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Stoke boss Tony Pulis says deadline day is a 'circus'

Asmir Begovic, Robbie Keane and Mido
Some of January's big movers - Asmir Begovic, Robbie Keane and Mido

Stoke City boss Tony Pulis believes the transfer window is disruptive and says most managers want it changed.

Pulis' side drew 0-0 with Sunderland on Monday night as clubs battled to sign new players by the end of deadline day.

Although Stoke signed Portsmouth keeper Asmir Begovic, Pulis told the BBC: "It's a circus, it really should be addressed and I'm not happy at all."

Premier League clubs' spending in January was about £30m - a seven-year low and well down on last year's £170m.

Even the late signature of winger Adam Johnson by Manchester City for £7m could not push this year's winter level of expenditure over the £35m spent in the English top-flight in January 2003.


Other major transfers secured on Monday involved forward Robbie Keane's move from Tottenham to Celtic, Benni McCarthy from Blackburn Rovers to West Ham and Wigan's signing of Bolivian striker Marcelo Moreno.

Despite Stoke wrapping up a deal for Pompey goalkeeper Begovic for £3.25m on deadline day, their manager was far from happy with the one-month window for transfers in January and how it affected preparations for the league clash with Sunderland on Monday night.

"We're playing on a day when it's all going off, so you're trying to get things done and you've still got to concentrate on a game," the 52-year-old said.

"If we can change it, brilliant, I think most of the managers would change it. I think people are definitely tightening their belts, even if you have a look at the top clubs and what they've spent and what they haven't spent.

2009 - £170m
2008 - £150m
2007 - £60m
2006 - £70m
2005 - £50m
2004 - £50m
2003 - £35m

"But we joined the European Market, didn't we, to have free trade?"

Figures released by business advisory group Deloitte revealed that money spent by teams in the top-flight this winter were the lowest for seven years.

Although spending by the Premier League still exceeded those levels in France, Germany and Spain, the Italian clubs in Serie A have reportedly spent about £30m on transfers this year.

Sports business analysts believe managers have been less willing to offload large sums of money on players who may only have a limited impact during the last three months of the season.

Deloitte spokesman Dan Jones said: "Managers, club owners and directors have become increasingly sceptical of the near-term impact a January acquisition can have.

Victor Moses and Roberto Martinez

Report - loans replace January sales

"Therefore, it is unsurprising to see a lack of high value activity, with those clubs that are active preferring loan deals.

"The absence of new club owners and the tightening of club finances and credit availability have helped to accelerate that trend and dampen down the market."

Financial companies can only estimate figures as many clubs choose not to disclose financial details. Another report by KPMG consulting firm shows that Premier League clubs spent £41.5m last month.

Nearly one third of this amount is attributed to the fee that Manchester United agreed for Fulham defender Chris Smalling, who will move to Old Trafford for the start of next season.

Deloitte added that loan deals accounted for 70% of transactions in the Premier League.

Manchester City forward Robinho started his six-month loan spell at his former club Santos, while West Ham signed Egypt striker Mido and Brazil striker Ilan on short-term contracts.

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see also
Transfer deadline day as it happened
01 Feb 10 |  Football
Transfers - February 2010
02 Feb 10 |  Football
Stoke sign Pompey keeper Begovic
01 Feb 10 |  Stoke
Celtic secure Spurs striker Keane
01 Feb 10 |  Celtic
Man City complete Johnson swoop
01 Feb 10 |  Man City
Sunderland land Hutton loan deal
01 Feb 10 |  Sunderland
Man City denied permit for Mariga
01 Feb 10 |  Man City
Fulham sign trio on deadline day
01 Feb 10 |  Fulham
Mido & Ilan join West Ham on loan
01 Feb 10 |  West Ham
Benjani granted Sunderland switch
02 Feb 10 |  Sunderland
Man Utd complete Smalling signing
28 Jan 10 |  Man Utd

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