Premier League throws up some deadline day surprises

Manchester United

Deadline day always has a habit of throwing up some surprise transfers and this year's window did not disappoint in the Premier League.

We have looked at five transfers that nobody would have expected to happen at the start of January but they could now have important roles to play for their new clubs.

1) Odion Ighalo – Manchester United

United failed to replace both Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez during the summer and their need for attacking reinforcements grew further this month following the serious back injury suffered by leading scorer Marcus Rashford, who has scored well over a third of the Red Devils’ league goals so far this term.

Rashford’s prolonged absence forced United’s hand in the market and, as the days ticked by, their need to bring in a short-term solution heightened.

Ex-United player Josh King was linked with a return to Old Trafford at the start of deadline day but Bournemouth’s reluctance to sell meant they turned their attention to former Watford star Ighalo, who has spent the last three years playing in China.

There is no real risk to United signing Ighalo given he has only joined on loan until the end of the season although it is difficult to imagine him being anything more than a short-term solution.

2) Borja Baston – Aston Villa

Another former Premier League striker returned to the top flight on deadline day, with Spanish forward Baston arriving at Villa Park from Championship outfit Swansea.

The 27-year-old largely underwhelmed during his spell at Swansea and spent time away from the club on loan spells at Malaga and Alaves.

Baston did enjoy something of a renaissance at the Liberty Stadium this season, scoring six goals in 20 appearances, but the last of those came back in September.

Swansea’s need to get Baston’s high wages off their books and Villa’s desire to sign another striker appears to have led to the transfer although the forward is likely to play nothing more than a support role to fellow January recruit Mbwana Samatta.

3) Richairo Zivkovic – Sheffield United

You would be forgiven if you have never heard of Dutch forward Zivkovic, who has joined the Blades on loan for the rest of the season from Chinese second-tier club Changchun Yatai.

The 23-year-old is described as having plenty of pace and is expected to rival the likes of Lys Mousset, Oli McBurnie and David McGoldrick for a regular place in Chris Wilder’s side.

Zivkovic scored 15 goals in China last season but the Premier League will be a step up for the former Ajax youngster, who will be hoping to exploit being something of an unknown quantity.

4) Tariq Lamptey – Brighton

England Under-20 international Lamptey looked to be latest young Chelsea player to break into the first team on a regular basis under Frank Lampard after making his debut against Arsenal at the end of December.

The 19-year-old went on to feature twice more for the Blues in the FA Cup but by the end of the window was being heavily linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge.

French club Lille were said to be interested but Lamptey favoured remaining in England, ultimately opting to join Brighton on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

It seems a surprise Chelsea let Lamptey go at a time when he appeared to be establishing himself but he will be hopeful of receiving further first-team opportunities at the Amex.

5) Ryan Bennett – Leicester

Leicester’s priority for the January transfer window was signing defensive cover for regular centre-backs Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu but they had not filled the void by the time deadline day came around.

Southampton’s Jannik Vestergaard had emerged as one of Brendan Rodgers’ primary targets but the Saints were reluctant to sell, which led to the Foxes turning their attention to out-of-favour Wolves defender Ryan Bennett, who has only started two league game since the middle of October.

The 29-year-old has joined on loan for the remainder of the season, with the transfer allowing Foxes youngster Filip Benkovic to move to Championship outfit Bristol City on a temporary basis.