The January transfer window has always undoubtedly been a time of excitement for football fans, but some managers believe that it has negative effects on the world of football.
Since its inception in the 2002/03 season, some of football’s most important transfers have taken place during the mid-season window and football fans eagerly anticipate it each year.
This transfer window has been a particularly busy and exciting one for England’s top teams.
Arsenal and Manchester United have swapped Alexis Sanchez and Henrik Mkhitaryan. Arsenal themselves have acquired Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and sent Olivier Giroud to Chelsea. Manchester City broke their transfer record by signing Aymeric Laporte for 57 million pounds and Tottenham have signed Lucas Moura from PSG.
Arguably overshadowing all of those deals, Phillipe Coutinho left Liverpool for Barcelona, commanding a fee of 142 million pounds.
The exceptional business of January’s window for England’s elite clearly marks an exciting time for English football as some of the world’s top footballing talents have switched clubs. Yet is it really a good thing to have such drastic changes in the middle of a season?
The Alexis Sanchez deal is a highlight of this window and is almost universally seen as a good deal for both clubs as United have snatched a world class player from under the noses of bitter rivals Manchester City and Arsenal have been given another world class player instead of losing Sanchez for no fee in 6 months’ time.
With this in mind, there seems to be very little debate over the value of the January transfer window, as the top clubs of England will say that they have done good business, yet certain managers still want it gone.
In the past, Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger have been strong advocates of getting rid of the January window.
Wenger claims that the January window is “unfair” as it allows league rivals to undermine each other by acquiring players in order to boost their squad and aid the second half of their campaign.
Mourinho believes that the window is disruptive to teams as it has the potential to unbalance squads provides clubs and managers with added stress in the middle of a campaign.
There is a clear irony here, as both of the aforementioned managers will be happy with the business that their teams have done this winter.
The January transfer window gives teams such as Arsenal a final chance to get something out of a situation where a player could have left the club for nothing when their contract runs out in the summer.
In this sense, the January transfer window respects the wishes of want-away players and allows clubs to minimise the loss of the inevitable transfer of one of their players.
Another benefit of the mid-season transfer window is the opportunity that it gives teams to bolster their squads if they have been hit by an injury crisis.
This is particularly pertinent for British teams as they face an exceptionally busy Christmas period, meaning that injuries are commonplace. Celtic made use of the transfer window on deadline day to fill an injury-hit position by signing goalkeeper Scott Bain from Dundee to cover their currently injured first choice ‘keeper, Craig Gordon.
Historically, clubs have had to pay a premium to acquire new talent in January, which may have been the case with the Coutinho saga, as Barcelona were made to hand over the second highest transfer fee in history to acquire the Brazilian’s services.
The Sanchez-Mkhitaryan swap, however, may represent a new willingness between rival clubs to cooperate in January and agree on more reasonable deals, which would boost the window’s future productivity.
It is true that January is not an ideal time for clubs to be signing and losing players. Squads should be fully settled by mid-season, not still being built.
Yet, this transfer window has once again proved that there are some unmissable opportunities that can only arise in January, thus proving the worth of the January transfer window.
Image courtesy of Kane Brooker