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The Five Most Talked About Transfers in The 2018 January EPL Transfer Window Trending

By Tyler Tai Bing Xiang on February 2nd 2018

So the English Premier League’s transfer window just slammed shut. And what a month it has been. Plenty of rumours and fake news, complemented by a large number of high-profile signings from clubs – all encapsulated in 31 days.

Just in case you’ve missed all the gossip and news and you’re too lazy to scroll through a month’s worth of transfer articles online, Brandwatch Analytics is here to summarise them all for you with the help of some social data.

A quick look at our topic cloud from January gives us a good idea which clubs and players have been heavily involved in the transfer window.

Topic cloud shows top terms surrounding transfer window on social media

Evidently there’s plenty of traction for Liverpool, who are mentioned a lot throughout the transfer window period with their acquisition of Virgil van Dijk, now the world’s most expensive defender, and their sale of superstar Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona. Alexis Sanchez had a ton of mentions too, with the Chilean sealing a move to Manchester United. However, his transfer wasn’t quite so straightforward as his final destination was a big question through this period. Was he going to Manchester City? Or was he going to Manchester United?

Line chart shows people talking about Sanchez going to Man City and Sanchez going to Man Utd. Man City mentions occur earlier in the month and less frequently.

The line chart tells us that at a certain point, it did seem like Sanchez was heading to Manchester City, with lots of buzz and rumours surrounding him sealing a deal with Manchester City on the 9th. However, during mid-January it seemed like rivals Manchester United had the upper hand in negotiations, and they finally announced the signing on 22 January. Perhaps Sanchez felt red looked better on him.

The biggest transfers

Other than Sanchez being a major transfer, there were other high-profile moves during this transfer window. 

We are able to look at the historical mentions for these major transfers across the last month. Mentions for respective transfers tend to peak either on the day of transfer or a day before when the player passes a medical. We also observe that although Aubameyang had the highest spike in volume coming close to the end of the transfer window, Sanchez had the overall lead in conversation throughout this entire period, as seen in the pie chart below.

Pie chart shows the top five most mentioned players in relation to the transfer window

The top 5 most talked about transfers:

Player name Transferring to
Alexis Sanchez Manchester United
Pierre-Emerick Aubyameyang Arsenal
Philippe Coutinho Barcelona
Henrikh Mkhitaryan Arsenal
Olivier Giroud Chelsea

 

Another aspect we’re able to inspect closer was how people felt about the various transfers.

Bar chart shows sentiment surrounding some of the biggest transfers

An interesting way to look at this chart is that popular players (highly skilled and valued players from clubs with huge fan bases) tend to have a fairly even amount of positive and negative sentiment revolving around their transfers, while transfers for fringe players such as Walcott or Lucas Moura were better received. While this data set was built on mentions coming from the UK, further insights can be drawn from audience segmentation based on club supporters – which can be done using Brandwatch Audiences.

Finally, there was a transfer that went under the radar but was ultimately impressive.

Chelsea’s long wait for a burly striker has finally ended. Bargain.


25 questions answered using Twitter data

Number five will astound you 😛

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Tyler Tai Bing Xiang

Tyler is a Social Media Data Analyst based in Brandwatch's Singapore office. His Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of cat and dog videos. Will also make a pun whenever he sees fit.