The final few hours before the January transfer window slammed shut on Thursday weren’t as eventful as in years past, with the biggest deals of the new year having been completed well in advance of the deadline. But that’s not to say there weren’t a few interesting goings on as the clock ticked toward midnight in Europe (and 11 p.m. in England, where much of the most compelling action took place.)
The biggest name on the move late in the day belonged to Chelsea’s surplus forward Michy Batshuayi. After reportedly refusing to sell the Belgian to Premier League rival Tottenham earlier in the day, the Blues agreed to send Batshuayi to Crystal Palace on loan. The deal wasn’t immediately confirmed, but the required paperwork was submitted by both clubs ahead of the cutoff time and made official about 90 minutes after the deadline passed:
🦇 Batsman Returns to London!
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) February 1, 2019
Batshuayi had been on loan to Spanish side Valencia since August, his second spell away from London since signing for Chelsea in 2016. (He spent the second half of last season with Germany’s Borussia Dortmund.) The 25-year-old has scored just once in 15 La Liga appearances this season.
Batshuayi wasn’t the only Belgian on the move at the 11th hour, as 2016 Prem champion Leicester City added 21-year-old AS Monaco midfielder Youri Tielemans on loan. That deal amounted to a trade, with Adrien Silva heading the other way, also on loan, until the end of the season. Leicester also loaned veteran Andy King to second-tier Derby County, which is pushing for promotion to England’s top flight.
New Sheffield Wednesday manager Steve Bruce lured England under-21 defender Dominic Iorfa from Wolverhampton for an undisclosed fee. Everton sent French winger Yannick Bolasie on loan to Anderlecht — he was with English Championship side Aston Villa the first part of 2018-19 — but the biggest news concerning the Toffees revolved around a deal that never happened. Per a Sky Sports report, Everton turned down a £26.2 million ($34.3 million) offer from mighty Paris Saint-Germain for Senegalese destroyer Idrissa Gueye.
Speaking of transfers that didn’t happen, not one of the Premier League’s top three clubs added a recruit during the first month of 2019. Leaders Liverpool, second-place Manchester City and third-place Tottenham all stood pat, as did Manchester United, which sits sixth.
Spurs became the first team in Prem history not to bring in a new player in consecutive transfer windows. Fourth-place Arsenal’s lone newcomer was Denis Suarez. That’s quite the a contrast with the team that sits just behind the Gunners in the standings: Chelsea.
If the winter window’s importance is waning, someone forgot to tell the Blues. The London club signed U.S. men’s national team headliner Christian Pulisic for a staggering $73 million earlier in the month and then added Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain on loan from Italy’s Juventus. Chelsea also sold midfielder Cesc Fabregas to Monaco and loaned out Alvaro Morata, Victor Moses and Pulisic, who returned to Dortmund until the summer.
Outside of England, Scottish champion Celtic landed fullback Jeremy Toljan on loan from Dortmund on Thursday, Barcelona signed teenage French defender Jean-Clair Todibo from Toulouse, and Bayern Munich inked Real Salt Lake academy product Taylor Booth.
Finally, MLS club D.C. United will hang on to its pint-sized Argentine striker Luciano Acosta, at least for now, with the Athletic’s Pablo Maurer reporting late Thursday that a proposed move to PSG fell through at the 11th hour.
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