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The merits of buying and moving in January

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Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 23:06 UK time, Monday, 9 January 2012

If ever a Premier League manager needed a warning on the pitfalls of splashing the cash in the January transfer window, they need look no further back than a year ago.

Last season, a record £225m was spent overall with Fernando Torres's £50m move from Liverpool to Chelsea helping fund the Reds' purchases of £35m Andy Carroll and £22.7m Luis Suarez.

The Uruguayan striker has easily been the most successful buy from that trio, his eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra apart, and the three goals scored by Torres and Carroll combined summed up the rest of their seasons at their new employers.

In fact, if you add in Chelsea's £21.3m capture of David Luiz, the two clubs forked out a combined £129m last January yet moved up three Premier League places between them.

This not only goes to show that the mid-season transfer window is a seller's market, but also that the real benefit in this period might actually be for clubs at the other end of the table.

Suarez, Donovan and Richardson have helped their respective clubs after signing in January

Suarez, Donovan and Richardson have helped their respective clubs after signing in January

The same year the window was introduced in 2003, Christophe Dugarry scored five goals to help retain Birmingham's Premier League status, while two years later Kieran Richardson did similar for West Brom. And in 2007 David Unsworth left Sheffield United to join Wigan and four months later scored the winning goal that sent the Blades down.

So even if last season, signings like Daniel Sturridge at Bolton and Demba Ba at West Ham only helped their respective teams to initial success before a slide in form, there is plenty to encourage managers as they attempt to bolster their troops and tweak their tactics for the relegation battle ahead.

Wigan have become the benchmark for Premier League survival since being promoted to the top tier in 2005, so much so that current boss Roberto Martinez calls this period the "window of hope".

However, his experience tells him there are specific criteria for what constitutes a good signing during the most competitive time of the year.

"The benefits of the window are that sometimes you know exactly what you need because in January you have a clear idea of where the squad is and what the levels of performance are," he says.

"But the hard part is that, whatever you look for, it is very difficult to find because it's too expensive and clubs are not willing to let players go.

"That means you need to go into markets abroad and bringing in a player in January means that the adaptation period is going to be six to eight weeks and that's probably too long. So you need to bring in players who already have some Premier League experience and that has a real cost.

"It's great for the media and the fans; it's a window of hope. When things are not going well, you think that everything is going to be solved and it is a key moment in the season. In the same way, you have to be realistic that you get good value for money and I don't think you normally can."

Carroll, Torres, Sturridge and Ba all had limited success last season

Carroll and Torres struggled individually, but even Sturridge and Ba had a limited impact last season

Martinez cites Gary Caldwell as a player who had a big impact when he joined Wigan in January 2010, based on his winning mentality while at Celtic and his knowledge of the British game.

But the Spanish boss also believes Bolivian forward Marcelo Moreno gave a boost to the side the same season thanks to his European experience, and even the signing of Crystal Palace youngster Victor Moses was well-timed as it gave him a period to adapt to the top tier before embarking on a full campaign. It may also mean Wigan pipped a few rivals to his signature.

Moses, 21, has taken time to blossom in the Premier League, but he is not the only one in that bracket. Manchester City spent £27m last season on Edin Dzeko and only following a full pre-season has the price tag begun to look justified.

QPR striker DJ Campbell, who made the leap from League One Brentford to Premier League Birmingham in January 2006 and twice went on loan to Blackpool, says moving in mid-season makes it difficult to adjust.

"When you join in the summer, you've got time to put in a full pre-season and time to get to know the lads," he says. "You also have time to know how the gaffer works and how he wants everyone to play rather than arriving in January and finding out for yourself. So it takes a few games to get into the swing of things.

"It's difficult, especially sometimes when you don't know anyone at the club, but you are a professional and you've just got to handle it as best you can. The other thing to say is that when I joined Birmingham, it was the first time I'd ever played in the Premier League so my adrenaline got me through a lot of things."

Campbell currently finds himself on the other side, his place at QPR seemingly under threat now boss Mark Hughes has been appointed after Neil Warnock's sacking and with the loan signing of Manchester United forward Federico Macheda increasing competition for places.

But rather than see it as a knockback, Campbell, who has been out for two months with a metatarsal injury, believes it is only a good sign as the club tries to avoid the relegation zone.

Speaking before Warnock was fired, he adds: "The situation that we're in at the minute is not good so we welcome players in because we need them. New faces at this time will help.

"When I was at Birmingham, we were struggling a bit at the time and I was fortunate enough to be able to come in and the players welcomed it. You don't look at it like they are trying to pinch your position, it's a team game, so the better players that come in, the better we get."

The loan market has its critics but with the competition to sign players and the elevation of prices as high as it ever has been, it is becoming an increasingly sensible option for cash-strapped clubs.

Uefa's Financial Fair Play initiative also means that the elite end of the Premier League is unlikely to spend as extravagantly as it did last term.

So even if top-flight bosses complain about calls from agents and reporters stalking them when they arrive at training, they will realise that the window of opportunity is all important.

With a new domestic and overseas television deal in the offing and debts to be paid off, the significance of a club's Premier League status is worth a few sleepless nights.

You can also discuss more tactical issues and follow me on Twitter


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  • Comment number 1.

    I do find it a stunning contrast that last season saw spending reach well over £200,000,000 (although much of that between two clubs) yet this season we're a third of the way through the transfer window & the Premiership has yet to hit the 1 million pound barrier for fees.

    Are they learning a new economic principal, or is the big spending just around the corner?

  • Comment number 2.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 3.

    I agree with the premise but at the end of the day, managers need to spend if they want to remain competitive.

    In my opinion, too many managers use the transfer window excuse of 'excess prices' to discourage buying. Managers like Wenger are obsessed with their concept of value, i.e. not paying the price the selling club wants, but a fixated price.

    Ultimately it's not the biggest problem in football though, too many games are decided on poor refereeing decisions, [ ] particularly this season, so an over-haul in that would see managers until less pressure to buy, as their season would legitamitly be structured anyway. Debateable Decisions (google) do some kind of stats showing this.

    I expect more activity in this window from now on, "It's oh so quiet".

  • Comment number 4.

    It's never a good idea to spend wildly in January,the pressure of time is used by agents to hike fees. Andy Carroll is a prime example but far from the only one. Good deals can be had especially if players are out of contract in May. Clubs looking to sell such players know full well they will get zero for their player in 5 months time and tend to take whatever they can get. Scott Allan is a an example of this. West Brom cannot lose on the deal and Dundee United got something rather than nothing but such deals are fairly thin on the ground. Loans can assist a club during the short term and many clubs,even the bigger ones,seem to be considering this option more and more as austerity combines with the new Financial Fair Play rules to bring the game to it's collective senses. The result may not be a level playing field exactly but perhaps one of Ben Nevis rather than Everest proportions will be good for the game. We can but hope.

  • Comment number 5.

    I will say though, Jan break can be more benefitial north of the border, the talented youngsters of the top English clubs can be loaned out and the best of the non-Old Firm can be picked up at discount price, see @ 4 re. Scott Allen, and Wolves pinching Egert Jonannson from Hearts. Expect Templeton, Black, Wallace, Driver to be gone soon, if any Championship sides come in.

  • Comment number 6.

    i do hope post 3 is joking when he says poor refereeing is why prices in the January transfer window are so high

  • Comment number 7.

    Daft time for a transfer window.

    Who's got any money to spend after Christmas?

  • Comment number 8.

    I know it makes for a good headline but why must spending always be quoted gross rather than net? Take Liverpool. This article would say they spent £58m in January and this couldn't carry on with the FFP rules. Erm, no they didn't, they spent £8m.

    Also, I started a bit of a conversation yesterday about how the loan system favours big clubs more than smaller clubs. Surely this could be sorted out as well at the same time the FFP rules come in.

    Finally, what IS going on with the Cahill to Chelsea deal?

  • Comment number 9.

    Has anyone ever heard of Evra or Vidic? think they were pretty successful January signings

    lol @ the midland 20

  • Comment number 10.

    3. At 08:45 11th Jan 2012, SteveSmith99 wrote:

    In my opinion, too many managers use the transfer window excuse of 'excess prices' to discourage buying. Managers like Wenger are obsessed with their concept of value, i.e. not paying the price the selling club wants, but a fixated price.


    You say that like it's a bad thing. Are you saying that managers should be less interested in value, and should just throw the selling club as much money as they ask for?

    That's a ludicrous way to operate. You have to pay what the player is worth to YOU, not what he is worth to the seller. If the amount you offer is too low, then obviously there will be no deal. But it's awful business to pay more for a player than you believe he is worth.

    I take my hat off to Wenger most of the time - he isn't prepared to throw away the clubs money and pay over the odds for someone. I wish all managers operated like that, to be honest.

  • Comment number 11.

    #10 digitaljacknife

    Yeah. I'd say Chelsea did pretty well signing Anelka in January as well.

  • Comment number 12.

    It doesn't seem to be mentioned that this is the time where chairmen like to get rid of managers in a hope of the new manager getting a few players in the window to help revitalise the club. That's why Warnock has just been axed.

    It probably means that Lower league clubs can cash in on inform players. remeber Jon Stead from Huddersfield saved Blackburn a few seasons ago. Had it waited till the end of the season he may have been out of form and his price will have dropped. That could be the current case with Jordan Rhodes.

  • Comment number 13.

    #10 FortressFratton

    Would you agree that with a couple of extra signings, Arsenal might have won the league sometime in the last 7 years?

    If so, and Wenger hasn't made those signings, perhaps he doesn't have quite the idea of 'value' that you hint at?

  • Comment number 14.

    It's not all over-inflated prices, IMO. By this point in the season players know if they are in the team or not and with a summer tournament coming up, internationals (in particular) will be looking to move. So a resourceful manager with a bit of cash can make some very good signings. For example, as a Spurs fan I imagine the likes of Kranjcar, Bassong, Hutton and Pienaar would be available and could do a very good job for most sides in the PL.

  • Comment number 15.

    January Transfer window signings can clearly make or break a season, which is why Man United and Arsenal both resorting to resorting to resigning past legends is beyond a joke?

    Surely this means both are happy with 2nd and 4th respectively?

  • Comment number 16.

    #14 AT

    Pienaar would be available and could do a very good job for most sides in the PL.
    He probably thought that when he joined Spurs this time last year!

  • Comment number 17.

    #16. He probably thought that when he joined Spurs this time last year!


    In fairness I still think he could - and had been for years at Everton - but just has the misfortune of playing in the same position as one Gareth Bale. However, he could easily be a starter for about 15 of the PL teams right now.

  • Comment number 18.

    #17 AT

    Or maybe it was the wrong decision to join Spurs rather than Chelsea? January may be a tricky time for a manager to make decisions but maybe players make rash decisions as well?

  • Comment number 19.

    The January window is a fairly ludicrous idea in my opinion. Yes it gives something for the supporters to look forward to, a "window of hope" as Robert "the nicest guy in football" Martinez said but it forces clubs to play overly inflated prices and wages for players.

    This isn't so much of a problem for the likes of Liverpool or Chelsea (as the big spenders last year), they have enough in the coffers to be able to stomach a hefty loss. But for a side, like Bolton for instance, who are staring into the abyss of relegation they will now be forced to enter the loan market (filled predominantly with young, untested players or unfavoured over the hill types) or splash their non-existent cash on a player they hope can rescue them. All for the ultimate pay off of staying in the league. They literally cannot afford the risk yet paradoxically cannot afford not to either.

    A more sensible approach would be to allow a week every two months in which players can be bought or sold. Obviously there would have to be rules put in place in order to stop "quick fix" signings for one off games (minimum length of contract or something along those lines) but this would help teams at every level assess their squad on a regular basis and make sound judgements without being rushed into a 4 week shopping window.

    In a time where money is tight in football and the rewards for top flight and European football are so great, then i think UEFA/FIFA should seriously look at methods in which the financial risks taken by clubs just to compete could be reduced.

  • Comment number 20.

    The Andy Carroll story in today's papers is a peach and was a good example of grossly inflated transfer prices and poor January value by KK last year.

    Agree with Martrinez about Gary Caldwell at Wigan: sold by the 'tactical genius' of Mowbray who then never knew how to replace him. Agree with #5 about the current situation at Hearts: Templeton and Driver in particular would be a steal at their likely transfer price and with Rangers cash-strapped and Celtic player-heavy in these positions, some Championship club really should take a punt on these boys.

  • Comment number 21.

    As always it depends on the circumstances if a team needs to sign players, but in this case I think Man City need to sign more players in this window if they want to win the league (sounds crazy but I agree with Mancini). City despite their fantastic start have started to waver because of a few injuries and if United buy a decent midfielder then I'd be worried if I was a City fan. Fergie has the know how to win titles and this I believe makes it an even contest but the signing of Scholes will be a hindrance rather then a masterstroke and he should've just given Morrison or Pogba a chance.

    I think all the top 6 clubs need players, but I think if Spurs want to be serious title contenders they are the team with the momentum that will need a bit of extra quality in case of injuries. I know Samba & Hoilett have been touted and that makes sense to me.

    Blueburns, what do you think think your team should do? And anyone else put down your team (any in England), your problems and what players you think you need.

  • Comment number 22.

    Some January signings have worked out well but many have not. Its like anything else. Would you rather have a couple of months to think over a major purchase which could affect the rest of your life or a couple of days? Clubs chucking every penny they have and often some they do not have at trying to stave off relegation or ensure promotion are gambling and all too often gambling with the very existence of the club. It's very exciting to see your club linked with players of course but I would guess it will be a cold day in hell before Pompey fans start clamouring for new signings at any price. A more sensible approach for most all clubs outside of the elite is inevitable. Less exciting perhaps but welcome in the long run.

  • Comment number 23.

    Not saying poor refereeing is the REASON for inflated transfers, but with farcials like the Kompany 4 game ban, managers really need to consider squad depth. @3.

    @14 Pienaar is ace, could play anywhere outside top 6. I can see Newcastle coming in for him at cut price, nothing wrong with him for depth/pushing into the starting Xi.

  • Comment number 24.

    #19 What's that coming over the hill?Is it Nemanja? It is Nemanja!!

    To echo what you have alluded to, 'big' clubs can afford to take risks that smaller clubs can't. To an extent, that's unfair.

    But, to carry on your Bolton example, it's not like they have suddenly found themselves high and dry is it? Their players haven't performed pretty much all season so you could question how well they used the summer period to ensure they had a squad for the coming season.

    #21 The_Chief_Architect

    I'd be happy for a couple of changes at Chelsea. If Alex is going to go, then find a buyer and likewise, sort the Cahill deal out.

    For sometime I have advocated that 1/4 of our squad should be for youth players. So, we don't need to find a new left back, for example, because in Bertrand and Van Aanholt, we already have a couple. Right back really needs sorting but whether that happens now or in the summer really does depend on who is available. Certainly don't get someone now just for the sake of it. Last January we got Luiz arguably for the sake of it when we could have just used Bruma as cover for the remainder of the season. (I make no comment on how good the signing of Luiz is, more that my principal means that we didn't need to sign him then.)

    I think Chelsea need to tinker now, do more in the summer, and then look to actually win something next season. If this season is to be one of transition, let's make the most of that transition and get the bulk of it done.

  • Comment number 25.

    Poster 3 - Your comment re managers need to spend is a bit of a throwaway comment. The article quite clearly emphasises its not just what you spend but on who the money is spent, taking into consideration other circumstances such as whether they are experienced Prem League players who won't need as much time to adjust, or big name players who are expected to have an immediate impact etc etc.

    The Jan window is a big GAMBLE full stop. I don't even agree its particularly successful for relegation threatened teams. The stats say they generally improve more (position wise) in comparison to the top teams. In reality, if you buy from the same league you are destabilising a competitor; if you buy from abroad you have to outspend your competitor; if you get someone on loan from a bigger team you sometimes don't know what you will get. Hence you are more likely to see a bigger swing at the bottom than the top. Show me a mid table team that bought in January and ended in the Top 6.

    For the bottom clubs the window offers a chance to bridge the gap with their competitors (Mid-bottom of the table), which explains why the effect is less so for the top teams with comparable resources. I would stick my neck out and say its unlikely we will get any big spending apart from Man City. Why? Because in their micro economy (and Man U + Chelsea to a lesser extent) it is efficient to spend £20million if it maintains their position at the top of the league.

    What is the right strategy in the Jan transfer window? In my mind you must always look for quality. If you can't afford it then don't buy. But any club in this position should be looking for their targets continuously to ensure the 'quality' is value for money.

  • Comment number 26.

    At 11:08 11th Jan 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:

    #19 What's that coming over the hill?Is it Nemanja? It is Nemanja!!

    To echo what you have alluded to, 'big' clubs can afford to take risks that smaller clubs can't. To an extent, that's unfair.

    But, to carry on your Bolton example, it's not like they have suddenly found themselves high and dry is it? Their players haven't performed pretty much all season so you could question how well they used the summer period to ensure they had a squad for the coming season.

    Fair point, i was only using Bolton as an example due to their league position. In their specific circumstance i think a lack of investment in the summer to replace the goals of Elmander and Sturridge has almost certainly been the decisive factor in where they are now. Owen Coyle has however proved in the past that he is quite a wiley (spl?) operator in this particular window, he should patent the "get a young playmaker and goalscorer" technique as it has proved most succesful so far.

    My point remains however that a 4 week period in the middle of a season is not a sensible time for teams to spend what they cannot afford. If this window did not exist and a system like the one i mooted earlier (or indeed the system pre-Jan transfer window) was in effect then i think Owen Coyle would have brought them into a better league position by now.

    Maybe even a system of allowing a certain number of loans in each half of the season could work. If by October a team finds themselves in a hole and needs a striker desperately then why not let them look around at teams such as Arsenal, Utd and Chelsea to pick up some young or underused talent?

    At Utd we've got Macheda and Diouf who could both use some playing time yet could not be loaned to Premiership teams between Sept and January, why not? If btoh teams get something out of the deal then i don't really see why it should be prevented from happening.

  • Comment number 27.

    #26 What's that coming over the hill?Is it Nemanja? It is Nemanja!!

    Well, as I was saying yesterday and ( comment #125) I don't really think the loan system as it stands is in the best interest of football and competition.

    Really, if Man U want Macheda and Diouf to have more playing time, then play them! Or, sell them to a club where they can play. Afterall, you've got four strikers already. Smaller clubs can't afford to have as many players as that on the books hence the idea that it benefits the clubs with money more.

    I don't recall the supposed benefits that were argued in changing from the old transfer system to the current transfer windows but, in terms of being in a hole, there are always the reserves and youth to call upon.

  • Comment number 28.

    There doesn't seem to be as many rumours flying about this year as opposed to last, when Spurs were getting linked to everyone, and the whole Torres, Carroll saga happened.

    I'd like to see Man Utd sign Sneijder, if only to make the league more interesting, and he's a great player. Although I think his age, wage demands and resale value may scupper that one.

    Expect Arsenal to sign some League 2 backup goalkeeper, to go with their 37 other youth goalkeepers.

    As for my club, Wednesday, Ben Marshall from Stoke will do nicely, on loan till the end of the season. Great player this lad, definitely better than our level, just hope noone from the Championship notices and snaps him up.

  • Comment number 29.

    @ 21

    As a United fan and after watching the hammering we got from Newcastle recently, I would love Utd sign Tiote in January which has been rumoured a lot, especially as he is a proven Prem League player already. Even Ben Arfa would be a good signing; he is strong and has some attitude, which we could use.

    If we could get rid of players like Gibson who is of no use to us whatsoever and maybe Park who has been great for us in the past but not as good now as he was, it would free up the space in the squad.

    Our defence gets stretched to ridiculous levels with injuries, like when Carrick and Valencia were put in defence for one match, even Berbatov had to fill in at CB, what is that about? I would love to see Cahill change his mind and sign for Utd, and with the amount of rotation that goes on, I think having Vidic (injured), Ferdinand, Cahill, Jones and Smalling (get rid of Evans) as our central defence would work well. Vidic and Cahill/Jones as our main pairing, then Ferdinand and Smalling as a back up for the smaller games or to cover injuries, especially as Ferdinand is losing his legs a little now and Smalling could fill in at RB where he has been doing well.

    My ideal 1st team would be:

    .......................................De Gea........................................

    After all that, I know Sir Alex will just sit back and let our team get stretched to its limits, with no quality cover, not sign anyone else (other than another old player like Keane, or maybe even get Beckham back for a couple of months) and we won't win the title.

    Does anyone think that, with the amount of injuries Utd always seem to have, there was some truth in what Hargreaves said about our medical team?

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    To be honest this transfer window could change the way transfers are done for good. i mean the likes of Mecheda at QPR could be the deal of the transfer window if he scores a few and keep QPR up, same with the likes of Henry at arsenal, if he was to score another winner for arsenal to give them a crucial 3 points it could mean the difference between ECL and EL football.

    the Torres and Carroll deal is going to be cited for many years, i think we should all draw a line under it and forget it, put it down to a one off. although David Luis was also i big waste of money

  • Comment number 32.

    #30 We all follow United

    Crazy, but valid, examples! I still think that January might be a good time to tweak a squad though, even if one eye is on who you want their for the following season. See #24

  • Comment number 33.

    @29 Agreed on Ben Arfa, I think he's a quality player.

    Young, bags of ability and reportedly unhappy at a lack of game time, I think he'd be an absolute bargain - just the creative spark we need in midfield. Unlikely to happen though.

  • Comment number 34.

    #31 King Red

    although David Luis was also i big waste of money
    Ignoring everything else, I think Luiz is a very talented footballer. What he does need of course is to wise up or have a good manager to help him wise up so that he makes the most of his talent.

    He is actually getting better but still has too many moments of madness.

  • Comment number 35.

    33.At 12:18 11th Jan 2012, niceweatherforthecyclops wrote:
    @29 Agreed on Ben Arfa, I think he's a quality player.

    Young, bags of ability and reportedly unhappy at a lack of game time, I think he'd be an absolute bargain - just the creative spark we need in midfield. Unlikely to happen though
    Ben Arfa would have been one of the prem's top players last season, but as we all know his ridiculous injury that nearly ended the guys career has had to have had an effect on him, he'll never be the player he could have been. Nigel De Jong was subject to a hell of a lot of critism from the football world, city should buy ben arfa and pay him de jongs wages as compensation...... well maybe a bit over the top

  • Comment number 36.

    There was a very interesting article written on the subject of the January transfer window by our sports writer Nilesh Bhagat. You can read it here, well worth a look.

  • Comment number 37.

    34.At 12:21 11th Jan 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    #31 King Red

    although David Luis was also i big waste of money
    Ignoring everything else, I think Luiz is a very talented footballer. What he does need of course is to wise up or have a good manager to help him wise up so that he makes the most of his talent.

    He is actually getting better but still has too many moments of madness.
    this time last yeari thought he was going to be one of the worlds best, even his forst 10 games for chelsea were amazing, but watching him lately he seems to be going backwards, but as you saud that could be due to playing under avb.

  • Comment number 38.

    Tweak yes but make big signings? I don't think there's many examples of it working very well. Make a big signing in the summer, especially at the start of summer and they've got 2 months to get to know team-mates, get involved in the style of play, find a house, possibly get used to the area etc. You can't do that in January, you're thrown straight in and have to adapt. I think that makes a difference.

  • Comment number 39.

    38.At 12:34 11th Jan 2012, We all follow United wrote:
    Tweak yes but make big signings? I don't think there's many examples of it working very well. Make a big signing in the summer, especially at the start of summer and they've got 2 months to get to know team-mates, get involved in the style of play, find a house, possibly get used to the area etc. You can't do that in January, you're thrown straight in and have to adapt. I think that makes a difference.
    though Vidic and Evra were bought in Jan, and they have become 2 of uniteds most consistant players, if Vidic had of went to another team i dont think we could have found anyone who would have been close to his capabilities for 5.5m was it?? and evra didnt cost more than 7m i think, imo 2 of the best buys this decade considering they are still with united and they have been responsible for alot of united success.

  • Comment number 40.

    #37 King Red

    When Luiz turned up, he came at a time that there was a momentum (remember we were 5th in January but finished 2nd) and he was part of that.

    This season there have been changes and for change to work takes time. As the season has gone on, there has been some coming together of performances, players, idea's etc and I think he is getting better.

  • Comment number 41.

    #38 We all follow United

    Depends on the person really. If you hit the ground running in football terms and the team is building a head of steam, you might not notice the personal changes so much. Come in and it's a struggle, on the other hand, and I can see that it would disrupt everything about you!

  • Comment number 42.


    I agree on the Luiz front that because of the changes and the indiferent consistancy levels of the team as a whole he has yet to get that form back in terms of back to back games.

    I think some of the players have been surprised that they are not 1st choice starters like in previous times and it has shown in what they have been doing on the pitch.

    Torres was a 1st pick at Liverpool and even under Carlo he got more games than just now so the relationship with the current manager may not be great as the trust is not there to an extent.

    Next season is when major changes if any are or should be made...January is too expensive and as we have seen too risky to an extent to make major changes.

  • Comment number 43.

    As a Wigan Athletic supporter of some 25 years I've long since stopped paying any attention to the rubbish that Roberto Martinez spouts - his comment in this particular piece that the signing of Marcello Moreno proved a boost just beggars belief. No goals & didn't really play him that much either. What a boost that was!!!!!

    If he told me it was raining I'd go outside to make sure so his comments on the transfer window can be filed alongside him saying he's not embarrassed by defeat to a 4th division side & that there were many "good things" to take away from it

  • Comment number 44.

    I'm suprised that Harry Redknapps use of the January 2006 transfer window wasn't mentioned in the article. Signing Mendes, Davis, Pamarot, Benjani, D'allesandro and Kiely in the space of a few weeks to turn Pompeys season around was fantastic achievement. It took a while for them to all click but when they did they were awesome.

  • Comment number 45.

    As a AVB fan i hope he can turn his fortunes around, Luis has the ability, maybe if terry was second choice and AVB brought someone in to compliment Luis things would be different, like when Claude Makélelé used to keep John Terrys pace under wraps ;)

  • Comment number 46.

    True, but both struggled to settle in initially. I'd say neither showed their true ability until at least the next season, Evra even longer than that due to Silvestre's form (can't believe how quickly he went downhill!). Neither were really big transfers though, both were sort of under the radar.

  • Comment number 47.

    SteveSmith99 no. 3. Apparently, according to Ferguson's agent, Foy and Webb are going nowhere
    In the words of Lieutenant Colonel 'Bill' Kilgore - 'Some day this war's gonna end'
    In other words, one day there'll be no money left and good riddance to the egotistical directors, greedy agents and petty mediocre footballers.

  • Comment number 48.

    #45 King Red

    Hmm. I think that idea is more perception than reality!

    #46 We all follow United

    Maybe, but the principle is that there is still value out there. Maybe if Ferguson had of waited until the summer for those two, more people might have been alerted to them and maybe they would have cost more.

  • Comment number 49.

    #44 OptimusPrimus

    It took a while for them to all click
    Took them even longer to pay for them!

  • Comment number 50.

    I agree on that. There is value out there but it seems largely (not always though admittedly) that January signings take longer to settle in than those in Summer. The bigger transfer fee's only add to that pressure as well.

  • Comment number 51.

    But isn't everybody in the same boat here, would certain teams really do any better if a system that allowed them to purchase players throughout the year was in place, wouldn't they just be up against other teams with the same ability to buy. I feel this is the system with have, it is the same for everybody, to say it's wrong and causes panic buying... why is this? Is it because the team bought unwisely throughout the summer? Admittedly injuries could be a factor, or players could be out of form, but that's why teams have a squad in the first place isn't it? Maybe i'm being a little neive?

  • Comment number 52.


    As a pompey fan yourself you should know that it may of saved Portsmouth for one season, but ultimately ruined Portsmouth for years to come. They were using finances they didn't have and paid the ultimate price.

    I think the January window is still a good idea, as for the likes of Bolton, Blackburn etc now fighting relegation, if this windows wasn't available they would still have to rely on the players they have had since the summer and could not change it up until possibly when they are relegated.

    Also for big clubs, bring in players to sell shirts, sponsorship money. I wouldn't be surprised on a huge sale in shirts with Henry on the back at Arsenal, at a time when shirts sales are low, and about to start dropping prices.

  • Comment number 53.

    @14 AT
    Pienaar was bought for £2m, has hardly played and is now being touted around at £5m - is that not the perfect example of an over-inflated price in January?

    I do get fed up with people, especially Premier League managers, moaning about how unsettling this January window is...
    Was it any less unsettling when one of the rich clubs could turn your players' heads in October?
    Imagine you have made a great start and are not even considering relegation after the first 12 games (like Newcastle) - would you want that run to continue until the new year or see the likes of Tiote and Ba be lured away to a struggling, but traditionally powerful club like Man Utd?
    Would Swansea be thinking about strengthening for a 2nd year in the top flight if Allen and Vorm been snapped up by Arsenal in November?

    I agree Bolton were under prepared in the summer and Coyle must shoulder some blame. Instead of selling Cahill early and using the cash wisely, they have held on to him, will get less for him now and it hasn't helped them a great deal.
    Maybe Chelsea or Arsenal should have offered more, seeing as they have had defensive frailties exposed as a result of not getting a proven Premier League centre half, but what solice is that to Bolton's fans and owners?

    There have been loads of good and bad buys in January, as there are in the summer window, but that's mainly to do with bad managers, panic-striken owners and poor decisions. A good player, bought for the right reasons, at a stable club will do well no matter what time of year it is.

  • Comment number 54.

    #52 jdowling18

    as for the likes of Bolton, Blackburn etc now fighting relegation, if this windows wasn't available they would still have to rely on the players they have had since the summer
    Yes, but those players are the players that the powers that be at those clubs chose. It's not like you are having to deal with what you've inherited from someone else, is it?

  • Comment number 55.

    ps. Don't get me started on managers moaning about 'losing players' for the African Nations Cup... "You knew they were Congo/ Nigeria/ Ghana internationals when you bought them! Live with it!"

  • Comment number 56.

    "the two clubs forked out a combined £129m last January"

    There's a real problem in the way transfers are reported in the press in that it duplicates every pound spent by the selling club. Chelsea gave Liverpool £50m, then Liverpool spent the same £50m on Carroll and Suarez plus a bit more.

    You can't add the two figures together! If you want to know the total, add up each club's net spending; which in this case would be £50m less than you report it. It would probably ruin your dramatic emphasis, but at least it would be right.

  • Comment number 57.

    #55 drivethetenth

    But are there any examples where someone has chosen the country of their ancestry rather than their birth which, surely, a prospective purchaser may not know at the time?

  • Comment number 58.

    Last season round, we saw that the acquisition of Carroll, Dzeko and Torres reiterated the point that the January transfer window is not for big transfer targets. It takes a special player to adjust instantly to a new team and, perhaps, a new culture.

    Unfortunately, we've been disappointed by the contribution of Torres and Carroll this season too, so far, which emphasizes the need for key, long term transfers to take place in the summer window.

    It's a different case when it comes to temporary solutions though and teams in any position on the table can profit by January acquisitions. Was it January when Man Utd signed Larsson and played a key role in the second half of the season for United? Also, with so many injuries around this time, many teams require temporary solutions to temporary problems that their youth system is not ready to provide.

    When it comes to Warnock, unfortunately, the writing was always on the wall. New owners tend to want a manager determined by them. The "cliche" last fixtures list situation also occurred handsomely for Hughes: the difficult matches are just gone for QPR with the "bad" manager on the helm. Same all.

  • Comment number 59.

    @53 drivethetenth

    Pienaar was bought for £2m, has hardly played and is now being touted around at £5m - is that not the perfect example of an over-inflated price in January?


    That is true. They did buy him for about £2m. But that was because he only had a few months on his Everton contract and wasn't going to sign a new deal. Now that he's on a longer one, I think you'd agree that £5m is a more realistic market value for him. The cynic in me would say Spurs bought him simply to sell for a few more million in 12 months, but you can't begrudge them for asking that price. By today's standards, I still think he'd represent a bargain for a lot of good teams.

  • Comment number 60.

    #56, matttheswan

    If you ask the taxman though, he'll remember how much VAT he got and he'll refer you to £129m spent.

  • Comment number 61.

    Will people please stop requesting that 'net spending' figures be used?!

    It doesn't matter where the money comes from. Chelsea SPENT £50m on Torres. Liverpool SPENT £57m on Carroll and Suarez. Therefore, between them, they spent £107m on them three transfers.

    @59 - The two clubs DID fork out that amount. As soon as Torres was bought, the £50m was then Liverpools which they used to buy Carroll and Suarez
    Just because Chelsea paid Liverpool £50m for Torres it doesn't mean Carroll and Suarez cost £7m between them.

  • Comment number 62.

    Sorry that should have been @56

  • Comment number 63.

    #60 Reds19

    Are you saying that there is output VAT on the £129m but no input VAT on the purchases?

    #61 sterobbo84

    But you can't escape the fact that it is a merry go round and that the headline figure is used for effect rather than as an indication that there is any more or less money in football that year than any other year.

  • Comment number 64.


    Yes but all manner of thing could happen between the summer and January, what happens if Samba and Yakubu both got injured in this point? Your saying that Kean would not to get someone in January to replace them.

    Just because the chairman and manager thought these players would do well for the club in the summer doesn't mean they will be a success.

    And also as a prime example, Mark Hughes has just got the QPR job and IS left with players he hasn't brought, so ultimately has the chance to purchase who he desires.

    Sturridge probably saved Bolton last season for another example

  • Comment number 65.

    #64 jdowlilng18

    Oh, I don't think I'm arguing for OR against the window, but I (as usual it would seem) seem to be deconstructing other people's points more than making my own.

    The argument that the window is there to right previous wrongs in the transfer market doesn't, in my opinion, justify the window by itself.

  • Comment number 66.

    #63, MrBlueBurns

    I was merely saying that it is £129m that was spent for those players. I couldn't resist mentioning that it's music to the ears of the taxman when cash changes hands quickly, many times, initiated by a big transfer fee. If you play with some guess-calculations, you might be surprised where you could end up. And don't forget to remember politicians always taking the picture and bothering us with silly comments when an English club achieves something meaningful in the game.

  • Comment number 67.

    #66 Reds

    The only bit that would be beneficial to the taxman would be the Carroll sale. Most of the others are in's and out's, so therefore neutral in an economic circle sense, or cross border transactions with the money leaving the country and thus adding to a deficit! Something the Treasury doesn't like.

    So, take your pick, but, the value of transfers last January was not £129m however you look at it! Unless you look at it like a journalist trying to make a point.

  • Comment number 68.

    Christophe Dugarry

    Now that was a great bit of business 5 in 5, but then turned sour and mutually agreed to leave the club. Still i enjoyed watching him. I dont supoport Birmingham either.

    I miss the days when Big Sam would bring in players maybe in the last few years of their career and get the best from them.........infact i loved that Bolton team...Campo, Okocha, Youri Djorkaeff

    lovely (i dont support Bolton either)

  • Comment number 69.

    The only bit that would be beneficial to the taxman would be the Carroll sale.


    Unless he's a Liverpool fan of course ;)

  • Comment number 70.

    #69 We all follow United

    Do you think many Scousers grow up with aspirations of being a taxman?

  • Comment number 71.

    Shock horror, some signings are good deals and some aren't, surely this is exactly the same in January as it is during the summer 'window'?

  • Comment number 72.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 73.

    I see no negatives to this window, yes most of the fees are inflated but surely managers are in a job where they need make calculated decisions.

    Totally hypothetical - Yakubu goes to QPR for £6m, scores goals and keeps QPR in the prem. The initial excessive outlay of £6m is far outweighed by the money generated from QPR staying in the prem.

  • Comment number 74.

    #71 ReallyReal

    Surely the point is that the success or failure of signings made in January is more acute in the business end of the season?

  • Comment number 75.

    Recent events suggest a new generation are going to be coerced into growing up aiming to be the new Nick Griffin.

  • Comment number 76.

    Flip that argument round though. Blackburn would then lose their main (and pretty much only) goal threat making their Premier League place even less assured. Hence why hypothetically if he was for sale, Blackburn would want multi-millions for him for the same reason.

  • Comment number 77.


    Totally agree with you, that's what I meant about calculated decisions. Kean, or whichever unfortunate soul is in charge of Blackburn by then, would have to decide whether that £6m could be reinvested on say two £3m players to boost the squad and keep them up.

    I only wish Moyes would have kept hold of him in the first place!

    Oh, and on the side-subject, I am indeed a Scouse taxman!

  • Comment number 78.

    I am a Chelsea fan. I would like Roman to sort himself out and stop making our club look so crap and stupid by wasting so much money all the time on complete rubbish. Torres, Mikel, Miereles, Luiz in particular. The guy is a joke and a complete idiot. He is playing fantasy football for real and not doing a very good job at all. I think this is his 8th year now and all he has done is 'buy' a couple of titles with the best players and manager and then sack him!! (UNFORGIVABLE) With the money this fool has put up we should have a new 60,000 stadium currently being built, preferably near completion, and a youth set up similar to Arsenal and Barca etc. Instead all we have is a load of old rubbish with very few young players that have quality. Stop buying rubbish from our rivals and build a squad that can compete for a few years!! We need to get rid of Cech, Ferreira, Mikel, Boswinga, Alex, Malouda, Drogba, Torres, Luiz, Meireles, Kalou and buy in some GOOD players a similar age to Sturridge, Mata and Romeu who will form the basis of a team for the next 6 or 7 years together. As a rule we shouldn't buy anyone over 24 years of age and we shouldn't pay anyone over 100k a week either. Obviously we have to keep Terry and Lamps for their outstanding services and to help guide the young team but most of the rest can go ASAP if it was up to me. With the standard of football we have shown the last few years, I would rather play crap with young players who will learn from the experience and develop than play crap with old players who just get worse and worse!!! All good teams have players that have grown together over a period of years. If only someone with some footballing and business sense could stand up to abramovich. I would love to be able to speak to the guy and tell him my opinions and i think Chelsea FC would get set up for a successful period for the next 10 years. I think the secret is always to look to the future. It is all very well having Lampard, Terry and Drogba in their prime but as soon as they hit 28 we should have been buying 18 year olds who in 3 or 4 years will replace them. Now they got old we panic buy Torres to save our season replace Drog and then can't even find anyone to replace Lamps!
    Look at the players we have missed out on in the last few years. With our financial power before they signed for their current clubs we should have went for DAVID SILVA, SERGIO AGUERO, COENTRAO, OZIL, SANCHEZ, PHIL JONES, JOSE ENRIQUE, SUAREZ, BALE, MODRIC, WALCOTT, DE GEA, MATA (a few years earlier),
    DI MARIA, SMALLING, HAMSIK, all these players are either going to be good or are good already and they are all far better signings in terms of quality and especially price to what Roman bought for us. I do think if he doesn't get his act together by this time next year then he should leave and take his wasted money with him.

  • Comment number 79.

    @78 WUM avoid!

  • Comment number 80.

    What I mean though is that Blackburn might be justified in asking for £40+ million for Yakubu as that's roughly what they'd lose in revenue should that sale help send them down.

  • Comment number 81.

    Why no mention of Darren Bent from last January?

    Surely he was the most successful signing last January?

  • Comment number 82.

    I think maybe we should get rid of the Jan tranfer window and replace it with teams being allowed to make 1 transfer every 2 months, if a team wants to make an additional signing then they should forfit points (kinda like fantasy football) it would be interesting to see if any managers would make tactical signings at the expense of points. Of course in the summer you can make as many signings as you want.

  • Comment number 83.

    As 'Arry said in his interview with Robert Peston. Managers don't buy players anymore. They advise who they want and the chairmen go out and negotiate for the players. Fergy and Wenger just have to make excuses when they don't fill in the Gaps that people and pundits think they have. The over inflated prices only really come from clubs with that cash to spend such as Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool.

  • Comment number 84.

    lol @ 78.

    Panic buy Torres? Dream on mate, do you not watch the games properly? Torres is world class, and at Liverpool he took the world by storm and any team in the world would have him. Meireles is quality too. Get rid of Cech for De Gea? lol get real! Ferguson would take Cech over De Gea in a heartbeat.

    Sounds like you're playing fantasy football with all those names thrown about.

    He went for Modric...couldn't get him. Why would you want Walcott? guy has no end product. Bale wouldn't go to Chelsea, and obviously at the time Spurs picked him up from Southampton he was virtually unknown and no where near the ability he is now. Easy to suggest names all with hindsight.

    Hardly wasted money...he brought Chelsea up from an average team to a team that competes every single year...won a few titles and cups, champions league final as well. If you think you can do/could have done that without him, then you are seriously deluded.

    Also all this hype about Jordan Rhodes?
    I agree he looks good in League One...but stepping up to the Premiership? That's like taking key stage 2 SATs as an 8 year old, then the next day enrolling on an Astrophysics degree at Oxford.

  • Comment number 85.

    £35million for Carrol! and £50 million for torres was a laughing stock. Absolute shambles. Look at Demba Ba. How much did they pay for him?

  • Comment number 86.

    Panic buy Torres? Dream on mate, do you not watch the games properly? Torres is world class,


    Don't you mean WAS world class? At the start of the 09/10 season Torres was indeed absolute class, almost unstoppable. That season though saw his performance levels drastically decline and injuries hit. He was poor for the second half of that season and followed it up by being absolutely terrible in the World Cup. His performances didn't really improve for Liverpool after that apart from in one game, which happened to be against Chelsea. A game that seemingly convinced Roman that he was back and part with £50 million to get him.

    How's he done since?

  • Comment number 87.

    To be fair though some of the signings in the first couple of years of abramovich were top class!, Drogba, Robben, Carvalho, Ferreira, Essien, Cech. They were inches away from winning the champions league.

  • Comment number 88.

    @ 78

    I feel the same about my team. The management and scouting networks are useless. Why didn't they get Messi 5 years ago, or Ronaldo 6 years. Someone really dropped the ball with those 2. Also I'm still not happy at how we let Cavani, Xavi, Busquets, Neymar, Robinho, Kaka and Villa slip through the net.

  • Comment number 89.

    #78 cantona86

    A Chelsea fan with that username???

    Still, do you think there might be a reason why Abramovich is a billionaire whereas you are sitting at a computer, ranting about fantasy football?

  • Comment number 90.

    Evening. #81 PaultheVillan You're right Darren Bent was a good buy, he scored in his first game didn't he? A personal view is that he would do the business at Arsenal but you probably didn't want to hear that.

    Other good buys include Vidic and Evra joing Man Utd in 2006, but that's the point, they were more long-term purchases. Buying in January seems to rarely effect a team's fortunes that season, except for individual events like Jonathan Woodgate scoring for Spurs in the 2008 Carling Cup final after signing a month earlier.

    So it leads to the question, why not wait until summer when the value is better? Circumstances or desperation I guess. What do you think?

  • Comment number 91.

    89 oil industry

  • Comment number 92.

    #90 Alistair M - BBC Sport

    why not wait until summer when the value is better
    What evidence is there that any single summer signing might effect a team's performances from one season to the next?

  • Comment number 93.

    ridiculus! you can't get everybody. If they had signed some those players you would be moaning how we didn't get Ramires or Mata.

  • Comment number 94.

    #49 MrBlueBurns and #52 jdowling18

    Whilst Pompeys finances were mirky, at best, during that period it was the following 2 seasons leading up to the FA cup win that really crippled the club. The 6 players signed weren't cheap but could have represented a reasonable investment that could then have been built on sensibly if the club hadn't been sold to a succession of crooks. All of the above players had been let go to accomodate England internationals and other high earners, that we couldn't afford, before the extent of our troubles became clear. I guess it's impossible to pinpoint the exact point at which Portsmouths spending became unsustainable but, on football alone, the second half of that season was a fantastic achievement for the club.

  • Comment number 95. on friend, vidic and evra...two world class defenders bought in the january transfer winder ( for bargain prices might i add!...7mil for vidic i think and 5/6 mil for evra) if you've got the don of english football SAF in charge any transfer window is going to benefit you!

  • Comment number 96.

    £50M for Torres and £35M for carrol is a joke

  • Comment number 97.

    I heard a rumour, just a rumour, that Crouch was on his way back to Merseyside

  • Comment number 98.

    why cant I have the username cantona and still support Chelsea? It is a nickname all my mates call me. All Rooney's mates called him 'Jimmy' when he was growing up after Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, and he was an Everton fan.

    Roman has wasted so much money. Man City have obviously looked at what a fool Roman has been and addressed the errors he made, by building a team that will last more than 3 or 4 years, by investing in younger players that will get better together every season. When money is no object then you should just buy all the best young players you can. Why spend 50m on a almost 27yo when you could spend 50m on a 22 or 23yo who will give you 4 or 5 more seasons?!! What happens when Torres is out of the picture in a couple of years? We just gonna spend another 50m on someone? We're better off bidding 100m for Neymar now and getting 11 or 12 years out of him than spending 50m every 3 or 4 years.

  • Comment number 99.

    Are they going to stick a black haired wig on Crouch and send him out as Andy Carroll? :)

  • Comment number 100.

    I think the January transfer window is a good thing. Its a chance to see the mistakes you've made as a manager and try to rectify them. the only real issue with it is the amount of money spent.

    I am certain there has been more overpriced transfer fees paid than any of real value.

    £7m for vidic is a bargain now, but at the time it was baulked at because a lack of inexperience on his part. But he has proven everyone wrong.

    other than that there isn't too many really good buys in january. but there is lots of rubbish ones. Carroll and torres are just the exception.

    also, have read loads of people saying that Caroll is the worst buy ever....yet torres cost nearly half as much on top of caroll's fee and has scored 1 more goal this year? I would say Torres is a far worse buy than Andy Carroll. He almost makes Andy Carroll look value for money.

    @ 95

    if you've got the don of english football SAF in charge any transfer window is going to benefit you!

    Is this the same "don" that bought Djemba Djemba and Kleberson?! lol. Everyone makes mistakes and fergie has more than his fair share.


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