AS SHOPPERS enjoy the benefits of January sales’ bargains, what of the nation’s game as we reach the middle of the transfer window?
Sport loves a moniker — Monday Night Football, Super Saturday for the Olympics and March Madness for US college basketball.
Well, I’ve got one for football’s mid-season free-for-all transfer window — Junk January.
The introduction of a transfer window in the first place was always a flawed concept.
No other industry in the world has dedicated times when it can or cannot sell its central product.
And by the way, no other industry is as affected as football by the nuances and peculiarities of human behaviour.
What transfer windows have done is enable the “wall and the wallpaper” merchants — those delightful species known as agents — to rip the a**e out of it.
They hold the feet of clubs to the fire and are able to jack up the price of every deal as the grains of sand drop down on the egg timer.
Dear reader, be clear, there is no worse time than Junk January.
The transfer market is the worst kind of business.
It is, in fact, the bastion of bad business. The deals that are done are often done as a result of desperation and panic.
They result in ludicrous financial transactions being entered into.
It becomes like being in an auction as you bid solely against yourself to keep raising the price on yourself!
In 2005, I tried to bring rhyme and reason to January transactions. My club, Crystal Palace, alongside West Brom and Norwich, pursued Dean Ashton.
I suggested and agreed with those two clubs that, rather than get leveraged by Crewe, we all bid the same price and let the player choose his destination.
That worked for five minutes until Delia Smith decided to bid more and off he went to Norwich.
The litany of transfer tragedies in January is long. Who thought that Fernando Torres joining Chelsea for £50million was great value?
How about the modern-day equivalent of the original ‘sick note’ Darren Anderton — Andy Carroll? Did Liverpool get bang for their buck there?
Stoke with Saido Berahino? Saddo being a better word.
Christopher Samba to QPR?
What about Manchester City’s barnstormer of a purchase, Wilfried Bony for £25m? The £145m Barcelona paid Liverpool for Philippe Coutinho must look like a nailed-on bargain.
And who can forget the value Manchester United got in paying Alexis Sanchez £505,000 a week.
Of course, I may have written this with the scars of having bought Ade Akinbadbuy when I was chief “opener of windows and throwing money out of them” at Palace.
But it is also steeped in the belief transfer windows are wrong and have only ever benefited the agents and average players to rinse fortunes from the game.
The January transfer window is a carnival of horrors, where common sense and business logic (if there is ever such a thing in this business) goes out of the window and desperation steps into town.
OK, some would say Virgil van Dijk was great business at £75m for Liverpool but that’s the exception that does not disprove the rule.
I wonder how many of the players in the Everton squad — that some fans wanted to confront at their training ground to tell them what a disgrace they were — signed for them in January? Food for thought.
Anyway happy ‘bargain hunting’ for your club!
- SIMON JORDAN’S Final Word is on talkSPORT every Sunday from 5-8pm.
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