The January transfer window is often described by those in football as a tough month. Asking prices are usually higher, cup-tie stipulations need to be considered and generally those who have found form in the opening half of the season are rarely allowed to leave by their respective clubs. However, despite the hardships managers face in securing talent, unless you’re Antonio Conte and have absolutely no say in the matter whatsoever of course, there have been a number of switches during the winter window that have proven big success stories.
When Everton acquired an 18-year-old John Stones from
Barnsley on transfer deadline day in 2013 for a fee of around £3m, not many would have predicted how sharply the defender's stock would rise in such a short space of time.
Fast forward to today, following his £50m move taking him from Goodison Park, where undoubtedly praise belongs for his development, to
Manchester City in 2016, the 23-year-old has been sensational under Pep Guardiola and could well be crucial in any success England claim at this summer's World Cup.
Not a bad way to make £47m in three years.
Similarly to the aforementioned Stones, Ben Mee is another defender who made a fairly low profile move in January and has gone on to become a household name.
Alongside the most non-English sounding Englishman in history, James Tarkowski, the 28-year-old has been pivotal in
Burnley's so far shockingly impressive season, with talk even suggesting an England call-up could be on the horizon.
Leicester City's cut-price acquisition of Danny Drinkwater in 2012 was one that would prove a stroke of genius later down the line.
Of course, we all know he provided a huge influx of cash when making his £35m switch to Chelsea last summer, but how can we forget the impact he had in the Foxes' never-to-be-seen-again
Premier League winning campaign.
The Englishman is now etched into King Power Stadium history, and will be so for the remainder of his career and beyond.
When you consider
Sunderland captured Jermain Defoe on a free transfer it could arguably be seen as the best business the club have made in recent times, but when you factor in that they also offloaded Jozy Altidore in the same switch, it stretches itself far and away ahead of the rest.
In his two-and-a-half seasons on Wearside the talisman netted 34 goals for the club, rescuing the now-
Championship relegation fodder from the top-flight drop on two successive occasions.
Oh how they'd dream of having someone like him now.
Now we're going back a bit.
In January 2005
Everton snapped-up midfielder Mikel Arteta, initially on a six-month loan deal which included a permanent switch in the following summer.
After an impressive start on Merseyside, the Spaniard went on to claim two successive Player of the Season awards, the Players' Player of the Season accolade, the North West Footballer of the Year award, the Liverpool Echo's Sports Personality of the Year award, and after helping the Blues reach European football, was ranked the sixth best player in the Premier League during the 2006/07 term.
Not too shabby for just £2m, especially considering the money the Toffees are shifting nowadays for bang average players.
There seems to be a running theme here with centre-backs.
Gary Cahill becomes the third defender on this list who made his switch to greatness over the winter period, when he swapped the delights of
Bolton Wanderers for Chelsea in 2012.
Securing the Englishman actually turned out to be one of Andre Villas-Boas' final acts at the helm of Stamford Bridge, but, as you can still see today, it was also one of his better ones.
The move did not turn out too badly for the now-32-year-old either, as just four months later he had his hands on the Champions League trophy.