Common sense would dictate that if you need a player badly enough that you want to sign them in the January window, you also need that player for the matches in that month and so would aim to complete a transfer as soon as you’ve finished off the last couple of verses of Auld Lang Syne. However many of the transfers made are usually pushed to the last few days of the window, as sides use the time pressure to try and drive a harder bargain in their negotiations.
This can be self-defeating in two major ways. Firstly as mentioned above, the longer negotiations take, the longer you don't have that player in your squad. Secondly, constant speculation can distract a side from on the pitch activities.
The sensible way to approach a window would therefore be to identify your targets early, and get agreements more or less in place so you can sign those players at the start of the month. According to reports, this is exactly what Liverpool have done this time around, with deals all but sealed for Daniel Sturridge and Tom Ince, and Jack Butland also rumoured to be close to agreeing a move to Anfield.
If this is true, this could help the club's attempt to climb the table hugely, as they can get their side settled early, and enjoy the benefits of their new players whilst others - Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal spring to mind - are engaged in constant speculation throughout the month.
After the round of games on the 1st and 2nd of January, there is a 10 day gap before the next set of Premiership fixtures due to the FA cup 3rd round weekend. This gives teams who have finalised signings early the ideal opportunity to bed those players into their side.
The teams that take this opportunity should have an advantage over those that don't, and with the race for European places so close, it could be a defining factor in the success of Liverpool's season.
image: © Vincent Teeuwen