Five players who failed to get the transfer they needed

Tom Weber
Tom Weber

  • Updated: 2 Feb 2024 19:31 GMT
  • 4 min read
Arda Guler, Real Madrid, 2023/24

The January transfer window was a big disappointment.

There was a noticeable dearth of high-profile transfers and not even the excitement of Deadline Day could make up for the boring previous 31 days. As such, there were several big-name players around Europe who failed to get the transfer they so desperately needed.

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Every year, there are stars who, for whatever reason, do not get the game time they should be getting. This season has been no different and there were numerous instances of notable footballers who needed a January move but did not get it in the bygone window.

Arda Guler (18, Real Madrid)

Arda Guler has not had an easy time of it since snubbing Barcelona and joining Real Madrid in the summer for €20 million. The Turkish wonderkid, one of the biggest talents in Europe, had to deal with severe injury problems in the early goings of the campaign, but despite being fully fit, he is still struggling for game time.

Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti was repeatedly asked throughout January about whether Guler would be allowed to go out on loan to get his match sharpness and fitness levels up, but the Italian always insisted that the 18-year-old would eventually get his minutes. Thus far, however, the youngster has spent more time on the bench than on the pitch.

Antony (23, Man Utd)

© IMAGO – Antony

Antony is arguably the biggest flop signing in Man Utd history. The Red Devils splashed €95m on him in 2022, but the Brazilian has not recorded a single goal contribution in the Premier League this season. In fact, he has only been involved in goals in the FA Cup…against League Two side Newport County.

It was entirely unsurprising that the 23-year-old was repeatedly linked with a temporary January exit from Old Trafford, with West Ham, Flamengo and Juventus reportedly interested. These rumours were quickly dismissed by his agent, however, one can’t help but feel that Antony would have benefitted from playing in a less demanding league for six months.

Marco Asensio (28, PSG)

Marco Asensio surprisingly ran his Real Madrid contract down in 2023 and joined PSG on a free transfer in the summer. So far, it’s fair to say that this was evidently the wrong decision on his part.

Perhaps the Spaniard was hoping that the Ligue 1 giants would sell Kylian Mbappe in the summer, but the 25-year-old is still very much the top dog in Paris and Asensio has struggled for game time, having featured just seven times in Ligue 1 at the time of writing. Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen reportedly plotted a late move for Asensio, but nothing ultimately materialised.

Malang Sarr (25, Chelsea)

Malang Sarr
© IMAGO – Malang Sarr

Malang Sarr has not played a competitive game of football since last season and he has not featured for Chelsea since May 2022. This likely won’t change anytime soon either, yet the Frenchman will be stuck at Stamford Bridge for at least another six months.

Interest in the 25-year-old was sparse throughout January, but Ligue 1 side Le Havre eventually attempted a lat Deadline Day swoop. An agreement on a contract termination had reportedly been reached and Sarr was already in France for his medical, but the deal fell through because Chelsea failed to submit the necessary documents in time.

Nordi Mukiele (26, PSG)

Nordi Mukiele looked destined to depart PSG in January, with Bayern virtually trying the entire month to strike a deal with the French side for the right-back. Yet, no agreement could ultimately be reached and the Bavarians quickly moved to sign Mukiele’s compatriot Sacha Boey from Galatasaray instead.

On Deadline Day, it was revealed that the 26-year-old had also attracted the attention of Chelsea at one point in January, while there had also been tentative links to Arsenal previously, but the final days of the window came and went and nothing happened. Mukiele has only played seven Ligue 1 games so far this season and was desperate to leave PSG.

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