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January sales? Think again

According to our analysis, deals completed in January have on average come at a 39% premium among the big 5 leagues in the last four years. This follows the widely held view that the January transfer window is inflated and should be avoided where possible – unless unforeseen circumstances have left your club in desperate need of recruitment. It is not all doom and gloom though: smart signings can still take place if we pay attention to the lessons from windows past.

With panic setting in, many would expect the last week to be most inflated. The data supports this view, with transfers going through at more than a 50% premium on average. However, the opening week of the window also leads to unreasonable sums being paid as the chaotic period begins. To get the best value for money, historically the best bet would be to complete deals close to week 3, roughly between the 17th and 24th of January.

Unsurprisingly, strikers were the most purchased position on the market, at roughly 20% of all positions in the big five leagues. What is surprising though is that only 14% of strikers scored 5 or more league goals from January till the end of the season. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the most productive, and the only striker to score at least 10 league goals during this period. An incredible 55% of strikers failed to score at all in the league between January and the end of the season – suggesting very few strikers hit the ground running from a goal-scoring perspective.

In contrast, full-backs and central defenders ranked top in terms of minutes played from time of signing and the end of the season. This suggests more defensive players are better suited to moving mid-season than attackers.

Although the January window may not be the most practical time to do business, it helps to know what you’re looking for but also what you should avoid. Equally important, as a selling club it can be the most productive time to sell a player and any market irrationalities should be used to good advantage.

Perhaps utilisation of the academy should not be overlooked during this period too. It may provide a chance to give invaluable minutes to young players but also diminish the possibility of making a costly mistake. Fundamentally, if going into the market, thoughtful planning should remain the key driver in our clubs recruitment decisions. January is a market where short-term circumstances are the main driving forces and value for money deals remain hard to come by.

To find out more about how 21st Club’s player valuation model and services that can help your club find value in January, get in touch.

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