Transfer Deadline Day is often met with much anticipation and trepidation from football fans all across the world but this season’s winter window is set to be one of the quietest yet.
The promise of big names, big fees and even bigger egos all packed into one day of football business often makes for a frenzy of excitement.
The summer window is often the time when the weighty deals are made – the likes of Paul Pogba to Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus and Kai Havertz to Chelsea to name but a few.
That isn’t to say however that there can be some big names moving in the winter window. The most notorious recent switch being Bruno Fernandes making his £47 million move to Manchester United in January of 2020.
Manchester United is delighted to announce it has reached agreement with Sporting Clube de Portugal for the transfer of Bruno Fernandes.— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 29, 2020
The deal is subject to a medical and the agreement of personal terms.
A further announcement will be made in due course. pic.twitter.com/6bDVHszxL1
Having said that, this season’s instalment of the January window could be the least active yet – but why is that?
The most logical answer to why this window will be different is the blaringly obvious lack of finances that Covid-19 has imposed on the footballing world.
Since the first UK lockdown in March 2020, the banning of fans attending matches has seriously hampered clubs in all leagues.
Sky News reported that the accountancy firm Deloitte estimated Premier League clubs have lost upwards of £1 billion since the original lockdown last year.
This was mirrored by, relatively speaking, a scaled down “summer” transfer window in 2020. Compared to the previous 2019 window, Premier League clubs spent £100 million less on new signings.
As well as Premier League sides, lower league teams are in desperate need of fans through their doors to bolster their revenue.
Without huge television fees, they have been left in the dark regarding finances and have had to rely on cup runs and fan generosity to help them through.
However, after Cheltenham’s impressive FA Cup run which ended in defeat against Manchester City, manager Michael Duff explained that he felt the club would still be here next season due to the huge finances generated from the game.
With the threat that Covid poses certainly not going away anytime soon, the health risks that mixing squads poses could be a factor as to why there is less activity.
Despite there being regular Covid testing amongst football league clubs, some cases do slip through and lead to outbreaks within teams.
The risk of moving from one country to another is greater still and especially locating to the UK which still appears to be a Coronavirus hotbed in Europe.
So, with the combination of finances just not being as readily available and player welfare at risk, the January 2021 window is set to be one of the least active in recent years.
However, who knows? There could still be a few intriguing acquisitions – that is the joy of deadline day.