Statistics show panic buying is not the answer

Atletico Madrid's Fernando Torres

Premier League clubs who resort to panic buying in the January transfer window to try to escape relegation have been no more successful than those who have stuck with their squads, according to research.

A study of the transfer window over the last 10 years by Professor Chris Brady, director of Salford Business School's centre for sports business, shows clubs who bring in lots of new players are just as likely to go down as those that do not.

Spending in this January by top-flight clubs is slightly down on the last two years, and well down on the record £225million forked out in 2011.

Brady said: "Purely statistically, there is zero correlation between buying lots of new players in the transfer window and avoiding relegation. You can buy loads and get relegated, buy loads and stay up or buy none and stay up.

"In 2005 Fulham bought no players in January and escaped relegation but others such as Cardiff last season and Derby in 2008 bought seven or eight news players and still went down.

"If you look at the ratio of January spending compared to the overall spend, then there are clubs in panic mode, but in recent years only one has spent more than 40 per cent of their annual spend in January - and no surprises that is QPR."

Brady said, by contrast, clubs such as Everton and Arsenal averaged five per cent of their spending in January.

He believes UEFA's financial fair play rules have had a damping-down effect at the top of the Premier League, but that it was not the biggest factor.

Dan Jones, partner in the sports business group at Deloitte, said: "2014/15 is still a record season for Premier League spending, with clubs having spent over £900million - significantly ahead of the previous record of £760million."