The former Chelsea, Tottenham and England boss regularly appears for Sky Sports as a pundit on broadcasts for Premier League and Champions League ties and he had a clear message for teams looking to improve this January.
Speaking live on Sky, Hoddle's message was simple: “No club signs world class players in January”.
The discussion which led to that remark was between Hoddle, former Arsenal striker Ian Wright and former Liverpool centre back Jamie Carragher, after Wright raised the issue of Arsenal’s squad depth.
The Gunners have a very talented pack of players but they are definitely short in one or two areas, most notably in terms of cover for Olivier Giroud and in defence for Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
There has been plenty of talk about Arsenal going for a big signing this winter, with a potential €50 million deal for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema being openly suggested by several online media sources.
However, Hoddle’s comments are actually a very realistic assessment of most situations clubs find themselves in halfway through a campaign.
Firstly, any world class player at a top European side is likely to be cup tied in terms of the Champions League by January.
Arsenal, and any other side, in the competition by that point will want a player to come in who can provide competition and depth for a club across all competitions.
Secondly, it’s harder to buy in the middle of the season because no manager or club wants to make their team weaker before the second half of the campaign has got under way.
It doesn’t make sense for teams to let their best players go when they are trying to achieve something hence Borussia Dortmund rather letting Robert Lewandowski join Bayern Munich for free next summer over selling him in the winter.
Winter deals can lead to frustrating negotiations and inflated prices because teams with a player being targeted will want to draw out talks to try and ensure a deal doesn’t happen, with the time pressure allowing sides to push prices up.
It’s not just the Gunners who will struggle to add to their squad in the winter. Chelsea are hunting a striker, Manchester United need creativity and Brendan Rodgers has already admitted he’ll try to reinforce his side in the January window.
Sides need to be realistic and bring in back up players in areas where they are short. The summer is where the big deals are going to happen because teams have ample time to adjust, buy world class replacements and plan for the season ahead.
What do you think? Do you agree with Hoddle’s comments?
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