After a surprisingly quiet January transfer window in which none of the traditional big four sides in the England made any business worthy of note, and those looking to cement or capture a European place also moving only slightly on the transfer front, what was the reason for such a quiet winter market?
Are club’s finally coming to terms with Uefa’s Financial Fair Play ruling and attempting to cut down on their losses over a season? The final threat of exclusion from European competition would be a bitter blow to clubs who are looking to take as much revenue from the Champions League. But I don’t believe the lack of movement is wholly reflective of the Uefa ruling which will soon come into effect.
The approaching Euros have most certainly played a part in footballers’ decisions on whether to stick with their clubs or move on and risk a poor second half to the season. As has been the case with players wishing to move to perhaps gain a place in the final squad for the tournament, there are many European players who have caught the eye in France and Germany particularly. Lukas Podolski and Loic Remy have been rumoured to be at the top of a number of club’s winter wish list, notably Arsenal and Tottenham, largely due to their impressive form at this point in the campaign. Notably, the French and German national teams will have much competition for places, with Joachim Low’s talent pool looking particularly impressive. The Marseille and Koln strikers are placed high in consideration for an opportunity at the tournament, Podolski especially due to his experience and form with the national side. And yet, why disrupt that almost certainty to be part of the tournament in Poland and Ukraine?
Similarly, an extreme measure of caution may have been taken on the part of many clubs in England and across the continent as to why extremely little business has done . The two stand-out transfers in England last January have seen both Chelsea and Liverpool take a huge hit on their purchases of Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll. At this stage with European clubs’ losses exceeding 1bn euros, there is little room for gambles from bigger clubs looking to make the final hurdle in the league. Of course there is also the issue of ineligibility in European competition for many of the targets who were rumoured to be on the move. Another stumbling block for buyers?
Manchester City surprisingly only went for a loan deal for Roma’s David Pizarro and Liverpool failed to bring in another striking option which they were rumoured to be after. Both clubs backed by considerable spending power and yet neither willing to take the gamble. But it definitely isn’t representative of a lack of options in a buyers market; Newcastle managed to get a smart piece of business done early in their purchase of Papiss Cisse and Borussia Dortmund signed Marco Reus to a pre-contract ahead of his move in the summer. Both of those signings represent very good value for money, would not command huge wages and have the qualities to make an immediate impact.
There is a suggestion of fear or uncertainty on the part of big club’s to spend in January, but I don’t see it as something new. Barcelona and Real Madrid rarely do business in the winter window, nor have Manchester United made any significant purchases in January recently either. Alex Ferguson has been quoted as saying “big clubs do not spend in January.” And that might just be the end of it. They get their squads prepared in the summer because there is less sense of urgency or panic surrounding the summer market.
The upcoming Euros have played a big part in the lack of spending this January and has caused many players to question whether a move to a far more prestigious club is right for them at this point. An eye on the FFP in the near future from clubs yes, but not enough to have a resounding effect on what clubs need for their immediate future. Footballing factors have taken the front seat over what Uefa want to see this time.
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