As FIFA does biannually, they publish an analysis of player transfer activity during the winter transfer period. In this article, we will digest the information from the report and look at the key findings.
What's the purpose of a transfer window?
Before jumping into the stats, let's look at why transfer windows even exist and what purpose they serve. According to FIFA, registration periods, as they are formally called, have a dual purpose:
i) it serves as a protection of the principle of contractual stability; if transfers allowing transfers to happen at any time during the season would incentivize breaches of contract
ii) it serves as a protection of the integrity of the competition; allowing players to join new teams at any time during the season would interrupt the competitive balance between clubs
In general, the winter transfer window sees significantly less (about a quarter) activity than the summer transfer window. As the winter transfer window falls mid-season (and therefore mid-contract), this window is merely used to strengthen the club's squads.
What amount have clubs spent altogether?
During the January transfer window, clubs spent a total amount of USD 1.03 billion in men's football. This is almost a 75% increase compared to the USD 0.59 Billion spent during the 2021 winter window. There has been a 28% increase in international transfers of male players taking place during this window transfer, compared to last year. Last year, 2.761 transfers took place while this year that number increased up to 3534 transfers. This properly showcases that football is recovering from the pandemic hit and that clubs are no longer led by financial restrictions.
Which leagues/clubs are mostly responsible for this?
According to the report, European clubs were responsible for USD 927.6 million spent on more than half (57.7%) of the total amount of transfers. Followed by the CONMEBOL clubs, the AFC, CAF, CONCACAF and ultimately the OFC.
The league that spent the most, is clearly England with a total spending of over 300 million dollars. The biggest spender, to no surprise, was of course the newly ruled Newcastle United. Newcastle United spent more than Manchester City, United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur combined.
Niklas Süle: FC Bayern to Borussia Dortmund
The German centre-back will join BVB at the end of this season, as he did not feel significantly valued in München. Although Bayern have historically been the one to snatch players from its most significant competitor in Germany (Lewandowski, Götze, Hummels), they seem to be getting a taste of their own medicine here.
Aubameyang: Arsenal to FC Barcelona
The 32-year-old has signed a 3,5-year deal at Barca, with a release clause of almost €100M. At exactly one minute to midnight (the closure of the transfer window), Aubameyang signed the contract and was seen flashing a thumbs-up to the media present at Barcelona's training facility.
Christian Eriksen: Brentford FC (free agent)
A little less than 8 months after suffering a cardiac arrest during EURO 2020, Eriksen has finally found a new club! As he was no longer allowed to play in Italy by the Italian Football Federation's technical-scientific committee, multiple clubs showed their interest in him. In the end, he chose to join Brentford, where Thomas Frank, a fellow countryman, is in charge.
The full report can be accessed on FIFA's website here