With January 31, the last day of the month, falling on a Friday this year (a “working day,” as the Premier League calls it), there is no need for most local football associations to move their window transfer deadline in order to avoid it falling on a matchday for their professional leagues.
In England, where—for better or worse—the majority of the focus will be, that means the transfer window slams shut at 11 p.m. GMT on Friday, January 31.
Most major European leagues will also adhere to that same time frame—including Spain, France and Netherlands—but there are a number of exceptions.
In Germany, for example, the window will close a full five hours earlier, meaning Bundesliga sides will have to tie up any incoming business earlier than most of their European counterparts. Italy, as it has tended to do in recent years, stops trading 60 minutes after that.
It is important to note, however, that the transfer deadline is more relevant for incoming players than outgoing players; as long as the transfer window remains open in the country of the buying club, then overseas teams can still sell players, even when the window in their own league has “officially” closed.
|Transfer deadline by major European country|
|Country||Deadline (GMT)||Deadline (local time)|
|England||January 31, 11 p.m.||January 31, 11 p.m.|
|Spain||January 31, 11 p.m.||February 1, 12 a.m.|
|Italy||January 31, 6 p.m.||January 31, 7 p.m.|
|Germany||January 31, 5 p.m.||January 31, 6 p.m.|
|France||January 31, 11 p.m.||February 1, 12 a.m.|
|Russia||February 24, 7 p.m.||February 24, 11 p.m.|
|Netherlands||January 31, 11 p.m.||February 1, 12 a.m.|
|Greece||January 31, 10 p.m.||February 1, 12 a.m.|
|Turkey||February 1, 8 a.m.||February 1, 10 a.m.|
|Relevant member organisations|
While most countries will cease trading at 11 p.m. GMT that Friday (making it midnight in most parts of Central and Western Europe), some leagues will go on for a little longer and will be able to take advantage of this kink in the system.
In Turkey, for example, the window does not close until 10 a.m. on Saturday morning (local time), while the different footballing calendar in Russia means their window does not close until February 24.
This may have some effect on the Premier League and around Europe—with Turkish and Russian clubs still able to buy players, it is not impossible that English clubs (or other European sides) will still be able to offload some unwanted players after their own deadline has passed.
An example of this quirk of the system came in September 2012, when Chelsea sold midfielder Raul Meireles to Fenerbahce after the transfer window in England had closed.
While there are no games in Europe’s major leagues on that Friday, barring the possibility of one match in La Liga, there is a full schedule of matches planned for that Saturday and Sunday.
It is worth noting, therefore, that signing a player before the deadline does not guarantee he will be available for said fixtures. In the Premier League, for example, most new signings will need to be registered with the league office by midday on the Friday if they are to be eligible for the weekend’s fixtures.
It is also possible that leagues may extend the transfer deadline, either on a league-wide basis or for a specific club, based on certain extenuating circumstances. In 2009, for example, the Premier League gave Arsenal an extra 24 hours to wrap up a transfer for Andrey Arshavin after snow over the United Kingdom on deadline day disrupted negotiations.
Considering how Arshavin's career proceeded, Arsenal may wish such dispensation had never been offered, but nevertheless, considering the recent difficult weather we have seen over much of Europe, it is perhaps a logistical eventuality that should be remembered.
Even without acts of nature to contend with, deadline day can be a fraught occasion for all clubs—especially as FIFA requires comprehensive paperwork to be filed.
The Premier League has developed a "dealsheet" to help with this, which effectively buys clubs two hours beyond the deadline to formally conclude their deals.
As noted on the Premier League website:
Clubs sometimes conclude deals at the last minute, and it is not always easy for them to get everything completed and sent over by 11 p.m.
The deal sheet allows a club to confirm that a deal has been reached in order to allow for additional time to submit the remaining documentation.
The sheet cannot be used prior to 9 p.m. and needs to arrive fully completed before the transfer window closes. Once the sheet arrives, clubs have got until 1 a.m. in which to submit the full paperwork.
But if a club is looking to complete an international transfer, it still has to comply with the FIFA Transfer Matching System (TMS) deadline of midnight.
The January transfer window has traditionally seen less spending than in the summer, although this is perhaps hardly surprising, considering that it is open for roughly a third as long.
In 2012-13, Premier League clubs spent nearly £128 million (per transfermarkt), whereas £630m was spent this summer.