Jump directly to the content

News Corp is a network of leading companies in the worlds of diversified media, news, education, and information services.

DREAM TEAM

Your Sun

A News UK Company
TOP
NEW BOYS

How will the biggest January signings get on at their new clubs? We used Football Manager to find out

With January's transfer dealings complete, it's time to look to the future and see how well the biggest signings get on

Premier League clubs spent an eye-watering £430million on new signings this month. 

The likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Lucas Moura and Aymeric Laporte all moved to these shores, while Alexis Sanchez, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott headed off to Premier League rivals.

It was all pretty exciting, especially with a record outlay of £150m spent on the final day.


CLAIM YOUR FREE £20 BET Sun Bets have this brilliant offer when you sign up and bet a fiver


But now all of that transfer drama is over until the summer, it’s time to go back to concentrating solely on the football.

So, having updated the database for Football Manager 2018 with all of the latest transfer dealings, we’ve been wondering how well some of the biggest transfers this month will get on at their new clubs.

Let’s put it to the test, shall we?

Pep Guardiola’s league leaders are cruising to the title

PA:Empics Sport
18
Pep Guardiola’s league leaders are cruising to the title

Firstly, we made sure a good majority of the league’s biggest transfers were updated on the game’s database, making sure the deals were pencilled in for January – and not from the start of the game.

That way, we can tell how each club’s transfer dealings impact the final few months of their season.


PLAY DREAM TEAM WEEKENDER Pick seven players to win £5k!


To find out, we simulated an entire season of the game and had a peak at the results.

Here’s the final Premier League table. 

18

So, in our make-believe world, Manchester United won the title, with Chelsea finishing just behind them.

Real-life title favourites City finished third – six points behind – while Arsenal beat Spurs and Liverpool to that final Champions League place.

So which January signings enjoyed a successful run out with their new teams, and who failed to live up to the hype?

Success

It gets better, Alexis

AP:Associated Press
18
It gets better, Alexis

It seems Sanchez’s move from Arsenal to United gave the champions that extra push to glory, as the Chilean contributed to nine goals and two assists in 14 appearances for the Red Devils, picking up a rating of 7.69 in the process.

Jose Mourinho played his new boy on the right-wing – exactly where we think he should be played – with Juan Mata and Anthony Martial joining him behind Romelu Lukaku.

18

One of the more pleasing aspects of the 29-year-old’s move to United was his match-winning performance in the title-deciding clash against Chelsea in May, where he scored twice in a 3-1 win.

Settling in well

PA:Press Association
18
Settling in well

Meanwhile, the real-life Premier League leaders may have finished a disappointing third-place in the table, but new signing Laporte had a great run in the side.

With John Stones suffering injury-after-injury throughout the season, Laporte was a welcome addition in January and played in every game following his move, picking up a rating of 7.03.

It’s all smiles for Olivier

AFP or llicensors AFP or Licensors
18
It’s all smiles for Olivier

Giroud enjoyed a realistically consistent end to the season, notching six goals in 12 appearances for Chelsea as they challenged United until the very end.

A decent 7.22 rating tells you all you need to know, but he struggled to start regularly under Antonio Conte and missed out on making France’s World Cup squad as a result.

Aubameyang has been training hard ahead of his Arsenal debut

Getty - Contributor
18
Aubameyang has been training hard ahead of his Arsenal debut

Deadline day signing Aubameyang joined up with his good mate Mkhitaryan (more on him later) at Arsenal, and was perhaps one of the signings of the winter window.

He notched six goals in 13 appearances for the Gunners, and while he wasn’t eligible for a medal in their successful Europa League campaign (that’s right, Arsene Wenger’s side got the better of Everton in the final) he will get to play Champions League football next season.

He also endeared himself to his new fanbase by scoring the opener in their 2-1 win over Spurs at Wembley, playing alongside Alexandre Lacazette in the league’s most devastating attack.


PICK PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG ON DREAM TEAM NOW Arsenal’s new boy is available at a bargain price!


Good move for Sturridge?

AFP or licensors
18
Good move for Sturridge?

We’re pleased to see Daniel Sturridge moving to West Brom for the good of his career, and in real life it could give him the game time he needs to make a late push for England’s World Cup squad.

On our Football Manager season, he notched five goals in 13 appearances for the Baggies – who finished a respectable 11th place in the table.

Four Man of the Match awards and a rating of 7.29 means he goes back to Liverpool a very happy man.

From Barca to Watford

Getty Images - Getty
18
From Barca to Watford

One of the most surprising movers in January was Gerard Deulofeu, who switched Barcelona for Watford after a frustrating return to his boyhood club.

With the Hornets, he played every single minute of their season finale, notching three goals and assists a piece.

Notably, he played his part in their surprise FA Cup victory over Chelsea, picking up a lovely 7.1 rating in the Wembley showpiece and a cup winners medal to boot.

Average

Lennon will be hoping for a strong end to the season at his new club

PA:Empics Sport
18
Lennon will be hoping for a strong end to the season at his new club

Much like Sturrdige’s move to West Brom, Burnley’s aquisition of Aaron Lennon seemingly benefits everyone.

However, the former England winger struggled for game time with the Clarets in our simulation, making just five appearances with a total rating of 6.95.

A seven-week injury left him sidelined midway through March until April, but even so his new start under Sean Dyche will go down as disappointing.

The Premier League is tough, Joao!

AP:Associated Press
18
The Premier League is tough, Joao!

The same can be said for Joao Mario, who joined West Ham from Inter with coolest unveiling video we’ve ever seen.

Unfortunately, that’s as good as it got for the Euro 2016 winner, whose 14 games for the Hammers accumulated in a 6.76 rating overall, although four assists isn’t a terrible return.

Similarly, Islam Slimani’s move to Newcastle saw him score six goals, but a rating of 6.88 isn’t quite as high as he’d want, considering his brilliant form for Sporting Lisbon before his move to Leicester.

van Dijk scored on his debut for Liverpool, against Everton no less

Getty - Contributor
18
van Dijk scored on his debut for Liverpool, against Everton no less

At the top end of the table, there was plenty of reasons for Virgirl van Dijk to be disappoiunted.

Liverpool’s £75m signing from Southamtpon played 17 times for the Reds as they failed to match the lofty heights they’ve achieved for real this season, and ended the season with a 6.97 rating.

Not bad, but not quite matching his price-tag now, is he?

Will Theo’s move to Everton get him into the England squad?

Getty - Contributor
18
Will Theo’s move to Everton get him into the England squad?

The same can be said for Theo Walcott, who hit a wonderful double against Leicester during the week but only managed four goals in total in our play-through.

Again, not a terrible return, but not the total you’d want for £20m.

New No 7

Getty - Contributor
18
New No 7

Sticking with Arsenal, it seems Man United were the winners in the Sanchez/Mkhitaryan saga, with the Armenian notching a combined total of six goals and assists in 14 games for the Gunners.

While that’s not terrible, it’s not quite the form he managed at Dortmund, but a season total of eight goals and six assists (he had a brilliant run with United before the move) is a pleasing return.

Not quite Sanchez though, is he?

Failure

Lucas Moura

Getty - Contributor
18
Lucas Moura is ready to hit the ground running at Tottenham

The biggest and most surprising failure of the January movers is undoubtedly Lucas Moura.

Spurs big winter signing moved for £25m from Paris Saint-Germain, but struggled for game time and form as they finished behind Arsenal in the table.

Finishing the season with an abysmal rating of 6.47, he only managed to make seven Premier League appearances – failing to start a single game.

New start

AFP
18
New start

It was bad news for another London-based new boy, with Ross Barkley failing for regular games and form at Chelsea.

This one, perhaps, won’t surprise you as much.

A total rating of 6.58 over six appearances – with no goals or assists – makes it a season to forget overall for the former Evertonian.

Eliaquim Mangala has failed to convince Pep Guardioa of his qualities

Getty Images
18
Eliaquim Mangala failed to convince Pep Guardioa of his qualities

Sticking with Everton, late loan signing Eliaquim Mangala continued his fall from grace since leaving Porto with a bad run for the Toffees.

He managed 11 appearances during his temporary stay on Merseyside – with Michael Keane struggling with injuries towards the end of the campaign – but ended up going back to City with a 6.68 rating.

He’ll have to get used to the weather on Merseyside

Getty - Contributor
18
He’ll have to get used to the weather on Merseyside

And there was more bad news for Everton, as £26m signing Cenk Tosun struggled to match his Besiktas reputation.

A return of five goals in 15 appearances and a rating of 6.72 will leave fans hoping for more next season.

Overall, Everton had a poor season on the game (much like real life), finishing 14th in the table.


READ MORE: