No major moves expected in Premier League January sales
Published 31/12/2015 | 09:06
Premier League survival is worth more than ever, but a leading football finance expert is predicting a "quiet" January transfer window for top-flight English clubs.
The £5.136billion windfall from the Premier League's bumper TV rights deal with Sky and BT will kick in next season.
The flood of money into the game is so huge that the team that finishes bottom of the league in the 2016-17 season will pocket £99million in prize money.
One would expect clubs to splash the cash next month in an attempt to secure their piece of the pie, but football finance expert Professor Tom Cannon does not believe that will be the case.
Indeed it would come as a big surprise to Cannon if last January's record spend of £144million was beaten.
"I think it won't be a bonanza transfer window," said Cannon, who is a professor of strategic development at Liverpool University.
"I think it will be surprisingly quiet. I would be surprised if spending exceeded £100million in the Premier League."
Norwich have made an early move to boost their squad as they try to drag themselves away from the relegation zone.
The Canaries are thought to be willing to spend £8million on Everton striker Steven Naismith.
But by and large, Cannon believes the rest of the strugglers in the division - with the exception of Sunderland - will have a quiet month in the market.
"If you look at the bottom half of the Premier League at the moment, no one can see (bottom side) Aston Villa spending money because they are so far adrift and (owner) Randy Lerner doesn't want to push the boat out.
"Then you have got Sunderland, who probably will spend. Newcastle and Norwich are probably thinking their squad is good enough to get them into 14th place minimum.
"With the possible exception of Norwich, those teams down there don't need another striker.
"When you look at teams like Stoke, Leicester and Watford, they haven't rushed out and thrown large sums of money at big-name strikers. They have been very careful and they have reaped the rewards of that so there's a good lesson to be learned."
Sunderland have been linked with Andros Townsend, who is out of favour at Tottenham.
One potential stumbling block is that Spurs are understood to be demanding £14million for the England winger, who has not played for the first team since he clashed with fitness coach Nathan Gardiner following the win over Aston Villa on November 2.
West Brom, who are 13th in the table, look likely to cash in on Saido Berahino, who has fallen out of favour with manager Tony Pulis.
Albion rejected an approach from Tottenham for Berahino in the summer and it remains to be seen whether chairman Jeremy Peace will extend an olive branch to his counterpart Daniel Levy, and offload the striker to White Hart Lane.
After an excellent run of form, Tottenham are fourth in the table, but with such a large squad, the Londoners may be reluctant to do business, unless a striker becomes available to ease Harry Kane's workload.
Indeed, with the exception of United, the other traditional big spenders may also struggle to land their targets in January.
Louis van Gaal says he has already held transfer discussions with United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
Despite spending over a quarter of a billion pounds since being appointed manager 18 months ago, Van Gaal needs a striker and a left-back.
The club will not go for any short-term fixes, however, so that rules out Ashley Cole, who is out of favour at Roma.
Attacking players like Lazio's Felipe Anderson and Southampton forward Sadio Mane are more likely to be pursued.
"In between United and Chelsea, they could spend £100million, but I anticipate it being around half of that," Cannon added.
"The people who might be in demand are not available, players like (Romelu) Lukaku and (Jamie) Vardy."
Chelsea failed with their bid to sign John Stones in the summer, and Everton manager Roberto Martinez has reiterated the defender is not for sale.
The one surprise of the window could be that Arsene Wenger delves into his pocket to sign the defensive midfielder and striker he needs to help keep the Gunners at the top of the table.
"I'll be busy, that's for sure," said the Arsenal manager, who has been linked with a move for free-scoring Bayer Leverkusen forward Javier Hernandez.