The transfer window that opens on January 1 and ends at midnight of February 1 can be the difference between becoming champion and remaining in the Premier League.
In the preceding months leading up to it, the general consensus is that nearly every team is looking for that illustrious ‘goal-scorer’ or indeed a fiercely competitive centre-half to shore up the defence.
Squads will become settled and that allows coaches to try and scout out their potential targets, but the window can have a negative effect upon a team’s performance. The introduction of new players at any time of the year can be disruptive and it is widely claimed that players from international leagues require a ‘settling’ period into the league.
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This was all too apparent with the QPR side that was promoted in 2012 where they spent excessive sums on too many players, which in turn became their downfall as they slumped back down into the Championship.
The Premier League is infamously a marathon and not a sprint. The introduction of fresh talent into a side can increase competition for places which leads to the side raising their game on all fronts and therefore removes any stagnation.
Manchester City signed Wilfried Bony from Swansea last January, with Sergio Aguero consistently getting injured, and Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic not cutting the mustard with their lacklustre performances, combined with a thirst for European and domestic glory, they needed to insert a new-found vibrancy into their squad.
Personally, I feel that this could genuinely pose a threat to Chelsea’s apparent dominance this season because Bony appears to have the seemingly God-given gift to score goals. It may appear to be a fundamentally simplistic trait, but he and Aguero could prove to be a genuine threat to every defence in the league.
What’s more, Luis Suarez’s introduction to the Premier League came in 2011, which lifted the struggling side wholeheartedly from a team who were stagnating towards a poor mid-table finish, to a side who were demonstrating the capability to become genuine title challengers.
The 2011 January window was one of the most notorious in history. This was the infamous month where Chelsea splashed £50 million on arguably the greatest transfer flop in history.
As an avid fan, signing Fernando Torres lit me with excitement, the propensity to have a strike force of Torres, Drogba and the legendary Anelka would wet the lips of any football fan. However, this investment proved itself to be almost pointless as Torres looked a mere shadow of himself in the blue strip and he failed to emulate his sparkling form in a torrid three years at the club.
Liverpool’s response to this was to sign the in form Andy Carroll for £35 million, thus breaking the record for an English player. Both parties would look back on these signings with a bitter taste of remorse and would probably wish to go back and wish that these signings had never happened due to their redundant and wasteful natures.
For Chelsea, the signing disrupted any progress as they went on to record their lowest league finish in the Abramovic era and Liverpool continued to extend their dismal performances in the league. These two signings demonstrate the inflated nature of the January window, whilst isolating the propensity it can have for failure when not calculated and thought through properly.
Nonetheless, the January window does have the capability to be not only alleviating but also stimulating. In very recent times, the outset of 2014 saw Crystal Palace written off as being destined for the ensuing season in the Championship, commenters saw Pulis as mad for taking on a job that looked to be littered with failures. However, he proved how strong management and decisive action in the transfer window could change everything.
He signed Jason Puncheon from Southampton and Joe Ledley from Celtic, for what appears in hindsight to be a pittance of their real values. These two players, amongst other notables such as Scott Dann in central defence, elevated the side up the table from rock bottom. Puncheon came through with many significant goals that led to them beating teams that in the preceding year, they would not have dreamed of beating.
Of course, the transfers cannot be solely attributed to this success, but they undoubtedly aided Tony Pulis and Palace in their quest for survival. Similarly to this, in 2011, Bolton secured the loaning of Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea.
I think it’s fair to state that this signing alone augmented their validity in the league as his numerous crucial goals, in a team that was seriously struggling, transformed their fate almost single-handedly. Bolton went on to beat relegation comfortably, but were relegated in the following season.
The window has the capability to wholeheartedly change a team’s fate; it can honestly be the difference when the fundamental questions are asked of a team and a manager. Without it, the game would be a completely different kettle of fish and I personally feel obliged to state that there is nothing comparable to watching deadline day on Sky Sports news. The excitement that it brings alone is capable of re-instating one’s adoration of the game.