• Dan Tracey


Ainsley Maitland-Niles

While although this year’s January transfer window was agonisingly slow in terms of business, there was at least a little flurry on the very final day and with clubs allowed to conclude deals on the first day of February, it is time to mop up what little goings on there were.

Liverpool may not have broken the bank in terms of landing an additional defender, instead they ended up landing two for more modest amounts and with Ben Davies arriving from Preston, it is bad news for Scottish champions Celtic.

Because it was previously reported that Neil Lennon had managed to snare him first and it was believed that a pre-contract for a summer switch to Celtic Park had been agreed last weekend. However, this was not the case and Liverpool took the opportunity in which to pounce.

Last season’s Premier League winners have added Davies to their defensive ranks for a fee of £2m and Jurgen Klopp has not stopped there in terms of shoring up the backline, as he has returned to the Bundesliga.

While although it is not Borussia Dortmund in which Klopp has called upon, it is their arch-rivals Schalke and with Ozan Kabak arriving on loan, it means Liverpool’s defensive stock now looks rather more replenished.

Of course, there was almost an element of necessity to this, as Cameroon international Joel Matip has been ruled out for the rest of the season and when you consider just how much injury strife the Merseyside outfit have had thus far, this is certainly more news that they can do without.

With Kabak making a temporary switch to Liverpool, it meant that Bundesliga’s bottom placed team were also looking for reinforcement of their own and it has come in the shape of former Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi.

With Mikel Arteta continuing his clear out policy at the Emirates, the German international made the call to cancel his own contract and with the 28-year-old being a free agent, Schalke will pay a small compensation fee to Arsenal to facilitate the switch.

While there were two other loan departures from Arsenal, as Joe Willock has joined Newcastle for the remainder of the season and the same length of deal, sees Ainsley Maitland-Niles linking up with West Brom.

There’s also a temporary outgoing at Liverpool and it is something of a surprise one, as Takumi Minamino has joined fellow Premier League outfit Southampton until the end of the current campaign and the Saints have also now said goodbye to Shane Long.

There was more activity on Merseyside, as Everton bolstered their attacking options with the arrival of Josh King from Bournemouth and with previous Premier League experience, he should settle in rather quickly.

The Norwegian has joined Everton for a nominal fee, while there was some larger outlay towards the bottom of the table and this was witnessed at Brighton, as Graham Potter has spent £4m on securing the talents of Ecuador midfielder Moises Caicedo from Independiente del Valle.