The January transfer window moved few players around: but did any club benefit?



Today on the Arsenal History Society website:

By Tony Attwood

As we have often noted, British football journalism has for many a long year lived on the subject of potential transfers.   

As a result across numerous summer transfer windows we have charted all the players we could find who were noted in the media as coming to Arsenal.   And then at the end of the window, calculated how many of the predictions of the last couple of months came to pass.

The highest rate we have ever found is that three percent of players mentioned in the media as coming to Arsenal, actually arrived.

But last month’s window brought the issue into even closer focus, since while the number of predictions in the media appeared to remain the same as in previous years, the number of actual transfers collapsed.

Just how decimated the window was can be seen from the fact that Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton each bought no players in while Chelsea, having bought in nine players in January 2023 only acquired Dujuan Richards.last month.  And it seems he only arrived in January because he wasn’t old enough to be transfered the previous window.

In fact the number of transfers completed in January is often limited.


Club Jan 2023 Jan 2024 Difference
Arsenal 3 0 -3
Aston Villa 2 4 +2
Bournemouth 4 2 -2
Brentford 1 4 +3
Brighton 3 6 +3
Crystal Palace 2 2 0
Chelsea 7 1 -6
Everton 0 0 0
Fulham 1 0 -1
Liverpool 1 0 -1
Manchester City 1 2 +1
Manchester United 0 0 0
Newcastle United 3 1 -2
Nottingham Forest 4 3 -1
Tottenham Hotspur 1 1 0
West Ham United 2 0 -2
Wolverhmapoton Wanderers 6 1 +1
43 27 -16


So paid transfers were down around 38% on the previous January, although that might have been hard to guess from the media coverage.

So what caused the downturn?

Certainly the fear that Everton’s appeal against their previous conviction might be lost (the result of that arrived in February) meant no one was quite sure what would happen.   And in January we had the cases against Everton, Nottingham Forest, Manchester City and Chelsea hanging over the industry.

Indeed given that fact, it is quite extraordinary that 27 players sitill managed to be transferred into the Premier League clubs that had been in the League the previous season.

Newcastle raised a few eyebrows by their lack of activity, but the personal difficulties of Amanda Stavely that have been reported (which of course we can’t verify but have noted here) might have meant that selling clubs could have started wondering if they were going to be paid – remembering that transfer deals very rarely get paid up front.

It is also interesting to look at how the league table stood two months ago as the January window opened, and compare that with now    The “growth” column shows how many points each club has picked up so far in 2014, and the final column shows where they are in a league table built just on results of these clubs from 1 January 2014 onward.   


Pos 1 JAN Team 1 Jan pts Today pts Growth Pos in growth
1 Liverpool 45 60 15 3
2 Aston Villa 42 52 10 5
3 Manchester City 40 59 19 1
4 Arsenal 40 58 18 2
5 Tottenham Hotspur 39 47 8 7
6 West Ham United 33 39 6 10
7 Manchester United 31 44 13 4
8 Brighton and Hove A 30 39 9 6
9 Newcastle United 29 37 8 7
10 Chelsea 28 35 7 8


In short we are looking to see if any club has beneftitted immediately from its transfer policy.   For if transfers can be expected to make an immediate difference we would be looking for Brighton and Aston Villa to have climbed up the league table since January 1.

In fact those two clubs are very mid-table in terms of growth getting ten and nine points since the start of the year.   Their transfers haven’t had much of an impact at all as yet.

Newcastle as we know have had a lot of days lost for players through injuries, and indeed it looks as if injuries, and the quality of backup players, can play as important a part on where a club ends up, as any transfers in January.

But while Newcastle can point to multiple injuries so Arsenal can specifically point to losing Jurrien Timber.  

So the key issue seems to be one of having backup players – although the table of “players used” contradicts this to an extent because some clubs keep swapping their playrs around as no combination seems to bring the desired results.  Figures below are from Transfermarkt.

There’s no absolute rule in any of this, but throughout there is a tendency.  The more stable a squad, the better it does – unless that stability is caused by having no money to spend and having become reconciled to the fact that the club is going down, and thus high salaries will be unsustainable next season.


Club Used new signings Players used in Season

One Reply to “The January transfer window moved few players around: but did any club benefit?”

  1. How can a team possibly integrate 19 new players in one season? It boggles the mind.

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