Less can be more in the transfer window

by , February 1, 2011

January 2011’s transfer window offered a final dramatic flurry on Monday night before coughing spluttering, and being laid to rest in the cold hard ground of football history. With obscene millions being handed from one Premier League club to another, the business conducted in the football league looked subtle, paltry even, but can it be the case that in the January transfer window less is more?

The wily old managers in England’s Premier Division set a precedent this year. Ferguson, Moyes, Wenger, those who have sustained success in the top sector of English football for years, all opted to stay largely out of the affairs of the nouveau riche, with their inflated price tags. I think it would be fairly unreasonable to suggest that Forest’s Billy Davies fits into this category, both on the basis that his levels of success share little comparison to such lofty achievements, but also if Billy had his way then there would most likely be a revolving door of January transfers at Forest. However, the point remains. Perhaps the signing of Paul Konchesky on loan in a position of absolute necessity, complemented by the completion of Findley and Tudgay to give the Reds an ever-improving sharp edge up front is more than enough to justify looking back on January 2011 as a successful time for Nottingham Forest.  

As I mentioned in my last article, Forest are now as settled a side as they have been for years. Since the wilderness years of Championship failure and treading water in League One, there has never been a group of players at the City Ground as together, as integrated and, without wishing to make too large a leap of faith, so happy.

Both Alex Ferguson’s and Arsene Wenger’s sides are currently in good form, looking favorites for the top two places (although a resurgent Chelsea now seems on the cards) and they have seen no need to make major additions in a January transfer window when price, potential integration and squad harmony are issues. Forest, similarly to these two sides are also on a fantastic run of form, and whilst I could name several positions in which I would like to see us strengthen, sometimes talent and quality signings don’t have the same impact as organisation, togetherness and spirit. You only have to look at Ian Holloway’s Blackpool side to see this.

As the January transfer window has developed as an important entity within British and European football, it has become more and more clear how difficult it is to use well. Not only are prices nearly always inflated, the integration of a new player in such a rushed fashion is an unpredictable move. After all, players are still people, inflated wages or not, and people take time to settle, people need to fit in. The January window is a time when only two groups of people can succeed: the exceedingly well prepared and the lucky gamblers. In a sense, Forest have been lucky gamblers with the signing of Paul Konchesky, and I expect us to benefit from his experience and ability.

Form is a fickle mistress, upset by the smallest hiccup, and in Forest’s case, with strengthening of quality rather than mere quantity, the team have every opportunity to retain the sort of form that has seen them fly into the upper reaches of the table and make a genuine promotion charge.