LONDON – Expect plenty of speculation about Cristiano Ronaldo, David Villa, Wesley Sneijder, Frank Lampard and Theo Walcott, among others, to be flying around for the next month.
Yes, the “silly season” has arrived.
European soccer’s January transfer window opens for business on Tuesday, giving clubs a month to strengthen their squads for the second half of the season.
Top teams operating strategic transfer plans, such as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United, rarely make major deals during this period. Likely targets are usually tied up by Champions League restrictions and managers can be put off by inflated prices and a preference to add new players in the offseason.
However, an inspired January signing – whether a loan or permanent move – can make the difference between winning a title, qualifying for the Champions League or Europa League or surviving relegation, meaning plenty of deals will go through over the next 31 days.
The cash-rich English Premier League is usually the place where the big acquisitions are made, especially on deadline day. And considering the lucrative television deals lying in wait from next season as well as the impoverished state of many leagues across the continent following Europe’s financial crisis, this should be the case this season, too.
“Many of the traditional European leagues are facing economic problems so we would suggest the trend of overseas players coming to the Premier League to ply their trade will continue and outweigh transfers between English clubs,” said James Skelland, a player representative.