Premier League January Transfer Window
It’s the start of another calendar year, but only the end of the first half of the 2020-2021 soccer season in the UK. While kiwis are enjoying the beach, January is the time when Premier League managers take stock and appraise whether they need to strengthen their squads. In such a high stakes sport as soccer, managers need to choose wisely if they want to keep their jobs. The January transfer window is the brief mid-season opportunity for them to bid for players, shift dead wood in the team or replace injured players, and it can make all the difference for a team. But with players costing hundreds of thousands of pounds per month and a short window of opportunity for making transfers, not to mention competition from European teams, the pressure is intense. JackpotCity online casino investigates the high-stakes world of the January transfer window.
Transfer Window in a Nutshell
The Premier League’s winter window for transfers opens on 2 January and closes at 11pm GMT on 1 February. The transfer window refers to the FIFA registration period when managers can transfer players into their team from elsewhere. The transfer is completed when the player is registered in the new club by the FIFA. Regulations require that transfer windows last 12 weeks at most and the transfer window for a given association only concerns international transfers into that particular association; while international transfers are always possible into other associations as long as there is a window open.
FIFA began using this system during the 2002-2003 season with the aim of improving stability in teams and preventing scouts from offering deals to players all year round. But the system is controversial, condensing movement into a short timeframe and encouraging panic buying by managers with many deals going through at the last minute.
The Premier League’s January Sale
There are two windows per year for FIFA associations: a long summer window and shorter one in middle of the season (January). Free agents can be signed up by team at any time, and there are also exemptions to sign players in an emergency i.e. when a club has no more goalkeeper.
Although the twenty-year-old system was designed to increase team stability, it has also intensified pressure during the transfer period. As a result, January is the Premier League’s own version of Black Friday when the clubs with the most money can take the best players from rival teams. However, this year certain clubs are strapped for cash after COVID-19 lockdowns and may accept bids for players in order to selvedge their finances. Clubs that are unlikely to be spending much on new players this January are Everton, Leeds United, Manchester City, Sheffield United, and West Ham.
Bargains, bargains, bargains!
The recession means that while some clubs won’t be ready to pull out the cheque book, they may be interested in off-loading some of their fringe players and there could be bargains! Arsenal will be trying to shift a lot of its dead wood to raise funds for a creative midfield player – something the club is sorely lacking. Rumour has it that the club will make a bid for Isco. Brighton is also keen to offload its fringe players at the right price, including the Australian goalkeeper Mat Ryan. But many other teams will also be looking to trim their squads too: Chelsea is ready to negotiate loans on Fikayo Tomori, Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rûdiger; Leicester could be accepting offers for Demarai Gray and Islam Slimani; Liverpool could be ready to give up Divock Origi at a decent price; Manchester United will be looking to move players like Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo; Tottenham could be moving Dele Alli and Gedson Fernandes; and West Brom needs funds too. West Brom’s manager, Sam Allardyce, was quoted in the Guardian as saying: “players could be cheaper than they have ever been because of the pandemic”… In other words, the sale is on!
Who’s looking to buy? Arsenal, Aston Villa, Newcastle…?
Since many teams are out of pocket, which teams are looking to buy? The Wolves for one, are desperate to replace their striker Raul Jiménez, who was horrendously injured in a match against Arsenal in November 2020 and suffers from a fractured skull. If you missed that match you can read all about it on stuff.co.nz. Recession or no recession, they need a new striker fast! The club appears to be interested in Diego Costa, who just left Atletico Madrid on a free transfer. Costa’s agent, Jorge Mendes, often works with the Wolves, so this is one transfer that’s likely to happen. What it will really come down to is whether Costa is interested in moving back to England or not. Considering the health situation in the British Isles he might prefer to stay in Spain. After all, with a total lockdown in place until March, will matches even go ahead…? If they don’t, why not come and play at our NZ online casino: JackpotCity!
Aston Villa needs to strengthen its defence with a left-footed centre back and a left back. However, the club spent a huge amount in the summer window on Ollie Watkins at £85 million and may prefer to wait. But if a bargain appears in the foreign market they could still be tempted.
Burnley dreams of acquiring a fast right winger and Fulham needs a new striker. Newcastle needs a dynamic midfielder to strengthen its squad and a left-wingback and centre-back wouldn’t go amiss either. However, Newcastle will try to use its loan quota where possible after permanently signing Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser, Jeff Hendrick and Jamal Lewis last summer.
Southampton is also interested in strengthening its defence and has been trying to sign Manchester United’s Brandon Williams since last summer. Tottenham needs a centre-back and defensive midfielder but will be more focussed on trimming its squad and could be ready to Dele Alli go, who has been itching for more playing time. West Ham, with its new boss Sam Allardyce, has a long wish list but a small budget and would dearly love to acquire a centre-back, midfielder and striker if the opportunity arose. Allardyce was quoted on skysports as saying: “There’s some money, some opportunities, but there is a massive loss of revenue because of Covid to cope with […] We’ll try to improve the team if we can find a player”.
New rules for signing European players
There’s one more spanner in the works for Premier League managers. Since 31 December 2020, Premier League clubs are obliged to adhere to the new Brexit rules on signing overseas players for the first time. Premier League clubs no longer have the right to sign players from the EU freely since they no longer have access to the single market and free movement of labour. Players from EU countries that sign in 2021 will have to go through the same visa procedures as players from the rest of the world, which means obtaining a Governing Body Endorsement. It is now impossible to sign players under the age of 18, which means that Arsenal would no longer have the right to sign players like 16-year-old Bellerin from Barcelona.
The GBE works on a system that attributes points based on the number of appearances a player has made in international matches and the higher the nation’s ranking. The FA has also devised an additional criterion for “Youth Players” so that club matches can be counted. But ultimately, signing up young European players just became more of a headache for British team managers overall. The Premier League, FA and EFL have announced they will review the entire GBE points system after the January window closes to try and address some of these Brexit issues.
Two players awaiting their Governing Body Endorsements are the teenage Atalanta winger, Amad Diallo, and the South African international striker, Percy Tau.
Nothing’s certain until the deadline passes
The January transfer window is likely to keep people on their toes until the last minute. Remember nothing is certain until the 11pm GMT cut-off on 2 February, so keep your eyes open for last minute signings. The winter window is well-known to be full of last-minute surprises. While the economic slump could make managers financially cautious, it could also make them more tempted to let players go. We can’t wait to see what Premier League teams look like in February. Until then, enjoy playing online casino NZ online at JackpotCity and enjoy the rest of your summer hols.