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Top 10 Premier League signings of 2016 January window

Imbula demanded the biggest Premier League fee in January. Photo: PA

By Chris Mendes

With the ink still drying on some of deadline day's late deals, we run down the winter window's top 10 Premier League transfers.

10
Jonjo Shelvey, £12m
Shelvey has already impressed for Steve McClaren's side. Credit: PA

Newcastle must avoid relegation to justify a significant £29m January outlay, £12m of which was been spent on England international Shelvey. The former Liverpool and Swansea midfielder bossed proceedings on his debut against West Ham in January, suggesting he already possesses the maturity and guile to get Newcastle over the line in their fight against relegation.

9
Steven Naismith, £8.5m
Naismith has an impressive goal-scoring record in the top flight. Credit: PA

The £8.5m fee Norwich paid Everton may seem rather steep for a 29 year-old, but the cost of relegation would be much more damaging. Naismith's 40% strike rate for Everton this season includes four goals from ten shots, three of those coming at home to Chelsea in a match he didn't even start. He's already scored once for Norwich, on his debut against Liverpool, and the evidence suggests the Scottish international will significantly boost Norwich's chances of survival.

8
Benik Afobe, £10m
Afobe has already started repaying his £10m fee. Credit: PA

Afobe's two goals in his opening three games for Bournemouth have already helped the Cherries clock-up four precious Premier League points. The reported £10m fee clearly proved a little off-putting for some of England's more established top flight teams. Fortunately for new-boys Bournemouth, they have a manager in Eddie Howe who knows the Championship better than any of his peers. With England under-21 international striker Afobe's development still very much on an upwards curve, Howe knows he's made a solid investment for the future.

7
Wahbi Khazri, £8m
Will Khazri save Sunderland from the drop? Credit: PA

Four points from safety with an unfavourable goal difference, Sam Allardyce needed to find a creative spark in January. To some extent, the Tunisian international's arrival from Bordeaux is a huge risk with Sunderland desperate for points, and the settling-in period from Ligue 1 very difficult to predict. Khazri has been rather generously compared to Mesut Ozil in France, having contributed 14 goals and 12 assists for Bordeaux since the start of 2014/15. The 24 year-old will need to mirror that kind of decisiveness in English football immediately, and strike up a good understanding with Jermain Defoe to save Sunderland from relegation.

6
Adalberto Penaranda, £8m
Penaranda will not play for Watford until next season. Credit: PA

The £8m deadline day capture of 18 year-old Peneranda represented a real coup for Watford, considering the teenager had been attracting interest from Spurs and Liverpool. It was another example of Watford's extensive scouting network paying dividends, and a genuine signal of intent from Quique Sanchez Flores' team. Peneranda arrives from Udinese, who like Watford are owned by the Pozzo family, but he'll remain on loan with La Liga club Granada for the reminder of the season. Like Udinese, the Spanish team are also owned by the Pozzos. Since joining them on loan last summer, Peneranda has bagged four goals in nine La Liga outings, with some pundits comparing the Venezuelan's style to Lionel Messi's. He's certainly one to keep an eye on next season.

5
Oumar Niasse, £13.5m
Niasse's arrival is a major boost for Everton. Credit: PA

Everton were in desperate need of a boost after League Cup semi-final heartache, and he arrived two hours before the window closed. Niasse was crowned Russian Premier League's player of the season in 2014/15, frightening Lokomotiv Moscow's opponents with his pace and power in an advanced wide position. The Senegal international notched 13 goals and ten assists for Lokomotiv in 2015 alone, and is equally comfortable playing through the middle as a lone striker. The added competition for star man Romelu Lukaku, who has failed to score in his last four matches, should help Roberto Martinez to get Everton's stuttering campaign back on track.

The stats suggest Niasse is the real deal. Credit: Oulala
4
Sam Byram, £4m
Byram, 22, could develop into a special player for West Ham. Credit: PA

It’s a little misleading to describe the 22 year-old as a defender, even though he performed incredibly well for Leeds on either side of their back line. Byram’s adventurous style and marauding runs persuaded the Championship club to deploy him as a right midfielder at times, with West Ham clearly impressed by this versatility. Byram was faced with a tough decision when West Ham and Everton both met Leeds United’s £4m valuation in January, eventually choosing the Hammers after being sold by the vision of charismatic manager, Slaven Bilic. Byram performed well on his Premier League debut against Man City, as an early substitute for the injured Carl Jenkinson. And it's testament to his quality that the England youngster didn't look out of place on his top flight bow.

3
Demarai Gray, £4.3m
Gray's value is expected to soar over the coming years. Credit: PA

With more than 70 Championship appearances under his belt, 19 year-old Demarai Gray represents a relatively low-risk investment for Leicester City. Especially when you consider that Newcastle are struggling against relegation and parted with £12m for Andros Townsend. Talented English players plying their trade in the Premier League typically carry an inflated price-tag, forcing clubs like Leicester who operate on a tighter budget to recruit from the lower leagues. And England youth international Gray has already impressed during a handful of cameo appearances with Claudio Ranieri’s Foxes. The teenager first caught the eye on his debut at White Hart Lane, troubling Spurs with his electric pace and trickery before making way for Marc Albrighton to a standing ovation from the travelling fans.

2
Gianelli Imbula, £18.2m
Imbula's signing shows Stoke are a progressive Premier League club. Credit: PA

Stoke are just four points behind fifth-placed Man United and their ambitious January pursuit of Imbula suggests they're capable of catching the Red Devils with 15 games remaining. For all the plaudits Mark Hughes has received after transforming Stoke's unattractive style of play, he failed to replace midfield destroyer Steven N'Zonzi, following his summer move to Sevilla. Former Marseille man, Imbula, is precisely that kind of player, only more powerful and destructive. Stoke's new club record transfer was courting interest from Chelsea and Arsenal, before agreeing a huge five-and-a-half year deal with the Potters. The 23 year-old will make Stoke a trickier team to break down, providing more of a solid platform for the club's creative players to flourish.

1
Charlie Austin, £4m
Austin will score plenty of goals for Southampton. Credit: PA

Finding a suitable replacement for Graziano Pelle had been a priority for Ronald Koeman, with the Saints unlikely to offer their 30 year-old Italy international another long-term contract. For just £4m, he landed a striker capable of scoring freely in the Premier League and one who, at 26, is likely to enjoy another five or six years at the highest level. Austin underlined his top flight credentials with a late winner on his debut at Old Trafford, seven minutes after replacing Sadio Mane. Only Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane and Diego Costa managed to score more top flight goals last season, with Austin dispatching all 18 of his for a QPR side who created very few opportunities. Southampton must pay the Championship club an extra £500,000 if he scores 12 Premier League goals this season, and a further £500,000 should Austin force his way into England's Euro 2016 squad. You wouldn't bet against the Saints striker hitting the mark on both fronts.

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