The Transfers You May Have Missed This Window - January 2022

roma

Ben Wylie

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

After what feels like an eternity of never-ending rumours and links surrounding Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the Englishman has been allowed the move away from north London after being loaned to Roma for the rest of the season. The deal has gone somewhat under the radar with few links to Roma prior to being announced, with the move seeing the Londoner link up with compatriots Chris Smalling and Tammy Abraham.

It’s fair to say Maitland-Niles' Arsenal career has had a few ups and downs, however, in making the switch to Seria A, the Englishman may be able to make the transition from full-back to central midfielder he has seemingly been yearning for.

Roma boss, Jose Mourinho, handed Maitland-Niles his Roma debut in what turned out to be a baptism of fire, ending up on the losing side of a 4-3 thriller at home to Juventus and although the defender didn’t enjoy his finest performance, after a prolonged spell on the sidelines at Arsenal, it may take time to regain match sharpness.

Maitland-Niles has proved a useful player in the past, even being a regular for the Gunners at one point, so if "The Special One" can get him playing weekly, he could prove an important addition in Roma’s hunt for European football.

Watford’s Super-Six

Despite the window being open for less than two weeks, Watford boss Claudio Ranieri has already added six names to his squad as in conceding 42 goals this season, the Hornets have the fourth-worst defensive record in the league with drastic improvement needed.

Watford have bolstered their centre-back options in the form of Nicolas N’Koulou and Samir, the latter for an undisclosed fee from affiliate club Udinese, with the former previously playing for Torino, Lyon, Marseille, and Monaco as well as being capped by Cameroon over 70 times. Brought in on a free transfer, Ranieri will be hoping N’Koukou can bring some much-needed composure to a visibly shaky defence throughout what is bound to be a tough second half of the season.

Following the suspension of Danny Rose by the club, Watford have added former Nice defender Hassane Kamara to their ranks for just over £5m and at 27, the Ivorian is considered in his prime appearing 11 times in Ligue 1 this season. It’s no surprise to see a left-back through the door at Vicarage Road as Rose has struggled to keep up with the pace and intensity of the Premier League. Kamara is a fully-fledged international and could look to provide the defensive solidarity Rose has evidently been lacking during his twilight Premier League appearances.

Watford’s other three additions look to be future prospects, with a real possibility of the London club immediately returning to the Championship. 18-year-old attacking midfielder Yaser Aspirlla arrives from Columbian club Envigado for £2.7m, as well as defensive midfielder Edo Kayembe joining from KAS Eupen of the Belgian league for £4.2m. The Hornets' final January signing, at present, is goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, aged 22, for £4.5m, however, the Nigerian has returned to former club Sparta Rotterdam on loan for the duration of the season.

At 38, Watford's keeper Ben Foster looks to be reaching the end of his career, with Okoye likely envisioned to challenge current number one Daniel Bachmann for the starting spot in the coming years.

Celtic’s Opening Day Trio

Celtic wasted no time beginning their January dealings announcing not one, not two, but three signings on January 1st. Manager, Ange Postecoglou, arrived at Celtic Park after a successful two and a half years in Japan, seeing the Australian lead Yokohama FC to the J-League title in the 2018/19 season.

The summer window saw Japanese international Kyogo Furuhashi join the Hoops and after a successful first half of the season, Postecoglou has returned to the J-League to recruit trio Reo Hatate, Yosuke Ideguchi, and Daizen Maeda.

Maeda has previously played under Postecoglou and finished last season as J-League top scorer with 23 goals arriving initially at Celtic Park on loan. His fellow countrymen, both central midfielders, Ideguchi and Hatate have joined on permanent deals for a respective £680,000 and £1.4m, with the latter joining from Japanese champions Kawasaki Frontale after being named in the J-League team of the season in 2020/21.

Ideguchi joins from Gamba Osaka, where he was awarded J-League Rookie of the Year back in 2016 as well as being named in the league's best XI the following season. Celtic fans will be hoping Postecoglou can generate similar performances that he has from Kyogo as the Hoops look to close the six-point gap on Rangers and reclaim the title.

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