The best Premier League signings of the January transfer window - including new Man City & West Ham stars

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Who made the best buys of the January transfer window? We run the rule over new signings from Man City, West Ham, Crystal Palace and more.

As the dust settles on another deadline day – not that there was all that much dust kicked up in the first place, with £715m less spent than a year ago in the Premier League – it’s time to debate which teams got the best deals out of the January transfer window.

We’ve picked out eight players who look like potentially brilliant buys for their clubs. These are the best pieces of business done, the signings who have the most potential to change their new sides’ fortunes going forward. But how many of them will actually live up to their billing?

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Valentín Barco – Boca Juniors to Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton have a remarkably good eye for young talent, and they have likely signed another gem in 19-year-old Argentina Under-23 international Barco, regarded by many judges as one of the most promising left-backs in the global game.

Most of the biggest clubs in Europe had been linked with his signing, but he chose to become a Seagull and was signed for the knock-down fee of £7.8m, which is likely to look like an extraordinary bargain in a few years’ time. He’ll have a tough time edging Pervis Estupiñán out of the first team in the short term, but his superb technique and tactical maturity should add up to a pretty big future.

Giovanni Reyna – Borussia Dortmund to Nottingham Forest

The only disappointment Forest fans may feel is that the loan deal agreed with Dortmund for the incredibly talented American playmaker doesn’t include an option to make it permanent – but even if they only get to enjoy watching him play for five months, it will still be a great piece of business.

Reyna has struggled for minutes in a Dortmund side whose set-up doesn’t include a true number ten, which is his best role, but his numbers when he does play are remarkable, and his goalscoring record is hugely impressive. He’s dynamic, dangerous in the final third and should offer Forest a creative spark that has been lacking through the centre of the park.

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Kalvin Phillips – Manchester City to West Ham United

Phillips has endured a torrid time at City but somewhere in those much-rested legs, there is still the player who became the driving force behind Marcelo Bielsa’s joyous Leeds United side and the box-to-box man who has put in some colossal shifts for England over the past few years.

He looked understandably during his first game as a Hammer against Bournemouth, but if David Moyes can shake that rust away then he can finally get his hands on a player who offers the kind of impact across the whole midfield that Declan Rice did. And if he can’t be salvaged, then at least it’s only a loan deal.

Daniel Muñoz – KRC Genk to Crystal Palace

A Colombian right-back signed for a pretty paltry £6.8m, Muñoz’s numbers in Belgium are absolutely staggering across the board, from tackles to passes to threat in the final third. Granted, there are plenty of players who shine in the Pro League but struggle to make the step up to the English top flight, but given the relatively slight financial outlay it’s hard to look at this as anything other than a fine signing.

The 27-year-old has 12 goals in his last two seasons in the Belgian top tier, generates a colossal volume of chances down the flank and registers the better part of five tackles and interceptions per game. All the stats suggest that he’s a first-rate full-back who will elevate Palace’s output both in and out of possession, and he was as cheap as they come in the modern game.

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Adam Wharton – Blackburn Rovers to Crystal Palace

Speaking of strong work by Palace, they also scooped up the supremely talented Wharton, a 19-year-old midfield engine room whose crisp passing and judicious reading of the game around him made him one of the best central midfielders in the Championship.

The fee could rise as high as £22.5m, which is rather more than they paid for Muñoz, but his potential is off the charts and he is already mature beyond his years, with a calm head and a classy touch which allows him to guide the game around him. Don’t expect tons of goals, but do expect a player who will win the ball back and use it well time and again. A great signing for the future, and probably a pretty decent one for the present, too.

Enes Ünal – Getafe to Bournemouth

For the past two seasons, the 26-year-old Turkish forward has been one of the most lethal finishers in La Liga, bagging 30 goals over the course of 72 starts before a cruciate ligament injury derailed things. That issue means that Ünal hasn’t played much this season, but if he can get back to his best then Bournemouth have a very reliable goalscorer on their hands, and a possible long-term replacement for Dominic Solanke should their top scorer leave in the summer.

He arrives on loan with a £14.1m option to buy, which means his transfer is pretty low risk – and if he does rediscover his best form, then he could be a big bargain too. He’s got a brutally powerful and remarkably accurate long-range shot as well as a deft touch in the box, and has banged in a few 30-yard-plus free-kicks over the course of his time in Spain. Plenty of potential to be a fan favourite, and if he doesn’t recover fully from that knee injury then Bournemouth don’t even need to make the move permanent. A good piece of horse-trading.

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Ben Brereton Díaz – Villarreal to Sheffield United

Sheffield United need a minor miracle to stay up this season, and that miracle would need to start with some goals – and Stoke’s finest Chilean export has already got off to a pretty good start to his loan spell at Bramall Lane, scoring twice in his first three games since arriving on loan from Villarreal.

Whether the former Blackburn man’s physical presence up front and sharp eye for link-up play translate to a serious run at survival remains to be seen, and he probably won’t be enough on his own, but the Blades now have a talismanic striker to pin their hopes on. However slim their chances of dodging the drop are, they’re a lot better now than they were before Brereton Díaz arrived.

Claudio Echeverri – River Plate to Manchester City

It wouldn’t be a transfer window without City adding a heavily-hyped youngster to their academy collection, and this January they poached 18-year-old attacking midfielder Echeverri – who has already earned the nickname ‘El Diablito’, meaning ‘The Little Devil’ – from River in his home country of Argentina.

A brilliant little dribbler with tremendous control, lightning fast feet and a surprisingly powerful shot, he will spend the rest of the season at River before heading to Manchester for an estimated £12.5m plus add-ons. Already an Argentina Under-23 international, he has huge potential and could well follow the path laid down by Phil Foden into Pep Guardiola’s first team. But hey, even if he doesn’t, it’s not like City really need the money. A quality young prospect who looks like a natural fit for City’s style of play, and one to watch over the coming years.

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