January Transfer Window: Which players could be on the move?

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The European football season approaches its midpoint. Clubs are immersed in the busy Christmas scheduling whilst focusing on the impending reopening of the transfer window on January 1st.

Transfer windows allow clubs to buy and sell players twice a year.

The primary transfer window is in the summer, typically spanning about two and a half months and concluding around the beginning of September. It is usually a period where clubs make strategic signings and changes to their teams. It is common to see players moving for hefty transfer fees in this window.

However, the month-long winter window tends to have a more reactive element to it as it occurs around halfway through many clubs’ seasons.

Managers typically engage in winter window signings to fill gaps left by injured players. It can also improve their chances of steering clear of relegation threats or pursuing higher league standings and accolades. The opportunity to sign new players midway through the campaign can cause a real shakeup.

“I think big signings in January can change things for smaller clubs or clubs that are battling relegation, more so than with the clubs at the top of the table,” said Ronan Murphy, a football journalist for Transfers.com.

“The clubs that are top of the table usually have deeper squads. They have plenty of competition for places. Whereas for the clubs at the bottom of the table, one player coming in January can make a difference and get them 5 or 6 goals between January and the end of the season.” explained Ronan

Such ‘panic buys’ could strengthen struggling squads and cement the club’s position in a division. It could be enough to keep them in the league and allow them to build from there in the summer.

Over the years, many major winter-window signings have materialised, some of which have phenomenally impacted both the players signed in January and their new teams.

In Spain, Real Madrid signed 18-year-old Brazil defender Marcelo for 6.5 million euros in January 2007. He is widely regarded as one of the best left-backs of all time after winning 22 major honours for Madrid.

Marcelo (second from left) is Real Madrid’s most decorated player

In England, Liverpool paid 84 million euros to Southampton for Virgil Van Dijk in 2017. But despite being one of the most expensive January signings of all time, it is still regarded as one of the best. Van Dijk has won every major trophy available and is now captain of the club.

As anticipation builds among fans awaiting news of potential signings, Ronan Murphy told Football Now that this January could be a busier transfer window than usual.

“That’s probably because the European Championships are coming up, and some players need to move to get game time and force their way into the international managers’ minds. We’ll see players like that pushing for a move in January, which could cause a busy transfer window.” Ronan continued

Jadon Sancho’s potential departure from Manchester United is the move to watch out for in January.

Sancho cost the club more than €70 million in the summer of 2021 and arrived with great promise from Borussia Dortmund. The England international still has two and a half years left on his contract. However, his relationship with manager Erik ten Hag has broken down, and United are looking to move him on.

Ben Jacobs, a football journalist, thinks that Sancho feels scapegoated, while ten Hag thinks that Sancho’s focus and performance “have not been up to scratch”.

“Unless Sancho apologises both privately and potentially publicly to his peers, it’s unlikely that Sancho will be reintegrated into the Manchester United senior team,” explained Ben.

“That means he’s out in the cold and, therefore, is available in January.”

Jadon Sancho is on the verge of leaving Manchester United

This situation traces back to September when United expressed interest in loaning Sancho with a £50 million obligation to buy.

However, Sancho’s high wages of around £200,000 per week could be a challenge for United in finding a buyer.

There has been interest from Saudi Arabia, but Sancho is reluctant to move. Returning to Germany could be a potential destination, but again, the financial constraints pose hurdles. For a January exit to materialise, compromises on price are necessary for all concerned.

The 2023/2024 football season is in full swing. All eyes will be on potential moves this winter and what each signing could mean for the club’s mid-season.

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