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Transfer news: Grading the most expensive signings from January 2023

Cameron Smith
Anthony Gordon, Mykhailo Mudryk, Newcastle, Chelsea
© ProShots

The 2024 January transfer window is yet to catch alight and there is little sign that it will replicate the stunning sums of money spent last year.

In 2023, several top clubs spent big in a bid to save their season, with Premier League giants Chelsea the most notable

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The Blues, who were managed by Graham Potter at the time, set a new record for January spending and five of the 10 most expensive signings in January 2023 joined Chelsea.

Their huge mid-season investment didn’t help, however, as they stumbled across the finish line and finished 12th in the Premier League table.

Not every major transfer went as badly, though, and FootballTransfers have graded the 10 most expensive deals of January 2023 below, taking into account how much the player cost and how well they’ve performed.

The 10 most expensive transfers of January 2023

Player From To Fee
1. Enzo Fernandez Benfica Chelsea €121m
2. Mykhailo Mudryk Shakhtar Donetsk Chelsea €70m
3. Anthony Gordon Everton Newcastle €45m
4. Cody Gakpo PSV Liverpool €42m
5. Benoit Badiashile Monaco Chelsea €38m
6. Noni Madueke PSV Chelsea €35m
7. Malo Gusto Lyon Chelsea €30m
8. Georginio Rutter Hoffenheim Leeds €28m
9. Jakub Kiwior Spezia Arsenal €25m
10. Leandro Trossard Brighton Arsenal €24m

Enzo Fernandez – €121m (Benfica to Chelsea): Grade = B

Enzo Fernandez has been overly-criticised since joining Chelsea, but it’s worth noting that he was mightily-impressive under Graham Potter.

The Argentine was immediately the club’s best-performing player upon arriving in January 2023 and while his standards have slipped under Mauricio Pochettino, that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Enzo’s struggles in 2023-24 are almost entirely down to the role he’s been deployed in and his form would drastically improve if Pochettino uses him similar to how Toni Kroos plays for Real Madrid.

Mykhailo Mudryk – €70m (Shakhtar Donetsk to Chelsea): Grade = D

Mykhailo Mudryk, Chelsea
© ProShots – Mykhailo Mudryk, Chelsea

Mykhailo Mudryk was evidently a promising player at Shakhtar Donetsk, but Chelsea vastly overpaid amid competition from Arsenal.

The Ukrainian’s first six months were really poor, despite a great debut against Liverpool, and he only scored his first Blues goal on his 24th appearance for the club.

This season has been better, but Mudryk is still extremely wasteful in the final-third and inconsistency undermines any good performances.

Anthony Gordon – €45m (Everton to Newcastle): Grade = A

Recency bias comes into this one, but Anthony Gordon has been a great signing by Newcastle United.

The Englishman was seen as vastly-overpriced when he joined for €45m and his first six months at the club ensured that opinion was maintained.

However, he has seven goals and seven assists in 20 Premier League appearances this campaign and has sometimes single-handedly kept them in with a chance of European football amid an injury crisis at St James’ Park.

Cody Gakpo – €42m (PSV to Liverpool): Grade = B

Liverpool beat Manchester United to the signing of Cody Gakpo this time last year and it looked like a masterstroke at the time.

The Netherlands international seamlessly slotted into the Roberto Firmino role at Anfield and he contributed 10 goals and assists in just 21 league games during the second-half of last campaign.

Nine goals and three assists in 27 games in all competitions this year is by no means a bad return either, but Gakpo has slightly fallen out of favour since the new season began, which is why he hasn’t been given an A.

Benoit Badiashile – €38m (Monaco to Chelsea): Grade = C

Benoit Badiashile, Chelsea
© ProShots – Benoit Badiashile, Chelsea

When Benoit Badiashile has been fit, he’s mostly proven himself to be Chelsea’s best centre-back.

However, the Frenchman has missed 19 games through injury since moving to Stamford Bridge, he’s been an unused substitute 14 times and mistakes have crept into his game of late.

Badiashile is a brilliant progressive passer and Chelsea are a more complete team when he’s playing at his best, but he’s amassed just 15 Premier League starts over the last year and isn’t a guaranteed starter at present.

He does have immense potential though and if he had featured more frequently, then he probably would’ve been graded as a B.

Noni Madueke – €35m (PSV to Chelsea): Grade = D

Noni Madueke hasn’t been given the chance to shine since moving to Chelsea, but he’s shown glimpses of his potential.

The England U21 star has four goals for the club and has begun to force his way into Mauricio Pochettino’s thinking since Christmas.

However, he hasn’t quite justified Chelsea’s outlay yet and probably wouldn’t be included in the Blues’ first-choice starting XI if everyone is fit.

Noni Madueke, Chelsea
© ProShots – Noni Madueke, Chelsea

Malo Gusto – €30m (Lyon to Chelsea): Grade = B

Malo Gusto was signed as a back-up to Reece James and he has unsurprisingly been Chelsea’s starting right-back this season due to James’ injury problems.

On the whole, Gusto has been excellent. He’s shown his one-vs-one defensive ability on numerous occasions and his attacking endeavour is excellent too.

The Frenchman can’t have done much more, but he’s not managed to creep into an A due to the fact he has only made 12 starts for Chelsea.

Georginio Rutter – €121m (Hoffenheim to Leeds): Grade = C

Georginio Rutter really struggled upon joining Leeds United in January 2023 and he couldn’t help them avoid relegation, scoring zero goals in 11 Premier League appearances.

In the Championship, however, he’s been excellent. Rutter has five goals and nine assists in 26 league games in 2023-24, mostly playing next to a more natural centre-forward.

This role has extracted the best of him and enabled Rutter to display his full range of technical ability. The poor stint in the Premier League brings down his grade, however.

Jakub Kiwior – €25m (Spezia to Arsenal): Grade = C

Jakub Kiwior, Arsenal
© ProShots – Jakub Kiwior, Arsenal

Jakub Kiwior simply hasn’t played that much since joining Arsenal. William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes have remained Mikel Arteta’s first-choice pairing and he’s performed the role of an able back-up.

For €25m, he’s been an okay signing, but the Polish defender has been heavily linked with a return to Serie A and he is clearly not well-suited to the inverted left-back role that he’s been forced to play in recent weeks.

Leandro Trossard – €24m (Brighton to Arsenal): Grade = A

After missing out on Mudryk to Chelsea, Arsenal quickly turned their attention to Brighton & Hove Albion’s Leandro Trossard.

That decision has proven to be a masterstroke, with the Belgian international vastly improving the depth available to Arteta in forward areas.

In total, Trossard has seven goals and 12 assists in 46 Arsenal games, which works out to be a goal contribution every 112 minutes. That is an incredibly-impressive return for a player who cost just €24m.

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