Just like that, in almost the blink of an eye, the European football winter transfer market has come and gone, and now, what’s left is for us football fans to gear up for what promises to be a very good second half of all the top European domestic football competitions. 

As different sports statisticians have noticed in most of the top sports stats platforms around, like the ones that carry all the top NFL stats in actuality, this winter transfer market has given plenty to talk about. From Kylian Mbappe’s supposed start of a deal to join Real Madrid over the summer and the signing of Dusan Vlahovic by Juventus, to the failed signing of Aubameyang by FC Barcelona in the last hours of the market, a lot happened all across Europe’s top football leagues.

Given that this is a year that holds an ample level of importance in the sport of football, especially with the Qatar 2022 World Cup Tournament happening in November and with the qualifiers for said tournament still unfolding around the world, every move made by top players and teams from around the European continent will hold that much more importance and leverage moving forward.

But now that the 2021-2022 winter transfer market has officially shut down for the top football leagues in Europe and with plenty of very enticing moves and deals made right before the deadline, let’s look back at some of the best winter transfer deals that we have been witnesses to in recent times in the English Premier League, the best domestic football league in all of Europe to have a feel of what the new signings that went down during this transfer period will have to compete against in the stats departments.

Virgil Van Dijk Southampton to Liverpool FC

It was on December 27th, 2017 that Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool FC managed to sign who would end up becoming one of their most important players, not only on the defensive side of the ball but for the team in general, Dutch defender Virgil Van Dijk. After paying Van Dijk’s former team Southampton a whopping $85 million for the transfer, Van Dijk did not take long to show everyone why this signing was one of the best moves that Liverpool had done in quite some time.

From the get-go, Van Dijk became a leader for Liverpool’s defense and automatically helped the team improve immensely on the defensive side of the game. While he struggled with an ACL injury in his right knee that sidelined him for the majority of the 2020-2021 season, Van Dijk had already done more than enough to prove that he was worth every single one of the dollars paid to Southampton for his transfer. After collecting a plethora of individual awards as well as being a pivotal part of Liverpool winning their first EPL title in years as well as once again lifting the UCL trophy, it’s easy to see why Virgil Van Dijk might go down in history as the best winter transfer market deal ever made.

Bruno Fernandes, Sporting CP to Manchester United

It’s been a good chunk of years since Manchester United fans have been waiting for their beloved team to pick up their act and get back to being the dominant squad they’ve been always known to be not only in domestic football but in European football in general. After living through some of the most glorious times under Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure as coach, United fell into a slump that seemed like it would never end, but after a long and torturous time waiting for better days, one move in specific could be taken as one of the spearhead moment’s for United’s revival. This move was the signing of former Sporting CP midfielder and Portuguese football star Bruno Fernandes.

While at first the move to bring Fernandes to United did not make any true sense for fans and experts, it did not take long whatsoever for the Portuguese to show everyone what he was made off and the rest has been history. Fernandes has become the perfect piece that United’s midfield needed to not just find correctness but also peace and above all creativity. It’s no secret that United’s playing style has greatly benefitted from what Fernandes brings to the table day in and day out and with him still having plenty of years left to continue dazzling fans, it looks like just how before United’s midfield used to be owned by Keane and Scholes, now it belongs to Fernandes.

Luis Suarez, Ajax Amsterdam to Liverpool FC

While this move might not be as recent as both others, and with the Uruguayan striker having later moved on to FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid respectively, it would not be fair to not mention the effect that Liverpool’s signing of Luis Suarez in late January of 2011. Suarez was brought in alongside English striker Andy Carroll to fill in for another Liverpool legend that had just left the club, Spaniard Fernando Torres, but what came after can surely be seen as one of the most prolific and thrilling periods endured by any striker donning the Liverpool jersey in recent years.

Suarez came into the league and almost automatically appointed himself as one of the best strikers the EPL had seen ever since welcoming in Thierry Henry in the mid-’90s. With a total of 120 goals over 110 EPL matches, including having won the Golden Boot title in the 2013-14 season after scoring 31 goals, even if that season saw Liverpool tragically miss out on winning the Premier League title because of a Steven Gerrard slip, this man took Liverpool and revolutionized not just the team but the city as well.