On The Ball

January transfers will be the stuff of reality, not dreams

While Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho is still Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's top target, there is still a vacancy on the right wing. Manchester United's immediate addition on the flanks will be the young Ivorian Amad Diallo (in blue), whose arrival from
While Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho is still Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's top target, there is still a vacancy on the right wing. Manchester United's immediate addition on the flanks will be the young Ivorian Amad Diallo (in blue), whose arrival from Atalanta was arranged in October.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

It is less than three months since the last spending spree finished. When it did, Premier League clubs had spent £1.26 billion (S$2.24 billion); more than their Spanish, German and French counterparts combined and an amount that appeared obscene in the worst recession for 300 years.

That sum forms the backdrop to this month's transfer window, but there are other relevant numbers: the thousands of empty seats at grounds every week. With fans kept away and clubs bleeding money even the Premier League surely cannot carry on spending, even if that was said last summer.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 03, 2021, with the headline 'January transfers will be the stuff of reality, not dreams'. Subscribe