Every transfer window throws up winners and losers for clubs and players.
Bruno Fernandes cried with joy when his £68million move from Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United was agreed in January 2020 and after 18 goals and 14 assists in the Premier League plenty more tears have been shed.
In contrast, Timo Werner is weeping in frustration as he struggles to fit into the left side of a front three following his £53m summer transfer from RB Leipzig to Chelsea.
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Timo Werner has struggled to settle in the Chelsea team since his move from RB Leipzig, but Bruno Fernandes has had great success after leaving Sporting Lisbon for Manchester United
Recruitment departments and analysts are now working overtime to ensure their picks in this window hit the ground running, while players and their agents are weighing up where they will have the most impact.
The aim is to be more 'Bruno' than 'Timo'.
With huge talents on the market and even bigger fees on the table, there is little margin for error on either side.
And while there is no crystal ball, there are superpowered computers using neural networks matching playing style and personality on and off the pitch to calculate every players’ ideal destination.
A footballer’s individual performance is dependent upon how they fit into the style and dynamics of a team.
Ai Abacus has created a system that rates the chemistry between players who may never have played together before.
This chemistry model analyses millions of passages of play and uses artificial intelligence, developed at the University of Southampton, to determine what makes successful pairings for each player and therefore it can predict which players will link well as team-mates.
They also consider what type of person a player performs best with, based on language, age, previous team-mates and nationality.
Ai Abacus combines the chemistry model with information about playing styles and a cost-benefit analysis, which incorporates transfer fee, wages and agents’ fees, to evaluate the best transfer options for buying clubs.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
The company has access to detailed data on 125,000 players in 53 leagues and 84 competitions, worldwide, including the National League, Bundesliga 3, Japanese J1 League and Brazil’s top tier, the Brasileirao Serie A.
As reported by Sportsmail, top-level recruitment is no longer based on gut instinct or a chief scout's nose for a player, but powered by algorithms and artificial intelligence that seek out the best fits.
Football recruitment analysts Ai Abacus let Sportsmail look over their shoulders while they crunched the numbers on which move makes the most sense for some of the top players in this year’s market.
So, where should the likes of Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland, Eduardo Camavinga, Perr Schuurs and the unloved Dele Alli go next?
The computer says….
Managers at both ends of the table, like Sam Allardyce at West Bromwich Albion and Frank Lampard at Chelsea are under pressure to recruit players who makes an instant impact
Top pick: Liverpool
This chart shows a player's suitability for a team, based on playing style and their chemistry with potential team-mates. The cross hairs are used to indicate a good fit between player and team. Players who appear where the lines meet and into the top-right quadrant of the chart have high suitability and good chemistry and are expected to fit in well and contribute from day one. The position on the chart is not definitive, but rather an indication that a player and a team are compatible. Ai Abacus also applies a cost-benefit analysis before scoring different transfer targets. This chart suggests Liverpool will be a good fit for Jadon Sancho.
Jurgen Klopp is not above a cheeky dig at Liverpool’s eternal rivals, Manchester United.
He stepped up to receive the BBC Sports Personality of the Year coaches’ award in December and quipped how receiving the prize in Manchester ‘makes it even sweeter’.
How red Mancunians ground their teeth at that and after Liverpool’s imperious triumph in last year’s Premier League title race.
Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho looks like a perfect fit for Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool
And if Liverpool were to beat their near neighbours to the signature of the United’s long-term target, Sancho, supporters, players and manager would no doubt revel in the capture of a scintillating talent – and the Red Devils’ schadenfreude.
The Borussia Dortmund flyer would certainly be an amazing fit at Anfield. The computer analysis conducted by Ai Abacus suggests Liverpool is one of the strongest matches, based on chemistry with existing players.
‘The model predicts that Sancho will link up well,’ says Ramm Mylvaganam, founder of Ai Abacus. ‘In particular he would create strong partnerships with Andy Robertson, Sadio Mane, Takumi Minamino, Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita.’
Klopp admires Sancho and has admitted the winger would 'look good' in a Liverpool shirt
This season, Sancho has spent time in an advanced two at Dortmund, playing behind the striker, which does not match Liverpool’s style, but he has also played in an attacking midfield three in Germany, suggesting he would adapt to Liverpool’s progressive, fluid approach.
Sancho could slot into a front three and link with right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold. The pair are good friends in the England camp and already have a fine understanding.
In contrast, the analysis suggests Old Trafford looks less exciting for Sancho.
While the young Englishman would be comfortable in the 4-2-3-1 formation currently favoured by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, which he has played in at Signal Iduna Park, the algorithm finds he would not link as well with United’s current crop of players.
Sancho and Trent Alexander-Arnold already have a good understanding from England camps
And it seems everyone wants an Anfield move to happen, except perhaps United and Liverpool’s owners, who would have to pick up the tab, which given the negotiations in the summer could go beyond £100m.
Reports in the German press have suggested Sancho himself fancies the move, Klopp has said the lad from south London would ‘look good’ in a Liverpool shirt and Alexander-Arnold told an Instagram Q&A in May: ‘I'd be more than happy for him to come. I played with him for England and he's a special, special talent."
Liverpool’s pressing need may be for a defender to cover for Virgil van Dijk, but if you have one of the most exciting forward lines in Europe and outscore the opposition every week, who cares what happens at the other end?
Top pick: Atalanta
This chart looks at which teams would be a good match for Dele Alli. As above, teams which appear where the cross-hairs meet and into the top-right corner of the chart show the strongest correlation between the player, the playing style of the club and the chemsitry with potential team mates. Atalanta is one of the strongest matches, while Paris Saint-Germain is a poor match based on the team's previous style. This may change under Mauricio Pochettino.
Dele Alli is desperate to clock up some game time before England manager Gareth Southgate makes up his mind on his Euro 2020 squad.
One thing seems certain, Alli, who has fallen spectacularly out of Jose Mourinho’s favour, will leave the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium one way or another during the January transfer window, most likely on loan.
Spurs’ chairman Daniel Levy will be hoping Alli impresses, wherever he ends up, and can command a bigger fee if he goes permanently in the summer.
The England man has only made the squad for five of Spurs’ 15 Premier League games this season, and failed to clock up a total of 90 minutes on the pitch.
Whatever has been said behind the scenes is now becoming public with Mourinho calling out Alli after he gave the ball – and a goal - away at Stoke in the Carabao Cup before Christmas.
Dele Alli has had a frustrating season at Tottenham Hotspur where he is out in the cold
The expectation is that that Alli will flee to Paris and into the arms of his former mentor and manager, Mauricio Pochettino, who has taken over from Thomas Tuchel.
But is Paris Saint-Germain the right fit for an out-of-sorts No 10?
‘PSG have not often played with a 10 over this season or last season, instead playing with either two eights (4-3-3) or two nines (4-4-2),’ said Mylvaganam.
The Ai Abacus analysis should at least give Alli pause for thought.
The perfect match could be the free-flowing football of Gian Gasperini’s Atalanta because the Italian side match Alli’s creative instincts and their 3-4-1-2 formation is built for a traditional 10, pulling strings for the strikers and getting in behind.
Dele Alli may be tempted link up with former mentor Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain but Gian Gasperini's free-flowing Atalanta may just be the perfect tonic
Atalanta scored a whopping 98 goals in the league last season; the most in almost 70 years in Serie A. They have scored a respectable 28 from 13 games this time around and sit seventh.
The Bergamo-based side could scarcely be a greater contrast to Mourinho’s regimented Spurs and it could be perfect for Alli. Imagine him dictating the play with the Italian sun on his back. It would be like a