The January transfer window has always been second best in my opinion. It will never match up to its cousin in the summer, and it does not generate anywhere near as much excitement. The summer transfer window symbolises a chance for players to have a fresh start with a new team whereas in January, players frequently try to force their way into a well-established squad and do not often succeed.
Most of the moves that occur during the January transfer window are on loan, meaning they are nothing to get particularly excited about. The other issue is that these temporary arrangements don’t often turn into permanent moves. Yaya Sanogo who signed on loan for Crystal Palace in January 2015 for example made three appearances before being loaned to Ajax by his parent club Arsenal in the summer of the same year.
The January transfer window is also unnecessary because the majority of players do not want to leave midway through the season. Most footballers have families and they cannot just uproot them at any time. As well as players being hesitant, clubs don’t necessarily want to sell midway through the campaign in case it weakens their squad; therefore the January transfer window is a cagey affair for all involved.
No team wants to showcase their weaknesses in January so that the other Premier League teams can then proceed to capitalise on them. In addition, it might upset the balance of the team if new players came in partway through the year and disrupted a well-established rhythm.
Furthermore, if a player is bought early enough in the summer transfer window, they are able to go on the pre-season tour with their new team-mates and bond with the squad. The player can also have in-depth talks with his new manager about what is expected of him. This cannot occur in January, meaning that as soon as the players are bought, they have to settle in, because if they don’t then they will rapidly be forgotten.
Another issue with the January transfer window is its duration. Whilst the summer transfer window begins in July and ends on the last day in August, the January transfer window is only a month long. Two months are allowed in summer because it is the busiest time of the year and some of the biggest deals occur during this time.
Players who move in January don’t tend to be successful at their new clubs. Notable deals in the January transfer window last season were that Chelsea bought Juan Cuadrado, Manchester City bought Wilfred Bony, and Victor Valdes joined Manchester United on a free transfer. None of these players have had a smooth ride at their new clubs. Juan Cuadrado was sent on loan to Serie A champions Juventus after six months with The Blues. He was bought for approximately £23.3 million but only made two Premier Leagues starts for Chelsea, contributing next to nothing in their eventual title win. A player that costs so much money should not be deemed surplus to requirements less than a year into a four-and-a-half year contract, but that is the situation that Juan Cuadrado finds himself in. However, he is far from the only one.
Wilfred Bony signed for Manchester City from Swansea for an astronomical fee of £30 million in January 2015. He has subsequently failed to replicate the form that enticed Manchester City to pay so much money for him. At the time, he was Swansea’s top goal scorer with 9 goals in 14 appearances. Since his big money move, Bony has scored just two goals in the past six months. He provides more evidence to the growing belief that teams such as Manchester City just buy players in January because they can, rather than because they desperately need them.
The big teams are given the opportunity to widen the gap between themselves and the smaller teams in the January transfer window, because they can buy players for ridiculous amounts of money regardless of whether the stars in question can justify the price tag or not. Juan Cuadrado and Wilfred Bony are just two examples of such behaviour by the bigger Premier League teams.
Victor Valdes has endured a turbulent time at Manchester United since joining as a free agent in January last season. He has a difficult relationship with Louis Van Gaal to say the least and as a result, has become an outcast at the club, seemingly only worthy of keeping a seat occupied in the stands, not even on the bench. His time at Manchester United has not been pleasant at all and he nearly left in the recent summer transfer window.
The January transfer window is not an essential part of English football, therefore it should be replaced by a winter break. I am sure that clubs would rather have a well-deserved rest and recharge their batteries rather than have to deal with the frenzy of another transfer window.
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