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January Transfer Window: All you need to know

January is a miserable month, Christmas is done, and there is generally little to look forward to for a while…..but, thankfully, we have the January transfer window to keep us occupied on the dark and cold evenings.

Your team is in the doldrums and the only glimmer of light is that there might be a new centre forward or trailblazing midfielder coming your way to brighten up the next few weeks, or maybe not.

Here is everything you need to know about the January transfer window 2023.

When does it start?

There are several starting points depending on the country. They go something like this:

England, France, Germany, and Scotland – 1st January, 2023 midnight UK time.

Spain and Italy – 2nd January 2, midnight UK time. 

When does it close? 

The transfer window will close on 31st January at 23:00 UK time. 

How does it work? 

A transfer window allows football clubs to buy and sell players during set periods of time each year. 

The main one happens over the summer and normally lasts for around two-and-a-half months, normally starting on 1st June and closing just before the following campaign begins or early in it. 

Most clubs wait until this time to do their business as there is better value to be had and more time to structure deals. 

There is also a winter window, beginning at the start of January and lasting only a month. That means it can often be a frantic period with clubs looking to replace injured players or those performing below expectations. Because of this a premium is often added to prices set by the selling club and generally leads to less deals being done, particularly by the big clubs. 

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Biggest January deals 

As mentioned above, the big clubs often steer clear of January wheeling and dealing as fees are often bumped up due to the situation. For example, clubs may be aware that a rival is desperate for a new goalkeeper so they hike up the price when a buyer comes knocking. 

However, deals do get done and there have been some whoppers in recent years. 

The biggest of the lot is Philippe Coutinho's £140m switch from Liverpool to Barcelona. The Reds couldn't believe their luck when the Catalan giants opened the chequebook and promptly waved goodbye to their mercurial Brazilian. 

The Reds invested the windfall wisely, bringing in Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson and Netherlands defender Virgil van Dijk, both starring for their countries at the current World Cup.

It was money well spent by Liverpool who went on to win the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, Club World Cup and EFL Cup in the following years. Barca, however, went downhill and are still staring into a financial abyss due to their reckless spending. Coutinho has since moved to Aston Villa for a cut-price £20m.

Van Dijk cost Liverpool around £75m when they snatched him from Southampton on 1st January, 2018. That puts him second on the list of most expensive January transfers just ahead of Dusan Vlahovic who moved to Juventus from Sampdoria last January. 

The Serbian striker went for just over £70m, with Aymeric Laporte's transfer to Manchester City from Athletic Bilbao at £65m fourth in the reckoning. 

Liverpool snatched Luis Diaz from under Tottenham's noses last January, while Chelsea have often splashed the cash early on in the year, with deals for Christian Pulisic, Diego Costa and Oscar all taking place in recent January transfer windows. 

So what might happen this January? 

The rumour mill is slightly quieter than it might normally be due to the World Cup but there are still plenty of juicy stories doing the rounds.  

Jude Bellingham is the name on everyone's lips thanks to his performances for England in Qatar and the Borussia Dortmund star is expected to leave the Bundesliga club next summer. 

That may not stop a deal being done in the next month or so with Liverpool (11/2 To Finish in Top 2), Manchester City and Real Madrid all said to be in the chase for the 19-year-old who could move on for a fee anywhere between £100-150m. 

Dutch defender Denzel Dumfries has been linked with Chelsea and Manchester United in recent weeks, while Watford have already made a start by signing Ismael Kone from Montreal after he caught the eye in the World Cup with Canada. 

Free-agent Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to sign a mega-money deal with Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr and his former club United have been linked with PSV Eindhoven's Cody Gakpo as a possible replacement following his stellar World Cup displays for the Netherlands. 

As is often the case after the World Cup, the tournament in Qatar has produced plenty of new stars and ignited interest in some more established names.

Morocco midfielder Sofyan Amrabat was one of the most impressive players in the World Cup and has been linked with a switch away from Fiorentina as a result. Newcastle United (11/8 To Finish in Top 4) are thought to be one of the frontrunners for the 26-year-old's signature.

Amrabat's Atlas Lions colleague Azzedine Ounahi is another being linked with a move to the Premier League, with Leicester thought to be keen.

A deal for the Angers man could be fruitful due to the uncertainty over Youri Tielemans' future, with the Belgian out of contract in the summer. 

Premier League leaders Arsenal (5/2 To Win Outright) have been rumoured to be interested in him for a long time and would be able to get him for cut-price deal given his contract situation.

The Gunners are also keen on a deal for star Ukrainian winger Mykhalo Mudryk with the 21-year-old impressing for Shakhtar Donetsk, particularly in the Champions League.

Struggling Wolves, currently bottom of the table and 10/11 To Be Relegated, look set to go into the market with new boss Julen Lopetegui saying he plans to sign half a dozen players in the January window. 

His first deal is said to be close with him reportedly on the verge of signing Matheus Cunha from Atletico Madrid. The 23-year-old Brazilian is poised to join on loan until the end of the season with an obligation to buy, while team mate Felipe has also been linked with a switch to Molineux.

In the Championship, Blackburn forward Ben Brereton-Diaz is another who is attracting interest with his contract set to expire at the end of the season. The Chilean forward, 10/1 to be the Championship's Top Goalscorer, has been linked with a spate of Premier League clubs including Everton and Fulham but may keep his options open for a summer free transfer.

It promises to be a frantic period once more and there is plenty of fun to be had scouring social media for the latest rumours and gossip. 

But until you see it in yellow on Sky Sports News, some stories are best taken with a pinch of salt.

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