Gary Neville suggests there is a trend of top clubs changing how they approach the January transfer window.
The former Manchester United defender believes clubs are now saving their pocket change instead of blowing it on overpriced players in the winter window.
Neville pondered this when looking at some of the top clubs in the Premier League, who have suffered injuries to key departments of their squad, and why they chose not to bring in cover when they had the chance. Or rather, why they cannot:
“We asked this week: Are we surprised that Arsenal didn’t bring in a defender? Are we surprised Tottenham didn’t bring in a replacement for Kane, or anybody?’’ Neville told Sky Sports.
“But the problem is, they can’t get the players available. They cannot get them. Honestly, it’s a real issue.
“Clubs are not letting go for normal prices, and clubs are now thinking: Do I go and pay over the odds in January? Am I going to get the player I want?
“I genuinely believed Arsenal would have strengthened more than they have done if they believed something was available.
“Would Manchester United have brought in Raphael Varane, or Harry Maguire for example, if they believed they were available for decent prices in this transfer window? One hundred per cent they would. Would Manchester City have brought in a left-back, the one they wanted? Of course they would.
“But they’re not there, they can’t get them! They would have tried, asked the question, made the noises underneath with the agents and the scouting departments, but they’re just not there.
“It’s a real problem, the market is stuck in someways.”
Neville believes that rather than look to changing the playing squad, some clubs will seek a change of manager instead.
“I think certain clubs will always try and panic. But the panic now doesn’t actually centre around buying, it’s usually centred around the manager. What they normally do now is change the manager… clubs can do it twice in a season!
“For clubs at the bottom, a change of players will cost them money, they could end up with a group of players who won’t suit them if they go down.
“And it’s the same at the top; is Daniel Levy going to panic to get in the Champions League, or win the league? Does Levy buying four players for £100m guarantee you the league? No, and he’s probably not even going to get the players he wants!
“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United would have bought a couple of centre-halves if he could have got them, and Arsenal would have done the same. All the top teams would have bought in positions they need. But they can’t get them.”