EPL top 6 sides transfer business RATED: Which club had the best January window?

The January transfer window has now closed after the usual mad scramble to strengthen squads at the mid-point of the season.

Spending by the 20 Premier League clubs rose dramatically on a year ago with a grand total of £419.5million splashed out over the past 31 days.

The likes of Alexis Sanchez, Virgil van Dijk, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ross Barkley, Emerson Palmieri, Aymeric Laporte, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott made headlines in one of the most exciting January windows yet.

But which club conducted the best business? We assess top 6 sides on their ins and outs.

Man United

Beating City to the signature of Sanchez will feel good for United and Jose Mourinho and the Chilean will provide a certain X-factor that they have maybe been lacking in certain matches this season.

Adding Sanchez to the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard should mean United have enough to compete in three competitions for now and take on City properly next year.

It also should have laid to rest Mourinho’s fears that United were falling too far behind City and needed to spend at ever-more eye-watering levels. Indeed, he has extended his contract as a result.

The window also got Henrikh Mkhitaryan out of his hair, so Mourinho should be happy.

Summer priorities must be another central midfielder and probably another centre-back.

Rating: A

Chelsea

Antonio Conte felt Chelsea needed greater depth if they were to launch a late-season assault on trophies, specifically a striker, a left-back and a creative midfielder.

They ultimately managed to tick all three boxes though their striker pursuit did see them rather humourously linked with the likes of Andy Carroll, Peter Crouch and Ashley Barnes, or literally any forward over 6ft tall.

In the end, taking Giroud from Arsenal looks like a very good fit, while Conte no longer has to worry about Michy Batshuayi, someone he clearly never rated.

For £15m, buying Ross Barkley was a no-brainer. While his career seems to have been stalled for the past four years, he’ll be desperate to re-start it on a bigger stage than Everton.

Chelsea could have a brilliant player on their hands. If not, he only cost £15m.

Emerson Palmieri, signed from Roma, could well prove an exciting addition on the left side and seems well-suited to Conte’s manner of playing.

Rating: A

Arsenal

The departure of Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United threatened to further toxify the air of frustration among Arsenal fans and anti-Arsene Wenger feeling, but somehow they turned it around and emerged from the window stronger.

Removing Sanchez now rather than when his contract expired in the summer meant Arsenal could get Henrikh Mkhitaryan in return and get rid of a divisive dressing room presence who threatened to clock off long before May.

The £56m signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund has got fans rightly excited and if he can replicate his goal returns from the Bundesliga, they will comfortably finish in the top four.

A further boost came when Mesut Ozil agreed to a new long-term contract and it’s all turned out pretty positively for the Gunners and their new hierarchy.

No doubt Arsenal fans ideally didn’t want to see Olivier Giroud moving across town to rivals Chelsea but the Frenchman was too far down the pecking order and so it makes sense for all involved.

Rating: A-

Liverpool

It didn’t take a genius to work out what Liverpool were desperately crying out for in January – a decent central defender.

Jurgen Klopp finally signed Virgil van Dijk from Southampton, though it took £75m to plug their defensive hole. Liverpool will be praying Van Dijk solves their problems, though early results with him in the side haven’t been heartening.

The sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for a whopping £145m more than balanced the books though it did provoke frenzied debate as to the extent Liverpool would miss him.

They certainly don’t lack vibrancy going forward, with the form of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Co this season softening the blow of losing him.

Rating: B

Man City

Despite their world class squad and fabulous form this season, Pep Guardiola ackowledged the need for greater depth as they attempt to compete on four fronts between now and the end of the campaign.

They withdrew their interest in Alexis Sanchez once Manchester United got involved, preferring not to enter a bidding war and, as it transpired, to try and tempt Leicester to sell Mahrez instead.

This proved unsuccessful yet there are few out there who’ll feel City – with their 15 points lead at the top of the Premier League – are starved of attacking talent.

One long-standing target they did bring in was Athletic Bilbao centre-back Aymeric Laporte, who cost £57m but will add further defensive protection.

So a pretty indifferent window for City all told, but it’s hard to spot too many areas of weakness in Guardiola’s all-conquering team.

Rating: B

Tottenham Hotspur

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