Heaton and striker Wesley suffered season-ending knee injuries.

Callum Hudson-Odoi took a significant step forward in Chelsea's FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest, but Frank Lampard has no doubt there is more to come.

Chelsea beat Championship side Forest 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with Hudson-Odoi opening the scoring before Ross Barkley also found the back of the net.

Lampard suggested in his pre-match news conference that the Blues may have been expecting too much of the 19-year-old winger, who returned from five months out with a ruptured Achilles in September.

Hudson-Odoi has struggled for form since then, but Lampard was impressed by his display against Forest.

"It was a good performance. I was pleased to see him high up the pitch, pleased to see him being aggressive in how he gets at people, which is what he is there for. He gets his goal with a great strike," said Lampard.

"It has been an interesting 12 months for him considering how young he is, when you take that into account. Last year everyone was talking about him for different reasons. He gets a terrible injury, he comes back very early and when he did come back there were issues getting him tip top.

"This was a nice step forward for him. Next time it will be, 'Can you do more?'

"When you are a player of speed and sharpness, when you have an injury like that it can be slightly held back. There is a lot of strength work he needs to do – stuff on the pitch and in the gym now we're getting him towards the point where he has that acceleration.

"As a player he is 19 and he has had that injury so there is a lot more to come from him."

Danny Drinkwater has returned from an unsuccessful loan to Burnley and Lampard said it was "a possibility" he could head straight back out in another temporary switch.

The future of Olivier Giroud, an unused substitute against Forest with Michy Batshuayi deputising for the rested Tammy Abraham, also remains up in the air.

Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Lyon have been linked with Giroud and Lampard did not rule out the France international leaving the club.

"There's no update on Oli and my answer remains the same as it has done recently," added the Chelsea head coach.

"I have spoken with him. If the conditions are that it is something Oli really wants to do and it works for the club and for me and the squad, then it's something that could happen.

"But it's only when all three bases are covered. So, we're still there."

Danny Drinkwater will return to Chelsea this month after making just two appearances for Burnley since joining on loan.

Clarets boss Sean Dyche confirmed at a news conference on Friday that the midfielder would be heading back to Stamford Bridge.

Drinkwater played just once in the Premier League for Burnley, in the 4-1 home defeat to Manchester City on December 3, having also started the shock 3-1 home loss to Sunderland in the EFL Cup in August.

The 29-year-old said it was "time to get my career back on track" when he signed a deal with Burnley that expires on January 6.

"It was a bit of a complicated time at Chelsea, but I see this as a positive move and I'm looking forward to getting going," he said.

However, Drinkwater struggled to break into Dyche's first-team plans and he suffered an ankle injury during an alleged altercation outside a Manchester nightclub in September, further curtailing his attempt to rejuvenate his career.

Drinkwater played only 23 times for Chelsea after joining for a reported £35million from Leicester City, having helped the Foxes to their shock Premier League title triumph in 2015-16.

There are reports Aston Villa could make an attempt to sign him on loan for the remainder of the season.

Real Madrid are already eyeing a move for Liverpool star Sadio Mane at the end of the season.

Mane has developed into one of the world's best attackers, starring for the Premier League leaders and finishing fourth in the 2019 Ballon d'Or.

Now, another one of Europe's biggest clubs are making initial moves for the 27-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID MAKE CONTACT OVER MANE MOVE

Real Madrid have spoken to Mane's representatives about a possible move, according to Le 10 Sport.

Mane is contracted at Liverpool until 2023, but appears to be attracting interest from the LaLiga giants.

The Senegal international has scored 14 goals and provided eight assists in 27 games in all competitions this season.

ROUND-UP

- The January transfer window will see Chelsea and Manchester City enter a bidding war for Leicester City defender Ben Chilwell, according to The I.

- Similarities between Moussa Dembele and Didier Drogba have made the Lyon striker a target for Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, according to Sky Sports News, with the 23-year-old having scored 10 goals in 25 appearances for the Ligue 1 side this season.

- Mikel Arteta is keen to assess all of his options as he aims to lift Arsenal back into the top half of the Premier League table, and he is considering a recall for £27million centre-back William Saliba from his season-long loan at Saint-Etienne according to The Mirror.

- Also on Arsenal's to-do list is a bid for promising RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, who is also a target for Tottenham and Manchester United, according to the Daily Mail.

- Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce wants to bolster his midfield with the addition of Burnley pair Danny Drinkwater and Dwight McNeil, and reports in The Telegraph say Genk striker Mbwana Samatta is also on his radar.

- Carlo Ancelotti said he will wait until January 5 before discussing potential transfer targets with the Everton board and when he does El Desmarque has suggested Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez could be one of the names on his list.

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