January transfer window: When does it open and close, who could leave and where are Portsmouth looking to do business

The January transfer window is on the horizon and Danny Cowley has recently spoken about Pompey’s plans for the upcoming period of recruitment.

By Pepe Lacey
Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 3:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 3:32 pm
Pompey had big hopes for George Byers when he signed last January
Pompey had big hopes for George Byers when he signed last January

With the season caught in a mid-table malaise at present, the Blues boss is waiting for the new year arrive in order to strengthen his squad.

But what do Pompey need and what will happen?

We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know, for when the shutters are pulled up on the January window .

When does the transfer window open?

The January transfer window opens on Saturday, January 1, 2022.

There are 52 days until the window opens and Pompey still have to play at least 10 games before they can start bringing in new men.

When does the window close?

This season the transfer window will close a little later than last year, so clubs will be able to complete purchases right until the last minute of the month.

The window will close on Monday, January 31 at 11.59pm, instead of last year's 7pm deadline.

This will run in unison with all other European leagues - although it might be a stretch to see Pompey venturing into the European market.

Who could be on the move?

Players whose contracts expire in the summer tend to be sold for a low asking price.

With Pompey's current squad situation, big-earning players like Ellis Harrison and Paul Downing could be shifted for little to nothing to free up player wages and to improve the budget.

Cowley has indicated he plans to give all of his out-of-favour players the chance to move on in the new year, if they have deals coming to a close.

That gives them the chance to opportunity to play and earn new contracts elsewhere while freeing up wages, with CEO Andy Cullen stating the club have already overspent on their playing budget.

Big moves in January are relatively uncommon with clubs unwilling to sell. Pompey need to free up space on their wage bill in any case

So Pompey fans don’t expect too many big deals this January.

No big deals then, so what can Pompey fans expect?

Blues boss Danny Cowley has recently expressed his desire to free up his loan space.

This could see fringe players like Gassan Ahadme, George Hirst and Miguel Azeez sent back to their respective clubs.

Loans could prove key to Pompey, as a maxed-out playing budget could see very few players brought in on a permanent basis in January. Unless owner Michael Eisner pledges additional funds, of course.

With Mahlon Romeo and Gavin Bazunu being two of the standout performers so far this campaign, we could see the trio sent back which will enable Cowley to really utilise the loan market.

The Blues’ main areas of concern are at the back and up front - currently with one fit centre-back available and no goalscoring firepower.

Cowley has identified these two positions to strengthen, but finding a regular goalscorer would be hard in January with clubs unwilling to sell their prized forwards. Then there’s the reality that finding a regular source of goals is arguably the hardest challenge for a manager at any time.

How much rests on January?

Quite a lot in many different ways.

If Pompey are unable to unload some of their highest earners in January, then Danny Cowley will face a big task in delivering a successful play-off push due the lack of wriggle room in his budget. Again, that could change if the owners see fit.

We have seen before how seasons could be determined by the January window.

Last season players like George Byers and Charlie Daniels arrived but failed to live up to expectations, resulting in Pompey missing out on the play-off even after being top in January.

We also need little reminding of the hole Ben Thompson left in the squad when he was recalled in January 2019 - and Pompey fell away after being top of the pile at Christmas.

So some surgery is certainly going to be required in a bid to get this stagnating season moving.

But there’s also the need to avoid a repeat of the huge overhaul carried out this summer, with 15 players coming in and 18 leaving. It’s virtually impossible for any manager to find quick fluency which such a huge turnaround.