The January transfer window has closed with Bundesliga clubs reported to have spent a record collective sum on strengthening their squads. The clubs that disappointed in the first half dipped deepest into the market.Bundesliga clubs spent in excess of 90 million euros ($97 million) during this January’s transfer window, according to estimates compiled by the DPA news agency. This is considerably higher than the previous highest-spending January two years ago, when an estimated 65 million euros were spent.
Darmstadt pull out all the stops
Although they weren’t the highest spenders, low budget cellar dwellars Darmstadt were among the most active in the transfer window, bringing in five new players; Sidney Sam (Schalke, loan), Terrence Boyd (RB Leipzig), Patrick Banggaard (FC Midtjylland), Wilson Kamavuaka (Panetolikos FC) and just before the window closed, unemployed former Bayern and Galatasaray midfielder Hamit Altintop (pictured above, left).
Head coach Torsten Frings hopes that the 34-year-old Altintop has enough left in the tank to help the Lillies climb up to at least 16th place and the relegation playoff by the end of the season.
“That such a player comes to Darmstadt, with such a CV, experience and charisma is something special,” coach Frings said. “We are pleased that he wants to achieve the supposedly impossible with us.”
Earlier, Darmstadt let go of Änis Ben-Hatira, whose support of a charity that is alleged to have links to Islamist extremists.
Augsburg also made a last-minute purchase, bringing in former Dortmund player Moritz Leitner from Lazio.
Multiple changes in Hamburg
Second-last in the standings, Hamburg made three significant signings, spending an estimated 10 million euros on Brazilian midfielder Walace (Gremio) and defenders Mergum Mavraj (Cologne) and Kyriakos Papdpoulos (Leverkusen, loan), while sending Cleber Reis (Santos), Alen Halilovic (Las Palmas, loan) and Emir Spahic (destination unknown) packing.
Also quite active in the transfer window were Wolfsburg, whose Champions League ambitions have turned sour this season, with the club hovering perilously close to the relegation zone. After they collected around 40 million euros from Paris Saint Germain for the services of the disgruntled Julian Draxler, they had money to spend on players who actually want to be there, including Yunus Malli from Mainz and Riechedly Bazoer from Ajax. They also brought back a former player, 30-year-old Iran player Ashkan Dejagah.
Bayer Leverkusen, another club with Champions League aspirations who have disappointed this season, made a bit of a splash by bringing in 19-year-old Jamaican winger Leon Bailey from Genk for an estimated 12 million euros
“He’s an unusually quick, very tricky player who will give our attack an additional boost,” Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voeller said. “We are sure Leon Bailey will be a big hit for us.”
From RB to RB
The Bundesliga’s successful upstarts, RB Leipzig stayed with their policy of buying players no older than 24, paying sister club Red Bull Salzburg an estimated 10 million eurors for 18-year-old defender Dayot Upamecano.
The highest-profile signing was arguably made by Mainz, who brought in Barcelona product Bojan Krkic on loan for the rest of the season, after he had fallen out of favor at Stoke City.
Cologne shored up their central defense as they dream of a spot in Europe next season, signing Neven Subotic from Dortmund.
For their part, Dortmund made a signing for the future when they purchased 17-year-old Swedish forward Alexander Isak from AIK.
Schalke look to plug holes
Bayern Munich loaned oft-injured defender Holger Badstuber to Schalke, while securing the services of Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Süle from Hoffenheim, as of the start of next season.
In addition to Badstuber, Schalke’s sporting director, Christian Heidel reacted to a spate of injuries, bringing in Guido Burgstaller (Nuremberg) up front, and midfielder Daniel Caligiuri from Wolfsburg.