The 9 Biggest January Transfers That Didn’t Quite Happen

The transfer window slammed shut on Friday evening, with some managers left feeling a lot more content than others with their club’s January business.

Manchester United’s shock signing of Odion Ighalo, Christian Eriksen’s long awaited move to Inter and West Ham’s capture of highly rated forward Jarrod Bowen are some of the highlights from the January transfer window as clubs secured their targets, strengthened their squads or simply panicked.

But not every story has a happy ending. Let’s take a look at some of the transfers that were so near yet so far, that slipped through chairmen’s fingers, and that were on the brink of completion but ultimately failed to materialise.

Edinson Cavani to Atletico Madrid

Edinson Cavani

Very much the one that got away for Atleti. The Madrid club had agreed a fee in the region of €18m with PSG for the Uruguayan forward, and Atletico and Cavani had even agreed personal terms. 

However, the move ​collapsed right at the death, as Cavani’s representatives asked for a considerable commission fee, believed to be not dissimilar to what Atletico were paying PSG for the player. That brought the transfer well out of Atletico’s budget, and just like that the move was off.

Olivier Giroud to Tottenham


Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud looked set to finally have sealed a move away from Chelsea on deadline day, having been linked with everyone from Newcastle to Inter, and West Ham to Rangers throughout January.

But it was Spurs who ultimately came closest to sealing the France international’s signature. The north London club ​agreed a fee with their rivals for Giroud, and he would have been allowed to move had Chelsea had a replacement lined up. 

However, Frank Lampard’s transfer window ended in frustration, as the Blues were unable to land numerous targets, leaving Giroud to warm the Stamford Bridge bench for the considerable future.

Olivier Giroud to Inter

Olivier Giroud

Poor old Giroud had a right old time of it this January. The 33-year-old looked set to join Inter for €5m, with everything agreed between Chelsea and Inter, and the club and player agreeing personal terms. 

However, the move fell through as Inter could no longer afford the Chelsea striker after completing the signings of Christian Eriksen and Ashley Young, ​leaving the Giroud party fuming. Oh, and the lack of replacement thing. 

Layvin Kurzawa to Juventus

UEFA Champions League"Paris St Germain v Galatasaray AS"

Juventus and PSG had been locked in negotiations over a swap deal for Layvin Kurzawa, in a transfer that would have seen Mattia De Sciglio go the other way.

Yet with the deal rumoured to be on the brink of completion, talks suddenly broke down, and ​the move collapsed. 

Layvin Kurzawa to Arsenal

UEFA Champions League"Paris St Germain v Galatasaray AS"

Arsenal were another club in advanced talks with PSG over the signing of Kurzawa. There was talk of a £6m move, and a five year deal for the left-back, with Arsenal technical director Edu Gaspar driving the transfer.

However, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta intervened and opted to pull out of the move.

Mykola Matviyenko to Arsenal

Mykola Matviyenko

Arsenal had reportedly reached an agreement to sign Shakhtar Donetsk defender Mykola Matviyenko, the 23-year-old Ukrainian international.

However, the Gunners instead opted to sign 26-year-old Spanish defender Pablo Mari on loan from Flamengo, killing the deal for Matviyenko. 

Willian Jose to Tottenham

Willian Jose

Real Sociedad striker Willian Jose appeared keen on a move to north London, and La Real would have been prepared to sell if the price was right.

The forward pulled out of the Sociedad squad as Tottenham’s interest intensified, ​with Spurs having a bid of €15m rejected. 

However, this was about half of Sociedad’s valuation of their striker. Despite all parties apparently being up for the deal if Spurs had met Sociedad’s asking price, the club were not prepared to panic buy, and the deal ultimately fell through.

Boubakary Soumaré to Newcastle

Boubakary Soumare

Newcastle had agreed a fee of £35m with Lille for midfielder Boubakary Soumaré, close to the club record transfer fee of £40m that they paid for Joelinton over the summer,

Lille accepted the offer for the highly rated 20-year-old, and Newcastle were preparing to fly out to France to meet the player. However, Soumaré changed his mind and decided ​he did not want to move to St James’ Park, and the transfer was off.

​Gareth Bale to Tottenham

Gareth Bale

Imagine the scenes if Spurs had pulled this off.

Bale had been left out of Real’s squad to face rivals Atletico on Saturday, and Daniel Levy reportedly flew to Madrid for talks with Real president Florentino Perez in an attempt to thrash out a deadline day deal. 

However, nothing was agreed and Zinedine Zidane confirmed the Welsh international would remain at the Bernabeu. Being left out of the squad? Injured, it turns out. Again.