Sky Sports News will never admit it of course, football is their raison d’etre, they’ve invested billions of pounds into the sport and will milk it for every penny they can.
But the reality is, football teams are built in the summer. No one wants to sell key players in January, so if teams are looking for reinforcements they’re forced to pay over-inflated prices or take a chance on outcasts and unknowns. Every player may have their price, but that price is seasonal and in football, there are no clearance sales in January.
Since the transfer windows were introduced some 10 years ago now, clubs have spent around four times less in January than they do in the summer. This season looks to be no exception.
While F5 keys across the country were being mercilessly assaulted yesterday, only one transfer was completed in the Championship – a loan deal which saw Patrick Kisnorbo join Ipswich Town.
The day before was equally uneventful, the Championship’s only arrival was Joshua King who joined Blackburn Rovers from Manchester United while Lee Frecklington left Peterborough to join Rotherham United. Both fees were undisclosed, though I’d hazard a guess that very little money was spent.
In total, the Championship has produced only six deals involving a transfer fee so far this January, one of which was the completion of Ryan Hall’s transfer to Leeds United.
Despite all signs pointing towards another boring January transfer window, the newspapers, rumour sites and Sky Sports still have us hooked. However remote the chances of it happening are, we’re all so desperate to share in the moments of pure joy that can only be produced by a headline signing, we’re left at the mercy of the media.
We know they lie to us and make up stories to keep us interested, but part of us doesn’t mind that. No matter how implausible the rumour is, we love to ponder the implications. It’s the reason teenagers can tweet rumours coming straight from that ever-reliable “good source” and be retweeted 300 times in 20 minutes. The person retweeting the bored teenage troll doesn’t believe the rumour of course, but he can’t help following up with another dozen or so hypothetical ”what if we did sign him though?” tweets.
Within 24 hours of the transfer window opening, football fans across the world have assembled a dream team of “what if?” signings, and the more they talk about them, the less implausible it all seems. The club just needs to show a little ambition they reason, no longer giving any consideration to the fact that January is invariably dull and few transfers are actually completed.
As any football fan will tell you, all the hype and expectation makes for one hell of a kick in the balls. The 31 days of January will pass by and instead of the Champions League XI we’d somehow managed to convince ourselves were realistic targets, a couple of players no one has ever heard of have taken their seat on the bench and the fanbase is plotting to oust management and owners for their apparent “lack of ambition”.
We get over it of course. Just in time for Sky Sports’ summer countdown clock to appear.