Liverpool's need for defensive reinforcements was always likely to dominate the headlines on transfer deadline day and so it proved as the Premier League champions made two late signings.

Centre-back Ben Davies arrived from Preston North End, while Liverpool made a further addition to the heart of their backline with the loan signing of Ozan Kabak from Bundesliga strugglers Schalke until the end of the season.

Those signings came on a day that saw Joel Matip ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle ligament injury. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are long-term absentees and Liverpool were forced to play Jordan Henderson and Nathaniel Phillips at centre-back in Sunday's win at West Ham.

Heading for the Anfield exit door is Takumi Minamino, the forward moving to Southampton on a six-month loan deal having only joined Liverpool last January.

It came after Southampton loaned veteran Shane Long to promotion-chasing Championship side Bournemouth.

Bournemouth also sanctioned the departure of Joshua King to Everton for a nominal fee until the end of the season.

There were outgoings at Arsenal as well, with Shkodran Mustafi signing for Schalke on a short-term deal and Joe Willock going on loan to Newcastle United, who let DeAndre Yedlin leave for Galatasaray.

Arsenal also sent Ainsley Maitland-Niles to West Brom on loan.

Turkish giants Galatasaray acquired Gedson Fernandes on a temporary deal from Benfica following an unsuccessful stint at Tottenham.

In Serie A, Parma landed Bayern Munich's teenage forward Joshua Zirkzee in a loan deal that contains the option to sign the 19-year-old permanently.

Atalanta are firmly in contention for a top-four finish in Serie A and bolstered their ranks for that push with the capture of Ukraine midfielder Viktor Kovalenko from Shakhtar Donetsk.

Roma can afford to have hopes of a title challenge and brought in teenage full-back Bryan Reynolds from MLS outfit Dallas on an initial loan deal, with an obligation to buy, to help them.

Frozen out at Juventus, midfielder Sami Khedira is back in the Bundesliga following a switch to Hertha Berlin, but one of European football's most exciting talents is heading to Italy after Udinese signed Jayden Braaf on loan from Manchester City with an option to buy.

Elsewhere, Everton defender Jonjoe Kenny joined Celtic on loan for the rest of the season, Brighton and Hove Albion signed highly rated midfielder Moises Caicedo from Independiente del Valle, West Brom loaned Okay Yokuslu from Celta Vigo and defender Teden Mengi moved from Manchester United to Wayne Rooney's Derby County on a temporary basis.

Jurgen Klopp is excited by Ben Davies' potential following his surprise switch from Preston North End, but concedes the move only happened due to Liverpool's injury problems in the centre of defence. 

Davies joined the Premier League champions on Monday in a long-term deal reportedly worth £1.6million.

The 25-year-old made his Preston debut in January 2013 before spending time on loan at York City, Tranmere Rovers, Southport, Newport County and Fleetwood Town. 

His arrival goes some way to resolving the Reds' issues in the heart of defence. 

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are long-term absentees, while converted midfielder Fabinho and Joel Matip are struggling with injuries.

That led to Jordan Henderson and the inexperienced Nat Phillips pairing up at the back for Sunday's 3-1 win over West Ham.

While Klopp admits there is an element of good fortune for Davies that Liverpool came calling, the German does believe he has signed a "quality" player.

"What I like about Ben is it just shows that each situation creates opportunities," the German told Liverpool's official website. 

"I think it's probably clear that in a normal transfer window, without any issues, we would not look at Preston to see if there's a player for us or something like that. It's not really likely. 

"But since we saw him and since our situation got clearer and clearer – the problems we had – when we saw him we got really excited about it and thought: 'Wow.' 

"We see the potential really. We see the quality and we see the potential as well because he's 25 and there's a lot to come for him.

"I love a lot about his play. He's a really good footballer, looks like a proper leader in this Preston team, good in challenges, looks football smart, can play different positions because he played in a back three and a back four and all these things. 

"That makes him really interesting so I'm really looking forward to working with him. I know for him it's an opportunity and I see it exactly the same for us, that it's a really good thing to do."

Premier League champions Liverpool have signed centre-back Ben Davies from Preston North End for a deal reportedly worth £1.6million.

The 25-year-old has signed a long-term contract with Jurgen Klopp's side and could make his debut against Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday. 

Davies made his Preston debut in January 2013 before spending time on loan at York City, Tranmere Rovers, Southport, Newport County and Fleetwood Town. 

He cemented his place in the Lilywhites' first team during the 2017-18 campaign, making 35 appearances across all competitions. 

Davies went on to make a further 98 appearances for Alex Neil's side, 19 of which came this season. 

"I'm obviously delighted to be here," he told Liverpool's official website. "It's a huge opportunity.

"Obviously it came as a bit of a surprise when it first came but once you start to get your head around it, the opportunity that is in front of me is incredible. I’d be silly to not make the most of it and learn off the players [at the club].

"I've never actually been to Anfield and I haven't had a look around yet. I haven't actually walked out of the tunnel yet, so I'm looking forward to that. Just to be in this kind of atmosphere is brilliant."

Davies' arrival at Anfield gives Klopp's some much-needed cover in the centre of defence. 

With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez long-term absentees and Fabinho and Joel Matip struggling with injuries, Jordan Henderson and the inexperienced Nat Phillips were the centre-back pairing for Sunday's 3-1 win over West Ham.

"I want to come in and play games to start with," he added. "I want to get my foot in the door and make myself a Premier League player rather than a Championship player, and then take it from there really.

"I know we've got some top players here and players I can certainly learn from. Once you get your foot in the door then you’re here as well. Hopefully I can take my chance and then move forward with it.

"I'm looking forward to coming in and playing in front of everyone and showing everyone what I can do. I'm sure a lot of fans and people don't know [me], or haven't even seen me play.

"It's definitely an exciting time and I think they'll quite enjoy watching me when I'm playing well."

Premier League champions Liverpool have signed centre-back Ben Davies from Preston North End for a deal reportedly worth £1.6million.

The 25-year-old has signed a long-term contract with Jurgen Klopp's side and could make his debut against Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday. 

Davies made his Preston debut in January 2013 before spending time on loan at York City, Tranmere Rovers, Southport, Newport County and Fleetwood Town. 

He cemented his place in the Lilywhites' first team during the 2017-18 campaign, making 35 appearances across all competitions. 

He went on to make a further 98 appearances for Alex Neil's side, 19 of which have come this season. 

Davies' arrival at Anfield gives Klopp's side some much-needed cover in the heart of defence. 

With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez long-term absentees and Fabinho and Joel Matip struggling with injuries, Jordan Henderson and the inexperienced Nat Phillips were the centre-back pairing for Sunday's 3-1 win over West Ham.

 

Manchester City have loaned highly-rated defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis to Championship side Blackburn Rovers. 

The 19-year-old made his debut for City against Preston North End in the EFL Cup in September 2019 and has gone on to make a further eight appearances across all competitions for Pep Guardiola's side. 

Harwood-Bellis will spend the rest of the 2020-21 campaign with Rovers, who are eighth in the Championship. 

His move means it is unlikely fellow central defender Eric Garcia will be allowed to join LaLiga giants Barcelona. 

There had been suggestions Garcia would return to his boyhood club before the close of the mid-season transfer window on Monday, but Guardiola will want to ensure he has adequate cover for the heart of his defence in the second half of the season. 

The 20-year-old's contract expires at the end of this season and it appears he will have to wait until then to rejoin Barca.

The famous Bergkamp name is set to grace English football once again after Mitchel, son of Arsenal legend Dennis, joined Championship club Watford.

The Hornets announced that, following a trial spell, the 22-year-old has signed a six-month contract with the option of a further deal, subject to international clearance.

Midfielder Mitchel will continue his development with Watford's under-23 side having opted to move to England after nine years at Dutch side Almere City.

Dad Dennis won the Premier League three times during his 11-year stint at Arsenal, while he sits fourth on the Netherlands' all-time scoring list with 37 goals in 79 international appearances.

Mitchel admits he has become accustomed to comparisons with his famous father but is now plotting his own path in the professional game.

"When I was younger it was difficult [to be compared all the time] but I've adapted to it now," Mitchel told Watford's official website.

"It's just my name and I'm my own player and hopefully I can leave my own legacy. He's been amazing to me and for me. He's my number one fan and has always been there for me. 

"It's a privilege to have him as my dad and to work with him on my game."

Watford have also signed Maurizio Pochettino, son of Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio, during a busy transfer window as they look to seal a quick return to the Premier League.

Dan Gosling is another new arrival, while Glenn Murray's season-long loan from Brighton and Hove Albion has been terminated.

Watford have signed Maurizio Pochettino from Tottenham.

Pochettino, son of former Spurs and current Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino, will join up with the Hornets' under-23 squad initially.

A 19-year-old winger, Pochettino played eight times this season for Tottenham in Premier League 2 but did not make a senior breakthrough at his father's old club.

Watford have had a busy weekend ahead of Monday's transfer deadline, with former Everton and Newcastle United midfielder Dan Gosling joining from Championship counterparts Bournemouth and Spain international Gerard Deulofeu making his move to Udinese permanent.

West Ham have exercised a purchase option on Said Benrahma early in order to free up space for the mooted loan signing of Jesse Lingard from Manchester United.

Reported issues with his medical in October led to Benrahma's initially agreed transfer being renegotiated to a season-long loan move that included "an agreement to make the transfer permanent".

It is claimed West Ham paid an initial £4million to take him on loan from Championship side Brentford, with the permanent deal set to cost the Hammers £21m, plus £5m in variables.

West Ham are said to have triggered the purchase early to create space for Lingard, who is reportedly on the verge of completing a loan switch from United.

Premier League clubs are restricted to two domestic loan players in their squad, vacancies that were filled by Benrahma and Craig Dawson.

West Ham are rumoured to be spending £1.5m on bringing Lingard in until the end of the season, as they look to boost their push for European football.

David Moyes' men are flying high in the Premier League, their 35 points from 20 games enough to put them fifth in the table, just two points behind defending champions Liverpool a place above them.

Winger Benrahma is perhaps still acclimatising to top-flight football, as he has only played 12 times in the Premier League and has just a couple of assists to his name.

His eight chances created is also relatively underwhelming for such an explosive player – that figure translates to 1.2 per 90 minutes, which is only high enough for seventh in the West Ham squad.

He is attempting (5.2) and completing (2.9) more dribbles than any other West Ham player, though in the long run they will be expecting greater attacking productivity considering his form with Brentford over the previous two seasons.

He was directly involved in 54 goals in all competitions (29 goals and 25 assists) for the Championship club, which was more than any other Brentford player in that time.

Also across the same period, no player in England's second tier could match his 50 goal involvements (27 goals and 23 assists) in the league.

And across the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, Benrahma created 188 goalscoring chances in the Championship – which was second only to Pablo Hernandez (204) – and his 233 successful dribbles was 32 more than any other player in the division.

Kylian Mbappe wants time to make a decision on his future as Real Madrid await a signal from the Paris Saint-Germain star.

Mbappe, 22, has been linked with a move to Madrid and his contract at PSG ends in 2022.

But will the forward end up at the Santiago Bernabeu?

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID WAIT FOR MBAPPE

Real Madrid are waiting for a signal from Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, according to Marca.

The report says Mbappe has asked for time to decide his future.

While Madrid have been most strongly linked with a move for Mbappe, Liverpool are also reportedly interested.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Madrid and Fabrizio Romano says a new contract for midfielder Luka Modric is imminent. The Croatian midfielder's current deal expires at the end of the season.

- Dele Alli's future is set to be a constant talking point until at least the end of this transfer window. ESPN claims Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is reluctant to let the midfielder leave for PSG. Romano reports Spurs are still looking for a replacement and were working on re-signing Christian Eriksen, but Inter wanted a loan fee and the midfielder's salary paid in full.

- Lyon star Houssem Aouar was linked to Arsenal last close season, but the midfielder could head elsewhere. Gianluca Di Marzio reports Juventus are looking at the 22-year-old as an option ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

- Lucas Torreira seems set to move on from Atletico Madrid. Diario AS says Monaco are favourites to sign the midfielder, who is on loan at Atletico from Arsenal.

- Said Benrahma has made an impression at West Ham. Sky Sports reports West Ham have converted their loan for Benrahma from Brentford into a permanent move, paying £20million plus add-ons. The report says West Ham are also in talks to sign RB Leipzig forward Hwang Hee-chan.

Frank Lampard's appointment as Chelsea head coach was widely heralded by the club's fanbase, who were desperate for a returning hero to succeed in the dugout.

Just 18 months later and Lampard – the club's record all-time leading goalscorer who won 11 major honours at Stamford Bridge – has been sacked.

The Blues have proven in the past there is little time for sentimentality or to dwell on past successes and not even a player with the stature Lampard holds at the club has been granted extra time.

Lampard's first season in charge brought a top-four finish and an FA Cup final but a run of just two wins in eight league matches saw Chelsea wield the axe with the team ninth and 11 points off top.

A huge close-season recruitment drive that saw the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Ben Chilwell arrive perhaps gave the Blues hierarchy itchy feet and brought about the end for Lampard.

With that in mind, we have looked at some hits and misses when players have returned to a club as boss.

HITS

Pep Guardiola

After leaving Barcelona as a player in 2001, Guardiola returned as the Barca B boss in 2007 before being promoted to head coach of the first team a year later. Over four years in charge at Camp Nou he led the Blaugrana to 14 trophies, including three LaLiga titles and two Champions League crowns. Success has continued to come Guardiola's way with Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

Zinedine Zidane

World Cup winner Zidane was part of Real Madrid's 'Galacticos' in the early 2000s and he finished his playing career at the Santiago Bernabeu. Like Guardiola, he returned to oversee the second team before stepping up to the top job after the departure of Rafael Benitez in January 2016. Zidane went on to win an unprecedented three successive Champions League titles with Madrid before stepping down in May 2018, only to return 10 months later. He has already won LaLiga and the Supercopa de Espana in his second stint, though a slump this term has left his long-term future shrouded in doubt.

Antonio Conte

In 13 seasons as a player for Juventus, Conte won almost everything there is to win – five league titles, the Coppa Italia, the Champions League and the UEFA Cup. He moved into management two years after retiring and worked his way back to Juve after spells with Arezzo, Bari, Atalanta and Siena. Juve won three straight Scudetti under Conte – the start of their ongoing dominance – before he accepted the Italy job in 2014. Conte is now battling to end the Bianconeri's domestic dominance as head coach of Inter.

Roberto Di Matteo

Di Matteo accepted the top job at Chelsea in 2012, having previously been assistant to Andre Villas-Boas. Di Matteo – who won the FA Cup twice with the Blues as a player – went on to lift two trophies as Chelsea boss, including their first Champions League title with a penalty shoot-out win over Bayern, but he was discarded early in the following season.

MISSES

Alan Shearer

Record Premier League goalscorer, Newcastle United legend and lethal England striker – Shearer's playing career was full of success. When he retired in 2006, Shearer moved into television as a pundit, but when the Magpies came calling in 2009 he stepped in to try to save them from relegation. Sadly for Shearer he was unsuccessful, his eight-game reign ending in Newcastle slipping out of the top flight after a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa on the final day.

Filippo Inzaghi

Employing former players as head coaches had previously worked well for Milan – Fabio Capello and Carlo Ancelotti proving particularly successful. When the Rossoneri turned to Inzaghi in 2014 after Clarence Seedorf's brief tenure, the move was therefore no surprise. However, the former striker – who won eight major trophies at the club in his playing days – flopped, winning just 14 of his 40 matches in charge as Milan finished 10th, their worst league position in 17 years.

Thierry Henry

Henry made his name at Monaco after breaking into the first team in 1994, the forward going on to become a world champion and a Premier League icon with Arsenal. After a period as youth coach with the Gunners, Henry was named as Belgium boss Roberto Martinez's assistant. Permanent roles with Bordeaux and Aston Villa were mooted, but in October 2018 Henry chose Monaco. He lasted just three months, losing 11 of his 20 matches in charge across all competitions before being replaced by Leonardo Jardim, the man he had succeeded.

Juan Jose Lopez

One of the most decorated players in River Plate history, having won seven league titles in an 11-year spell, Lopez was a popular appointment after making a strong impact in his second period as caretaker manager in 2010. However, he subsequently presided over a poor 2011 Clausura campaign, forcing River into a relegation play-off against Belgrano, who won 3-1 on aggregate. It was the first time River dropped out of the top tier, sparking riots which left many people injured.

JURY'S OUT

Mikel Arteta

Arteta served Arsenal with distinction as a player between 2011 and 2016, captaining the club and winning the FA Cup twice. Success in football's oldest cup competition followed last term, with Arteta having replaced Unai Emery in December 2019. After finishing eighth, Arsenal defeated Liverpool on penalties to win the Community Shield but eight defeats from 19 league games in this campaign have left Arsenal 11th and 13 points off top spot.

Andrea Pirlo

Lampard's opportunity at Chelsea arrived when Maurizio Sarri departed for Juventus, but his stint in charge at the Bianconeri lasted just one season despite winning the Serie A title. Pirlo won four Scudetti, the Supercoppa Italiana twice and the Coppa Italia during a four-year stint as a player in Turin and was appointed head coach just a week after being installed as Under-23 boss. So far it has been a mixed bag in Juve's hunt for a 10th straight title, with six draws and two defeats in 18 matches leaving them seven points back of league leaders Milan – albeit they do have a game in hand. Pirlo also collected a first trophy courtesy of victory over Napoli in the Supercoppa Italiana last week.

Jack Wilshere will resume his career at Bournemouth after rejoining the Championship side on a deal until the end of the season.

The former Arsenal and England midfielder was a free agent after his West Ham contract was terminated last October.

Wilshere spent the 2016-17 season on loan with the Cherries and has been handed a contract, having been invited to train with Jason Tindall's promotion hopefuls.

The 29-year-old, who has been badly blighted by injuries in his career, told afcbTV: "It feels great to be back and I can't wait to get started.

"From the minute I walked through the door three weeks ago, it felt natural and like I had never been away.

"I know a lot of the players and staff here and I'm pleased they allowed me to train initially, and then it just went from there.

"I've been impressed by the coaching staff, the way they work and the ambitions of the club to get back in the Premier League.

"We all share the same ambitions and I'm looking forward to playing my part in helping achieve those."

Bournemouth are third in the Championship, eight points adrift of leaders Norwich City after being relegated from the Premier League last season.

Alex Ferguson says Wayne Rooney has a "presence about him" and is hopeful the legendary forward will succeed in management after announcing his retirement from playing.

Rooney was officially named as Derby County boss on Friday, two months after replacing Phillip Cocu as interim coach.

The 35-year-old enjoyed an incredible playing career that spanned nearly two decades, during which time he won 16 trophies at Manchester United, the majority of those under Ferguson.

He retires as United and England's all-time leading goalscorer and while Ferguson believes that will be an advantage for Rooney, he warned the former forward results were all that mattered as a coach.

"He is England’s top goalscorer, he is Manchester United’s top goalscorer and he has had a fantastic career as a player and it will give him a starting point," Ferguson said on the 'A Team Talk With Legends' panel on Friday.

"But like anyone else it is a results industry and you need to get results. He will know that better than anyone.

"He has had a good start… and he has knowledge of the game, a presence about him and I hope he does well.

"It is a big step for him. He is quite a wealthy young man now with his career in football, so he probably doesn't need to go into management to look after his family, but he wants to do it and that is important.

"There is no point being a manager because someone asks you to be. He went there as a player-coach, he then become player-manager and now he has the manager's job and that's what he wanted. Hopefully he does well.”

England manager Gareth Southgate was also pleased to see Rooney take the helm at Derby.

Rooney joins former England team-mates Steven Gerrard (Rangers), Frank Lampard (Chelsea) and Scott Parker (Fulham) in management.

"He has had an incredible career. I am pleased we have the likes of Wayne, Steven, Frank and Scott Parker – we don't want too many [Jamie] Carraghers sitting on the sofa because those good football brains are gone from the game," Southgate said.

"What you want from an England perspective is young English managers and ex-players to come in and add to the game and help develop young players.

"Those lads have brilliant experiences and it will be a huge challenge of course, but Wayne loves football, has a fantastic brain for football and I wish I had the chance to manage him five years earlier – not be the one to leave him out of the England squad, I'd rather be the one picking him at his peak."

Wayne Rooney called time on one of the greatest playing careers in English football on Friday, vowing: "I wouldn't change a thing."

Since springing to prominence with a stunning goal as a 16-year-old for Everton against Arsenal in 2002, Rooney has achieved feat after feat in the game.

He retires as the record scorer for both Manchester United and England, having won 120 caps and captained his country, and will focus on his new full-time job as manager of Derby County.

Gary Lineker, third on England's all-time goalscoring list behind Rooney and Bobby Charlton, said the new Rams boss had enjoyed "a truly wonderful career on the field".

What is clear is that the 35-year-old Rooney is relishing a career in management, and he has shown impressive early aptitude, with Derby conceding only four goals and losing just twice in their nine league matches under his caretaker leadership.

"For me, to try and help the club get back to its glory days is a massive opportunity," Rooney said.

"My future is in management. I’ve had a great career with a few ups and a few downs, but I wouldn't change anything. But now, I'd like to write some history in my managerial career.

"My whole life has been playing football, so I'm fortunate that I'm still part of it. It's a new chapter for me.

"Will I miss playing? Of course. But, time doesn't stop. I've had my time, it's time for the younger generation to have their time and for me to guide them."

Former England team-mate Steven Gerrard, who is now managing title-chasing Rangers in Scotland, said it had been an "honour" to play alongside Rooney and wished him "good luck" at Derby.

Rooney, who has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Championship club, is close to lifting Derby out of the relegation zone having taken over at a time when they sat rooted to the foot of the table.

His last competitive match as a player, assuming there is no U-turn, will have been the 3-0 defeat to Middlesbrough on November 25.

He won five Premier League titles with United, along with a Champions League and FA Cup and EFL Cup successes, and in the 2009-10 season he was named PFA Player of the Year.

During his Old Trafford career, which ran from 2004 to 2017, he scored 253 goals, while he netted 53 for England.

Wayne Rooney has been appointed the new Derby County manager after impressing as interim boss.

The former Manchester United and England captain has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Championship club.

Rooney, 35, has overseen three wins and four draws in nine games since taking temporary charge back in November after Phillip Cocu was sacked with the Rams bottom of the table. They are now 22nd and only in the relegation zone due to goal difference.

The decision to take over as full-time boss means Rooney has officially brought his illustrious playing career to an end.

"When I first arrived back in the United Kingdom I was completely blown away by the potential of Derby County Football Club," Rooney said in a statement. "The stadium, training ground, the quality of the playing staff and the young players coming through and of course the fan base that has remained loyal and supportive.

"Despite other offers I knew instinctively Derby County was the place for me.

"To be given the opportunity to follow the likes of Brian Clough, Jim Smith, Frank Lampard and Phillip Cocu is such an honour and I can promise everyone in involved in the club and all our fans, my staff and I will leave no stone unturned in achieving the potential I have witnessed over the last 12 months of this historic football club."

Rooney's impressive impact upon results has come despite turmoil around the club, including a wage delay, a protracted takeover by Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan and a coronavirus outbreak that forced the closure of the training ground.

Derby kept five clean sheets, conceded only four goals and lost just twice in their first nine matches under Rooney. No side conceded fewer goals in that time and only Brentford suffered fewer defeats (zero).

Rooney initially joined Derby in a player-coach role in January 2020 after spending two years in MLS with DC United.

England and Manchester United's all-time record goalscorer played 35 times for the Rams, the last of which was in a 3-0 defeat to Middlesbrough on November 25.

Liam Rosenior, Shay Given and Justin Walker will all stay on in Rooney's backroom team, with Rosenior named assistant manager. Former England boss Steve McClaren will continue as technical director.

After nine and a half years, three first-team appearances and loan spells at seven different clubs, Lucas Piazon's time at Chelsea has finally come to an end.

Piazon, 26, on Thursday put pen to paper on a four-and-a-half-year contract with Primeira Liga side Braga, whose coach Carlos Carvalhal he played under at Rio Ave last season.

His name has been linked to Chelsea for so long, since signing as a promising 17-year-old in 2011, but few fans could tell you what he has done during his career.

With the help of Opta data, we look back at Piazon's loan spells to analyse an unusual career that finally appears set for some normality.

MALAGA

Piazon's first loan switch saw him head to Malaga in January 2013 and he began well, setting up two goals across his first three starts. However, he only started one more game and did not register another goal involvement.

VITESSE

Things ramped up a few gears the next season at Vitesse, where Piazon found the back of the net 11 times in his first 1,331 minutes for Vitesse. He scored or assisted a goal every 73 minutes before the mid-season break but did not have a single goal involvement in 727 minutes across the second half of the season as they slipped from second – level on points with leaders Ajax – to a sixth-place finish.

EINTRACHT FRANKFURT

Piazon spent the 2014-15 season with Frankfurt and only scored twice, though one was an incredible free-kick winner against Hamburg, across 22 appearances and 11 starts in the Bundesliga. However, he created 1.7 chances per 90 minutes in Germany's top flight, second only to Takashi Inui (2.3) among Frankfurt players.

READING

A return to England followed and the first of three years in the Championship. Piazon had three goals and two assists in 23 league appearances for Reading. Among players to feature for the club at least 10 times, he ranked second for passing accuracy (84.3 per cent) and fifth for chances created per 90 (1.9).

FULHAM

Piazon spent the next two seasons down the road from Stamford Bridge at Craven Cottage. In his first season with Fulham he had 2.2 chances created per 90 minutes, behind only Tom Cairney (2.7) and Stefan Johansen (2.3) among players to feature at least 10 times.

In 2017-18 he scored five goals and four assists as the Cottagers secured promotion to the top flight. His 18 goal involvements (10 goals, eight assists) across his two seasons with Fulham was the fifth most for the club during that time frame.

CHIEVO

A first venture in Serie A followed in the second half of 2018-19, but Piazon only played 81 minutes across four appearances for Chievo. He created one chance and hit the target with his only shot.

RIO AVE

Piazon became an important squad player during an 18-month loan at Rio Ave, contributing two goals and an assist as they qualified for the preliminary stages of the Europa League by finishing fifth in the 2019-20 Primeira Liga. His two goals from seven shots (including blocks) in the top flight this season gave him a team-high conversion rate of 28.57. Among Primeira Liga players to have taken at least as many shots as Piazon this season, only five have a better conversion rate.

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