The 2013 January Transfer window saw some frenzied late activity with around £120million being spent, a total that has only been bettered on three previous occasions since 2003. This was double the amount spent in 2012 and there is speculation of more big-spending next month.
Surprisingly the biggest spending did not come from the Premiership’s leading clubs. Chelsea did buy Demba Ba whilst Manchester United confirmed the signing of Wilfried Zaha. Arsene Wenger’s only capture was that of Nacho Monreal whilst Manchester City made the headlines only through the sale of Mario Balotelli to AC Milan.
None of the aforementioned transfers could exactly be called a spectacular success and history suggests that it is extremely difficult to buy your way out of trouble in January. The most active buyers in the Premiership were Liverpool, Newcastle and QPR.
The London club bought six players in a failed attempt to avoid relegation. This was all a far cry from the heady days of 2011 when Premiership clubs forked out an incredible £225m on new players. The headline makers were £50m for Fernando Torres and £35m for Andy Carroll. The Spaniard has struggled to justify his price tag at Stamford Bridge whilst Carroll was sold to West Ham in May this year for a fee in the region of £15m.
Another factor to consider is that the actual “net spend” was only £70m in 2013 when the sale of outgoing players was taken into account. It appears that clubs had at least done some budgeting before going after their primary targets. Nonetheless, the total spent on new players has now exceeded £1bn since the January transfer window was established ten years ago.
Clubs also have to be mindful of UEFA’s financial fair play regulations which are designed to prevent clubs spending more than they earn. Failure to comply could result in the club being excluded from European competition.
Elsewhere in Europe, French side Paris St-Germain paid £38, for Lucas Moura from Sao Paulo but the market in Spain was noticeably quiet. The likes of Radamel Falcao and David Villa were linked with big-money transfers to the Premiership that did not materialise.
Galatasaray had caused a stir with the double-signing of Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder well before deadline day but this was a calculated investment, the club having qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League. Russian side Anzhi failed in a reported £30m move for Willian from Shakhtar Donetsk, the player eventually joining Chelsea in the summer.
In conclusion, it seems highly unlikely that there will be a return to the sort of numbers returned in 2011. The previous highest spenders, Chelsea and Manchester City, already have strong squads with no obvious weaknesses.
Arsenal are expected to sign a striker whilst Manchester United could be more active than in the past after a poor start to the season. Unless one of the top clubs is planning an audacious bid for a leading International striker, we are more likely to see spending more in line with 2011 than 2013. For the latest Premiership and European league prices, visit https://sports.bwin.com/en/sports/4/betting/football, one of the most comprehensive football betting sites on the Internet.