The Twelfth Man exclusively brings you, Gary’s thoughts on the top 3 deals of the January transfer window. Being a familiar name in the Premier League, his voice has graced some of the biggest tournaments in world football.
Gary Taphouse has previously commentated in World Cup matches along with the Champions League. He is currently providing his services to the likes of Sky Sports, talkSPORT and Premier League Productions. We are grateful to him for providing us with his opinion. Check out his verdict on some of the major January transfer deals below:
1) Alexis Sanchez- Henrikh Mkhitaryan swap deal
Arguably one of the best player exchanges in the history of the beautiful game, this was a blockbuster transfer. Arsenal were about to lose one of their best player of recent times, but their business with United ended up being a profitable deal for them. Some may even say that the Gunners came out of January as a better side than the previous one.
And Gary believes that the deal will be a positive outcome for both the clubs. He said,”Alexis is a proven Premier League goalscorer and a world-class talent for club and country, his contract was almost up – the player and his agent got a great deal, Arsenal got a player who links up with their record signing who he knows so well, Manchester United get a player who will be an instant hit with the supporters.”
He further said,”Mkhitaryan needed a fresh start, the United fans had never really taken to him, and he feels Arsenal’s style will suit him. The early signs from the thumping win over Everton suggest he may be right. Arsenal persuaded Ozil to stay, they were never going to persuade Sanchez. Overall it looks like win-win for all parties. However, much has been written and said about this one, I think most people are frankly bored of the whole subject.”
2) Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona- £142 million
The third most expensive signing of all time, the Brazilian finally moved to the Camp Nou in January. He ended his love affair with Liverpool to start a new one with the Catalans. Gary highlighted what this deal brings to the table for the Reds, and for Coutinho. He said,”It’s frustrating for Liverpool fans to see their best player leave in January but it’s a transfer that’s been on the cards for a long time now.”
He further added,”Perhaps the best solution for Liverpool would have been to agree to the deal now and allow him to go to Barcelona in May, but ultimately Liverpool have got an incredible price for a player that cost them just £8.5m. They will invest that money in the summer and hope to be a formidable force next season.”
“Coutinho will do well at Barca. It’s a chance for him to prove that he’s the world-class talent many believe him to be and he gets the move in a World Cup year. Great players generally flourish when surrounded by other great players” said the commentator.
3) Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang to Arsenal- £56million
The Gunners splashed the cash on a player who will be a guaranteed success in front of the goal. Aubameyang is an absolute goal poacher and will be a great addition to Arsene Wenger’s squad. But could he be the final piece of the puzzle, that will make them title contenders next season? Gary certainly thinks so. He said,”A record signing for Arsenal and every signing is a gamble to an extent, but with Aubameyang, the club knows they are getting a proven goalscorer who has been deadly in an outstanding league for a long time now.”
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However, he did highlight an untouched side of this story.”The issue with this transfer is that it wasn’t where Arsenal fans wanted the money spent. The supporters have been crying out for investment in defence. They wanted a new holding midfielder, plus many want a new goalkeeper. As a consequence of this deal, Arsenal let a very popular striker in Giroud leave to a big London rival, which perplexed many.” said the 43-year-old.
In the end, though he pretty much summed it up by saying this,” Aubameyang has already scored on his Arsenal debut and the smart money says he’ll be a major hit in North London.”
I think it will be safe to say that all of these players will have a big role to play with their respective teams in the second half of the campaign. Coutinho’s signing was a signal of things to come from Barcelona, as they aim for a treble this term. The Mkhitaryan-Alexis deal was the perfect solution for both the teams.
United landed an experienced and versatile attacker, while Arsenal acquired an intelligent playmaker. Aubameyang’s capture from Dortmund was a statement of intent from the Gunners who will aim to bring the coveted Premier League trophy to the Emirates.