Stick or twist, buy or sell The January transfer window is in its tenth year and has become the last chance saloon for top clubs
Sir Alex Ferguson hates it and has publicly said so. His actions back up his words. In a decade he has forked out 36million in total, or one Andy Carroll, in the winter.
True, he has parted with 15m for Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace this month but that is a long-term strategy which sees the winger return to Selhurst Park on loan anyway.
Harry Redknapp, on the other hand is king of the January sales. Nose pressed up against the door, elbows at the ready, QPR boss Redknapp is still unlikely to beat his 2009 Tottenham high of 48m, however.
Not surprisingly, Spurs, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool have tended to go for it over the last 10 years.
Roman Abramovich has dipped his hand into his pocket to the tune of 126m, which means Chelsea are top of the table at something. City are second on 109m, Spurs third on 91m and Liverpool fourth having spent 81m, which is 34m more than fifth-placed Aston Villa.
Consider 2003. The whole of the Barclays Premier League only managed to cough up 35m.
And compare that with 2011 when the deafening sound of cash registers in England could be heard all over the world as the clubs paid out an astronomical 225m.
Big spender: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has shelled out 126m on January signings over the last decade
Last year it was back down to 60m, as common sense and the UEFA threat of financial fair play prevailed. Think Carroll and Fernando Torres and think folly.
Going back to 2003, a total of 925m has been spent in January yet this window continues to be the baby brother of the summer marketplace where a staggering 3,955m (3.95billions) has been spent.
JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW FACTS AND FIGURES
Biggest average PL spenders in
January: Chelsea 12.3m, QPR 11m, Man City 10.9m, Tottenham 9.1m,
Liverpool 8.1m, West Ham 5.71m.
Smallest average PL spenders in
January: West Brom 0.67m, Swansea 1m, Everton 1.4m, Fulham 2m,
Sunderland 2.29m, Southampton 2.33m.
Largest amount spent by one club: Chelsea, 75m, 2011
Biggest buy of first window in 2003: Jonathan Woodgate (Leeds to Newcastle) 9m
Most expensive player: Fernando Torres (Liverpool to Chelsea) 50m
Most expensive British player: Andy Carroll (Newcastle to Liverpool) 35m
TEN YEARS OF THE JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW
Total spent: 35m
Wallet breaker: Jonathan Woodgate (Leeds to Newcastle) 9m
Spot on: Stephen Clemence, who joined Birmingham in a 900,000 deal from Spurs and proved to be a stalwart under Steve Bruce
Oh dear: Lee Bowyer arrived at West Ham from Leeds United for about 100,000 and was heralded as the man who could save them from relegation. The fans disagreed, and protested against the signing outside Upton Park. Nagged by injuries, Bowyer made just 10 appearances and did little to prevent West Ham’s relegation.
Big spend: Newcastle paid 9m to bring defender Jonathan Woodgate in from Leeds United in the first January transfer window back in 2003
Deepest pockets: In a precursor of big-spending to come, Man City brought in Robbie Fowler from Leeds United for 6m and David Sommeil from Bordeaux for 3.5m as they sought to preserve their Premier League status. OK, I lied, it wasn’t big spending at all, but it was much more than everyone else.
Trolley dash: Steve Bruce went to town, signing five players for Birmingham City – they were Christophe Dugarry (loan), Clemence (900,000), Jamie Clapham (1.3m), Matthew Upson (3m) and Piotr Swierczewski (loan).
If the shirt fits: Robbie Fowler joined Man City from Leeds United for 6m in a bid to boost City's chances of staying in the Premier League
Tight wads: Anyone doing half-all right, really – Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool saw no need to spend a penny during January.
Ticking clock: Woodgate’s was a deadline day move, as was Michael Ricketts’s 3.5m switch from Bolton to Middlesbrough.
Total spent: 50m
Wallet breaker: Jose Antonio Reyes (Sevilla to Arsenal) 19.5m
Spot on: The arrival of record buy Reyes proved to be the final piece in the jigsaw as Arsenal leapfrogged Manchester United to win the title
Oh dear: Middlesbrough fans who remembered the magic of Juninho would have been giddy with excitement when Steve McClaren brought World Cup winner Ricardinho to the Riverside – and for a negligible fee. Three months later he was off, having completely failed to play any first team football or show any appetite for being on Teesside.
New surroundings: Jose Antonio Reyes was the final piece in Arsenal's title-winning jigsaw in 2004
Deepest pockets: The Reyes fee eclipsed the spending of most clubs, but, unlike 12 months earlier, the big guns were willing to shell out. Man United, concerned about Arsenal stealing their title, paid 12.8m for Louis Saha, and Chelsea flexed their newly bulging financial muscles again by buying Scott Parker for 10m.
Trolley dash: Definitely West Ham, who acquired Andy Melville on a free from Fulham, Nigel Reo-Coker from struggling Wimbledon and got Bobby Zamora from Spurs when they sold Jermain Defoe.
Better late than never: Jermain Defoe's transfer from West Ham to Tottenham was finally completed on February 2
Tight wads: Liverpool again saw no need to open their wallets.
Ticking clock: The 7m Defoe switch dragged on even beyond the conventional window – being completed on February 2.
Total spent: 50m
Wallet breaker: Jean-Alain Boumsong (Rangers to Newcastle) 8m
Spot on: Mikel Arteta said ‘Hola!’ to the Premier League in January 2005, joining Everton on a six-month loan from Real Sociedad. He liked Merseyside so much, he stayed.
Oh dear: Nigel Quashie – With plenty of experience of relegation battles, Harry Redknapp raided old club Portsmouth to bring Quashie along the south coast to Southampton. ‘I am certain we will stay up,’ said Quashie in a fan-friendly soundbite. ‘I would have not have come here if I had any doubts about that.’ Five months later, they were relegated.
Vamos! Mikel Arteta joined Everton in the 2005 January transfer window, initially on loan, and then made the deal permanent that summer
Deepest pockets: Newcastle spent more than anyone else, over 10m on Boumsong, Celestine Babayaro and Amady Faye.
Trolley dash: Newcastle aside, it was probably Spurs, who acquired four players, including two on Deadline Day. The first two were loan moves, for Mounir El Hamdaoui, who never made a competitive appearance, and Mido. Then, they gave Nottingham Forest a combined 8m for Andy Reid and Michael Dawson.
Tight wads: Man United saw no need to sign anyone, nor did Jose Mourinho want to upset the balance of his title-bound squad.
New one-two: Tottenham brought in Mido (centre) and Michael Dawson (right) during the January 2005 window
Ticking clock: It was a very busy deadline day, with plenty of cash being spent. Other than the aforementioned Spurs signings, Man City offloaded Nicolas Anelka to Fenerbahce to 7m, Celtic took Craig Bellamy on loan, Barry Ferguson went from Blackburn to Rangers for 4.5m and Jermaine Pennant went on loan to Birmingham from Arsenal.
Total spent: 70m
Wallet breaker: Three at 7m. Dean Ashton, Norwich to West Ham; Emmanuel Adebayor, Monaco to Arsenal; Nemanja Vidic, Spartak Moscow to Manchester United.
Spot on: Manchester United who ‘only’ bought two players, Vidic and Patrice Evra (Monaco) for 12m and look how they turned out.
Defensive wall: Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra proved to be excellent buys for Manchester United in 2006
Oh dear: Emmanuel Olisadebe arrived at Fratton Park for an undisclosed fee from Panathinaikos. The Nigerian-born Poland striker, who had question marks over his real age, was crocked almost from the start and released in the summer.
Deepest pockets: Arsene Wenger (seriously), Arsenal. 15m total on Adebayor, Theo Walcott (Southampton) 5m and Abou Diaby (Auxerre) 3m. (Walcott and Diaby eventually cost 12m & 6m respectively)
Trolley dash: Harry Redknapp, Portsmouth – nine players for a total of 12m, a year after he recruited five when he was Southampton manager.
Pleased as punch: Emmanuel Adebayor joined Arsenal in January 2006
Tight wads: Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, Newcastle
Ticking clock: DJ Campbell, who worked in a warehouse a year earlier, joined Birmingham City from Brentford in a 1m deal right on deadline. And Danny Murphy completed a 2m midnight switch from Charlton to Tottenham.
Total spent: 62m
Wallet breaker: Ashley Young (Watford) to Aston Villa 8m (rising to 10.65m)
Spot on: Young, brought in on deadline day with John Carew (swap Milan Baros, Lyon), the winger proved that Martin O’Neill was right to take the gamble.
Oh dear: Lucas Neill, wooed by 75,000-a-week wages, snubbed Liverpool to make the most of Alan Curbishley’s panic buying spree at West Ham, and was injured on his debut.
Good business: Both Watford and Aston Villa were pleased with their transaction for Ashley Young
Deepest pockets: West Ham 16.5m. Matthew Upson (Birmingham) 6m, Luis Boa Morte (Fulham) 4.5m, Callum Davenport (Spurs) 3m, Nigel Quashie (West Brom) 1.5m, Neill (Blackburn) 1.5m.
Trolley dash: Liverpool. Seven players to pip West Ham, but only one purchase, Alvaro Arbeloa (Deportivo) 2.6m but including loan deals for Javier Mascherano (West Ham), Emiliano Insua (Boca) and Daniele Padelli (Sampdoria).
Tight wads: Chelsea, Arsenal
Ticking clock: Tottenham pulled the plug on the 4m sale of Mido to Manchester City just before midnight.
Total spent: 160m
Wallet breaker: Nicolas Anelka (Bolton) 15m who went to Chelsea
39 reasons to smile: Nicolas Anelka joined Chelsea from Bolton for !5m in 2008
Spot on: Gary Cahill was snapped up by Bolton from Aston Villa for 4.5m and has since joined Chelsea and played for England .
Oh dear: Felipe Caicedo, who became the biggest transfer in Swiss League history when he joined Manchester City from Basle for 5.2m. Sven Goran Eriksson apparently ‘won the race’ for the Ecuadorian with Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Juventus and AC Milan.
Deepest pockets: Chelsea, 27.5m on Anelka, Branislav Ivanovic (Lokomotiv Moscow) 9m and Franco Di Santo (Audra) 3.5m.
Record breaker: Basle received the highest fee ever for a club in the Swiss League for Felipe Caicedo
Trolley dash: Derby boss Paul Jewell, fighting a losing relegation battle, brought in eight players for 3.8m including Robbie Savage, Danny Mills, Hossam Ghaly, Laurent Robert and Roy Carroll.
Tight wads: No-one
Ticking clock: Brazil striker Afonso Alves completed a 13.5m move from Heerenveen to Middlesbrough after winning his appeal for a work permit.
Total spent: 180m
Wallet breaker: Midfielder Nigel de Jong (Hamburg to Man City) 16m
Spot on: Jermain Defoe has scored 68 goals in his five seasons at Spurs since this January move.
Oh dear: Savio Nsereko. Who Ugandan-born German, bought by West Ham for 9m to replace Craig Bellamy and who was shipped out to Fiorentina very quickly.
Twin buys: Manchester City splashed out on Craig Bellamy and Nigel de Jong in the 2009 transfer window
Deepest pockets: It was a 48m tie between Tottenham’s Harry Redknapp and Manchester City’s Mark Hughes. Spurs forked out 3m on Pascal Chimbonda (Sunderland), Jermain Defoe (Portsmouth) 15m, Wilson Palacios (Wigan) 14m and Robbie Keane (Liverpool) 16m. Hughes bought De Jong (Hamburg) 16m, Craig Bellamy (West Ham) 12m, Wayne Bridge (Chelsea) 12m, Shay Given (Newcastle) 8m.
Trolley dash: Portsmouth spent 7.6m on six players including Nadir Belhadj (Lens) and a loan for Jermaine Pennant from Liverpool.
Joy of six: Nadir Belhadj was one of half a dozen players signed by Portsmouth in 2009's winter transfer window
Hands in pockets: Liverpool
Ticking clock: Snowstorms hit England, which saved the day as far as Andrey Arshavin was concerned. The Russian was allowed to complete his 15m move to Arsenal 24 hours late.
Total spent: 30m
Wallet breaker: Younes Kaboul (Portsmouth to Spurs) 11m
Spot on: Stoke paid 3.25m for Portsmouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and, although he had to wait for his chance, the Bosnian has emerged as a top Premier League player
Oh dear: Benni McCarthy, who cost West Ham 2.5m from Blackburn. Injured on his debut and fitness and attitude questioned.
Safe hands: Stoke bought goalkeeper Asmir Begovic in 2010 and he's turned into one of the Premier League's best
Deepest pockets: In a recession-hit year, Tottenham bought Kaboul back from Portsmouth and signed Eidur Gudjohnsen on loan to be top spenders
Trolley dash: Wigan spent 3.5m on five players including Gary Caldwell (Celtic 1m) and Victor Moses (Crystal Palace 2.5m)
Tight wads: Aston Villa, Chelsea
Ticking clock: Robbie Keane left Tottenham for Celtic on loan after a call at 5pm on deadline day
Total spent: 225m
Wallet breaker: Fernando Torres (Liverpool to Chelsea) 50m
Spot on: Luis Suarez, who arrived at Liverpool for 22.8m with 35m Andy Carroll.
Oh dear: Would it be terribly obvious to suggest Torres
Great expectations: Fernando Torres moved to Chelsea for 50m, the biggest ever transfer fee in this country
Deepest pockets: Chelsea who spent 50m on Torres and 25m on David Luiz (Benfica)
Trolley dash: Gerard Houllier was given the go-ahead to buy big as Aston Villa fought relegation. He brought in four players including 18m (up to 24m) on Darren Bent (Sunderland) and 6m to Lyon for Jean Makoun.
New kid in town: Gerard Houllier brought in Darren Bent in an attempt to save Villa from relegation
Tight wads: No-one
Ticking clock: Charlie Adam thought he was set for a move to Liverpool from Blackpool. He had to wait until the following summer.
Total spent: 60m
Wallet breaker: Papiss Cisse (Freiburg to Newcastle United) 10m
Spot on: Gary Cahill proved 7m well spent for Chelsea, putting in a succession of solid defensive performances as the Blues ended the season as surprise European champions. Also, Cisse returned an incredible 13 goals in just 14 games for Newcastle, including that incredible strike at Chelsea.
Great buy: Papiss Cisse scored 13 goals in 14 matches after joining Newcastle
Oh dear: Marvin Sordell, 3m from Watford, was only given three matches for Bolton in their bid to avoid relegation. If he was the solution to their problems, it was a funny way of showing it.
Deepest pockets: Chelsea spent in the region of 20m on Kevin de Bruyne, Cahill, Lucas Piazon and Patrick Bamford.
Trolley dash: QPR brought in seven players to try and prevent their Premier League return lasting just a single season. Among them were Bobby Zamora, Djibril Cisse and Nedum Onuoha.
Shrewd signing: Gary Cahill joined Chelsea last January for 7m and ended up a European champion
Tight wads: Stoke brought in nobody.
Ticking clock: QPR left it late, with the Cisse and Zamora moves going through at the eleventh hour.