Today marks the end of the January transfer window, and so far it has been a quiet one as we approach what could be a frantic 24 hours.
The biggest deal so far has been Newcastle’s capture of Senegalese striker Papiss Demba Cisse for a reported fee of £8 million, but that signing has been one of only a few big-money deals.
Around £30 million has been spent by Premier League clubs this month, which is a big difference in comparison to what was splashed out 12 months ago.
A total of £217 million was paid out by England’s elite in the last January transfer window, and its lavish overspending was summed up on the final day when Andy Carroll and Fernando Torres became part of transfer history.
Chelsea gave Liverpool a British transfer record fee of £50 million for Torres, with Reds boss Kenny Dalglish using £35 million of that money on Carroll and make the Newcastle forward the most expensive British footballer of all time.
Neither player has been able to live up to their inflated price tags ever since, but those deals epitomise what this transfer window has become.
Many clubs no longer participate because they cannot get the players they want, with sides unwilling to part with their top talent midway through the season.
If they do manage to get the players that they desire, it is probably due to the fact they’ve had to pay over the odds, and in the current financial climate few clubs will take such a risk.
Therefore we have a month of countless transfer rumours in newspapers and on the Internet, only for the large majority of them to have no substance until the summer as reality begins to settle in.
That’s not to say there won’t be sides that splash out big cash for one or two signings today – but many will bide their time until the end of the campaign and cope with what they have.
Unless there is a bargain available then sides won’t try to fill any voids; Gary Cahill‘s move to Chelsea would have cost far greater than the £7 million paid to Bolton had it not been due to the England centre-half being a free agent in the summer and leaving the Trotters with no choice but to sell and find a suitable replacement, done so in American defender Tim Ream.
Some sides have adopted different approaches by bringing in short-term solutions, such as two-month loan deals for players in the MLS like Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Thierry Henry, or even getting former greats out of retirement in the way Manchester United have done with Paul Scholes.
This is all the more understandable when you look at the focus on Torres and Carroll to produce the goods; whenever they have failed to deliver, the first phrase that is quoted is how they aren’t worth the price paid.
But that’s the issue with the majority of signings in January. If clubs want to clinch Champions League spots or top-flight survival then at this time of year they aren’t going to have any negotiating power unless the selling party wants or needs to get rid.
I’m not saying the January transfer window should be scrapped, but the longer it goes on and the more clubs realise the cons outweigh the pro’s of buying this time of year, the more we as fans will have to accept that this month will provide few moments of dramatic transfers that we’ve seen in the past.
So what do you think? Is the January transfer window feeling the effect of the current economic climate? Is it simply impractical to have a buying period at a time when few clubs are willing to sell? Leave a comment and let us know your views.