LONDON, Feb 1: Odion Ighalo‘s departure from Watford for Changchun Yatai of the Chinese Super League for a fee of £20 million was the biggest deal of a quiet transfer deadline day for England’s biggest clubs during which the biggest investments were made by Southampton, Burnley and clubs mired in the battle against relegation.
Saints broke their transfer record to sign Manolo Gabbiadini for £17.1m while Burnley broke theirs for the second time in six months to but another Republic of Ireland international, Jeff Hendrick’s close friend Robbie Brady from Norwich for a fee that could rise to £13m. Sean Dyche also bolstered his central midfield by paying Aston Villa £5m to purchase Ashley Westwood.
Crystal Palace signed the France centre-back Mamadou Sakho from Liverpool on loan, paying a £2m loan fee instead of the £20m asking price to secure his registration long-term. Sakho has not played for Liverpool for more than eight months but has an impressive pedigree. Sam Allardyce also strengthened his midfield by signing the Serbia defensive midfielder Luka Milivojevic from Olympiakos for £11m and were trying to get a deal for Everton’s Arouna Kone over the line.
Hull City made three signings, bringing in former Sunderland midfielder Alfred N’Diaye on loan from Villarreal, tying up the loose ends for Poland winger Kamil Gilick from Rennes either on loan with a view to a £7.8m deal or for £7.8m now if they had not run out of time and the Italy centre-back Andrea Ranocchia from Internazionale until the end of the season.
Swansea, who sold Andre Ayew last summer, brought in his brother, Jordan, from Aston Villa, sending £4m and the Wales left-back Neil Taylor in part exchange to Bodymoor Heath. Villa also signed Scott Hogan from Brentford for £9m while Sheffield Wednesday paid Middlesbrough £10m for Jordan Rhodes. Boro immediately invested £4m of that to buy Adlene Guedioura, the 31-year-old Algeria midfielder, from Watford.
Bournemouth’s late bid for Nathan Ake was turned down by Chelsea.
Steve Bruce took his January spending to more than £20 million with the capture of Brentford striker Scott Hogan, while offloading Ross McCormack to Nottingham Forest.
Hogan was a West Ham target but Villa were patiently monitoring his situation before making their move on Monday after finally pulling the plug on their pursuit of Middlesbrough’s Jordan Rhodes, who signed for Sheffield Wednesday.
The striker joins Villa for an initial £10 million to become the most expensive signing of an impressive transfer window for Bruce, owner Tony Xia, chief executive Keith Wyness and technical director Steve Round.
Bruce has also signed Conor Hourihane and James Bree from Barnsley, former Forest captain Henri Lansbury and Iceland international Birkir Bjarnason.
Villa also completed a deal for Bury’s highly-rated defender Jacob Bedeau, 17 and sold Jordan Ayew to Swansea while taking the Wales left-back Neil Taylor in part exchange.
But Hogan is the marquee arrival of the window for the Championship club, in a deal which could rise to around £12 million, and the 24-year-old forward should make his debut at Forest on Saturday.
Bruce also sanctioned a surprise loan move for McCormack, with the Scotland international moving to Forest.
McCormack infuriated Bruce a fortnight ago after missing training as the electric gates at his home had broken but will be playing at the City Ground for the rest of the season.
Roberto Di Matteo, Bruce’s predecessor, signed McCormack for £12 million from Fulham in the summer.
Southampton completed a club record £17 million deal for Napoli striker Manolo Gabbiadini but have become resigned to the loss of Virgil van Dijk for the League Cup final against Manchester United.
With the team last night playing away at Swansea, executive director Les Reed and his recruitment staff were working on several late deals after the day had begun with the loan from Nice of goalkeeper Mouez Hassen.
Gabbiadini had earlier also completed a medical at St Mary’s and, at around 10pm, signed for would be an initial £14 million fee that could potentially surpass the £16 million that was paid for Sofiane Boufal.
However, there was also frustration when an attempt to sign Serdar Tasci on loan from Spartak Moscow became compromised by interest from Crystal Palace in signing the Germany defender permanently.
The backdrop to Southampton’s centre-back search was the sale of captain Jose Fonte to West Ham United and then the ankle injury that Van Dijk suffered against Leicester City.Gabbiadini, 25, has signed a contract until 2021 and claimed that he had fulfilled “a dream” by coming to the Premier League. “With Jay Rodriguez, Shane Long and Nathan Redmond all in good form, and Charlie Austin making encouraging progress in his return from injury, Manolo is another exciting addition to our attacking line-up,” said executive director Les Reed.
Southampton have not wanted to reveal the severity of Van Dijk’s injury until after the transfer window closes but it is understood that there is no expectation of him returning for next month’s big Wembley final. Hassen, as well as Gabbiadini, would be available to play against United in the League Cup final. THE TELEGRAPH