The European mid-season transfer window has kicked off with its usual array of outlandish rumors of superstars transferring from club to club. In reality however, this window will consist of deals mainly involving fringe players or players going on loan.
Flashback a year ago and you will see this is now becoming a trend. The highest transfer last mid-season window was 10 million pounds for Chris Smailing, a prospect for the future who went from Fulham to Manchester United. January 2009 was littered with high priced deals, including the transfer of Kolo Toure, Gareth Barry and Roque Santa Cruz to Manchester City.
So the question begs to be asked- Why the dip in spending?
Firstly, the Premier League has introduced rules involving the size of a team’s first team squad and the minimum amount of local players. Therefore, if a team is picking up a player, it has to make room by kicking a player out.
Secondly, as wage demands increase, clubs are finding it a lot more economic to loan a player for 6 months instead of purchasing. They may pay a portion or all of a players wages, and in cases not involving development players it acts as a ‘try before you buy’ deal.
So what is it that people should expect from this window?
Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal look to appear to pass this time round, choosing to stick with their current squad to push for the title.
Manchester City will continue their exuberant spending in order to push forward, with rumors circulating of acquiring Edin Dezko, Gareth Bale and Alexandre Pato. With what appears to be an open checkbook, they may get their wishes, though they may want to clear some of their wage bill before doing so.
Tottenham Hotspur is looking to move Robbie Keane and David Bentley, with the former attracting possible interest from the recent MLS expansion team the Vancouver Whitecaps. Manager Harry Redknapp is also trying to get David Beckham on a loan deal, and has stated he will only buy if a ‘special’ player comes along.
As most football contracts end mid year, it also gives clubs an opportunity to ‘cash in’ on a player who has 6 months left on his contract, instead of losing him for free.
So as per usual, fans will watch in anticipation, hoping that transfer they heard along the grapevine is true, only to have their hopes dashed. Barring a spending spree from Manchester City, look for this January to remain pretty silent.