Dortmund winners in European transfer window; Atletico and Barcelona fall way short

After all the fun in England on Jan. 31 and the variety of winners and losers around the Premier League this winter, it's time to rate the teams that met their needs around Europe and those who fell far short of expectations.


Borussia Dortmund

Seven goals, 133 minutes... and just £17 million (€22.5m).

Dortmund pulled off the winter's most spectacular move in capturing Erling Haaland, whose form across his first three appearances has defied belief, from Red Bull Salzburg. The 19-year-old has helped his new club fly out of the traps since the winter break, earning nine points from nine and moving to within three points of the Bundesliga summit. Their attacking prowess looks fearsome but the deadline-day addition of Emre Can, the former Liverpool midfielder, from Juventus looks smart, too.

Can is just 26, extremely versatile and has an excellent record at the top level. He should add nous, balance and stability to a side that will be fascinating to watch domestically and in the Champions League over the coming months.

Inter Milan

Call them a Premier League retirement home all you like. Antonio Conte may have made the English top-flight his primary pool for recruitment, but when you are enlisting the talents of Christian Eriksen for a mere £16.9m, the jokes suddenly wear rather thin.

Inter are already making a genuine title push under Conte and, if used correctly, Eriksen remains more than good enough to be among Europe's top bracket of playmakers. Ashley Young's arrival from Manchester United and the loan of Victor Moses from Chelsea also raised a few chuckles but with little reason: both know how to win a title and, with Inter looking to secure Lo Scudetto for the first time in a decade, that kind of experience on and off the pitch could just help them over the line.

Hertha Berlin

It feels, to an extent, as if the perennially underachieving club from Berlin's capital are playing fast and loose with their newfound funds, but it's at least intriguing to see them having a go. The Bundesliga side, 13th in the table this season, have spent big, lavishing a total of £64.2m on striker Krzyszstof Piatek, winger Matheus Cunha and defensive midfielders Lucas Tousart and Santiago Ascacibar.

The signing of Piatek, who was high on Tottenham's radar, from AC Milan for a club record fee is the one that intrigues the most. The Poland international never quite got going at San Siro, even if 13 Serie A goals in his year there hardly proved a disastrous haul, but he has the platform now to lead the line at a club that, with Jurgen Klinsmann at the helm, has big ambitions. Can he help Hertha finally pose some sort of challenge to Germany's leading lights?


Atletico Madrid

While welcomed back, the loan return of Yannick Carrasco is probably not quite what Atletico fans had in mind in order to salvage an unsatisfactory La Liga campaign. Atletico remain light at centre-forward and midfield, with an unsuccessful pursuit of Edinson Cavani compounding Diego Simeone's winter frustration. Simeone will now have to go with what he has, and it bodes ill given their sixth-placed position and the scale of their Champions League task against Liverpool.

Following last summer's exodus -- Antoine Griezmann, Lucas Hernandez and Rodri were all sold, while Diego Godin, Juanfran and Filipe Luis all left at the end of their contracts -- that weakened Simeone's options, Atletico show little sign of returning to their formidable old selves and this window feels like a costly missed opportunity.

- Transfer Grades: All the big moves rated
- All major completed transfer deals


Make no mistake: Barcelona have snapped up two promising players for next season and beyond in Francisco Trincao and Matheus Fernandes, but they failed to address more pressing needs during the January window.

Attacking cover for the injured Luis Suarez was badly needed for the second half of the campaign, but a move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang never really seemed realistic. Then there was the strange tale of Cedric Bakambu, the Beijing Guoan striker, who was mid-flight with a view to joining the club when they decided to pull the plug. Bakambu is, in truth, probably not of the quality Barcelona need but Quique Setien, in his first transfer window, could surely have done with somebody extra to call upon.

AC Milan

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has enjoyed a fair enough return to Milan, scoring in both Serie A and the Coppa Italia, and there's little doubt that his work ethic and professionalism will prove helpful to those beneath him. But his addition still smacks of patch-and-mend, particularly as the league's eighth-placed club failed to bring in a longer-term striking option to fire them back toward the Champions League places.

Loans for defender Simon Kjaer, goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and midfielder Alexis Saelemaekers do not exactly set the pulse racing, and, even if a number of fringe players were successfully culled from a bloated squad at long last, Stefano Pioli's side are still some way short of where a club of this stature ought to be.