05 Jan 2015
As we look back at 2014, there have been some huge transfers involving Premier League clubs over the past 12 months and it looks as though the New Year is going to be no different.
From those clubs battling it out for the Premier League title to those sides fighting it out at the bottom of the table, January will be an interesting month in England's top tier.
While it remains to be seen whether Juan Mata's £37.5 million move last January will be matched this month, there are plenty of rumours linking players to the Premier League for sizeable fees between now and the end of the transfer window.
The majority of big deals are done in the summer and that was no different in 2014; most notably Angel di Maria's move from Real Madrid to Manchester United for nearly £60 million in August.
With reports of £80 million deals for Gareth Bale set for the summer, 2014 could be soon forgotten about when it comes to the summer transfer window, and the likes of Betfair are predicting a busy few months at the end of this season. So let's cast our minds back to the most expensive transfers in the Premier League of 2014, among other sporting highlights of the year, and how those transfers look to have panned out.
1. Angel di Maria: Real Madrid to Manchester United - £59.7m
Manchester United were forced to break the British transfer record in order to sign Angel di Maria from Real Madrid at the end of last summer's transfer window, but that was right after a World Cup that had again shown just why the Argentina international is ranked as one of the best players in the world.
After a sensational start to life in the Premier League in which he impressed with three goals and six assists, Di Maria has struggled in recent months with injury forcing him to spend more time on the sidelines than either he or United would have wanted. But while Louis van Gaal will know just what a good player he has in his squad, the United boss will be desperate to be able to use Di Maria a lot more than he has had chance to do so far.
2. Juan Mata: Chelsea to Manchester United - £37.5m
After being signed by David Moyes last January, Mata couldn't prevent the Scotsman losing his job three months later. The Spanish playmaker had slipped down the order at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho and it had looked as though United had pulled off a great bit of business at the time.
A year later, though, and Mata is the subject of speculation linking him with another move. While he has been an important part of Van Gaal's plans during the busy festive period, it still sounds as though the Dutchman is willing to do without Mata in order to sign one of his own players.
3. Alexis Sanchez: Barcelona to Arsenal - £33m
Arsene Wenger knew he had to make a statement in the summer after yet another title charge fell some way short and spending £33 million in order to sign Alexis Sanchez certainly was that. The Chilean showed during last summer's World Cup just what he is capable of and Arsenal moved quick when it became clear Barcelona were going to replace Sanchez with Luis Suarez.
With 15 goals in all competitions, not to mention a hat-full of assists, Sanchez certainly has a strong case to suggest he has been the best signing of 2014. The question is now whether Arsenal can hang onto the Chile international if they fail to finish in the top four this season.
4. Eliaquim Mangala: Porto to Manchester City - £32m
A transfer that somewhat slipped under the radar in the summer was that of Eliaquim Mangala. The French centre-back had made his name in Portugal with Porto, and City had to shell out a reported £32 million to sign the defender.
With the season now nearing its halfway mark, it's probably fair to say Mangala hasn't exactly set the world alight during his time at the Etihad. At 23-years-old, though, the athletic centre-back has more than enough time to make a success of his stay at the reigning Premier League champions.
5. Diego Costa: Atletico Madrid to Chelsea - £32m
With 13 goals to his name, Diego Costa has wasted little time in proving he has all the tools to be one of the most prolific Premier League strikers in recent times.
The Brazil-born Spain international didn't look anywhere near his best in last summer's World Cup due to injury but his impressive goalscoring feats during his time in La Liga convinced Chelsea £32 million was a price worth paying. And it would be hard argue they were wrong.
6. Cesc Fabregas: Barcelona to Chelsea - £30m
Along with the signing of Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas' arrival at Stamford Bridge in the summer was a signal of intent from the club. And like Costa, Fabregas has been a huge reason behind Chelsea's stunning start to the season. The former Arsenal man has been the leading assist producer in the Premier League this season, setting up a large number of Costa's goals and making his £30 million price tag look like an absolute steal.
7. Ander Herrera: Athletic Bilbao to Manchester United - £29m
David Moyes had tried to sign Ander Herrera during his time in charge at Old Trafford only for the deal to fall through at the last minute. While Moyes left his job, United maintained their interest in Herrera and the Spanish midfielder was LVG's first signing in the summer. After a slow start to his United career, Herrera has been a key part of the United side in recent weeks and has looked more comfortable in the Premier League than he did at the start of the season.
8. Romelu Lukaku: Chelsea to Everton - £28m
After a successful loan spell at Goodison Park last season, Everton broke their transfer record in order to land Lukaku this summer. The signing of the Belgium international was viewed as being the sort of transfer that would give Everton that edge when it came to finishing in the top four this season. But the former Chelsea forward has failed to achieve the same standards as he did last season and his six goals haven't been enough to stop Everton from struggling through the first half of this campaign.
9. Luke Shaw: Southampton to Manchester United - £28m
Luke Shaw was Van Gaal's second signing at United last summer at the end of a breakthrough season for the left-back with Southampton that culminated in an appearance for England at the World Cup. Injury and poor form haven't helped Shaw's first few months at Old Trafford and the defender has a lot to do to prove to the United fans and manager that he was worth the £28 million the club paid for him last year.
10. Adam Lallana: Southampton to Liverpool - £25m
Lallana was the most expensive signing Liverpool made with the money they received for Luis Suarez. The midfielder was one of Southampton's stars last season and joined a number of his Saints team-mates in making the move to Anfield. In what has been a tough season for Brendan Rodgers' men, Lallana has been one of the highlights and the England international could have a big role to play in Liverpool's quest for a top-four spot.