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January Not a Bad Month for Deals

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Friday, January 06, 2012 by Paul Grech


January, the start of a new year, is often seen as a month of hope.  Resolutions made as the previous year came to an end are still fresh in the mind as is the belief that they will be maintained.  That similar resolutions were made (but not kept) before doesn't matter.  This time round will be different, this time round I will make it.

Football, however, is much more cynical and allows no space for such naive hope.  So it is that January is seen as the month for the desperate, when those who are in trouble trash about in a made bid to change the flow of things.  Only they look imploringly at the transfer window that January brings with it, praying that it will deliver that player which could save their season.

With choice not being on beggars' menu, so it is that they must make do with what is available.  And pay exceedingly for it.  They have to look for players that others don't want; those who are either playing badly or whose character has proven to be too difficult to handle. Or else take punts on young players who are on the fringes of others' squads in the hope that their talent makes up for their lack of maturity and experience.

That is how the January transfer window is seen.  There is no value in it and you cannot get the players you really want unless you're willing to spend far more than they are worth.  It is a sellers' market, and that's never a good thing for those on the other side of the bargaining table.

Such truth holds most of the time, but not always.  The £23 million that Liverpool paid Ajax last January, when they exploited the Dutch club's financial worries, was a pretty good deal.  It was the same when Maxi Rodriguez joined with Atletico Madrid unwilling to keep paying his wages.  So too when Deportivo La Coruna opted to cash in on Alvaro Arbeloa so desperate were they to get their hands on the money.

Then there were those instances where January happens to be an off-season month.  It was such a timing anomaly that brought Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel to Liverpool.

This does not mean that Liverpool will sign any players during this transfer window much less that they will be successes if so.  But it does show that there can be exceptions to any theory, regardless of how firm the wide spread belief in it is.

And that should be enough to allow you to enjoy transfer rumours in hope, rather than look at them in cynicism.