With half of the season gone, the post Christmas period for many is simply the start of a brand new year, a fresh start perhaps. But for football supporters, only one phrase matters: the transfer window.
Opinions within the game are mixed on its effect; with some feeling the signing of a new player will disrupt the flow of a team on the top of their game.
It is well known that Sir Alex Ferguson is not the biggest fan of this annual circus. As early as November, he declared that Manchester United would be unlikely to play any part in what could be called a post-Christmas jumble sale. Look at Fernando Torres, a £50 million January signing for Chelsea who can navigate his way the bench easier than he can find the goal.
Ferguson‘s wariness about dipping into the coffers at this time of year does to mean that he would not jump at signing a player who is going to improve the side.
In 2004, he recruited the in-form striker a Louis Saha, who spent a pleasing if not spectacular few years in a United side trying to halt the charge of Chelsea and Arsenal’s invincibles.
Two years later, the under-the-radar defensive duo Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra were brought in for undisclosed fees, a double signing that has proved to be amongst the great manager’s greatest pieces of business.
Despite injury problems for both, they have become crucial members of the back line. In Evra’s case, he initially looked a mistake after a terrible performance on debut against Manchester City that lasted only until half time, but he soon became insurmountable at left back.
In January 2008, Manucho and Rodrigo Possebon came to the club, but you would struggle to find a fan who can remember any of the four matches they played between them before leaving the club. Young players Ritchie de Laet and Zoran Tosic arrived in 2009, but neither could make the Old Trafford grade. Goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard was the only new recruit at Carrington in 2011, and he has been another success story.
So a mixed bag, and one that would make Sir Alex think twice before signing anyone this transfer window. And in truth, top of the league 7 points clear, he may just have all the players he needs.
By Daniel Matcham @@03matchamdan