The January transfer window has enabled a number of potential Champions League contenders to bolster their squads before the round of 16 clashes over the next few weeks, and we’re bound to see a number of familiar faces donning new shirts.
Here’s seven of the finest January acquisitions that will feature for the first time this season in Europe’s most illustrious competition…
7. Lassana Diarra
Veteran midfielder Lass Diarra was a surprise acquisition from Paris Saint-Germain in January, but the Frenchman may prove to be a serious coup for Unai Emery and PSG in their ultimate aim of winning the Champions League this term.
The 32-year-old has previously spent three years with 12-time European champions Real Madrid and is fully accustomed to playing in the competition.
6. Olivier Giroud
Having finished fifth with Arsenal in the 2016/17 Premier League season – just a point behind Liverpool in fourth – Olivier Giroud joined up with Chelsea for £18m on transfer deadline day.
He’ll bolster the Blues’ attacking options against Barcelona next Tuesday, and in the latter rounds too if they’re able to overcome one of the competition’s favourites.
The Frenchman had previously made six Europa League appearances with the Gunners this term, netting three goals.
5. Yerry Mina
Giroud could very well be up against this man.
Arriving from Brazil in January as Barcelona’s first ever Colombian player, Yerry Mina made his debut appearance against Valencia in the Copa del Rey and will be featured in the squad for next Tuesday’s clash at Stamford Bridge.
If the dynamic defender makes an appearance, it will be his first ever in Europe’s most illustrious competition.
4. Sandro Wagner
After stints with multiple Bundesliga teams, Sandro Wagner rejoined his boyhood side Bayern Munich from Hoffenheim this January, after making his debut for the Bavarians in 2008.
The 30-year-old now looks set to feature in the squad next Tuesday against Besiktas at the Allianz Arena, and will look to quickly repay the faith put in him by Jupp Heynckes.
The striker featured in both qualifying matches against Liverpool earlier in the season and was a stand out performer for Julian Nagelsmann’s side.
3. Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk became the most expensive defender in history after signing for Liverpool from Southampton for £75m, and has had a turbulent start to life so far as a Red.
However, the Dutchman secured his first clean sheet with the club on Sunday on his return to St. Mary’s and looks to be settling in.
The 26-year-old is sure to start against Porto on Tuesday night in Portugal – returning to the Champions League for the first time since his Celtic days.
2. Aymeric Laporte
Deadline day signing Aymeric Laporte arrived to the Etihad Stadium for a club record fee of £57.2m from Athletic Bilbao this January, and has slotted straight into Pep Guardiola’s back-line.
The French international is vastly experienced at European level, having featured regularly for Bilbao in Champions League campaigns in his time at San Mames, and will likely be selected to start against Basel in Switzerland.
1. Alexis Sanchez
Luckily for Manchester United, Arsenal didn’t make top four in the Premier League last season.
If they had, their superstar Chilean would’ve been cup tied and unable to play in the competition for the remainder of the season as a Red Devil.
The 29-year-old has plenty of experience in the competition, but will hope to progress further than the quarter finals with his new side under Jose Mourinho’s tutelage.
He had previously made a single appearance for the Gunners in the Europa League this year, scoring a stunner against FC Koln.