In less than a week’s time, Santa Claus will be making his legendary journey around the globe, delivering presents to boys and girls from all walks of life. While kids are hoping for a Nintendo Switch or a unicorn, some football clubs are going to be asking Santa for that last piece of the puzzle – that one player that can lead them to cup glory or help them stave off relegation. This January transfer window will bring a flurry of activity, not only in Europe’s top leagues, but also here in the United States. Here, we answer some questions that you might have concerning this upcoming transfer window.
What is this January transfer window?
Well, while “transfer window” is technically an unofficial title, it is the time designated for players to be registered with new clubs. This includes the month of January during the season and then again in July/August during the offseason. Think of it as being similar to the NFL’s trade period. Every year NFL teams are allowed to negotiate the trade of players under contract from about the middle of March to the end of October. During that time, players under contract can be traded for other players or draft picks.
The transfer window is similar. Players may be sold or purchased for a negotiated fee between two clubs during this time.
How is the January transfer window different from the summer transfer window?
There will be significantly less players purchased than what we’d normally see during the summer. The main difference, however, is the highly inflated price for players that often leads to a number of poor purchases. In January of 2011, for example, Liverpool forked over 41 million Euros for Newcastle striker Andy Carroll, who then spent two years at Liverpool, only scoring 11 goals in 58 appearances – before being sold to West Ham for a mere 17.5 million Euros. There are countless examples of this, in which a big purchase is made with high expectations, only to become a historical disappointment for the purchasing club.
There are certainly players that broke this trend. Riyad Mahrez was purchased by Leicester during a January transfer window, as was Gary Cahill (He’s won it all, he’s won it all… my apologies, I am a Chelsea supporter). We have also seen some big names switch clubs during this window. Most recently Coutinho moved from Liverpool to Barcelona.
Why should I care about the January transfer window?
This is the opportunity for your club to add that missing piece. With the transfer window coming mid-season many managers have had the opportunity to evaluate the weakest positions on the field and now have a chance to strengthen those positions and with it, the team. While they might have to pay an inflated price, it can be worth it. A January transfer could help you qualify for a spot in Europe, which will put more money in your club’s pocket the following year. This January also has a huge impact on the Champions League. Last year, UEFA announced that players would no longer be “cup tied” in the Champions League or the Europa League. Last year, when Coutinho made the move to Camp Nou (the home of Barcelona), he was ineligible to play in the knock out stage of the Champions League because he had previously played in the group stage for Liverpool. But that rule is no more. This means that those 16 teams that remain will be able to strengthen their squads without having to worry about their eligibility.
What should I expect in the Transfer Window?
Overall, the opening of the transfer window can be exciting and stressful. Expect some significant movement, with a couple of bigger names switching clubs after the New Year. The transfer window opens on January 1st for England, France, Germany, and China. It’ll then open January 2nd for Spain and finally, January 3rd for Italy.
Let us know in the comments who you think will be on the move and who you would like to see your club bring in!