David Moyes and Manchester United Must Steer Clear of January Panic Buys

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David Moyes and Manchester United Must Steer Clear of January Panic Buys
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The transfer window should come with a glossary, a handy booklet with all the key terms you might hear and a explanation of what they actually mean.

For example, when the window "slams shut" it means the deadline to complete deals has passed. There isn't actually a window at all.

And when a club is set to "unveil a new signing" it doesn't mean he'll be walked into a press conference with a sheet over his head before appearing, as if by magic, to oohhhs and ahhhs from the crowd.

While we're at it, no one uses fax machines anymore, especially not football clubs with turnovers that run into the millions.

Next to "panic buy" it would read "a signing made due to a sudden, overwhelming terror that a manager/club won't be able to sign anyone else. Usually made in the final hours of deadline day."

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

It's fitting that the midseason transfer window takes place in January because it's not unlike the post-Christmas sales. Walking around the shops, you feel you should buy something because everyone else is. But when you have a look at the merchandise you realise the quality isn't very good.

If you do decide to take the plunge, as soon as you get it home you realise it's rubbish and not what you needed anyway. 

For that dodgy jumper, there is Liverpool's signing of Andy Carroll for £35 million. At least you can leave the jumper in a drawer and pretend it never happened.

It's a dilemma facing David Moyes and Manchester United. It's clear that United need to sign new players—preferably a central midfielder—and the transfer window is open. And with both the will and the means, logically Moyes should be strengthening his squad this month.

But it's not that simple.

There is danger around every corner. The cut-price South American you've only ever seen in videos or the ageing midfielder whose agent says has still got it.

The January transfer window is a minefield with rumour, speculation, claim and counter-claim exploding at every turn. With so many distractions, it's easy to lose focus on what and who you need.

Like a senile old man walking around a supermarket, you can go in looking for a box-to-box midfielder and a left-back and come out with some out-of-date Christmas chocolate and 12 fish fingers.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

All Moyes can do is make sure he doesn't panic. Like any sale, there are deals to be had—Liverpool will be quite happy with their purchase of Luis Suarez—but they are rare. 

It's far more likely that the player who looked good on Jan. 31 as the clock ticked down isn't quite so appealing when the real rebuild starts in the summer.

United resembled a drunk on the pull at closing time during the last deadline day, making offers to anyone and everyone who would listen. All Moyes can hope for this time is to wake up on Feb. 1 without having done something he might regret.

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