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2013 January Transfer Window Review
CarlCon (DC United) 3 years ago
It’s always one of the most exciting months of the season, full of debate, controversy, joy, and oftentimes bitterness. “Who’s coming in? ... Who are we getting rid of? … Do we need him? We paid HOW MUCH?”

Even if we went the entirety of January without a single transfer, while we’d feel aggrieved on February 1st, the 31 days of January would still have us on edge, sweating over the possibility of losing our best players, or shaking with anticipation as our League 2 side is linked to both Kaka and the paperboy down the road with the limp.

In a mass of hysteria, media headlines, insane stories, and tenuous links, it’s sometimes hard to take in everything that actually happened in the January window... so let’s take a look.

Disclaimer: Most modern day deals come with contract loopholes, bonuses, pay-per-play attachments, and other various complicated things, making it difficult to always give the exact fee. So bear in mind that “£20 million” may actually mean “they paid £10 million upfront, and will pay £5 million more if they qualify for the Champions League, and the other £5 million will come when he gets rid of that stupid hair style”.

The Big Money

OK, let’s get right to the business end, which players went for the most dough?

It will come as no surprise that the two biggest individual transfers came from Qatari funded billionaires Paris Saint-Germain, and Russian investor funded billionaires Anzhi Makhachkala.

Not happy enough with Ibrahimovic, Lavezzi, Thiago Silva, Pastore, and the rest of the current squad of talent, current French Ligue 1 toppers PSG decided to splash £37 million on Sao Paulo’s twenty year old star Lucas Moura. The deal was made in the summer when PSG reportedly outbid the likes of Manchester United and Inter Milan to snap up the wonderkid, but the move only came on January 11th, when Lucas made his debut in a 0-0 draw with AC Ajaccio.

It’s another Brazilian who comes in at number two. Shakhtar Donetsk pocketed a hefty £30 million for their attacking midfielder Willian, who joined the likes of Samuel Eto’o and Lacina Traoré at Anzhi. The high price tag came as a result of apparent interest from English clubs Chelsea and Tottenham, meaning Shakhtar were able to hold out for the best deal.

Yet another billionaire funded “sugar daddy” club have involvement in the next highest transfer, but this time it’s Barclays Premier League champions and sheikh-owned Manchester City who sold a player for a change. For a reported £19 million, Mario “Why always me?” Balotelli has made his way back home to Italy to play for AC Milan. In true Balotelli-drama fashion, Mario arrived in style to a mob of insanely happy fans, who later were made not-so-happy by Italian police and their tear gas. Stay tuned to Soap Opera Mario folks, next week Mario buys an elephant and is confused when he’s not allowed to ride it to his first home game while his fans throw rose petals to guide his way.

Barclays Premier League

Staying with the BPL, let’s now take a look at what wheelings and dealings happened amongst the English elite.

In or around £120 million was spent this January in England, double that of last season. With the £19 million for Balotelli being the biggest transfer away from an English club, it was City’s local and title rivals Manchester United who spent the most on a single signing into their club. United spent a cool £15 million on Crystal Palace’s up-and-coming English star Wilfried Zaha, who will remain at Palace for the remainder of the season on loan while they fight for promotion into the Premier League. For more info on Zaha, check out my last article where I take a look at the youngster’s past, present, and future.

Perhaps not known for “splashing the cash”, Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger decided it was time to appease his supporters and bring in Malaga’s Nacho Monreal in the final hours of the window for an estimated £10 million. With Kieran Gibbs injured, Arsenal fans have had to endure Brazilian left-back Andre Santos, who just hasn’t played well for Arsenal. This signing made plenty of fans exhale a sigh of relief, even though Wenger has confirmed that this signing doesn’t change the fact that Santos still has a place at Arsenal. What Wenger didn’t say aloud, however, was that the place he had in mind was in the reserves or on the bench.

Keeping it in London, Chelsea managed a seemingly shrewd deal for Demba Ba from Newcastle, who had a buy-out clause of around £7-8 million. This deal came early in the window, allowing Ba to have already played five games for Chelsea, scoring one goal. In December, Chelsea agreed a deal for eighteen year old Brazilian full-back Wallace, who will join the club in the summer. The deal is reported to have cost Chelsea around £5 million.

Despite these transfers from the “Big Four”, it was Liverpool, QPR, and Newcastle who spent most of the January transfer money, making up around 50% of the total net-spend this year.

Newcastle bought no less than five players from France’s Ligue 1, and made a total of 6 signings for about £26 million in all. The most expensive signings being Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa from Montpellier (£6.7m), and Mathieu Debuchy from Lille (£5.5m). Moussa Sissoko also joined from Toulouse and announced himself in his home debut with two goals against Chelsea in a shock 3-2 victory.

Liverpool spent over £20 million on two big signings. First came Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea for £12 million, who has since scored two goals in three games for The Reds. Then, late into the window an £8.5 million deal was agreed with Inter Milan for yet another Brazilian, Philippe Coutinho.

QPR continued their busy spending habits by bringing their transfer total for the season up to 18 players. Christopher Samba made a return to the Premier League from Russia on a £12.5 million deal, with a contract estimated to be over £100,000 per week. With him, came Loic Remy from Marseille for £8 million. Andros Townsend (Loan) and Jermaine Jenas (Undisclosed) arrived from Spurs, Yun Suk-Young (£1m) transferred from South Korea’s Chunnam Dragons, and experienced Israeli Tal Ben Haim joined on a free transfer early in the window.

In other transfer news, Danny Graham moved from Swansea to Sunderland for £5 million, Stoke signed keeper Jack Butland for £5 million, Spurs signed Lewis Holtby for £1.5 million, and Southampton spent a fair bit of their transfer budget (£4.2 million) on defender Vegard Forren from Norwegian champions Molde.

A brief history of January transfer windows in the BPL

  • With £120 million spent this year, £60 million last year, and £225 million the year before, spending in January can be sporadic.

  • More than one billion pound has been spent in January since the window was introduced in 2003.

  • The “net spend” (money spent minus money received) this season was £70 million, only £20 million less than 2011, when the total spend was a whopping £225 million. This is because transfers like Torres to Chelsea for £50 million and Carroll to Liverpool for £35 million inflated the total spend, but also stayed within the Premier League. For example, Liverpool’s £35 million purchase of Carroll was funded by the £50 million sale of Torres, actually resulting in a £15 million profit for them.

  • Chelsea have spent the most in the January window in total - £135 million. Manchester City are second with £109 million.


Galatasaray have caught many eyes with the purchases of Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba. Such massive names will work wonders for the Turkish “Super Lig”, but it’s yet to be seen if such transfers are a sign of things to come, or just a matter of nobody else wanting to pay Sneijder’s ridiculous wage demands.

Massive financial problems in Spain have produced a quiet window for them. The biggest news from Spain would be the fact that several players have managed to remain in La Liga at least 6 more months, with the likes of Falcao, Kaka, Isco, Negredo, and David Villa all linked with moves abroad.

France has decided to relocate to Newcastle.

To finish...

Having started with PSG and their £37 million record signing for Lucas Moura, it seems fitting to end with PSG and a very different signing...

A certain David Beckham has finally made the move from Los Angeles to Paris, where he has agreed a short term deal with PSG for a contract worth around £3.5 million. Well, it would be worth around that much for for the past Manchester United and Real Madrid star and 59-time England captain, if he didn’t decide that all of his salary would go to charity.

"We've decided on something that's quite unique. I won't receive any salary: we've decided my salary will go towards a local children's charity in Paris and that's one of the things we're very excited and proud to do.” said Beckham.

"It's something I'm not sure has been done before but I'm passionate about children and the charity, so we came together and it's something special."

It can be quite grounding to see such a gesture from a world-renowned player like Beckham in the midst of all the billions of pounds floating around transfer markets and into players’ and agents’ bank accounts.

So while it’s fine to drool over the prospect of PSG’s current line-up, dream about Coutinho’s and Zaha’s prospects at their new clubs, and discuss whether Balotelli will work out at Milan or not, I’m making a judgement call and declaring David Beckham’s move to PSG the most meaningful move of the January window.

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