The dawn of the New Year spells the beginning of a crucial stage of the season. The month of January brings with it the transfer window that allows teams to tweak their squads for the rest of the season.
Although it is difficult to secure a top signing in the January transfer window, when scouted well, one can find players who make the difference between a successful campaign and a dismal one.
Many such signings have worked out very well for teams and have gone on to prove themselves for their clubs.
Let’s take a look at 5 of the best January transfers of all time across Europe in recent years
1. Nemanja Vidic
Nemanja Vidic was purchased by English giants Manchester United in January 2006 for a fee of 7 million pounds from Russian club Spartak Moscow.
The Serbian has been hailed as one of the greatest ever defenders for the club by fans and experts alike because of his aggressive, brave and uncompromising defensive performances for the club over the years.
He formed a great partnership with Rio Ferdinand and is truly one of the best ever players to have played for the club.
2. Branislav Ivanovic
The versatile defender earned a move to English giants Chelsea for a record sum of €13 million which was declared as the largest fee for a player in Russian football history on 15 January 2008.
Ivanovic impressed everyone with his ability to play multiple positions, and though it took him some time to settle at the club, he slowly made the right-back spot his own.
His ability to contribute to attacks effectively made him a threat going forward and added to his value at the club.
Though it looks like he’ll be leaving Chelsea soon, he has given the club nine years of service and has been a stalwart in defence for them.
3. Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez's arrival at Liverpool on 31 January 2011 was overshadowed by the high-profile departure of Fernando Torres to Chelsea for 50 million and Andy Carroll's acquisition for a club record sum of 35 million.
Many deemed the decision to sign the controversial though talented striker as nothing short of a huge gamble, one which could destroy the club's rich culture.
The Uruguayan striker, however, chose to answer his critics by delivering sublime performances on the field over the years which nearly earned a Premier League trophy for the club in the 2013/14 season.
He formed a great understanding with Steven Gerrard and achieved legendary status at the club through his performances and dedication.
4. Ivan Rakitic
Ivan Rakitic's move for just €2.5 million from Schalke to Sevilla in January 2011 can be described as nothing short of a masterstroke from the Andalusian side.
The Croatian wrecked havoc on the pitch with his intelligent gameplay and impressive work rate and six goals in just 16 matches was an indication of the quality the young talent possessed.
His performances in the 2012-13 season encouraged then manager Unai Emery to name him as the new Sevilla captain at the start of the 2013-14 La Liga season.
Under Rakitic’s leadership, Sevilla won the UEFA Europa League with him earning a spot in the UEFA Europa League Team of the Season and the La Liga team of the season.
5. Kevin De Bruyne
The Belgian was written off as another failed signing by then manager Jose Mourinho when he failed to earn his spot in Jose Mourinho's starting eleven due to his unimpressive work ethic. He was deemed surplus to requirements by the Portuguese manager and sold to Wolfsburg in an 18 million transfer deal in January 2014
The Belgian's performances for Wolfsburg in the 2014-15 season were of the highest quality as he went on to score 16 goals and provided 27 assists in all competitions.
His exploits with Wolfsburg earned him a £58 million move to Manchester City, where he has been excellent since he joined, impressing day in and day out.