The January transfer window in football is a period of opportunity for all clubs to assess their squad requirements and make changes in the form of player sales, purchases, and loans. While the majority of player trading is done during the summer transfer window, the winter transfer window in January provides clubs with a second opportunity to make changes to their squad.

The Christmas period is usually jam-packed with fixtures, and the post-Christmas period, running into January allows clubs to understand where they sit financially and where they can forecast a position finishing in the league they’re competing in. In addition to that, they also try to predict where they’re going to finish in any knockout competitions in which they are still competing. All of these factors have a knock-on impact financially.

Financial consequences of the January transfer window

Big money transfers in January

Two examples of a big-money transfers that took place during a January transfer window occurred in 2018. Liverpool sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £142 million and when Virgil Van Dijk joined Liverpool from Southampton for £75m. These transfers demonstrate that even during the January transfer window, clubs are still willing to spend large sums of money. Some put the pursuit of talent first.

Financial decisions

However, finances also play a part in the decision-making process during the January transfer window. This might be because the club is predicting financial issues in the run-up to the end of the season. It could also be due to Financial Fair Play restrictions. Even the biggest clubs have strict cash requirements, and a cash shortfall can mean big trouble.

From a selling club’s perspective, there may be a cash requirement or to get wages off the books. Both of which can contribute to a financial fair play benefit. This could be by reducing costs and potentially creating a profit from player registration trading. The agents’ fee also play a role in transfer negotiations, which can take up a significant cost and needs cash. These fees can be negotiated between the buying club, selling club and the player. On 9 January 2023 new FIFA football agent regulations came into force. The changing landscape for agents will no doubt have a knock on financial impact following the transition period.


Clubs now have the opportunity to register players up until the 31st of January in England and it’s broadly the same across all of the major European leagues. The end of the transfer window is roughly the end of this month. Although the deadline does vary from country to country. There’s often a scramble on Deadline day which can increase the level of excitement for transfer windows.

As we can see, the January transfer window in football is not just about improving a team’s performance on the pitch, but also about making smart financial decisions. To fully understand the intricacies of football finance, it’s important to have a comprehensive understanding of the industry. A football finance course can provide a deeper understanding of the financial aspects of the game, including revenue streams, the regulatory landscape and even taxation football.

As we can see, the January transfer window is not just about improving a team’s performance on the pitch. It is also about making smart financial decisions. To learn more about the topic of football finance, visit our homepage. Subscribe to our mailing list for more information on The Professional Certificate in Football Finance. This is our flagship course, brought to you in collaboration with Loughborough University.