The advantages of conducting the bulk of your transfer business in the summer are well known. It gives more time for players to settle into the squad, adapt to life in England and for the manager to decide what his best first team and formation is. January business is usually sneered at as panicky and poor value, however last night Lewis Holtby gave a demonstration of what the advantages of winter business can be.
The first main plus is that players come into the full side full of confidence and already at match fitness. Having played half a season, presumably quite well as they have caught the eye of another club, the new player is ready to keep impressing straight away. Holtby began his Tottenham career with a 20 minute burst of the quick flicks and clever touches that he has been producing all season for Schalke.
The same is true of last season, when Papiss Cisse and Nikica Jelavic got off to flying starts as they arrived in the Premier League full of confidence in their ability. Going straight from a club they have been performing well at into another team can be a difficult transition, but the confidence built up at the previous club carries over to help in the first few matches while they settle in. Conversely, if a player struggles in a summer of training they might not be at their best when making their debut when the season starts.
The other bonus is that the player is a somewhat unknown quantity. The rapid nature of January business means teams are having to adjust to new players in the opposition side who they haven't had time to prepare for. By the second season, or even if given a summer, teams can figure out exactly how they want to play against them. Teams trying to plan their system against Newcastle right now are trying to work out which of the plethora of new signings will be on the pitch, let alone how they play against them.
Summer signings seem a less frantic, more well-planned way of conducting your business, and the advantages of making summer moves are clear. But the impact a new player can have when signed in January shouldn't be underestimated, and some players will no doubt burst onto the Premier League scene in the next few weeks.
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