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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 January 2008, 06:43 GMT
To buy or not to buy?
By Aimee Lewis

Ah, the January sales - don't you just love them?

January sales
Buying in January isn't always wise
You queue outside your favourite store from 4am only to realise when you get home that the fuchsia-coloured polo-neck jumper you purchased is as much use as a Steve McClaren tutorial on international management.

In the cold light of day, the 3 discount, lack of sleep and the bruises suffered diving towards the clothes rails a la Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible weren't really worth it.

Perhaps we should all listen to Sir Alex Ferguson...

The Manchester United manager isn't one for shopping in the new year - he believes signing players in the January is "not always as good as some people imagine".

But is Sir Alex right? Should managers spend millions in January or wait until the summer when they can more clearly assess their squad and buy players eligible for all competitions?

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, for one, agrees with the Scot.

"The January window is the worst time to buy quality players so we shall not be doing any business that is not essential," said Levy of Spurs' transfer plans.


Yet Ferguson himself hasn't always been adverse to indulging in some mid-season retail therapy.

Indeed, despite their protestations against the transfer window most managers are urging their chairmen to get the chequebook out before the last verse of Auld Lang Syne is sung.

The success rate of January signings is varied.

Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic arrived at Old Trafford in January 2006 and, despite taking almost half a season to settle, they have proven to be wise buys.

In 2003, the-then Birmingham boss Steve Bruce hailed the signing of 30-year-old Christophe Dugarry as the biggest in the club's history - and he was right.

Birmingham had managed just 19 goals in the first 22 Premiership games of the 2002/03 season and were battling to avoid relegation.

Fernando Morientes
January signing Morientes failed to make an impact at Anfield
But the former AC Milan and Barcelona striker's pedigree shone through as he scored five goals in five games to cement their Premiership status.

But for every Evra and Dugarry there is a Fernando Morientes.

His arrival at Anfield in January 2005, for what seemed like a bargain 6m, had Liverpool fans purring, seemingly with good reason.

Morientes had finished as the Champions League's top scorer while on loan with Monaco in the 2003/04 season.

But the Spaniard was ill-suited to the high tempo of the Premiership, scoring 12 goals in 61 appearances, and was eventually sold to Valencia.

So, to buy or not to buy? That is the question.

If one wanted to end the debate, then the mere mention of Morientes would win it for the "keep the money in the bank" camp.

But, in truth, buying a player in January is as much of a gamble as buying a player during the close season.

Sometimes it pays off and sometimes, well, sometimes a player proves to be as useful as a fuchsia-coloured jumper.

Football's January sales
31 Dec 07 |  Premier League
Spurs will not splash cash - Levy
30 Dec 07 |  Tottenham Hotspur
Berbatov could leave, says agent
31 Dec 07 |  Tottenham Hotspur
Benitez lines up transfer targets
31 Dec 07 |  Premier League


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