Lyons signing shows up sluggish market

Dejan Lovren. Ring any bells? He is a 20-year-old Croatian midfielder. He also happens to be the most expensive transfer of this somnolent transfer window.

Lovren moved from Dinamo Zagreb to Lyons for a fee of £7.2 million, rising to £8.4m, on Thursday. It is not an expensive deal by modern standards, but it nevertheless matches the total sum spent by English clubs in the first half of the window.

At the mid-point last season clubs had spent £60.8m. Jermaine Defoe (Portsmouth-Tottenham, £15.75m), Wayne Bridge (Chelsea-Man City, £12m) and Zoran Tosic (Partizan Belgrade-Man United, £8m) were the main moves. This season the biggest deal is Birmingham's £3m capture of Michel from Sporting Gijon. The signings which have generated most attention, Patrick Vieira and Sol Campbell, have not even involved a fee.

With spending in any window weighted towards the last few days, English clubs eventually lashed out £170m last January. This month spending seems unlikely to reach half that figure despite pre-window tales of Birmingham having £40m to spend, West Ham and Portsmouth facing firesales, Chelsea having gone to court for the right to make transfers, and the richest club of all, Manchester City, hiring a new manager.

It seems the recession is having a belated effect. "I don't think a lot of money is going to get spent in January, clubs haven't got it,'' said Phil Gartside, the Bolton chairman. He added: ''Everyone recognises that it is difficult to find the right player in January."

The deal-making will pick up, with Bolton among several clubs looking for recruits, but the new mood of caution suggests there will not be a repeat, for example, of the decision last January by an already heavily-indebted Hull to lavish £5m on Jimmy Bullard.

The restrained market does mean well-run smaller clubs can make an impact. It may be significant that of three £5m-plus deals in Europe to date one is by a French club (Lyons) and another is by a Portuguese (Sporting Lisbon's £5.85m signing of Florent Sinama-Pongolle). The other transfer does involve a big league club, Fiorentina of Serie A, but the intriguing aspect is that they paid £7.1m for Adem Ljajic. A year ago the attacking midfielder was reported to be part of the deal which took Tosic to Old Trafford. It transpired Manchester United had merely agreed an option. When they did not take this up Partizan suggested it was because United did not have the cash. United deny this, hinting at work permit difficulties. Whatever the reason Partizan, even in a slow market, have had little trouble finding a buyer for the 18-year-old.

Sport
tennisLive: Follow all the updates from Melbourne as Murray faces Czech Tomas Berdych in the semi-final
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
News
Joel Grey, now 82, won several awards for his role in Cabaret
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Harry Kane celebrates scoring the opening goal for Spurs
footballLive: All the latest transfer news as deadline day looms
Arts and Entertainment
Master of ceremony: Jeremy Paxman
tvReview: Victory for Jeremy Paxman in this absorbing, revealing tale
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness