By Tim Treacy

The transfer window came into affect in the English Premier League in the 2002/03 season. At the time, the transfer window came in for both praise and criticism from all quarters. Although most clubs and leagues throughout Europe embraced the mandatory changes, and many European leagues already had domestic transfer windows prior to 2002/03, it faced harsh criticism in England with many premier league managers publicly speaking out against FIFA on the subject. By 2002/03, every country governed by FIFA had a transfer window in place.

“My wife goes to the shops, she goes to buy fresh fruit and vegetables every day. Football, I think, is like that. It’s a great market-place, it’s the best in the world, and we should be allowed to trade whenever we want, buy and sell — why not?” -Bobby Robson objecting to the transfer window in 2002.

The transfer window is run on different dates in most countries or regions around the world. FIFA stipulates certain aspects of the window, but the exact dates that it occurs in each country is down to each individual national football association.  In England, the pre-season window runs from the end of the previous season, until August 31st. In Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and Scotland it runs from July 1st — August 31st. The mid-season window runs from January 1st — 31st in England, however it runs from January 1st – February 2nd in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and Scotland. In the USA and Canada the mid-season window runs from July 15th — August 14th, whereas their pre-season window runs from January 21st — April15th.

There are rarely big money moves during the January transfer window in England but January 2011 saw all this change as Fernando Torres moved from Liverpool to Chelsea for £50m, and Andy Carroll moved from Newcastle to Liverpool for £35m — both deals breaking British transfer record in the same day.

Liverpool have had varied success in the mid-season transfer window since 2002/03. Below is a list of the players that transferred to Liverpool during the January window since January 2005. Liverpool did not sign any players in the first or second January transfer windows in 2003, or 2004 and I have not included youth players on this list.

I have provided the transfer fee at the time, and using the Transfer Price Index, I have equated how much each player would cost by today’s standards. The Transfer Price Index is a scientific way, developed by Paul Tomkins, to equate how much a certain player would cost in today’s market. This formula brings big buys from previous eras into line with current prices, using ‘football inflation.’ It is calculated based on the Retail Price Index model, only using footballers (as the price of bread and milk does not rise at the same rate as players), and by using the transfer record of the day as well as the average transfer fee of the day, among other factors.

Graeme Souness would have to pay £19.5m for Paul Stewart today.

Based on this method, in 2012 Djibril  Cissé would cost Liverpool £33m, making him our second most expensive purchase according the the transfer price index. Emile Heskey comes in as our third most expensive purchase at £29m. Carroll tops the list at £35m, while Torres and Collymore are 4th and 5th costing £28.9m and £28.5 respectively. Dean Saunders would cost £24.5m, and Neil Ruddock would cost £19m in today’s market.

Liverpool’s January Transfer Dealings since 2005 (Incoming players only)

*Javier Mascherano’s move to Liverpool was complex. He arrived on loan in January 2007, but his deal was not made permanent until February 2008. For the sake of this article, I included him as a January transfer in 2008.

Do you think the January window inflates the prices club’s pay for players? Is the Transfer window a good or bad idea? Share your thoughts below.

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