Settling For The Second Best – The January Transfer Window
January! It’s a time to reflect; to make promises you won’t or can’t keep. A time for change, supposedly. Yes, January has a way of making the mere mortal look at things differently.
January is the time for intense transfer speculations and a chance to indulge in tactical transfers as against the splurges of summer transfer window. Gino de Blasio looks at it to see if it is really necessary.
Football is no different in this context. You see, the football season has two silly periods. The one in the summer, where anyone can be bought for the right price; where a club who doesn’t respect financial fair play can go and do what it wants; much to the detriment of the squad, club, coaches and fans alike.
Then there is the second period. January! Yes the January transfer window has become more recognized, more tactical, more important… kind of.
But when you break down the January transfer window, what are you actually paying for?
Here’s my issue with the January transfer window. Are you really in a position to be buying the player you wanted, or a stop gap measure until the end of the season?
If a club finds itself buying the player they wanted, then more likely than not there was a pre-contract. A negotiation months before the move ever happened. It probably depended on the results of the squad that they were purchasing the player from. It would ensure that all parties were getting what they wanted, and that, in some ways seems fair. In some ways…
Then there’s the second style of transfer – The stop gap measure. This is where a player who may be in form for one team gets slotted into another, and doesn’t seem to work out for a multitude of reasons. The player may have been excelling in an inferior squad, the player may not be used to the language of the teammates, the player may be struggling to settle down. Most importantly, the player may be playing a slightly different role which, changes everything.
In a lot of ways, the January window is almost like settling for second best. Most if not all managers will do re-structuring or complete overhauls in the summer. That makes sense. They will have a budget, they will free up spaces which means losing players which means extra money. It’s a logical system. But the January window isn’t really that kind of system.
It’s not designed for mass squad overhauls; it’s not really a good fix for teams. It’s a system which keeps some teams happy, but not many. It feels like the January system is designed for twitter speculation at its best.
I say get rid of the window altogether.
Simplify the transfer system, players who are contracted for longer than three years can only move in the summer window. Those who are less than three years can put a request in whenever they want; this frees up the whole football system and adversely brings more stability to clubs rather than simply settling for second best.