Transfer Window Summary

The recent transfer window was certainly an interesting one, and an unusual one in the sense that many clubs seem to finally be considering living within their means.

Last summer was an extraordinary one with the PL clubs alone spending just short of 2.4 Billion. The gross spend increased across all of Europe’s major leagues barring Spain, where Real Madrid only splashed out on Jude Bellingham and Barcelona were quiet due to their spiralling costs elsewhere. January 2023 saw PL clubs spend £815 Million as they battled for survival, European Football or trophies. 

This season has been different though, as Everton were given a points deduction for financial mismanagement. Their excuse was that their costs were higher due to Covid attendances being down and their recent splurge on a new stadium, but these were ruled out and their irresponsible spending has been punished with a nine point deduction, pending appeal. This sent somewhat of a shockwave across the league, and also further afield as many clubs wonder, if Everton have been punished with a points deduction, then surely there are many clubs who have fared far worse. The most interesting case is Manchester City, who face 115 charges in their upcoming case. 

All this means that the January window was a quiet one, even for the bigger clubs chasing glory. A number of big names did move clubs, but mostly on short term loans. Manchester United managed to get two significant players, and part of their wages, off the books as Jadon Sancho was loaned to Dortmund and Donny Van Den Beek also made his way to the Bundesliga. PSG in France were busy though, as they brought in Lucas Beraldo and Goncalo Ramos on January 1st, two transfers that had been arranged much earlier. Barcelona also spent a significant sum on a player for the future, Vitor Roque joining from Atletico Paranaense, a gamble given their financial situation. Timo Werner made his return to England, joining Tottenham on loan, whilst Eric Dier went the other way, heading to the Bundesliga to join former teammate Harry Kane at Bayern Munich. Another England international, Kalvin Philips, negotiated an exit from Manchester City, heading out on loan to West Ham to get some much needed minutes under his belt before this summer’s international tournament. Jordan Henderson became the first player to give up on his Saudi dream as he admitted it wasn’t the right move for him and his family, returning to Europe to join Dutch giants Ajax on a free transfer. Deadline day was nowhere near as exciting as it often is, with highlights being Gio Reyna’s move from Dortmund to Nottingham Forest and Armando Broja searching out first team action by joining Fulham on loan. The most expensive transfer has been Radu Dragusin’s move from Genoa to Tottenham. 

Many managers were asked about the lack of activity and all seem to indicate that they are either waiting to see the outcome of Financial Fair Play hearings or they plan to invest heavily in summer. Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea will surely go again in the summer, with all clearly needing an out and out goalscorer, though Højlund has started delivering for the Manchester club. Liverpool will surely need to invest to back a new manager, with Jurgen Klopp announcing his departure from Liverpool a couple of weeks ago. Barcelona will also be without Xavi and there are strong rumours that Pochettino’s disappointing spell at Chelsea will not last until the end of the season. 

We can be sure that there will be far more to write about in summer on this topic. Many clubs will go through proper revamps in the summer, however, half the battle nowadays is getting players off the wage books. Clubs such as Manchester United and Chelsea pay such high wages for players that when they don’t perform it becomes almost impossible to move them on. The January window has been more about tweaking, getting some players out on loan to get some minutes in their legs or possibly bringing in someone to cover for an important injured player. Whilst it has been underwhelming for many Football fans, it is certainly the sensible approach given the aforementioned issues, and it’s not often that we can credit Football clubs, managers and owners with taking the clever, responsible and conservative approach when it comes to player recruitment.

Last updated: 16.02.24