I was looking recently at a post someone had made about Liverpool’s need to buy players in the January transfer window. One of the statements made was that “January is an excellent time to buy players”. My immediate reaction was ‘no, it isn’t’. Normally, I think that is the case; January isn’t a good time to buy players. However, after thinking about it for a while, I reckon this January is different and actually, it may be a good time to buy.
Usually what happens in the January transfer window is that your club will get linked with a load of players, then end up buying someone who’d had a good start to the season for a massively over inflated price, whose early season form turns out to be a flash-in-the-pan.
The problem is that most clubs want to keep hold of their players wherever possible. There aren’t usually that many top quality players available for a reasonable price. Normally the players available fall into one of the following categories.
1) They play for a club in financial trouble who need to sell, quickly
2) They have fallen out with the manager/team-mates and the club just wants to get rid of them or have asked for a move
3) Their contract is running down and the club will take any offer for them, rather than lose them for nothing
4) They play in a league that has finished by January.
It’s because of these reasons that many teams hold off buying anyone in the January window. They’d rather wait until the summer, where more players are available and the majority of deals get done.
This window may be different, thanks to a rule-change in the summer that almost went unnoticed. This leads me to believe there is a new category of players available in this window
5) The club needs to sell the player in order to free up a squad place
Thanks to the 25-man squad rule, this January, many teams who want to strengthen will have to sell or loan a player, or risk having to pay them without being able to pay them.
Reports have it that Spurs want to bring some players in (including a certain David Beckham), but in order to do so they will need to free up some squad space. That means that according to reports, Niko Kranjcar, Robbie Keane and David Bentley are potentially available to buy. Similarly Manchester City are in talks for Dzeko, and I’m sure other players will be looked at. That may mean that the likes of Adebayor and Santa Cruz, as well as Wright-Phillips and Bridge may be available to buy or on loan.
One of the other consequences of the 25-man rule is that it caught some teams out to the point where they were not able to fill all 25 places (remember under-21 players do not have to be named), so will be looking to bolster their squads.
This window the first category I mentioned may come into play too. After the economic crisis, many of England and Europe’s clubs will need to sell to either ease debts or to get high wage-earners off their books.
That’s the opinion of Damien Comolli, Liverpool’s Director of Football Strategy, who said, "These clubs are under enormous pressure to sell. So this January window could be a very different window from what we have seen previously.
"Players that we would never have thought would be available could be”
Of course the trick is to buy players that will benefit your team for years to come, rather than just buy because you can.
With the league being so close this season from top to bottom, this seasons January transfer window may well prove to be difference between success and failure and many more teams than usual should be active